## What is Wasting Asset?

A wasting asset is a type of asset whose useful life is limited and its value decreases over time, examples of which include fixed assets like vehicles, plant, property, and equipment or financial instruments like options.

### Types of Wasting Assets with Formula

Now let us look at a different kind of wasting assets and how to calculate their decrease in value over a time period (also known as depreciation in some cases)

#### #1 – Factory/ Buildings / Office Furniture

These types of fixed assets are generally depreciated equally over their useful life. The straight-line depreciation method is used in this scenario. This is the simplest method of calculating depreciation and the depreciation expense is the same each year evenly spread over the years. The formula used for calculating depreciation is

**Depreciation Expense = (Cost – Salvage Value) / Useful Life**

where,

salvage value is the value (can be the selling value) of the asset at the end of its life.

Consider a building with an initial value of $1000 and a useful life of four years. Considering a salvage value of $200 at the end of its life we can calculate the depreciation expense each year as (1000-200)/4 = $200 and can create a depreciation schedule as given in the following table.

#### #2 – Vehicles

Vehicles like cars, trucks are generally used very heavily in the initial years and as such should be depreciated rapidly in the initial years. We use the double-declining method in that case which is very similar to the straight-line method apart from the fact that the depreciation rate is twice that of the first method. It assumes that the rate of depreciation of equipment is higher in the initial years as the machine is used more initially. The formula used for calculating depreciation is

**Depreciation Expense = Beginning book value x Rate of Depreciation**

where,

Rate of depreciation = 100%*2/Useful Life

Consider a car with an initial value of $1000 and a useful life of four years.

In this method, the rate of depreciation is 2*100%/4 = 50% each year. So in the first year, the depreciation expense will be 1000*.5 = $500; in 2^{nd} year it will be $500*.5 = $250 and so on.

Another method of calculating accelerated depreciation is called the sum of the years’ depreciation method.

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In this method

**Depreciation Expense = (No of Years Remaining / Sum of Years) x (Cost – Salvage Value)**

Consider a car with an initial value of $1000, salvage value of $100 and useful life of four years.

So in the first year, the remaining years will be 4 and the sum of the years will be 1+2+3+4 =10 and hence the depreciation will be 4*(1000-100)/10 = $360.

#### #3 – Machinery

Machines/production equipment and the depreciation is calculated on the basis of the number of units produced and are depreciated by the Units of Production method.

**Depreciation Expense = (Number of Units Produced / Life in Number of Units) x (Cost – Salvage Value)**

Let us suppose a piece of equipment which produces five, six, four and ten units respectively in the four years and has a salvage value of $100.

The depreciation expense for the first year would be given as 5*(1000-100)/(5+6+4+10)= $180 and so on.

#### #4 – Options

Enough of depreciation we have completely ignored the other type of wasting asset called options, which we will describe in brief.

In layman, terms option is a type of instrument which allows the owner of the option to buy or sell a share at a certain price called strike price. The price of an option depends on a few factors the most important of which are

- Difference between the strike price and the current price of the stock: This is because if for an example the buyer has the option to buy a share price $100 for $60 he is making a profit of $40 (the difference between the strike price and exercise price)
- The options have an expiry associated with them after which the owner can no longer exercise it and here comes the concept of time decay of options. The closer the options get to the expiry date the lesser the probability of the owner making a profit and finally on the day of expiry the value of the option becomes zero.

#### #5 – Natural Resource

Natural resources like petroleum reserves, coal mines, etc. are depleted over time based on the quantity extracted.

Consider a coal mine in which a mining company acquired for $10 million and used another $5 million to develop the site. Consider the mining company that can sell the mine after it has extracted the coal for a certain period for a residual value of $3 million.

Now consider the mining company plans to extract 1000 tons of coal from the mine.

Then the depletion per ton is (10+5-3)*10^6/1000 = $12,000

This is then multiplied by the tons of coal extracted per year to calculate the depletion expense per year.

If you can remember this method is very similar to the method of units of production used for equipment described above.

Please refer given above template for detail calculation of wasting assets.

### Advantages of Wasting Asset

- The primary advantage of owning an asset is its ownership and the fact that owning an asset costs much less than leasing in the long run.
- Tax savings can be made by claiming depreciation against the equipment bought.

### Disadvantages of Wasting Asset

- Buying an asset may not be possible for a business with low capital if the initial cost of an asset is high.
- The maintenance cost of an asset may be quite high especially in the later stages of its life.

### Conclusion

Wasting assets are very commonly encountered in everyday life. In fact most of the assets we can think of, a natural resource like petroleum, or a car or even a life insurance policy most of the assets depreciate in value with time and usage. It is up to the analyst to understand the asset and its usage to determine the method to decrease the value of the asset over time.

### Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to what is wasting asset and it’s a definition. Here we discuss types of wasting assets along with advantages and disadvantages. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –