An asset with a physical value such as real estate, equipment, machinery, gold or oil. For example, gold is considered a nonfinancial asset because it has inherent value based on its use in jewelry, electronics, dentistry, ornamentation and historically as currency. Cash, on the other hand, is a financial asset because its value is based on what it represents. The paper the cash is printed on has very little value by itself.
The value of a financial asset can be based on the value of a nonfinancial asset. For example, the value of a futures contract is based on the value of the commodities represented by that contract. Commodities, which are tangible objects with inherent value, are an example of a nonfinancial asset. Futures contracts, which do not have inherent physical value and whose value is based on the assets they represent, are an example of a financial asset.
Investment dictionary. Academic. 2012.
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