Cost of Debt Definition, Formula Calculate Cost of Debt for WACC

balance sheet

A company’s capital structure manages how a company finances its overall operations and growth through different sources. Simply put, the cost of debt is the after-tax rate a company would pay today for its long-term debt.


An example would be a straight bond that makes regular interest payments and pays back the principal at maturity. A cost of debt is described as the minimum rate of return a hold of debt needs to accept for a liability. It’s also described as the effective interest rate that a company pays on its liabilities. To calculate the after-tax cost of debt, we multiply the cost of debt by the difference of 1 minus the effective tax rate. We use the company’s state and federal rates combined to determine the effective tax rate, not the marginal tax rate, which includes many tax offsets like foreign tax rate deductions.

Simple cost of debt

He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

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In most cases, reducing the is an ongoing process rather than an immediate emergency. Many home equity lines of credit have very low minimum payments, often requiring that you pay only interest plus a nominal amount of principal each month. However, the loan will have to be paid back in full within 15 years, and often much sooner.

Pretax Cost of Debt

She writes about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Let’s say you want to take out a loan that will allow you to write off $2,000 in interest for the year. If the cost of debt is less than that $2,000, the loan is a smart idea.

  • This means that businesses tend to load up on debt when they need additional funding, rather than selling shares of their preferred or common stock.
  • For example, the Rule of 78s allows lenders to charge more interest in the early stages of a loan.
  • When a firm borrows money, the interest it pays is offset to some extent by the tax savings that occur because of this deductible expense.
  • Cost of capital is a calculation of the minimum return a company would need to justify a capital budgeting project, such as building a new factory.
  • This would not only lower your monthly payment but save you money over time.

The debt cost is an important financial concept for valuations, merger activity, acquisitions activity, and any event that requires the raising of debt. Businesses factor the after-tax cost of debt into the company’s cost of capital calculation. The after-tax cost of debt financing varies according to a company’s marginal tax rate.

Examples of the Cost of Debt Formula

Similar past debt buildups have often ended in widespread financial crises in these economies. This paper examines the factors that are likely to determine the outcome of the most recent debt wave, and considers policy options to help reduce the likelihood that it ends again in widespread crises. First, the rapid increase in debt has made emerging and developing economies more vulnerable to shifts in market sentiment, notwithstanding historically low global interest rates. Second, policy options are available to lower the likelihood of financial crises, and to help manage the adverse impacts of crises when they do occur.


Avoiding financing can stall business growth and cause you to miss out on valuable opportunities for growth and expansion. Yet, if you overextend your business financially and its cost of debt grows too high, that can create problems of its own. Therefore, it is important to take the time to do some careful research before you seek financing and find the right balance that works for you. The right business loan or line of credit can come with many benefits. Business financing might enhance your cash flow, provide you with working capital, or give your company the financial flexibility it needs to expand. But you don’t have to be a hedge fund manager or bank to calculate your company’s cost of debt.

Breakpoint of marginal cost of capital

There are a couple of scenarios to consider when looking at the Cost of Debt structure and how different companies finance their growth. That risk of default drives higher interest rates on their bond offerings to encourage investment. The different credit ratings also reflect the prevailing interest rates available in the market.

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