Debt Ratio

Definition of 'Debt Ratio'


A financial ratio that measures the extent of a company’s or consumer’s leverage. The debt ratio is defined as the ratio of total debt to total assets, expressed in percentage, and can be interpreted as the proportion of a company’s assets that are financed by debt.



The higher this ratio, the more leveraged the company and the greater its financial risk. Debt ratios vary widely across industries, with capital-intensive businesses such as utilities and pipelines having much higher debt ratios than other industries like technology. In the consumer lending and mortgage businesses, debt ratio is defined as the ratio of total debt service obligations to gross annual income.

Investopedia explains 'Debt Ratio'


A company with total assets of $100 million and total debt of $30 million has a debt ratio of 30%. Is this company in a better financial situation than one with a debt ratio of 40%? It depends on the industry in which the companies operate. A debt ratio of 30% may be too high for a company that operates in a sector where cash flows are volatile and its peers have little debt, since this debt level may reduce its financial flexibility and competitive advantage. Conversely, a debt level of 40% may be easily manageable for a company in a sector such as utilities, where cash flows are stable and higher debt ratios are the norm.

A debt ratio of greater than 1 indicates that a company has more debt than assets. Meanwhile, a debt ratio of less than 1 indicates that a company has more assets than debt. Used in conjunction with other measures of financial health, the debt ratio can help investors determine a company's risk level.

In the consumer lending and mortgages 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 gross debt ratio is defined as the ratio of monthly housing costs (including mortgage payments, home insurance and property costs) to monthly income, while the total debt service ratio is the ratio of monthly housing costs plus other debt such as car payments and credit card borrowings to monthly income. Acceptable levels of the total debt service ratio, in percentage terms, range from the mid-30s to the low-40s.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Ascending Triangle

    A bullish chart pattern used in technical analysis that is easily recognizable by the distinct shape created by two trendlines. In an ascending triangle, one trendline is drawn horizontally at a level that has historically prevented the price from heading higher, while the second trendline connects a series of increasing troughs.
  2. National Best Bid and Offer - NBBO

    A term applying to the SEC requirement that brokers must guarantee customers the best available ask price when they buy securities and the best available bid price when they sell securities.
  3. Maintenance Margin

    The minimum amount of equity that must be maintained in a margin account. In the context of the NYSE and FINRA, after an investor has bought securities on margin, the minimum required level of margin is 25% of the total market value of the securities in the margin account.
  4. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
  5. Degree Of Financial Leverage - DFL

    A ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. Degree of Financial Leverage (DFL) measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
  6. Jeff Bezos

    Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for founding online retail giant Amazon.com.
Trading Center