The required rate of return is a concept in corporate finance. It’s the amount of money, or the proportion of money received back from the money invested, that a project needs to generate in order to be worth it for the investor or company doing it.

This matters for investors because it’s a way of thinking about the relationship between the risk of an investment and the potential profitability or return that can be garnered from it. For the investor, the required rate of return can be applied to stocks.

## What is the Dividend-Discount Model?

There are different ways of calculating the required rate of return for stocks.

One is the “dividend-discount model,” which can be used for stocks that pay out high dividends and have steady growth. In this model you get the stock’s value by dividing annual expected dividends by the required rate of return minus the dividend growth rate. By moving around the terms, you can find the required rate of return by dividing the dividend payments by the stock price and adding the growth of dividends.

So, if you have a stock paying $2 in dividends per year and is worth $30 and the dividends are growing at 2% a year, you have a required rate of return of:

$2/30 + .05,

.066 + .05

For a required rate of return of 11.67%

## What is the Capital Asset Pricing Model?

The other way of calculating the required rate of return is using a more complex model known as the “capital asset pricing model.”

In this model, the required rate of return is equal to the “risk free rate” plus what’s known as “beta” (the stock’s volatility, or its change in price, compared to the market) which is then multiplied by the market rate of return minus the risk free rate.

For the risk free rate, we can take the yield on 10-year Treasuries, which is about 1% or .01, a beta of 1.5, and the market rate of return of 5% or .05.

So using the formula, the required rate of return would be:

RRR = .01 + 1.5 x (.05 – .01)

RRR = .01 + 1.5 x (.04)

RRR = .01 + .06

RRR = .07, or 7%