Exchange Traded Funds Can Be An Excellent Investment Option
Let’s start here…many people ask me about this thing called ‘ETFs’. This is market ‘lingo’ that explains a kind of trading vehicle. This vehicle has trading symbols and you can purchase ETFs – in the same fashion as any other listed stock that you think of buying.
What is an ETF – means ‘Exchange Traded Fund’. What’s special about ETFs? – it’s this – they have listed securities that track broad indexes and sectors of the stock and financial markets. There are many different issuers that offer a variety of types of ETFs.
What are some of the kinds of Exchange Traded Funds that you might be looking for? There are ETFs that represent the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the ‘Dow’), and there are ETFs that represent the NASDAQ Stock Index, and there are ETFs that represent the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index – to name a few. And why would you want to buy them? For two reasons: (1) one ETFs enable you to invest in a broad portfolio of stocks and (2) when you buy them, you know that they correlate directly to the market information that you are hearing quoted each and every day on websites and market news on TV for their indexes.
While Exchange Traded Funds are not considered either mutual funds or stocks – they have some of the same characteristics of both. ETFs trade like a stock (meaning that their price is readily quoted and their price fluctuates during the trading day) – and ETFs look like a mutual fund in that they represent a broad holding of stocks. By contrast, though, ETFs do not have a management fee like a mutual fund – and therefore are a more economical way to invest. ETFs trade frequently in the market so they have plenty of liquidity – meaning you can readily buy and sell them because there are lots of them out there being held by investors.
The Exchange Traded Funds that track the three major indexes noted above are the DIA’s (familiarly called the ‘diamonds’) for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the QQQQs (familiarly called the Qs) for the NASDAQ 100, and the SPYs (familiarly called the ‘spys’) for the S&P 500. These three choices enable you to invest in a well-known piece of the market. You would use these choices when you expect the market to go up – because these are securities to buy at a lower price and then sell at a higher price.
Because Exchange Traded Funds have grown in popularity, you can find many, many more to chose from – including ETFs for gold, the dollar, financial services, healthcare etc. This makes many segments and industries in the market available to you in the purchase of an ETF.
ETFs Allow You To Jump Into A Broad Selection Of Sectors
You can imagine – that in the past before Exchange Traded Funds were developed, which is a recent thing – that to own a broad selection of small-cap stocks (the new kids on the block), mid-cap stocks (those that have been around longer) and large cap-stocks (the ‘big’ guys) as well as some bonds – that you would have needed to purchase 30 or 40 individual stocks and a number of bonds, or invest in mutual funds which can be quite expensive. But with ETFs, you can invest in four ETFs, and you are done!
How many of you have questioned – what are the differences when comparing an ETF vs mutual fund? They can look similar on the surface. And by digging deeper – you see that Exchange Traded Funds have advantages that put them light years ahead of mutual funds. These include: (1) trading costs – they are cheaper to buy and sell, (2) management costs – these are minimal, (3) transparency – you easily know what you are buying, (4) trading flexibility – they quickly trade in the market all day long, (5) options – many ETFs are also ‘optionable’ which is not true of mutual funds.
Maybe now you are asking yourself why you would own mutual funds – good question – thank you. Exchange Traded Funds have great advantages. We’ll be talking more about ETFs. Here we have explored ETFs that trade on the ‘long side’ – meaning that they are appropriate when the market is showing a trend of going up. Later we will be talking about Exchange Traded Funds that trade on the ‘short side’ – meaning that these are appropriate investment choices when the market is showing a trend of going down.
Remember – if you don’t know what the market is doing – the choice is to put money in a money market account which is the equivalent of a ‘cash’ position.
Here’s how you would use an ETF: Let’s say that you notice that the market is going up – or that a segment of the market is going up, like health care, oil or gold rising. And, you aren’t picking individual stocks. You could do all of this by investing in these ETFs – U.S. Health Care (IYH), the U.S. Oil Fund (USO) and Gold (GLD). Nearly everything you can think of has an ETF – or there will be one coming soon – because this is an essential way that investors are choosing to invest these days.
Exchange Traded Funds can be foundational to your investing methodology to take charge of your money and grow wealth!
Joan Perry is the publisher of www.WomensWealth.money, the national authority site for women and money. She is a Best Selling Author of ‘A Girl Needs Cash’, Random House; and Living Proof, Celebrating the Gifts that Came Wrapped in Sandpaper (co-authored with Lisa Nichols). Joan is also the creator of The Women’s Wealth Model, A Heroine’s Journey to True Wealth,. As a pioneer in the field of women’s wealth, she founded the first female-owned investment banking firm that underwrote and traded municipal bonds for major governmental entities. Now as a women’s wealth advocate, she serves as a teacher, coach, writer and speaker.