What Is Residual Income and How To Increase It?

what is residual income

Residual income might assist you in setting reasonable financial goals and budgeting your money sensibly. Individuals and professional organizations alike can calculate and analyze their residual income. Hence, understanding this notion will help you enhance your financial planning skills and expand your knowledge of standard accounting methods. In this article, we’ll describe residual income, see the formula with some examples, as well as list the many types of residual income and explain how to generate it from your business.

What Is Residual Income?

Residual income is income that continues to be received after the income-producing work is completed. Royalties, rental or real estate income, interest, dividend income, and income from the continued sale of consumer items (such as music, digital art, or books) are all examples of residual income. In corporate finance, residual income can be used as a measure of corporate performance, with the management team of a company evaluating the income generated after paying all applicable capital costs. In personal finance, residual income can be described as either the income obtained after nearly all of the work has been completed or the income remaining after all personal debts and responsibilities have been paid.

Corporate Finance Residual Income

Calculating residual income allows businesses to more efficiently allocate resources among investments. A positive RI indicates that the corporation outperformed its minimum rate of return. A negative RI, on the other hand, indicates that it did not meet the predicted rate of return.

The Residual Income Formula

RI = Controllable Margin – Operating Asset Average * Required Rate of Return

Residual Income formula


Controllable margin, often known as segment margin, is defined as project income less expenses. The required rate of return is the minimal amount of return that a business is willing to accept on a given investment.

Average operational assets are the resources needed to keep the company running. They contain, among other things, cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and fixed assets.

Equity Valuation Using Residual Income

In the case of equity, residual income is used to estimate the intrinsic value of a company’s shares.

In this situation, the company is valued based on the sum of its book value and the present value of expected residual incomes. The RI assists business owners in calculating economic profit, which is the net profit after deducting opportunity costs incurred from all sources of capital.

The Residual Income Formula

Net Income – Equity Charge = RI

Residual Income Formula

Simply put, residual income is the net profit that has been adjusted for the cost of equity. The equity charge is calculated by multiplying the cost of equity by the equity capital of the company.

Personal Finance Residual Income

In personal finance, residual income is another name for discretionary income. It refers to any surplus income a person has after paying off all existing debts, such as mortgages and auto loans.

Assume that worker A earns $4,000 per example but has monthly mortgage and auto loan installments of $800 and $700, respectively. His RI is $2,500 ($4,000 minus ($800 + $700)). Essentially, it is the amount of money remaining after making all necessary payments.

Residual income is an essential indicator because it is one of the figures that banks and lenders use when making lending decisions. It assists financial companies in determining if an individual is earning enough money to cover his costs and acquire an additional loan. If a person has a high RI, his loan is more likely to be accepted than if he has a low RI.

Different Types of Residual Income

In a company, residual income is beneficial to a continuous improvement strategy since it frees up time to plan how to increase operations. The following are types of residual income that can be used to meet a company’s financial obligations:

#1. Real estate investing:

Buying a rental property generates residual income since you undertake all of the work ahead. Also, renting out the property to renters allows you to income money each month from the rent you charge for the property. You can also put a set amount of money into a property and become the owner once it is completely funded. In this manner, you may budget your investment and plan to finance it in the meanwhile, keeping your firm solvent.

#2. Stocks:

The stock market offers numerous options for your company to benefit, which you can report as equity on your balance sheet. So, the greater your return on investment, the greater your residual income. Index funds are a means to invest in several equities that are grouped together in a single fund, and your profit can accumulate without any further work on your part.

#3. Bonds:

Bonds allow you to have a share in loans made by corporations and governments. Fixed-rate interest payments are made to investors twice a year. When a loan expires, you can reinvest in other bonds to maintain a continuous cash flow in and out of the business. However, you are still making money while not personally contributing to each step of the process.

#4. Royalties

Royalties are sums of money paid to the owner of a product or patent by persons who utilize that product or patent on an ongoing or one-time basis. It could be assets, intellectual property, resources, or anything protected by copyright. So, the amount you receive in royalties is the income you receive after you have completed all of the work required for the product to be displayed.

How to Generate Residual Income

Examine and use the following steps for generating residual income in a business setting:

#1. Examine your balance sheet.

After subtracting liabilities from equity, your balance sheet determines your available assets. So, you can use the outcome to assess your employer’s financial situation. Before you can alter and improve those asset-making operations, you should first examine how your organization makes money.

#2. Determine whether your gains are the consequence of active income.

Active income is earned by participating in every step of the process of earning money from a delivered service. Employee pay and salaries can show the quantity of active income generated by your firm. So, if your employer’s income is primarily derived from active income, there are steps you may take to boost your earnings through residual income.

#3. Determine whether your earnings are a product of residual income.

