Investment is the choice by the individual to risk his savings with the hope of gain. Rather than store the good produced, or its money equivalent, the investor chooses to use that good either to create a durable consumer or producer good, or to lend the original saved good to another in exchange for either interest or a share of the profits.
In the first case, the individual creates durable consumer goods, hoping the services from the good will make his life better. In the second, the individual becomes an entrepreneur using the resource to produce goods and services for others in the hope of a profitable sale. The third case describes a lender, and the fourth describes an investor in a share of the business.
In each case, the consumer obtains a durable asset or investment, and accounts for that asset by recording an equivalent liability. As time passes, and both prices and interest rates change, the value of the asset and liability also change.
An asset is usually purchased, or equivalently a deposit is made in a bank, in hopes of getting a future return or interest from it. The word originates in the Latin "vestis", meaning garment, and refers to the act of putting things (money or other claims to resources) into others' pockets. See Invest The basic meaning of the term being an asset held to have some recurring or capital gains. It is an asset that is expected to give returns without any work on the asset per se.
In terms of financial assets, these are often marketable securities such as a company stock (an equity investment) or bonds (a debt investment). At times the goal of the investment is for producing future cash flows, while at others it may be for purposes of gaining access to more assets by establishing control or influence over the operation of a second company (the investee).
Both non-residential investment (such as factories) and residential investment (new houses) combine to make up I. Net investment deducts depreciation from gross investment. It is the value of the net increase in the capital stock per year.
Investment, as production over a period of time ("per year"), is not capital. The time dimension of investment makes it a flow. By contrast, capital is a stock, that is, an accumulation measurable at a point in time (say December 31st).
Investment is often modeled as a function of Income and Interest rates, given by the relation I = f(Y, r). An increase in income encourages higher investment, whereas a higher interest rate may discourage investment as it becomes more costly to borrow money. Even if a firm chooses to use its own funds in an investment, the interest rate represents an opportunity cost of investing those funds rather than loaning them out for interest.
Types of financial investments include shares, other equity investment, and bonds (including bonds denominated in foreign currencies). These financial assets are then expected to provide income or positive future cash flows, and may increase or decrease in value giving the investor capital gains or losses.
Trades in contingent claims or derivative securities do not necessarily have future positive expected cash flows, and so are not considered assets, or strictly speaking, securities or investments. Nevertheless, since their cash flows are closely related to (or derived from) those of specific securities, they are often studied as or treated as investments.
Investments are often made indirectly through intermediaries, such as banks, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, collective investment schemes, and investment clubs. Though their legal and procedural details differ, an intermediary generally makes an investment using money from many individuals, each of whom receives a claim on the intermediary.
In many instances the terms saving and investment are used interchangeably, which confuses this distinction. For example many deposit accounts are labeled as investment accounts by banks for marketing purposes. Whether an asset is a saving(s) or an investment depends on where the money is invested: if it is cash then it is savings, if its value can fluctuate then it is investment.
The most common form of real estate investment as it includes the property purchased as other people's houses. In many cases the Buyer does not have the full purchase price for a property and must engage a lender such as a Bank, Finance company or Private Lender. Herein the lender is the investor as only the lender stands to gain returns from it. Different countries have their individual normal lending levels, but usually they will fall into the range of 70-90% of the purchase price. Against other types of real estate, residential real estate is the least risky.
Commercial real estate is the owning of a small building or large warehouse a company rents from so that it can conduct its business. Due to the higher risk of Commercial real estate, lending rates of banks and other lenders are lower and often fall in the range of 50-70%.