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Cost of Debt


The cost of debt is the effective interest rate a company pays on its debts. It’s calculated by dividing the total debt interest expense by total debt. These debts may include bonds, loans, or other lines of credit used for business operations.


The phonetics for “Cost of Debt” is: kɔst ʌv dɛt

Key Takeaways

Sure, here it is:

  1. Definition: The Cost of Debt is the return that a company provides to its debtholders and creditors. It’s effectively the interest rate a company pays on its debt.
  2. Calculation: It is calculated by dividing the total interest expense by the total debt. This is also mostly done on an after-tax basis because interest expense is tax-deductible.
  3. Implication: A lower cost of debt implies a company has strong creditworthiness and financial health. It is an essential part of the company’s capital structure and helps in making decisions regarding financing through debt or equity.


The Cost of Debt is a crucial financial metric in business as it represents the total amount it costs a company to acquire and service debt, typically expressed as an annual percentage rate. This essential term influences financial decisions and strategic planning. By understanding the cost of debt, a company can assess the viability and profitability of further borrowing. It serves as a baseline for determining the optimal capital structure and making investment decisions; a higher cost of debt means a higher risk, suggesting that the company might benefit from reducing debt or reconsidering its financial strategies. Furthermore, it’s noteworthy that the cost of debt is tax-deductible, making it a more affordable source of finance compared to equity. Therefore, the cost of debt is a key indicator of the company’s financial health and efficiency at managing its debt.


The purpose of the Cost of Debt is primarily to evaluate a company’s financial health, and to determine the rate of return that would satisfy an investor, lender, or bondholder’s risk profile. It serves as an essential factor in determining the company’s capital structure. The cost of debt is the effective interest rate a company pays on its debts. It’s important for a company to know the cost of its debt in order to make good financial decisions.Furthermore, the Cost of Debt is used in the Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) calculation, which is employed to determine the cost of capital for a company. This is significant in making investment decisions as the cost of debt reflects the corporate and financial risk of the company. A lower cost of debt indicates the company is using leverage efficiently and effectively, while a higher cost implies higher risk and may discourage potential investors. Therefore, understanding the Cost of Debt is crucial for both the company and investors to make strategic decisions.


1. Corporate Bonds: If a company ABC Inc. issues a corporate bond with a face value of $10,000 that pays an annual interest of 5%. The company’s cost of debt would be 5%. This percentage is the amount ABC Inc. has to pay annually to the bondholders for the capital it borrowed.2. Bank Loans: Let’s say a small business secures a commercial loan of $50,000 from a bank at an interest rate of 7%. This interest rate on the loan is the cost of debt for this business. It’s the price the business must pay to use the bank’s money to finance its operations or expansion. 3. Mortgage Loans for Real Estate: If a real estate firm procures a commercial mortgage loan of $500,000 at an interest rate of 4.5% from a lending institution to develop a property. In this scenario, the cost of debt for the real estate firm is 4.5%. This is the cost that the firm has to bear for utilizing the lender’s money to finance its property development.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Cost of Debt?

Cost of Debt refers to the effective interest rate a company pays on its debts. It’s essentially the rate a company would pay if it takes on new debt.

How is the Cost of Debt calculated?

Generally, the formula used for calculating the cost of debt (Rd) is including tax shield – by multiplying the company’s marginal tax rate by the debt interest rate (considering it as deductible from corporate income tax). The formula is: Rd = interest expense / Total Debt * (1 – Tax Rate).

Why is the Cost of Debt important?

The cost of debt is a pivotal factor that companies must consider when deciding upon funding options. A lower cost of debt would lead to lower capital costs, hence, being more attractive to investors.

Is a higher or lower Cost of Debt better?

Generally, a lower Cost of Debt is preferable, as it means that the company is taking on debt at a lower interest rate, reducing its financial risk and the cost of financing activities.

Can the Cost of Debt change over time?

Yes, the Cost of Debt can change as interest rates fluctuate, the company’s credit rating changes, or the company’s tax situation shifts.

How does the Cost of Debt impact financial decisions?

The cost of debt plays a crucial role in making strategic decisions, including whether to fund projects through equity or debt. A business might choose debt if it’s cheaper once the tax benefit is considered.

What is tax shield in the context of Cost of Debt?

A tax shield refers to the reduction in income taxes that results from taking an allowable deduction such as mortgage interest, medical expenses, charitable contributions, and depreciation from taxable income. In the context of the cost of debt, the interest paid on the debt can be deducted from the income, providing a ‘shield’ against paying taxes on that portion of the income.

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