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What Is Capital?

Capital can be any asset with value that a business owns. This can include a number of different things within the business world. It can include human, financial, natural and social. There are four main types of capital which include trading, equity, working and debt, which we will review below. 

How Does Capital Work?

Capital is used to generate additional income within a business or increase one’s value. One of the most common forms of capital is cash and more specifically, operational cash. This money is being used to make investments or run day to day functions within a company. 

What Does It Mean?

When you hear that a business owns capital, it can include any asset or amount of cash that is owned by that business. It can be found on a company’s balance sheet and can be indicative of a company’s wealth. This form of measurement can include equipment that is used to make products and the building or land that is being used.     

What Is an Example of Capital?

There are many examples, some include:

  • Bank or personal loans
  • Employees within a company
  • Storage buildings
  • Issuing bonds
  • Shares of stock

What Are Capital Gains?

Capital gains are the profits obtained by selling an investment or asset. However, they are only considered gains once they have been sold and the profits have been assessed. Additionally, there are specific taxes that are then imposed, which are referred to as capital gain taxes.  

What Are Capital Losses?

Capital losses are, simply stated, the opposite of gains. Moreover, this loss happens when an asset is sold for a lower price than it was purchased for. Additionally, this loss is only noted once the asset is sold. However, these losses can be offset by capital gains for tax purposes. 

What Are Capital Goods?

These goods are tangible assets that are used to produce goods or services within a company. More importantly, they are the materials used to make a different, finished product. Some examples of these goods include:

  • Hair clippers used by a hairstylist
  • Tools or machinery
  • Computers
  • Vehicles
  • Musical instruments played by musicians 

Types of Capital

There are four main types which include trading, working, debt, and equity. Let’s discuss each type below.


Trading capital is the amount of money a company or individual has available to purchase assets. It is a term primarily used by financial institutions when referring to buying or selling securities. Moreover, in order for a company to be successful, they should set aside certain amounts of trading capital for their investors. 


Working capital (WC) involves a company’s assets that are available to cover their liabilities. Additionally, it is calculated by taking a company’s current assets and subtracting their current liabilities. Moreover, it’s important for a company to maintain a positive amount of WC. If a business were to have a larger amount of liabilities than their assets, they could see their WC diminish. 


Debt capital through borrowing money from friends and family. It can be a great opportunity for businesses, as long as it is maintained. It is important for investors to note the debt to equity ratio of a business to make sure a company’s debt does not get out of control.  


Equity capital can be gained by selling shares in the stock exchange. Additionally, this is referred to as public equity. Another type of equity involves gaining funds through private equity. When shareholders purchase shares of a business they are providing equity capital to that business. 

What Are Capital Markets?

The most common forms of these markets include the stock market and bond markets. Essentially, these type of markets are a medium for investments to be moved between investors and businesses.  

How Do These Markets Work?

These markets are places where financial instruments, including stocks and bonds, are traded. They can be separated into two main categories, which can include primary markets and secondary markets. Typically, these markets are used to raise funding for the growth of a company.

What Is Capital Investment?

One way that businesses attempt to get started is by obtaining capital investment. These investments involve the money a business may use to further their growth. This can be obtained through cash, loans, or assets. It can also come in the form of a company making a capital investment back into the business itself. This investment can be a driving force for economic growth.  

How Does Capital Impact the Economy?

Capital can have a major impact on the economy. In addition, a country would prefer to see a healthy growth within their economy. The growth of an economy is measured by gross domestic product (GDP). It can be driven by capital investment, as well as consumer spending. 

One example would be that as a company begins to grow, it may hire additional employees and begin producing more goods. Therefore, they would see an increase in sales and a positive effect on the economy.   

Why Is It Important?

It is important for businesses to own capital because it allows them to fund day to day activities. It is essential for production of goods and services and helps to increase productivity of workers. An increase in capital can lead to an increase in the economy.  

This is important for individuals to own because it allows for consumer spending, which can directly impact the economy. Moreover, it is important to be able to build an individual’s capital in order for them to be successful and expand on their net worth.  

Understanding Capital

Capital can come from many different sources, all with the intention of increasing the value of an individual or business. For a business, it can be a clear indicator of their wealth. Therefore, it is important for growth and innovation within an economy. 

Moreover, consulting with a financial advisor can assist you with understanding capital and why it is important to you. Financial advisors can help guide your investments and you achieve a better financial future.