The benefit from investment is called a return. The return may consist of capital gain or investment income, including dividends, or a combination.

The projected economic return is the accurately discounted value of the future returns. The historic return comprises the actual capital gain (or loss) or income (or both) over a period of time.

Investment generally results in acquiring an asset, also called an investment. If the asset is available at a price worth investing, it is normally expected either to generate income, or to appreciate in value, so that it can be sold at a higher price.

  • Investors generally expect higher returns from riskier investments. Financial assets range from low-risk, low-return investments, such as high-grade government bonds, to those with higher risk and higher expected commensurate reward, such as emerging markets stock investments.
  • Investors, particularly novices, are often advised to adopt an investment strategy and diversify their portfolio. Diversification has the statistical effect of reducing overall risk.

A value investor buys assets that they believe to be undervalued (and sells overvalued ones). To identify undervalued securities, a value investor uses analysis of the financial reports of the issuer to evaluate the security. Value investors employ accounting ratios, such as earnings per share and sales growth, to identify securities trading at prices below their worth.

Free cash flow measures the cash a company generates which is available to its debt and equity investors, after allowing for reinvestment in working capital and capital expenditure. High and rising free cash flow therefore tend to make a company more attractive to investors.

The amount to pay in taxes for long term investments, investments that span over a year long term, and short term investments such as those that are below a year are different. The long term investments range from Zero to twenty percent for capital gains and they are regulated by what tax bracket you are in for income taxes.