What is the Difference Between Debt and Equity Financing?

Kristie Lorette

The primary difference between debt and equity financing is the type of instrument the company issues in order to raise the capital it needs. With equity financing, a company raises capital by issuing stock. In debt financing, the company issues debt instruments, such as bonds, to raise money.

While bond prices fluctuate when someone buys a bond, they are guaranteed the interest payments and the face value of the bond when the bond matures.
While bond prices fluctuate when someone buys a bond, they are guaranteed the interest payments and the face value of the bond when the bond matures.

Both debt and equity financing are the means that a company or business may use to raise the money it requires for expenses, a special project or other business expense. Both debt and equity financing raises cash for the business, but by different means. The two different instruments also tend to attract different investors.

When a company issues equity financing, then the individual or company buying the stock becomes part owner of the business. Under these circumstances, the stockholder owns equity or a piece of ownership in the business. The more stocks the person holds, the higher their ownership interest in the company. An individual that invests in stocks tends to desire ownership interest in a company and wants to choose when and if they relinquish ownership.

When a debt instrument is used to raise cash, then the company issuing the debt is also required to pay interest on the debt instrument to the holder of the bond. The challenge with debt financing is that the interest rate on the instrument has to be high enough to entice buyers to buy. In addition, the riskier the need for the cash is, the higher the interest rate on the debt instrument must be in order to entice the number of investors the company needs to raise the capital it requires.

Someone who invests in bonds is typically more of a conservative investor than a stock investor. A bond investor is also in it for the length of the bond or until the bond matures. This means that the buyer of the bond knows when they will receive the return on their investment. Bond returns are also guaranteed, while neither of these are the case when someone invests in stocks.

Stock holders may not receive a return on the investment because stock prices fluctuate. While bond prices fluctuate when someone buys a bond, they are guaranteed the interest payments and the face value of the bond when the bond matures. The level of risk is another difference between debt and equity financing — debt financing is less risky to investors than equity financing.

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Discussion Comments


When it comes to debt financing vs equity financing, I like to invest in equities. I see and understand the importance of debt financing, but enjoy the volatility and higher returns I receive on stocks.

There is always risk when it comes to investing in equities, but there are also ways to manage that risk so you don't lose everything.

Not all of my investments are in stocks, and I keep a portion of my portfolio in bonds for stability. I just don't watch them nearly as closely or have as much of my money invested in them.

Each investor needs to find the platform that is most comfortable and profitable for them.


My first exposure to debt financing was when our high school was trying to raise funds by selling bonds.

Not only did many local people want to see this happen, but the interest rate was also attractive enough to entice buyers.

You knew up front how long it would be before the bonds matured, and you also knew what your rate of return would be. I see this as a winning situation for everyone involved.

The school is able to raise money for something that is necessary and benefits the local community. The investors are able to receive a specific rate of return on the money they invested.

It is also something investors can personally see the progress of. You have the chance to see first hand where your money is being invested and how it is being used.


When I was first introduced to the stock market, I was pretty excited and couldn't understand why people would settle for such a low rate of return on something like debt financing.

Now when I read an article that talks about debt vs equity financing, I can definitely see both sides.

I made and lost money trading stocks and understand how more risk can possibly lead to a higher return. I also know that you have a much greater chance of not making any money and even losing money.

I have found that investing in a combination of both debt and equity financing is the best way for me. I need the stability of debt financing, but also enjoy the benefits of equity financing. The key for me, is to have a good balance of them.


When it comes to making a choice between investing in debt or equity financing, I feel more comfortable with debt financing.

I am not much of a risk taker, and like knowing I have a guaranteed rate of return on my investment. I don't mind being in something for the long term until a bond matures, knowing I can count on a specific amount of interest.

I have friends who have made some good money investing in stocks, but this usually carries more risk than I feel comfortable taking.

On the other hand, they enjoy the volatility of equities and don't mind taking more risk, for a chance at at higher return.


it provides a clear picture of the topic and also represents a sole source of information. it can be a source for gaining knowledge.

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