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Finance is a general phrase that refers to subjects including the administration, development, and study of money and investments. The concerns of how a person, organisation, or government receives money – referred to as capital in the context of a business – as well as how they spend or invest that money are addressed in detail. Personal finance, corporate finance, and governmental finance are the three basic categories into which finance is often subdivided in the literature.

The financial services sector facilitates the flow of money between and between these regions, and finance is concerned with the broader "system," i.e., the financial markets that enable the movement of money between and within these areas via the use of investments and other financial instruments. As a result, finance is the study of the securities markets, which includes derivatives, as well as the institutions that act as mediators between those markets and the rest of the economy, allowing money to move freely throughout the economy.

As a result, investment management – also known as money management for individuals and asset management for institutions – is a major focus in finance, and finance also includes the associated activities of securities trading and securities brokerage, investment banking, financial engineering, and risk mitigation. The valuation of assets such as stocks, bonds, and loans, as well as, by extension, the value of whole enterprises, is fundamental to these fields.

Despite their close association, the fields of economics and finance are different from one another. It is a social organisation that organises a society's production, distribution, and consumption of commodities and services, all of which must be supported in order for the economy to function.

Because of its broad breadth, finance is studied in a variety of academic fields, and there are a variety of associated professional certifications that may lead to a career in the area as a result of this.