The two basic types of investments are financial assets and real assets. Your financial assets comprise intangible investments (things you cannot touch). They represent your equity ownership of a company, or they provide evidence that someone owes you a debt, or they show your right to buy or sell your ownership interest at a subsequent date. Financial assets include common stock, options and warrants to buy stock at a later date, money market certificates, savings accounts, Treasury bills, commercial paper (unsecured short-term debt), bonds, preferred stock, and financial futures (contracts to buy financial instruments at a later date). Real assets are investments you can put your hands on. Sometimes referred to as real property, they include real estate, machinery and equipment, precious and common metals, and oil.

Figure 1-2. General Flow of Funds among Financial Institutions and Financial Markets

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