Possessions, belongings, effects, means, resources, assets can mean all the items that taken together constitute a person’s or group’s property or wealth.
Possessions, belongings, effects stress ownership; means, resources, assets emphasize value and especially pecuniary value of what is owned.
Possessions may be applied to the aggregate of things owned, regardless of the individual worth or significance of each thing; thus, one may speak of the possessions of an indigent old woman or of the possessions of a Rothschild, the former referring to a few articles of furniture and clothing, the latter to extensive properties and enormous invested capital.
Belongings is applied commonly to an individual’s more intimate personal possessions (as clothes, household goods, and valuables).
Effects may be more inclusive than belongings, but usually less so than possessions. It is often applied to personal as distinguished from real property, especially when the reference is to the estate of a deceased person. Sometimes it is applied to movable articles as distinguished from those that are stationary.
Means usually applies to all the money that is available, in the form of revenue from capital, income, or ready money, for expenditure. When unqualified means frequently implies some degree of affluence.
Resources, on the other hand, is applied to all possessions that have actual or potential, but not necessarily money, value and that may be depended upon in case of need or of deficiency.
Sometimes the term comprehends all tangibles and intangibles possessed whether they are actually used or are merely available for use; thus, a statement of a company’s resources is a statement that covers every item that may be regarded as a part of the company’s wealth.
Often the term refers specifically to possessions held in reserve for emergencies or to sources of supply as yet untapped; thus, the natural resources of a country include its unmined minerals, unfelled timber, water sources, and wild life.
Assets both in law and in accounting implies an opposition to liabilities and therefore suggests the possibility of an inequality between the two and a difference between one’s ostensible and one’s actual wealth. When the term is used in reference to the settlement of the estate of a deceased person or to the legal administration of the property of an insolvent or bankrupt person or concern, the assets include all the possessions of marketable value which may be turned into money to provide for the payment of the liabilities.
When used in reference to general balance sheets of a company or corporation, the term comprehends all items which from one point of view can be called resources having book value. But assets is never exactly the same as resources , because the latter word does not, as assets does, imply a comparison with liabilities