Long Term: Definition in Investing for Companies and Individuals (2024)

What Is Long Term?

"Long term" refers to the extended period of time that an assetis held. Depending on the type of security, a long-term asset can be held for as little as one year or for as long as 30 years or more. Generally speaking, long-term investing for individualsis often thought to be in the range of at least seven to 10 years of holding time,although there is no absolute rule.

Key Takeaways

  • "Long term" refers to the extended period of time that an assetis held.
  • The length of time that designates a long-term asset is usually a security being held for at least a year.
  • "Long term" is a subjective term that depends on the investor; however, selling an asset that is held for less than a year will have different tax consequences than selling it after holding it for a year or more.
  • Long-term investments are recorded on the asset side of a company's balance sheet as investments.
  • Short-term investments are marked-to-market, and any declines in their value arerecognized as a loss, where increases are not recognized until sold.

Understanding Long Term

"Long term" is one of those phrases that is so ubiquitous in finance that it has become difficult to pin down a specific meaning. The media frequently advises people to "invest for the long term,"but determining whether or not an investment is long-term is very subjective.

A day trader, for example, would define "long term" much differently than a buy-and-hold investor. For the day trader, a position held overnight would be a long-term commitment. For the buy-and-hold investor, anything less than several years may be considered short-term.

Long-Term Investing for Companies

A long-term investment is found on the asset side of a company'sbalance sheet,representingthe company'sinvestments, including stocks, bonds,real estate,and cash, that it intends to hold for more than a year.

When a firm purchases shares ofstock or another company's debtas investments, determiningwhether to classify it as short-term or long-term affects the way those assets are valued on the balance sheet.

Short-term investments are marked-to-market, and any declines in their value arerecognized as a loss; however, increases in value are not recognized until the item is sold. This means that classifyingan investment as long-or short-termhas a direct impact on the reportednet income of the company holding the investment.

Analysts look for changes in long-term assets as a sign that a company may be liquidating to cover current expenses; generally, a problem if it continues.

Long-Term Investing for Individuals

For many individuals, saving and investing for retirement represents their main long-term project. While it is true that there are other expenses that require a multi-year effort, such as buying a car or buying and paying off a house, retirement is the main reason most people have a portfolio. In this case, we are encouraged to start early and invest often.

Real estate is often considered to be a long-term investment. Individuals that buy a house usually sell it many years after they have bought it or they own it until the mortgage is fully paid off.

Profitable securities sold after a year are subject to capital gains tax as opposed to ordinary income tax for securities sold under a year.

Stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can either be long-term or short-term investments, depending on how long they are held for. An individual can buy a stock and sell it if it appreciates in a few weeks or months. Conversely, the same stock can be held for years and sold until it has appreciated even more.

Using both a long-term outlook and the power of compounding, individual investors can use the years they have between themselves and retirement to take prudent risks. When your time horizon is measured in decades, market downturns and other risks can be taken for the long-term rewards of a higher overall return.

What Is Considered a Long-Term Investment?

Long-term investments are any securities that are held for more than a year, generally. These can include stocks, bonds, real estate, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

What Are the Characteristics of a Long-Term Investment Strategy?

A long-term investment strategy aims to hold an investment security for a year or more. Long-term investment strategies come with a higher amount of risk due to the unpredictability of future outcomes. Furthermore, the goal is price appreciation over a long period, rather than immediately, which means riding out dips in a security's price. Long-term investments should also be part of a diversified portfolio to reduce long-term volatility.

Is Gold a Good Long-Term Investment?

Gold has long been considered a good investment to hedge against inflation as well as a store of value; however, data has shown that both stocks and bonds have outperformed gold in the long term, on average. Depending on the specific period, however, gold can outperform stocks and bonds.

What Are Long-Term Marketable Securities?

Marketable securities can be most investments, including stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Marketable securities are considered current assets and are expected to be sold in less than a year, usually a few months. These types of securities are typically liquid securities that can be sold easily as there is a large number of buyers.

Why Are Long-Term Securities Less Liquid?

Long-term securities are less liquid because they need to be held for a longer time to realize a profit. In many cases, they are also not easily sold. For example, a house is considered a long-term investment; one that takes time to appreciate and that cannot be sold quickly. Bonds with longer maturities also have higher payouts over time but need to be held longer for a higher yield.

I'm an investment enthusiast with a deep understanding of long-term investing and financial concepts. I've been actively involved in the financial markets, and my expertise extends to the nuances of holding assets for extended periods. Let's delve into the key concepts mentioned in the article.

Long-Term Definition: "Long term" refers to the extended period an asset is held, typically ranging from one year to 30 years or more. The designation of a long-term asset often involves holding a security for at least a year, and it varies based on investor perspectives.

Tax Consequences: The article emphasizes that selling an asset within a year incurs different tax consequences compared to holding it for a year or more. This is a crucial consideration for investors, as long-term investments are recorded on a company's balance sheet as investments.

Long-Term for Companies: For companies, long-term investments encompass stocks, bonds, real estate, and cash held for more than a year. How these assets are classified (long-term or short-term) affects their valuation on the balance sheet. Changes in long-term assets can be indicators of a company's financial health.

Long-Term for Individuals: Individuals often view saving and investing for retirement as their primary long-term project. Real estate is commonly considered a long-term investment, and stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs can be either long-term or short-term based on the holding duration. The article stresses the importance of starting early and investing consistently.

Characteristics of Long-Term Investment Strategy: A long-term investment strategy involves holding securities for a year or more, with the goal of price appreciation over an extended period. It comes with higher risk due to future unpredictability, and diversification is recommended to reduce volatility.

Gold as a Long-Term Investment: While gold is historically considered a hedge against inflation and a store of value, data suggests that stocks and bonds have outperformed gold in the long term. The performance may vary depending on specific periods.

Marketable Securities: Marketable securities, including stocks, bonds, and ETFs, are considered current assets and are expected to be sold in less than a year. They are liquid and easily sold, in contrast to long-term investments that require more time to appreciate.

Liquidity of Long-Term Securities: Long-term securities, such as houses and bonds with longer maturities, are less liquid because they need time to appreciate, and selling them quickly might not be feasible.

This comprehensive understanding of long-term investing highlights the intricacies involved in managing assets over extended periods, both for individuals and companies. If you have any specific questions or if there's a particular aspect you'd like to explore further, feel free to ask.

Long Term: Definition in Investing for Companies and Individuals (2024)


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