In value investing, you look for a quality, easy-to-understand business with good management, value it, and only buy with a sufficient margin of safety. Then you wait for the stock price to revert to its intrinsic value. The higher the margin of safety, the less risk in the investment. A stock with a 50% margin of safety will theoretically fall less than a stock with a slim margin of safety or none at all.

Margin of safety is the difference between a stock’s intrinsic value and its market price. The concept is a cornerstone of value investing, an investing philosophy that focuses on picking stocks that the market has significantly underpriced. The growth at a reasonable price investment method applies a more balanced investment approach. The investor picks companies with positive growth trends and those trading below intrinsic fair value.

They invest in companies with a high margin of safety and steer clear of those that don’t. Margin of safety calculator helps you determine the number of sales that surpass a business’ breakeven point. The breakeven point (also known as breakeven sales) is the point where total costs (expenses) and total sales (revenue) are equal or “even”. For ductile materials (e.g. most metals), it is often required that the factor of safety be checked against both yield and ultimate strengths.

After the machine was purchased, the company achieved a sales revenue of $4.2M, with a breakeven point of $3.95M, giving a margin of safety of 5.8%. Use the margin of safety formula to calculate your margin of safety in units sold. The margin of safety formula can be applied to different company departments or even to individual products or services.

Although they are decreasing their operating leverage, the decreased risk of insolvency more than makes up for it. An investor may apply the carrying value of a bond to determine the company’s share price with its current market price and use the variance as a basis for buying securities. It means that there is remarkable upward potential for the stock prices.

Investors working with a margin of safety will utilize factors such as company management, market performance, governance, earnings, and assets to determine the stock’s intrinsic value. The actual market price is then used as a comparison point to calculate the margin safety. Whether in investing or accounting, the terms involving margin of safety are, in essence, almost the same. To put it simply, it’s the difference between the real-world value of a variable asset—whether product sales or market value of the security—and the point in which those values are considered safe. Different type of companies and investors have their own standards.


The failure to include the demand for individual products in the company’s mixture of products may be misleading. Providing misleading or inaccurate managerial accounting information can lead to a company becoming unprofitable. Note that the denominator can also be swapped with the average selling price per unit if the desired result is the margin of safety in terms of the number of units sold. But that may not be sufficient, particularly for value investors or those with a low risk tolerance. That means that either the stock’s price must fall to $75 or its intrinsic value would need to increase to $120 before you’d be willing to invest. A high margin of safety is often preferred since it indicates optimum performance and the ability of a business to cushion against market volatility.

The margin of safety is the difference between the current or estimated sales and the breakeven point. And it provides examples of how to use the margin of safety calculator to quickly determine how much decrease in sales a company can accommodate before it becomes unprofitable. Our discussion of CVP analysis has focused on the sales necessary to break even or to reach a desired profit, but two other concepts are useful regarding our break-even sales.

Margin of Safety summary

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Margin of Safety Formula in Accounting

In addition, it’s notoriously difficult to predict a company’s earnings or revenue. Generally speaking, the higher your margin of safety, the safer your company. The value represented by your margin of safety is your buffer against becoming unprofitable. In the real world, the minimum margin of safety percentage to aim for generally depends on your cost structure.

The investor needs to have at least a 10% margin of safety before trading with the GARP approach. The results projected through forecasting may often be higher than the current results. The margin of safety will have little value regarding production and sales since the company already knows whether or not it is generating profits. However, it has value in the decision-making process, where it is being used as a tool for averting risk. A margin of safety (or safety margin) is the difference between the intrinsic value of a stock and its market price.

Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor by Seth Klarman

It signals to the management the risk of loss that may happen as the business is subjected to changes in sales, especially when a significant amount of sales are at risk of decline or unprofitability. The margin of safety principle was popularized by famed British-born American investor Benjamin Graham (known as the father of value investing) and his followers, most notably Warren Buffett. Investors utilize both qualitative and quantitative factors, including firm management, governance, industry performance, assets and earnings, to determine a security’s intrinsic value. The market price is then used as the point of comparison to calculate the margin of safety. Companies have many types of fixed costs including salaries, insurance, and depreciation.

What Is Margin of Safety?

These costs are present regardless of our production or sales levels. This makes fixed costs riskier than variable costs, which only occur if we produce and sell items or services. As we sell items, we have learned that the contribution margin first goes to meeting fixed costs and then to profits. Here is an example of how changes in fixed costs affects profitability.


Investors often look for companies with a low price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E ratio, compared with similar companies to identify undervalued stocks. With earnings per share (EPS) of $11.02, that means Netflix’s stock price is about $200 per share, and its intrinsic value is about $265. This means that his sales could fall $25,000 and he will still have enough revenues to pay for all his expenses and won’t incur a loss for the period.

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