An asset is anything that can be owned and traded, including both tangible items like property, livestock and machinery, and intangible items like patents, copyrights, or stocks. Assets represent ownership of the underlying value or benefits. We measure them in dollars, either in flow or stock form.

An asset’s value can change because of changes in the economy, as well as other external forces such as inflation. Inflation is often a gradual process that changes the prices of all assets and makes them rise.