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The concept that money today is worth more than the same amount in the future, when inflation has reduced its value.

The time value of money is money's potential to grow in value over time.

Because of this potential, money that's available in the present is considered more valuable than the same amount in the future.

For example, if you were given $100 today and invested it at an annual rate of only 1%, it could be worth $101 at the end of one year, which is more than you'd have if you received $100 at that point.

In addition, because of money's potential to increase in value over time, you can use the time value of money to calculate how much you need to invest now to meet a certain future goal. Many financial websites and personal investment handbooks help you calculate these amounts based on different interest rates.

Inflation has the reverse effect on the time value of money. Because of the constant decline in the purchasing power of money, an uninvested dollar is worth more in the present than the same uninvested dollar will be in the future.

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