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Financial Leverage Ratio Calculator

Created by Wei Bin Loo
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Jack Bowater
Based on research by
Yannick Coulon Rational Investing with Ratios; Palgrave Pivot Cham; 2020
Last updated: May 13, 2024


We have prepared this financial leverage ratio calculator for you to quickly estimate the financial leverage ratio. It tells you how much of the company's assets are financed using debt instead of equity. This ratio indicates the amount of leverage risk contained within an entity.

The following article will help you understand what financial leverage is and how to calculate it using the financial leverage formula. We will also demonstrate some practical examples to help you understand the concept.

What is the financial leverage ratio? Financial leverage meaning

Financial leverage is one of the most commonly used leverage ratios in the financial industry. It tells you the proportion of a company's assets being financed through liabilities instead of equity. It also calculates the risk of a company.

More specifically, calculating the financial leverage allows you to understand how likely or capable the company is in paying back its obligations. The higher the financial leverage, the more obligations it has to pay back. Hence, the risk of the company not meeting its obligation is also higher. For example, a company might be comfortable in a high financial leverage situation when it is very profitable. Still, it can be disastrous if the performance of the company starts to decline in the future.

Now that you understand the financial leverage definition, let's see how we can calculate the financial leverage ratio.

How to calculate financial leverage? Financial leverage formula

After understanding the financial leverage definition, let's look at its calculation. Let's take Company Alpha with the below information as an example:

  • Name: Company Alpha
  • Current assets: $500,000
  • Non-current assets: $3,000,000
  • Total equity: $1,500,000

Calculating financial leverage requires 3 steps:

  1. Calculate total assets

    The first step is to calculate the total assets using the formula below:

    total assets = current assets + non-current assets

    In this example, the Company's Alpha's total assets is $500,000 + $3,000,000 = $3,500,000.

  2. Determine total equity

    You can find the total equity from most companies' balance sheets. For Company Alpha, its total equity is $1,500,000.

  3. Calculate financial leverage

    The final step is to calculate the financial leverage itself. We can do this using the financial leverage ratio formula below:

    financial leverage = total assets / total equity

    Company Alpha's financial leverage equals $3,500,000 / $1,500,000 = 2.33x.

Of course, our financial leverage ratio calculator is a much easier way to obtain the same results in no time.

How to interpret financial leverage?

In general, the higher the financial leverage, the more risky the company is. This is because high financial leverage increases the risk of a company defaulting.

Having high financial leverage can have its benefits. The most notable benefit is being able to amplify the return on investment (ROI) of a business or project. However, having high financial leverage will also lower the credit rating of the company due to its high-risk profile. This will increase the company's cost of equity and cost of debt, making it more expensive to acquire funding.

Lastly, it is essential to note that financial leverage is only valid when compared against its peers within the same industry. This is mainly because different industries often exhibit different dynamics. Keep it in mind while using the financial leverage ratio calculator.

FAQ

What is a good financial leverage?

Different industries require different financial leverage, so it is impossible to tell if a financial leverage figure is good or bad without comparing it with its peers.

For example, the telecommunication industries tend to have high financial leverage, while the insurance industry is prohibited from doing so. You can calculate the average financial leverage and compare it to similar companies.

Can financial leverage be negative?

Since the financial leverage ratio formula is equal to total assets divided by total liabilities, financial leverage can never be negative. This is because a company's total assets can't be negative, as this would mean that the company is bankrupt.

What is total equity?

Total equity is defined as the difference between total assets and total liabilities. It is the value that the shareholders will claim back if the company repays all of its liabilities with all of its assets.

What is the difference between current asset and non-current asset?

Current assets are assets expected to be used in business operations in less than a year, whereas non-current assets are assets that are a company's long-term investments for which value is expected to be realized in more than a year.

Wei Bin Loo
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