By Joshua Kennon. Investing for Beginners Expert
Thanks to his straight-forward approach and ability to simplify complex topics, Joshua Kennon's series of lessons on financial statement analysis have been used by managers, investors, colleges and universities throughout the world. "If an investment idea takes more than a few sentences, or cannot be explained to a reasonably intelligent fourth grader, you've moved into speculation," Joshua insists. "Whether you're dealing with a public company such as McDonald's, or a private company such as Chanel, these are the types of firms that are easy to understand. You know where the sales originate, what the costs are, and how profits are generated. These are the types of enterprises that aren't going to cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, breaking into a cold sweat because of the sub-prime crisis or esoteric securities trading in illiquid markets. That's a huge advantage to growing your wealth. Focus on what you know, pay a fair price, and invest for the long-term.
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At some point, the value will be lower than the straight-line charge, at which point, the double declining method will be scrapped and straight line used for the remainder of the asset’s life (got all that?). An illustration may help.
In our straight-line example, we calculated that a $5,000 computer with a $200 salvage value and an
estimated useful life of three years would be depreciated by $1,600 annually. The first year, we have to compare this to the total amount to be depreciated, in this case, $4,800 ($5,000 base - $200 salvage value = $4,800).
Dividing $1,600 by $4,800, we discover the straight-line depreciation charge of $1,600 is 33.33% of the total depreciation amount of $4,800. Using this information, we double the 33.33% figure to 66.67%.
In the first year, we would take $4,800 multiplied by .6667 to get a total depreciation charge of approximately $3,200. In the second year, we would take the same percentage (66.67%) and multiply it by the remaining amount to be depreciated. Continuing with the example, we find that $1,600 is the remaining amount to be depreciated at the start of the second year ($4,800 - $3,200 = $1,600).
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Multiply 1,600 by .6667 to get $1,066. This is the depreciation charge for the second year – or not! Remember that once the depreciation charges dip below the amount that would be charged using the straight-line method, the double declining balance is scrapped and straight line immediately utilized. The straight line method called for charges of $1,600 per year. Obviously, the $1,066 charge is smaller than the $1,600 that would have occurred under straight line. Thus, the deprecation charge for the second year would be $1,600.