Types of Investments

Updated on April 9, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Are The Types of Investments?

Investment broadly means buying something for future use to either create a periodic cash inflow or its value rises over time. When sold in the future, it fetches a value above the price it was bought, i.e., capital gains. There are three broad types of investments- stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents and it is important to weigh each type before investing.


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The types of investment risks are also majorly dependent on the investor’s time frame, risk appetite, and financial goals. Moreover, each of these asset classes has its own set of pros and cons. For instance, stocks have a higher risk factor than bonds mostly because of the volatility involved in the process.

Key Takeaways

  • Investment involves acquiring assets to generate cash flow or enhance their value. Capital gains arise from selling them above the purchase price. Careful consideration of stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents is crucial when making investment decisions.
  • The three primary investment types encompass stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents. Each type presents distinct characteristics, ranging from potential high returns with stocks to more stable income with bonds and liquidity with cash equivalents.
  • Various Investing types can combat inflation, foster wealth, and meet financial goals. Before investing, weighing ownership rights, liquidity, and various factors influencing the investment choice is vital.

Types Of Investments Explained

Types of investments are asset classes such as stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate, cash, and cash equivalents in which investors put forth their money for making gains at a future date. These investments depend highly on the investor’s risk appetite, financial goals, and time frame of investments.

As stated above, each investment category has many ways of investing. Choosing from the above also depends on many factors. While stocks and bonds are suitable for long-term growth, cash equivalents are suitable for investors who prefer liquidity over long-term growth. Stock is an ownership instrument, while bond is a lending instrument.

An investor has various types of investment accounts when it comes to where they can park their money , which would benefit them. There are various types of investments, as stated above, like instruments that give ownership rights, investments that make the holders, the lenders, or creditors, and investments that are held so that they are cash alike or can be readily converted to cash whenever required.

Investments help in many ways, like fighting inflation, wealth creation, and meeting requirements. Each type has its pros and cons, which must be analyzed carefully per individual investor requirements.

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Top 3 Types

In the modern day, the rise of cryptocurrency, and a lot of other options to invest in the equity market, there are three major types of investments that have been predominant for decades. Let us the major types of investment accounts through the detailed discussion below along with each type’s advantages and disadvantages.

#1 – Stock Investments

Stocks or share capital comes with more risk when compared to other types but earning potential is the highest. Stocks are investments that enable the buyer to hold a portion of the Company’s assets and are hence called ownership instruments. Companies issue such investments to raise capital.

The income is low when compared to bonds.

  • High Risk
  • Limited Control
  • No fixed dividend
  • dividend
  • Fluctuation in market prices

#2 – Bond Investments

Lending or loan investments allow the issuer of the investment to borrow from the investors and pay back the same along with interest. They are a safer bet than stocks to investors because they offer definitive interest periodically.  The main risk in any instrument is the default risk, which is absent if the amount is lent to the government.

  • Fixed-rate of interest
  • Lesser risk
  • Tax benefits
  • Helps in diversification
  • Interest rate risk and default risk
  • Holders cannot be owners; they will always lend/creditors
  • Periodical payment liability to the issuers
  • If the rating falls down, it will be harder to liquidate

#3 – Cash Equivalents

These are investments meant exclusively for short-term holding and conversion into cash. They include money market instruments such as a certificate of deposits, commercial paper, etc. In totality, Cash and cash equivalents represent a company’s strength and ability to pay off its current liabilities and debts. That means they are highly liquid.

  • Low risk of default
  • Not dependent on market fluctuations
  • Highly liquid
  • Relatively safer when compared to other investment instruments
  • Helps Company in meeting operating expenses
  • Lower rate of interest
  • Loss of potential revenue due to keeping it idle to meet immediate needs
  • These instruments struggle to keep up with inflation


Investing as a habit is important to be formed for each individual looking to be financially independent. The benefits of starting early cannot be overstated as the compounding effect gives a significant boost to an investor’s overall portfolio.

Let us understand the benefits of investing despite the types of investment risks through the explanation below.

#1 – Building of Wealth and Growth

The investors should find and chalk out a plan that suits them the best as per their earning capacity so that the amount invested grows, compounds, and builds in more wealth over time.

#2 – Fighting Inflation

If the amount is not invested due to inflation, there is a decline in the purchasing power of money; hence, over some time, we tend to lose money. To prevent this from happening, we should invest money at a rate higher than the inflation rate in the economy.

#3 – Tax Reduction and Savings

A few investments, like government bonds and local authority bonds, offer tax deductions, resulting in savings.

#4 – Meeting Financial Goals and Objectives

Every entity, an individual, would have some goals and objectives for financial performance and wealth creation. An individual would have a goal to buy a house, a car, jewelry, etc., which would be possible only when money is available to him in the form of investments.

#5 – Cash Inflows even when there are no earnings

Usually, there are times when there are no cash inflows, such as unemployment or retirement, in the case of an individual and non-season for a business. At times like those, cash inflows from investments come in handy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What types of investments are commonly utilized by banks?

Banks often engage in a range of investments, including government bonds, corporate bonds, stocks, and money market instruments, to diversify their portfolios and manage risk while meeting customer needs. These investments also help banks generate income and support lending activities.

2. Which types of investments are considered low risk? 

Low-risk investments encompass options like certificates of deposit (CDs), government bonds, and savings accounts. These assets are generally stable and have lower potential for significant losses, making them attractive for conservative investors seeking capital preservation and a reliable source of income.

3. What are the examples of a highly liquid type of investment? 

Highly liquid investments refer to assets that can be quickly converted into cash with minimal impact on their market value. These investments play a pivotal role in ensuring financial agility and responsiveness to changing circumstances. A few prime instances of highly liquid investments encompass money market funds, which are short-term debt securities; Treasury bills issued by governments to raise funds; and blue-chip stocks, representing shares of well-established, financially sound companies.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Types of Investments. Here we discuss 3 types of investment with its advantages and disadvantages along with benefits of investment. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

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