Investment definition may have two meanings:
1) An investment as a process (investing) when tangible or financial assets are acquired on purpose to earn more money (or other material benefits) than was spent when investment was made. If acquisition is made without an intention to profit from it, then it is spending but not an investment. Also, if financial decisions to make profits are very risky and do not promise ordinary safety then such actions should be assigned to speculation or gambling. However, the boundary between investment and speculation is very uncertain.
2) An investment as a financial or tangible asset which is acquired on purpose to get a profit in the future. It is an instrument that promises some certain or uncertain return in the future. Sometimes, for example during the 2008 financial crisis investors bought a short-term German government bonds even if they knew that return will be negative, but it was the way to protect the capital during uncertain conditions, so it still belongs to investments category.
Here you can find all the spectrum of main investments.
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