In general, to invest is to distribute money in the expectation of some benefit in the future – for example, investment in durable goods, in real estate by the service industry, in factories for manufacturing, in product development, and in research and development. However, this article focuses specifically on investment in financial assets.

In finance, the benefit from investment is called a return. The return may consist of a profit from the sale of property or an investment, or investment income including dividends, interests, rental income etc., or a combination of the two. The projected economic return is the appropriately discounted value of the future returns.

Investors generally expect higher returns from riskier investments. When we make a low risk investment, the return is also generally low.

Investors, particularly novices, are often advised to adopt a particular investment strategy and diversify their portfolio. Diversification has the statistical effect of reducing overall risk.


Investment differs from arbitrage, in which profit is generated without investing capital or bearing risk.

An investor may bear a risk of loss of some or all of their capital invested, whereas in saving the risk of loss in the value that is stated on a coin or note is normally remote.

Investment in stocks, property, etc. in the hope of significant gain but with the risk of significant loss, i.e. speculation, involves a level of risk which is greater than most investors would generally consider justified by the expected return. An alternative characterization of speculation is its short-term, opportunistic nature.

In the early 1900s purchasers of stocks, bonds, and other securities were described in media, academia, and commerce as speculators. By the 1950s, the term investment had come to denote the more conservative end of the securities spectrum, while speculation was applied by financial brokers and their advertising agencies to higher risk securities much in vogue at that time. Since the last half of the 20th century, the terms speculation and speculator have specifically referred to higher risk ventures.

Other Languages
العربية: استثمار
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܫܘܚܡܠܐ
asturianu: Inversión
azərbaycanca: İnvestisiya
Bân-lâm-gú: Tâu-chu
беларуская: Інвестыцыя
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Інвэстыцыя
български: Инвестиция
bosanski: Investicija
brezhoneg: Posterezh
čeština: Investice
Deutsch: Investition
Ελληνικά: Επένδυση
español: Inversión
Esperanto: Investado
euskara: Inbertsio
français: Investissement
galego: Investimento
한국어: 투자
हिन्दी: निवेश
hrvatski: Investicija
Bahasa Indonesia: Investasi
italiano: Investimento
עברית: השקעה
Basa Jawa: Invèstasi
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಬಂಡವಾಳ
ქართული: ინვესტიცია
қазақша: Инвестиция
lietuvių: Investicijos
magyar: Beruházás
македонски: Инвестиции
Bahasa Melayu: Pelaburan
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Dàu-cṳ̆
Nederlands: Investering
नेपाली: लगानी
नेपाल भाषा: लगानी
日本語: 投資
norsk nynorsk: Investering
олык марий: Инвестиций
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Investitsiya
پښتو: پانګونه
polski: Inwestycja
português: Investimento
română: Investiție
русский: Инвестиции
Scots: Investment
shqip: Investimi
Simple English: Investment
slovenščina: Investicija
српски / srpski: Инвестиције
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Investicija
Basa Sunda: Invéstasi
svenska: Investering
Tagalog: Pamumuhunan
தமிழ்: முதலீடு
తెలుగు: పెట్టుబడి
Türkçe: Yatırım
українська: Інвестиція
Tiếng Việt: Đầu tư
中文: 投资