Types of Investments

An Uncomplicated Breakdown

A Summary of the True Essence of Investment

Investment refers to the allocation of funds towards acquiring an asset, with the anticipation that its value will appreciate over time. The objective of investing is to buy an asset at a lower price and eventually sell it at a higher price, generating a profit.

The concept of investing is straightforward, but there are numerous methods to go about it. To understand various investment options, it is essential to examine their nature, the income generation potential, and the associated risks.

The objective of investing is to buy an asset at a lower price and eventually sell it at a higher price, generating a profit.

7 Things That You Can Invest In

Investing involves allocating funds or capital to a venture, such as a business, project, or real estate, with the aim of generating extra income or profit. Primary investment avenues include real estate, commodities, and businesses.

1. Property (i.e. Real Estate — Land and the Structures That Reside on Them)

Property ownership encompasses a wide range of assets held by individuals or businesses, such as houses, office buildings, storage facilities, manufacturing plants, agricultural lands, and other types. Property also pertains to the land itself and any edifices present on it, like dwellings. Property ownership has played a crucial role in global economies ever since humans transitioned to permanent settlements rather than continuous migration. The primary classifications of property ownership include domestic, business-related, industrial, undeveloped land, and unique-purpose properties.

2. Commodities (Raw Materials and Primary Agricultural Products)

An unfinished substance serves as an intermediary product employed in the creation of completed items. These substances, also referred to as primary agricultural products, basic goods, or simply commodities, encompass a wide range of products. Examples include mass materials like iron ore, steel, and petroleum.

Although commodities are frequently associated with tangible materials like metals and minerals, they can also extend to certain services. An item or service can be considered a commodity if it is organically generated in vast quantities by numerous enterprises within an economy. Markets for commodities accommodate goods like fuel sources, cereal crops, precious metals, and other fundamental human necessities.

3. Business Ventures (Individuals Collaborating to Achieve an Objective)

By allocating funds to a venture, you contribute financially to an organization where individuals collaborate to achieve a specific objective. The expectation is that if the venture prospers, all participants will reap the rewards. Conversely, if the venture falters or becomes insolvent, you may forfeit all or a portion of your investment. The funds you commit to the organization are not merely a loan; you are also acquiring ownership interests in the form of shares. Your investment entitles you to a portion of the venture's future, allowing you to partake in its earnings if it thrives. However, if it struggles or collapses, you may suffer a partial or total loss of your investment.

4. Tangible Assets (Finished Products Which Have Value)

Tangible items, in contrast to intangible assets, have a physical existence, which allows them to be touched and seen. These items, which include machinery, equipment, buildings, and inventory, often play a crucial role in a business or individual's overall worth. Due to their material nature, tangible items may necessitate regular maintenance, servicing, or repairs to ensure they retain their value and functionality over time.

5. Intangible Assets (Knowledge, Brand Name, Patents, and Copyrights)

Non-material assets, known as intangible assets, do not possess a physical presence and cannot be handled or visually observed. As non-tangible entities, they cannot be physically exchanged or sold. Instances of such assets encompass intellectual property rights like patents, copyrights, and trademarks, as well as brand recognition, proprietary knowledge, and business reputation.

These non-material resources are generally documented as assets within a company's financial statements, specifically on the balance sheet. Although they may lack a physical form, intangible assets can significantly contribute to a business's overall value and competitive advantage, providing long-term benefits and influencing revenue generation.

6. Loans to People (Individuals With Willingness and Ability to Repay)

A loan that is likely to be repaid is an asset to the loan holder. The phrase "individuals possessing the willingness and capacity to repay" pertains to a borrower's creditworthiness. A borrower who has consistently honored loan repayments in the past is more likely to meet their obligations for new loans. Conversely, borrowers with a history of repayment difficulties might be ineligible for personal loans. 

7. Loans to Your Government  or a Business (i.e. Bonds)

Debt securities, frequently referred to as bonds, enable governments and businesses to obtain funding for a variety of objectives. These bonds are issued by an array of entities, such as governments, corporations, and other organizations, each with their unique goals and reasons for raising capital.

National or local governments issue government bonds like treasury bonds and municipal bonds to finance public initiatives, infrastructural improvements, and additional government-related expenses. Generally viewed as low-risk investments, these bonds are supported by the credit and taxing power of the issuing government. Some examples of government bonds are U.S. Treasury bonds, UK Gilts, and German Bunds.

Conversely, corporate bonds are released by companies to acquire funds for purposes such as business growth, research and development, debt restructuring, or other organizational endeavors. Corporate bonds typically entail a higher degree of risk compared to government bonds, as they rely on the financial stability and creditworthiness of the issuing company. To offset this elevated risk, corporate bonds usually offer higher interest rates or yields relative to government bonds.

Examples: Residential house (real estate), heard of goats (commodity), people gathered together for a meeting (business), luxury watch (tangible asset), coca-cola, one of the most recognized brands in the world (intangible assets), a person accepting money (personal loan), and an army (which represents the future success of a government).

Investment Data

S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index is a measure of the U.S. residential housing market that tracks changes in the value of residential real estate across the country. It's published by Standard & Poor's and is based on the work of economists Karl Case and Robert Shiller. The index is calculated using a repeat-sales method, comparing the sale prices of the same homes over time to determine the overall trends in home prices.

Source: FRED 

Global Price Index of All Commodities

The Global Price Index of All Commodities is an economic indicator that tracks the overall changes in the prices of a broad range of commodities, such as metals, energy, and agricultural products, on a global scale. This index is useful for analyzing trends in commodity prices and understanding the state of the global economy.

Source: FRED 

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is a measure of the average change in prices paid by urban consumers for a fixed basket of goods and services over time. It is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the United States and serves as a key indicator of inflation. The CPI-U covers approximately 93% of the U.S. population and includes expenses such as food, housing, transportation, medical care, and education, among others.

Source: FRED 

S&P 500

The S&P 500, or Standard & Poor's 500, is a widely-followed stock market index that measures the performance of 500 large publicly-traded companies in the United States. It is considered one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market and a reliable indicator of the overall health of the U.S. economy. The index includes companies from all sectors of the economy, such as technology, healthcare, finance, and consumer goods, among others. 

Source: FRED 

End of Lesson 2

Allocating funds to acquire an asset with the anticipation of its appreciation in value constitutes investing. The main objective of investing is wealth accumulation, but it can also serve as a safeguard against potential future financial requirements.

Investing is distinct from saving, as it entails risk and offers increased potential for value growth over time. Additionally, it contrasts with speculating, a practice that involves wagering on an investment's future price without considering the inherent value or associated risk.

Up Next

A financial security is a document representing a legal agreement involving monetary value. It can be a certificate of ownership or any other item that gives the owner or holder the right to receive something of value, such as cash, goods, or services.

The most common financial security is a stock certificate, which represents ownership in a corporation. Other types of securities include bonds, options, and derivatives.