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What is Intrinsic Value?

Rachel Cautero
intrinsic value

You know how much you paid for an investment. But do you know how much it’s actually worth? While the value of most assets equates to market value, intrinsic value implies the investor’s perceived value of an asset. Learn the basics of intrinsic value, how it relates to options, and why it matters.

What Is Intrinsic Value?

The term “intrinsic value” describes the perceived value of an asset. In other words, it’s what an investor is willing to pay for a particular asset. You can calculate such value for stocks, options, a company, even real estate.

But it’s not a straightforward calculation. Intrinsic value is determined using a variety of analyses. First, it can take a numbers-based approach. For example, when determining the intrinsic value of a company, one might consider the company’s profits, financial statements, or its price-to-earnings ratio.

But it can also take a more qualitative approach, using factors such as a company’s business model or its current cash flows to determine intrinsic value. Lastly, this perceived value can also be determined by adding up all a company’s assets. Confused? Don’t be. There isn’t just one way to determine this kind of value.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that while other valuations of assets may take into account external factors, such as market conditions, intrinsic value only considers the value of the asset.

While intrinsic value and market value are similar, there are some important differences to note. Namely, the first refers to the implied value of a company, using the above analyses. However, market value refers to the value of a company as exhibited by its stock price.

Why It Matters

intrinsic value

Intrinsic value is an important concept for investors because it allows them to see if a stock is trading below said value. That usually signifies a good investment opportunity. After all, who hasn’t subscribed to the tried-and-true saying “Buy low, sell high?”

Remember, all investors aim to make money on their investments. Sometimes, that’s achieved via investing in an asset whose value grows over time. An investor can trade stock in a fledgling company that enjoys a period of rapid growth. Meanwhile, they can also purchase an asset that’s trading at lower than its perceived value. By selling it at a later date, they can enhance their returns.

Determining the perceived value of an asset and using it as a tool when deciding how to build your portfolio can help you maximize return on your investments. That’s why such value can be a powerful tool in an investor’s arsenal.

Intrinsic Value and Options

Intrinsic value is also an important concept when it comes to accessing the value of options. Remember, an option is a contract that an investor enters into that allows them — but does not require them — to buy or sell a security at a set price after a set amount of time.

So the perceived value of an option allows an investor to see the potential gains should he or she choose to exercise that option, or sell the asset for a set price after a predetermined amount of time.

However, unlike calculating perceived value for asset, determining such value for an option is relatively straightforward. You can calculate it using the following formula:

Intrinsic value = (stock price – strike price) x number of options

Pros and Cons

Learning an investment’s value can make you a savvier investor. Intrinsic value doesn’t just take into account the price of a particular stock, the valuation of its company, or its expected return. Rather, it takes into account both numbers-based and more qualitative aspects of a particular company or asset.

However, such can be subjective. As discussed, you can determine perceived value in multiple ways. Meanwhile, you can calculate it using a variety of factors. Variables range from a company’s business model and leadership team to its financials, including long-term projections and profits.

The Bottom Line

intrinsic value

On its most basic level, the intrinsic value of an asset it what an investor is willing to pay for that asset. Investors also use it when they consider purchasing an asset. While not a straightforward calculation, the intrinsic value of an asset can help paint a picture of whether it’s a good investment with the potential for high returns.

Investment Tips

  • If you’re not sure about the intrinsic value of your investments, a financial advisor may be able to help. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Do you know how much investment risk you can handle? How much will your investments grow before they meet your needs? Will taxes and inflation take a bite out of your investments? SmartAsset’s investing guide can help answer these initial questions.

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