What Is an Investment?

An investment is an asset or commodity that has been purchased in order to produce revenue or appreciation. Appreciation refers to rising over time in the value of an asset. When a person buys a good as an investment, the goal is not to consume the good, but rather to use it to generate wealth in the future. In hopes of a greater payoff in the future than what was originally put in, an investment often relates to the outlay of some commodity today, time, money, or effort.

For instance, an investor may buy a monetary asset now with the expectation that the asset will provide revenue in the future or be sold for a profit at a higher price later on.

Key takeaways:

  • An investment is an asset or commodity that is bought in the expectation that at some point in the future it will produce income or appreciate in value.
  • In hopes of a greater payoff in the future than what was originally put in, an investment often relates to the outlay of some asset today (time, resources, effort, etc.).
  • An investment may refer, among other examples, to any method used to produce future income, including bonds, securities, real estate property, or a company.

How an Investment Works?

The purpose of the act of investing is to produce revenue and increase value over time. An investment may refer to any mechanism used for future revenue generation. Among other examples, this involves the buying of shares, securities, or real estate property. Additionally, it can be considered an expenditure to purchase a property that can be used to manufacture products.

Generally, any move taken to increase future income may also be viewed as an investment. For example, when choosing to pursue additional education, the aim is always to rise knowledge and develop skills (in the hope of eventually generating more income) when deciding to seek additional education.

Since investment is geared towards potential future growth or sales, an investment often entails a certain amount of risk. An investment can not produce revenue or may lose value over time. For instance, It is also possible to invest in an organization that ends up bankrupt or fails to realize a project. This is the primary way that saving can be differentiated from investing: saving is accumulating money for future use and entails no risk, whereas investment is the act of leveraging money for a potential future gain and it entails some risk.

Types of Investments

Economic Investments

Economic growth is associated with investment within a country or nation. It usually results in economic growth when corporations and other institutions participate in sound business investment practices.

For example, if an individual is engaged in the manufacturing of products, a new piece of equipment may be produced or purchased, allowing it to produce more products in a shorter period of time. This will increase the company’s overall output of products. This increase in production, taken in conjunction with the activities of many other organizations, could cause the gross domestic product (GDP) of the nation to rise.

Investment vehicles

An investment bank provides individuals and businesses with a range of services, including several services designed to assist individuals and businesses in growing their capital.

Investment banking may also refer to a particular division of banking linked to capital development for other businesses, governments, and other institutions related to the development of capital. Investment banks underwrite new debt and equity bonds to all types of firms, assist with bond purchases, and help facilitate mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, and broker transactions for both institutions and private investors. Investment banks may also provide instructions to companies who are considering issuing shares publicly for the first time, such as with an initial public offering (IPO).

 Investing vs. Speculation

Speculation is a practice different from investing. Investing means purchasing assets in order to retain them for the long-term, while speculation means seeking to leverage for short-term gains on market inefficiencies. In general, ownership is not a speculator’s target, while investors also look to build up the number of assets in their portfolios over time.

While speculators often take educated choices, speculation may typically not be labeled as a conventional investment. In general, speculation is seen as a higher risk than conventional investment (although this can vary depending on the form of investment involved). Some experts equate speculation with gambling, but it may be a matter of personal opinion that this comparison is valid.

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Is It Ever Wrong to Go Long, Investors?

A long position conveys bullish intent as an investor will purchase the security with the hope that it will increase in value.

Investment Real Estate

Investment real estate is property owned to produce revenue or is otherwise used as a primary residence instead of for investment purposes.


A liability is something owned by an entity or corporation, usually an amount of money.

Budget Definition

A budget is an estimation of revenue and expenditures for a given future period of time and is typically collected on a periodic basis and re-evaluated.


A bond is a fixed income investment in which an investor lends money at a fixed interest rate to an entity (corporate or government) that borrows the funds for a given period of time.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) The GDP is the monetary value of all finished goods and services produced within a given country for a specific time

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