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Leverage in finance refers to the strategy of using borrowed money to increase potential return on investment. It can refer to an individual, business or investment fund using debt to finance assets. High leverage can lead to higher profits if the investment is successful, but can also result in significant losses if the investment performs poorly.


The phonetic spelling of “Leverage” is: /ˈlɛvərɪdʒ/

Key Takeaways

Sure, Here are 3 main takeaways about Leverage.“`html

  1. Leverage is a strategy in finance that refers to the use of borrowed funds in a business’ decision-making process, with the expectation that the profits made will be greater than the interest payable.
  2. While leverage can amplify the potential returns on investments, it should be used cautiously as it can also magnify losses. A high degree of leverage can lead to large losses if the investment does not pan out as expected.
  3. In the context of corporate finance, leverage often pertains to the amount of debt a company uses to finance its operations and growth. Companies with a significant amount of debt are said to be highly leveraged.



Leverage is a fundamental concept in business and finance that describes the use of borrowed funds or debt to finance the purchase of a company’s assets or investments, with the aim of enhancing potential returns. It’s incredibly important as it allows organizations to amplify their operations, achieve larger profits, and significantly expand despite limited initial capital. However, though high leverage can raise the potential for higher returns, it also increases the risk of losses if an investment does not yield the expected return, thereby necessitating judicious use and continuous monitoring. Understanding and appropriately utilizing leverage is crucial for business growth, operational expansion, and strategic investment management.


Leverage, in a financial context, is a strategy that companies use to increase their assets, cash flow, and return on investment through borrowing or acquiring other business entities. The primary purpose of leverage is to enable a company to invest in growth, expand its operations, and ultimately increase its profits. This practice is based on the principle that, while borrowing money comes with the obligation to pay interest, the business will earn more from the use of this capital, thereby ensuring a net profit.Additionally, leverage can also be used to enhance the potential returns from an investment. It’s a way for a company or an investor to commit less personal capital to an investment while using borrowed funds to cover the majority of the investment’s cost, thus increasing the potential profit. However, it’s essential to note that while leverage can potentially amplify gains, it can also magnify losses. Therefore, it is a tool that should be used strategically and with an awareness of the risks involved.


1. Real Estate Investment: One common example is in real estate, where individuals often leverage their investments by financing portions of the purchase price with a mortgage. The buyer only needs to provide a certain percentage of the house price (a down payment), while the lending institution will provide the rest. Such a practice can dramatically increase the investor’s return if the value of the property increases. However, if the value decreases, the risk is also higher since the debt level remains the same.2. Corporate Acquisitions: Many corporate acquisitions are made through leverage. A company can finance the acquisition of another company by taking on debt (commonly referred to as a leveraged buyout). This allows the acquiring company to make a large purchase with a relatively small amount of capital, but increases financial risk due to the higher debt level.3. Stock Investment: An investor might borrow money to invest in stock, hoping that the stock will increase in value and allow them to pay back the loan and keep the profit. This is another form of leverage commonly used in finance. If the stock price rises, the investor can sell the stock at a profit after repaying the loan. However, if the stock price falls, the investor would still need to repay the loan, creating a potentially significant financial risk.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is leverage in finance and business?

Leverage, in finance and business, refers to the strategy of using borrowed money, specifically, the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital, to increase the potential return on an investment.

How does leverage work?

Leverage involves using borrowed capital as a funding source to expand a firm’s asset base and increase returns on investments. For example, if a business invests $100 of its own money and $900 of borrowed money in a project, it has applied leverage of 9:1 ($900:$100).

What are the types of leverage?

There are primarily two types of leverage: financial leverage and operating leverage. Financial leverage results from the use of borrowed capital to invest with the intent to earn a greater rate of return than the cost of interest. Operating leverage results from a company’s cost structure, in that it has more fixed costs than variable costs.

Is leverage good or bad?

Leverage can work both ways. It can boost returns for businesses when the companies invested in are doing good, but it can also magnify losses when things are not going well. Investors or businesses must manage leverage wisely and not take on more debt than they can handle.

What happens if a business has high financial leverage?

High financial leverage means that a business has taken on a large amount of debt. In the short-term, this might be effective for growth and expansion, but it also means that the business has significant debt repayments. If the business or investments do not produce the expected returns, the high leverage could lead to major losses.

What is the leverage ratio?

The leverage ratio is a financial measurement that compares a company’s equity (i.e., its value owned by investors) to borrowed funds (i.e., its debts). A high leverage ratio indicates greater reliance on debt, hence greater risk, while a low leverage ratio may hint at less risk because the company owes less money relative to its equity.

What does it mean to ‘leverage’ in the context of investment?

In the context of investment, to leverage means to invest with borrowed money. The idea behind leveraging in investments is to increase potential return. However, if not managed wisely, it can also lead to substantial losses.

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