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Investment is a term with several closely-related meanings in finance and economics. It refers to the accumulation of some kind of asset in hopes of getting a future return from it.
- In theoretical economics, investment means the purchase (and thus the production) of capital goods - goods which are not consumed but instead used in future production. Examples include building a railroad, or a factory, clearing land, or putting oneself through college.
- In finance, investment means buying monetary or paper assets, for example equity investment or real estate investment or bonds or postage stamps. These investments may then provide future cash flows and may increase or decrease in value.