Investment is the purchase of an asset or item with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future and be sold at the higher price.  It generally does not include deposits with a bank or similar institution. The term investment is usually used when referring to a long-term outlook. This is the opposite of trading or speculation, which are short-term practices involving a much higher degree of risk. Financial assets take many forms and can range from the ultra safe low return government bonds to much higher risk higher reward international stocks. A good investment strategy will diversify the portfolio according to the specified needs.