Financial Risk

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DEFINITION of 'Financial Risk'

The possibility that shareholders will lose money when they invest in a company that has debt, if the company's cash flow proves inadequate to meet its financial obligations. When a company uses debt financing, its creditors will be repaid before its shareholders if the company becomes insolvent.


Financial risk also refers to the possibility of a corporation or government defaulting on its bonds, which would cause those bondholders to lose money.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Financial Risk'

Investors can use a number of financial risk ratios to assess an investment's prospects. For example, the debt-to-capital ratio measures the proportion of debt used, given the total capital structure of the company. A high proportion of debt indicates a risky investment. Another ratio, the capital expenditure ratio, divides cash flow from operations by capital expenditures to see how much money a company will have left to keep the business running after it services its debt.



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