Debt-To-Total-Assets Ratio Definition, Calculation, Example

Keep reading to learn more about what these ratios mean and how they’re used by corporations. This understanding is crucial for investors and analysts to ascertain a company’s financing strategy. In a low-interest-rate environment, borrowing can be relatively cheap, prompting companies to take on more debt to finance expansion or other corporate initiatives. Different industries have varying levels of capital requirements, operational risks, and profitability margins. It offers insights into the company’s long-term solvency and its ability to meet its long-term obligations. Debt ratios can vary widely depending on the industry of the company in question.

  • Newer businesses or startups might rely heavily on debt financing to kick-start operations, leading to higher debt ratios.
  • In the above-noted example, 57.9% of the company’s assets are financed by funded debt.
  • A higher ratio might indicate a company has been aggressive in financing growth with debt, which could result in volatile earnings.
  • A company with a high degree of leverage may thus find it more difficult to stay afloat during a recession than one with low leverage.
  • Noah believes everyone can benefit from an analytical mindset in growing digital world.

A well-run company makes productive investments that generate good earnings and cash flow returns. A portion of these returns is typically plowed back into investment into new assets. Then the cycle of generating good earnings and cash flow returns on assets begins again. A ratio that is greater than 1 or a debt-to-total-assets ratio of more than 100% means that the company’s liabilities are greater than its assets. A ratio that is less than 1 or a debt-to-total-assets ratio of less than 100% means that the company has greater assets than liabilities. A ratio that equates to 1 or a 100% debt-to-total-assets ratio means that the company’s liabilities are equally the same as with its assets.

Ignores Differences in Interest Rates

However, at times the debt includes only the long-term assets, while at times the debt includes the entire set of liabilities including short-term debt and other liabilities. Such variations in calculations are quite common and the inclusions are mentioned in the fine print or the notes of the financial statements so that the stakeholders are aware of the calculation methodology. Both ratios, however, encompass all of a business’s assets, including tangible assets such as equipment and inventory and intangible assets such as copyrights and owned brands.

  • The same principal amount is more expensive to pay off at a 10% interest rate than it is at 5%.
  • Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others.
  • If there is a significant increase in total liabilities, then this will affect the debt-to-total asset ratio positively.
  • Debt ratios can vary widely depending on the industry of the company in question.
  • Investors use the ratio to evaluate whether the company has enough funds to meet its current debt obligations and to assess whether the company can pay a return on its investment.

Likewise, too low of a debt ratio could mean that the company in question is underinvesting in assets and stunting their own growth, which could mean that equity shares will be slow to appreciate in value, if at all. Debt can be a financial benefit when it’s managed properly and when it serves to help you build wealth. While your personal financial situation will ultimately dictate the amount of debt that’s reasonable, the 28/36 rule provides a useful starting point to calculate a reasonable debt load. Consider consulting a financial professional to help you determine how debt can play a role in your finances. The interest rates that you’re paying on your debt are another important factor in determining whether a debt is reasonable.

Total Debt Step by Step Example

The point is, debt is a special type of liability for which the time value of money plays a critical role, and as a consequence, interest payments are required on the principal amount. Founded in 1993, The Motley Fool is a financial services company dedicated to making the world smarter, happier, and richer. The Motley Fool reaches millions of people every month through our premium investing solutions, free guidance and market analysis on, top-rated podcasts, and non-profit The Motley Fool Foundation. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Total assets may include both current and non-current assets, or certain assets only depending on the discretion of the analyst.

Debt Ratio FAQs

It indicates how much leverage a company uses, and higher leverage indicates more risk to investors for two reasons. First, debt constitutes payments of interest that cannot be used to pay out dividends. The debt-to-total-assets ratio is a very important measure that can indicate financial stability and solvency. This ratio shows the proportion of company assets that are financed by creditors through loans, mortgages, and other forms of debt. The total-debt-to-total-asset ratio is calculated by dividing a company’s total debts by its total assets.

Advantages of Debt Ratio

A lower debt ratio often signifies robust equity, indicating resilience to economic challenges. Conversely, a higher ratio may suggest increased financial risk and potential difficulty in meeting obligations. The debt ratio defines the relationship between a company’s debts and assets, and holds significant relevance in financial analysis. Companies with strong operating incomes might comfortably manage higher debt loads, while those with weaker incomes might struggle even with lower debt ratios. Newer businesses or startups might rely heavily on debt financing to kick-start operations, leading to higher debt ratios. For instance, capital-intensive industries such as utilities or manufacturing might naturally have higher debt ratios due to significant infrastructure and machinery investments.

There can be instances in which a company finances new capital, knowing the impacts it will have on its long-term debt ratio, but hopes that an eventual profit will bring the ratio back down in the long term. If a company has a negative debt ratio, this would mean that the company has negative shareholder equity. In most cases, this is considered a very risky sign, indicating that the company may be at risk of bankruptcy. 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.

Examples of the Debt Ratio

The debt-to-equity ratio, often used in conjunction with the debt ratio, compares a company’s total debt to its total equity. As with all financial metrics, a “good ratio” is dependent upon many factors, including the nature of the industry, the company’s lifecycle stage, and management preference (among others). TDS and GDS are similar ratios, but the difference is that GDS does not factor any non-housing payments—such as credit card debts or car loans—into the equation. The housing factor in the TDS calculation includes everything paid for the home, from mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and homeowners insurance to association dues and utilities. The non-housing factor includes everything else, from auto loans, student loans, and credit card payments to child support and alimony. It also discusses key concepts such as debt vs liabilities, the importance of interest, the time value of money, and financial ratios involving debt.

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