Examine the various types of residual income to discover if they have contributed to your employer’s income. To preserve their financial health, larger firms or corporations typically invest heavily in stocks, bonds, and real estate, whereas small businesses are more selective in their investment plans.

Additionally, creative people may be working on their own to have their artwork published and receive royalties for it. Musicians, for example, might contract with record labels, which receive royalties from the songs they promote on their behalf.

Residual Income Formula Examples

Let’s look at some examples to better understand how to calculate residual income.

Example #1 of the Residual Income Formula

Consider the example of an investment center that earned $1,000,000 in operating income last year while using $5,000,000. Calculate the investment center’s residual income if the minimum necessary rate of return is 18%.


The formula below is used to calculate residual income.

Operating Income – Minimum Required Rate of Return * Average Operating Assets = Residual Income

$1,000,000 – 18% * $5,000,000 = Residual Income

$100,000 in residual income.

As a result, the investment center’s residual income was $100,000.

Example #2 of the Residual Income Formula

Consider the example of a corporation with an operational income of $80,000 in the current fiscal year. According to the most recent annual report, the company has an operating asset base of $500,000 and a cost of capital of 12%. Calculate the company’s residual income for the year.


The company’s residual income is determined using the formula below.

Operating Income – Minimum Required Rate of Return * Average Operating Assets = Residual Income

$80,000 – 12% * $500,000 = Residual Income

$20,000 in residual income.

As a result, the company’s residual income for the year is $20,000.

Example #3 of the Residual Income Formula

Consider the example of a corporation that has recently bought a new unit to diversify its existing operations. The unit’s operating assets were worth $200,000 at the start of the year and $250,000 at its conclusion. The unit earned $50,000 in operating income during the year. So, according to the corporate strategy, the minimum required rate of return from the unit is 15%. Calculate whether the unit can generate any residual income during the year.


The average operating assets are computed as follows:

($200,000 + $250,000) / 2 = Average Operating Assets

$225,000 in average operating assets.

The formula below is used to calculate residual income.

Operating Income – Minimum Required Rate of Return * Average Operating Assets = Residual Income

$50,000 – 15% * $225,000 = Residual Income

$16,250 in residual income

As a result, the corporation can generate $16,250 in residual income during the year.


The following procedures can be used to calculate the residual income formula:

Step 1: Determine the investor’s minimum required rate of return based on their investment plan, risk tolerance, investment horizon, and current market return. In fact, in most circumstances, the cost of capital is used as the minimum required rate of return.

Step 2: Next, determine the company’s operating assets or total capital utilized in operations. In most circumstances, the average of the operational asset values at the beginning and end of the fiscal year is used.

Step 3: Next, as shown below, calculate the minimum required income based on the minimum required rate of return (step 1) and the average operating assets (step 2).

Minimum Required Income = Required Minimum Rate of Return * Average Operating Assets

Step 4: Next, calculate the company’s operational income, which is an income statement item.

Step 5: Finally, the residual income formula can be calculated by subtracting the minimum necessary income (step 3) from the operational income (step 4), as illustrated below.

Operating Income – Minimum Required Income = Residual Income


Operating Income – Minimum Required Rate of Return * Average Operating Assets = Residual Income

The Importance and Applications of the Residual Income Formula

It is critical to grasp the idea of residual income because it is commonly used to evaluate the performance of capital investment, department, or business unit. A positive residual income indicates that the unit has generated more return than the minimum needed rate, which is good. As a result, the bigger the residual income, the more valuable it is to the company.

However, there may be times when a project or business unit fails the test for return on investment owing to a low rate of return but passes the criteria for residual income due to a nominal positive dollar value, which can be challenging and necessitate a management decision. Another significant disadvantage of the residual income technique is that it favors larger investments over smaller ones because it evaluates them on an absolute dollar amount basis.

Is A Residual Income Earned Income?

Residual income is a type of passive income since it can be earned without much effort. However, it might signify different things depending on the context, such as personal finance, corporate finance, or equity valuation.

Residual Income FAQs

What is a major drawback of residual income?

One downside of residual income is that income from initial efforts or investments is not obtained immediately.

Why is residual income better than return on investment?

This is because ROI produces lower returns on the initial investment, whereas residual income maximizes income rather than ROI.

Is residual income a percentage?

Unlike the return on investment (ROI), which is calculated as a percentage or rate, residual income (RI) is calculated as an absolute cash value.

How Do You Calculate Residual Income?

Residual income is computed as net income less the cost of equity capital. The equity charge is equal to equity capital multiplied by the statutory rate of return on equity (the cost of equity capital in percent)

Why is residual income important?

Residual income is an essential indicator because it is one of the figures that banks and lenders use when making lending decisions.

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