Time Value of Money in Fixed Income

Unlocking the Time Value of Money for Fixed Income Investments | CFA Level I

Welcome to the fascinating world of finance, where understanding the time value of money (TVM) can significantly impact your investment decisions, particularly in the realm of fixed income instruments. Whether you’re exploring zero-coupon bonds, fixed coupon bonds, or even annuities, grasping the concept of TVM is crucial. Let’s dive into the essentials of fixed income investments and how TVM plays a pivotal role.

Understanding the Time Value of Money

In our previous discussions, we uncovered the core principle of TVM:

PV = FV / (1+r)^T

This fundamental equation bridges the gap between a security’s current price (PV), its future cash flows (FV), expected returns (r), and the investment period (T).

Fixed Income Instruments: A Primer

Fixed income instruments are essentially contracts where an issuer agrees to pay back borrowed money with interest. A quintessential example is the zero coupon bond, which does not pay periodic interest but is sold at a discount to its face value. For instance, buying a bond at $86.38 today to receive $100 in three years represents a 5% annual return, showcasing the application of the TVM equation in determining fair pricing.

TVM for fixed income

Calculating Yield-to-Maturity and Market-Implied Rates

Another vital use of the TVM formula is in calculating a bond’s yield-to-maturity (YTM) or the market-implied discount rate. This rate reflects the annualized return expected if the bond is held to maturity, offering insights into the bond’s investment appeal based on current market prices.

Fixed Coupon Bonds: Navigating Periodic Payments

More commonly encountered are fixed coupon bonds, which promise periodic interest payments. For example, a $100 bond with a 5% semi-annual coupon pays $2.50 every six months until maturity in 2 years. Adjusting the purchase price to achieve a desired YTM involves calculating the PV of all future cash flows, a process that underscores the investor’s return expectations.

TVM for Fixed coupon bonds

Exercise: Calculating Yield-to-Maturity Midway Through Bond’s Life

Let’s apply what we’ve learned with a practical exercise. Six months after purchasing a fixed coupon bond, its price drops to $97 with 1.5 years to maturity. Calculating the YTM at this point provides valuable insights into the bond’s potential return, factoring in the remaining coupon payments and principal return.

Calculating Yield-to-Maturity Midway Through Bond's Life

The Essentials of Coupon Payment Frequency and Annuities

Understanding the frequency of coupon payments and their impact on the number of periods and the calculation of regular payment amounts is crucial. Similarly, annuities represent a fixed income investment where a lump sum investment yields regular cash flows until maturity, with each payment consisting of interest and principal drawdown.


Through these examples and exercises, we’ve explored the critical aspects of TVM in the context of fixed income investments. As we move forward, remember that the ability to calculate and interpret these financial metrics is invaluable, not just for passing the CFA exam but for making informed investment decisions.

✨ Visual Learning Unleashed! ✨ [Premium]

Elevate your learning with our captivating animation video—exclusive to Premium members! Watch this lesson in much more detail with vivid visuals that enhance understanding and make lessons truly come alive. 🎬

Unlock the power of visual learning—upgrade to Premium and click the link NOW! 🌟