Investment has different meanings in finance and economics. Finance investment is putting money into something with the expectation of gain, that upon thorough analysis, has a high degree of security for the principal amount, as well as security of return, within an expected period of time. In contrast putting money into something with an expectation of gain without thorough analysis, without security of principal, and without security of return is speculation or gambling. As such, those shareholders who fail to thoroughly analyze their stock purchases, such as owners of mutual funds, could well be called speculators. Indeed, given the efficient market hypothesis, which implies that a thorough analysis of stock data is irrational, all rational shareholders are, by definition, not investors, but speculators.
Investment is related to saving or deferring consumption. Investment is involved in many areas of the economy, such as business management and finance whether for households, firms, or governments.