Leverage is an investment technique in which you use a small amount of your own money to make an investment of much larger value. In that way, leverage gives you significant financial power.
For example, if you borrow 90% of the cost of a home, you are using the leverage to buy a much more expensive property than you could have afforded by paying cash.
If you sell the property for more than you borrowed, the profit is entirely yours. The reverse is also true. If you sell at a loss, the amount you borrowed is still due and the entire loss is yours.
Buying stock on margin is a type of leverage, as is buying a futures or options contract.
Leveraging can be risky if the underlying instrument doesn't perform as you anticipate. At the very least, you may lose your investment principal plus any money you borrowed to make the purchase.
With some leveraged investments, you could be responsible for even larger losses if the value of the underlying product drops significantly.
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