Cost of Equity vs Cost of Capital: Difference and Comparison

Investments are no joke, and one must not take them lightly. The slightest shift in the market can cause the stock price to go up or down, determining your gains or losses from the investments you made.

A few terms that decide whether or not one should invest in an asset are Cost of Equity and Cost of Capital.

Key Takeaways

  1. The cost of equity refers to the return on investment that shareholders require in exchange for owning stock in a company. In contrast, the cost of capital encompasses all the funding sources a company uses.
  2. The cost of equity is calculated based on the risk and growth potential of the company, while the cost of capital takes into account both the cost of debt and equity financing.
  3. Understanding the cost of equity and cost of capital is essential for evaluating a company’s financial performance and investment potential and making informed decisions about financing and investing.

Cost of Equity vs Cost of Capital

Cost of equity refers to the cost of attracting and retaining equity investors and is often calculated using the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). It considers the risk associated with an investment and the return an equity investor expects to receive. The cost of capital represents the minimum return a company must earn on its investments to satisfy its shareholders and lenders. The cost of capital combines debt and equity and is a crucial component in financial decision-making.

Cost of Equity vs Cost of Capital

Cost of Equity is the returns the company needs to ensure that the investments made meet the capital returns requirements.

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It is like a barter system between the company and the market. The company compensates for its asset ownership with its Cost of Equity.

The Cost of Capital is a mixed weighted average of the Cost of debt and the Cost of Equity expected by a company. A company uses the Cost of capital to decide whether a project is worth the expenditure on its resources.

Investors use it for a similar purpose. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCost of EquityCost of Capital
DefinitionIt is the returns expected by an investor.It is the amount paid by the company to raise more funds.
Calculation MethodThe Cost of Equity can be calculated using the dividend capitalization method and the capital asset pricing method.The Cost of Capital is calculated by the WACC method.
Decision-makingIt plays a small role in decision-making about investments.It plays a significant role while decision-making about investments.
Condition for benefitsThe returns must be more than the cost of capital.The cost of capital must be less than the returns.
Incorporates cost of debtThe cost of equity does not incorporate the cost of debt.Both the cost of equity and the cost of debt is considered.

What is Cost of Equity?

The Cost of equity is the rate of return a shareholder receives on an equity investment. It is a value that essentially means the amount one may earn by investing in another asset with equal risk.

It is the number that will persuade an investor to invest in the company’s assets.

The Cost of equity is an essential aspect of stock evaluation. There are two ways to assess the Cost of Equity; the capital asset pricing method or the dividend capitalization method.

But the dividend method can only be applied if the company pays dividends. The capital asset pricing method is one where it contemplates the risk involved in the investment concerning the market.

The cost of equity is the project’s attractiveness in which the firm would want the investors to invest.

As a company, it is the rate of return required to persuade an investor and investor. It is the rate of return expected by you to invest in the assets of a firm or company.

Depending on how one calculates it, the equity cost depends on the company’s dividends or the risk associated with the market.

cost of equity

What is Cost of Capital?

When the Cost of Equity meshes with the cost of debt and their weighted average is taken, it is known as the Cost of Capital.

Capital is a standard that decides whether a project is worth its resources or whether investing is worth the risk of its returns.

Companies arrange for finances in two ways; by acquiring debt or through equity. Thus, the Cost of capital is also solely dependent on the financing method.

In most cases, companies use a mixture of the two approaches, in which their weighted average determines the Cost of Capital.

A company’s decisions for project investments must generate a return that exceeds the Cost of Capital so that investors return.

The Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) procedure estimates the Cost of Capital. This formula considers the weighted proportionality of the Cost of equity and the cost of debt.

The Cost of Capital is one of the essential factors in the decision-making process of investments made in capital projects.

It is the standard below which the project must not be invested as the investor will not get any benefits if the returns fall.

cost of capital

Main Differences Between Cost of Equity and Cost of Capital

  1. The main difference between the Cost of equity and the Cost of capital is that the cost of equity is the value paid to the investors. In contrast, the Cost of Capital is the expense of funds paid by the company, like interests, financial fees, etc. 
  2. The Cost of equity can be calculated using capital asset pricing and dividend capitalization methods. The Cost of Capital is calculated by the WACC method.
  3. The Cost of capital plays a more critical role while making decisions about capital projects than the Cost of equity.
  4. The Cost of Capital must always be less than the number of returns calculated by the Cost of equity for investors to invest.
  5. The Cost of equity is a component of the Cost of Capital.
  6. The Cost of equity does not consider debt, whereas the Cost of 
Difference Between Cost of Equity and Cost of Capital
References
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1475-679X.2006.00209.x
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/B:RAST.0000028188.71604.0a.
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