What Is a Good Debt Ratio and What’s a Bad One?

Leverage ratios represent the extent to which a business is utilizing borrowed money. Having high leverage in a firm’s capital structure can be risky, but it also provides benefits. Once computed, the company’s total debt is divided by its total assets. You can use the equity and debt aspects to depict the financial position of a company.

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  • If both companies have $1.5 million in shareholder equity, then they both have a D/E ratio of 1.
  • Higher D/E ratios can also tend to predominate in other capital-intensive sectors heavily reliant on debt financing, such as airlines and industrials.
  • A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.5 would indicate that the company in question has $1.50 of debt for every $1 of equity.
  • Equity ratio is equal to 26.41% (equity of 4,120 divided by assets of 15,600).

It is a substantial consideration for investors and lenders, as they prefer a low debt ratio as they feel that their interests are protected when the business is not performing well. Both ratios, however, encompass all of a business’s assets, including tangible assets such as equipment and inventory and intangible assets such as accounts receivables. Because the total debt to assets ratio includes more of a company’s liabilities, this number is almost always higher than a company’s long-term debt to assets ratio. The debt ratio is a financial leverage ratio that measures the portion of company resources (pertaining to assets) that is funded by debt (pertaining to liabilities). Investors and creditors interest in this ratio very much as it will show the company financial leverage.

Debt Ratio Formula and Calculation

Below are additional relevant CFI resources to help you advance your career. A negative scenario for this type of company could be when its high fixed costs are not covered by earnings because the market demand for the product decreases. An example of a capital-intensive business is an automobile manufacturing company. The use of leverage is beneficial during times when the firm is earning profits, as they become amplified.

If a company has a Debt Ratio lower than 0.50 shows the company is stable and has a potential for longevity. For every industry, the benchmark of Debt ratio may vary, but the 0.50 Debt ratio of a company can be reasonable. This shows that the company has two times the assets of its liabilities. Or we can say the company’s liabilities are 50 % of its total assets.

  • Of all the leverage ratios used by the analyst community to understand the financial position of a company, debt to assets tends to be one of the less common ones.
  • Companies with a debt ratio of less than 0.50 are stable and have the potential for longevity.
  • A high debt-equity ratio can be good because it shows that a firm can easily service its debt obligations (through cash flow) and is using the leverage to increase equity returns.
  • Or we can say the company’s liabilities are 50 % of its total assets.

The debt-to-equity ratio, for example, is closely related to and more common than the debt ratio, instead, using total liabilities as the numerator. Last, businesses in the same industry can be contrasted using their debt ratios. It offers a comparison point to determine whether a company’s debt levels are higher or lower than those of its competitors. As is the story with most financial ratios, you can take the calculation and compare it over time, against competitors, or against benchmarks to truly extract the most valuable information from the ratio. A company that has a debt ratio of more than 50% is known as a “leveraged” company.


If XYZ’s industry average is 40%, then XYZ is less leveraged than most of its peers, and creditors will likely offer XYZ lower interest rates, since the company is likely to pay off its debt. If a company has a Debt Ratio greater than 0.50, then the company is called a Leveraged Company. If the company has a lower debt ratio, then the company is called a Conservative company. Assets and Liabilities are the two most important terms in any company’s balance sheet. Investors can interpret whether the company has enough assets to pay off its liabilities by looking at these two items. Total liabilities are the total debt and financial obligations payable by the company to organizations or individuals at any defined period.

Example of the Debt Ratio

While other liabilities such as accounts payable and long-term leases can be negotiated to some extent, there is very little “wiggle room” with debt covenants. Therefore, comparing a company’s debt to its total assets is akin to comparing the company’s debt balance to its funding sources, i.e. liabilities and equity. The fundamental accounting equation states that at all times, a company’s assets must equal the sum of its liabilities and equity.

How do I calculate a company’s Debt Ratio?

The debt ratio checks whether a company is dependent on liabilities or equity for running its business. This debt ratio is crucial for all stakeholders and holds relevance in finding out the current debt/asset situation of an organization. From this, we can infer you should be vigilant while comparing debt ratios and that the same should be done for companies in the same industry and industry benchmarks. The total liabilities include short-term and long-term debts, along with fixed payments obligations.

Creating a debt schedule helps split out liabilities by specific pieces. In the consumer lending and mortgage business, two common debt ratios used to assess a borrower’s ability to repay a loan or mortgage are the gross debt service ratio and the total debt service ratio. The debt ratio aids in determining a company’s capacity to service its long-term debt commitments. As discussed earlier, a lower debt ratio signifies that the business is more financially solid and lowers the chance of insolvency. With this information, investors can leverage historical data to make more informed investment decisions on where they think the company’s financial health may go. So if a company has total assets of $100 million and total debt of $30 million, its debt ratio is 0.3 or 30%.

In this case, any losses will be compounded down and the company may not be able to service its debt. Below are some examples of how to calculate break things that are and are not considered debt. Debt ratios can vary widely depending on the industry of the company in question.

The formula for the debt ratio is dividing the total debt of the company by the total assets/stocks/equity held by the company/shareholders. Some sources consider the debt ratio to be total liabilities divided by total assets. This reflects a certain ambiguity between the terms debt and liabilities that depends on the circumstance.

A gearing ratio used to compare a company’s obligations to its shareholder equity is called debt-to-equity. With the debt-to-equity ratio, lenders and creditors can determine whether or not they can trust small businesses in relation to their loan applications. They’ll also know if these small companies make regular instalment payments. When looking at this ratio, it is important to keep in mind capital expenditures and cash flows.