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Compact Explanation

Amortization is the process of paying off debt in regular installments over a period of time.


In the world of finance, you may often come across the term 'amortization'. It's a vital concept that plays a significant role in both personal and business finances.

Amortization EquationIn this article, we aim to simplify this term for you and delve into its meaning, uses, and significance.


Amortization is a financial term that refers to the process of gradually reducing a debt over a predetermined period through regular, scheduled payments. These payments contribute towards both the principal (the original amount borrowed) and the interest accumulated on that principal.

Context and Use

Amortization is a widely-used concept in finance, particularly in the context of loans and mortgages. Lenders often provide borrowers with an 'amortization schedule', which outlines the sequence of payments and how each payment contributes to the principal and interest. It’s also used in accounting to spread the cost of an intangible asset over its useful life.

Detailed Explanation

Amortization involves two key components: the principal and the interest. The principal is the original sum of money borrowed or invested, and the interest is the cost of borrowing that principal. With each payment, a portion of both components is paid off. Over time, the interest portion decreases, and the principal portion increases, leading to the gradual elimination of the debt.


Suppose you take out a 30-year mortgage for $200,000 with an annual interest rate of 3.5%. The amortization schedule will detail how much of each monthly payment goes towards the principal and how much towards interest. Initially, a larger portion of the payment will go towards interest, but over time, more and more of the payment will be allocated to the principal.

Related Terms

  • Principal: The original sum of money borrowed or invested.

  • Interest: The cost of borrowing money.

  • Amortization schedule: A table detailing each periodic payment on an amortizing loan.

  • Depreciation: A similar concept to amortization but used for tangible assets.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. What's the difference between amortization and depreciation? Amortization refers to spreading the cost of an intangible asset or reducing a debt over time, while depreciation applies to tangible assets.

  2. How does an amortization schedule work? An amortization schedule is a table detailing each periodic payment on an amortizing loan. Each payment is broken down into how much is applied towards the principal and how much towards the interest.

  3. Can you amortize all types of loans? Not all types of loans are amortized. For example, interest-only loans and balloon loans do not have an amortization process as standard loans do.

  4. What does 'negative amortization' mean? Negative amortization occurs when the monthly payments are not enough to cover the interest due. The unpaid interest is added to the outstanding principal, causing the overall debt to increase rather than decrease.

  5. Does amortization apply to business accounting? Yes, in business accounting, amortization is the process of expensing the cost of an intangible asset over its useful life.

  6. How does amortization affect my tax? In some cases, the interest portion of an amortized loan may be tax-deductible. For businesses, amortization can be used as a tax deduction over the asset's lifecycle.

Key Takeaways

Amortization is a crucial financial concept that involves gradually reducing a debt or spreading the cost of an intangible asset over time. Understanding how amortization works can help you manage your debts more effectively and make informed decisions about loans and mortgages.


Understanding the concept of amortization can significantly impact how you approach loans and asset management. Whether you are an individual handling a mortgage or a business managing its assets, a clear grasp of amortization is essential for sound financial planning.

Disclaimer: Please note that this information is intended to provide a general understanding of the financial term 'Amortization'. It should not be used as financial advice. Each individual's financial circumstances are different, and you should consult with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.