Major Stock Market Indexes You Should Know

stock market indexesWhen you invest in funds, knowing the different stock market indexes is key to building a portfolio and tracking its performance. There are two basic reasons why you should know what each index measures:

  • to know how an index fund invests
  • to make a performance comparison

This is because you’re either invested in index funds or picking mutual funds that try to beat an index.

The first point is fairly straight forward. To better understand how an index fund works, just research the index it tracks.

The index tells you the type of stocks in the fund and how the fund invests based on the rules laid out. Just knowing those two things should give you a good idea if it fits in your portfolio or not. Continue Reading…

ETF Liquidation: What Happens When An ETF Closes

ETF LiquidationThere is no denying the popularity of ETFs. As we watch this market continue to grow, it’s only natural to see the unsuccessful funds fail along the way. This leads to ETF liquidation and investors worried about their money.

When an ETF closes, it’s not a guarantee you’ll lose money. The good news is there are steps you can take to avoid these unsuccessful ETFs and ways to deal with the liquidation process if it happens to you.

Warning Signs

So why does an ETF get shut down? The same reason any fund does – a lack of invested money. There are several reasons for this, which happen to be the same reasons to avoid suspect ETFs: Continue Reading…

The Beginner’s Guide To Smart Beta

Smart BetaThe rise of index funds, and the low-cost price wars, has changed much of the financial industry. The days of high cost active funds are dwindling. But if the financial industry is good at anything, its finding a way to reinvent itself, at the expense of your wallet.

Introducing Smart Beta – the newest iteration of index funds and ETFs that try to push the boundaries of performance. Some succeed, others won’t, but collectively, these smart beta funds make up a range of strategies.

In other words, you have more fund choices, with a range of differences, some more confusing than before, and more are coming. This guide is meant as a starting point to learning more about smart beta ETFs, how it works, and what you should know before buying the hype. Continue Reading…

How To Start An Automatic Investment Plan

Set up Automatic Investment PlanThe best way to make a habit of saving and investing is to automate it. It throws behavior out the window, removes mistakes (or lowers the chance of it at least), and enforces discipline without trying. All you have to do is start an automatic investment plan.

Automatic saving has been around for years. Now there are tools available to help you automate investing.

Automatic Investing Works

Making systematic, monthly investments is the best way to stick to your goals. Anytime you automate that process it increases your chance of success. Not to mention, it makes it simpler for you. Continue Reading…

Commission-Free ETFs: Worth The Savings?

Commission Free ETFsThe commission-free ETF craze is a growing trend among brokers fighting for your investment dollars. Free is a big selling point.

With ETFs already a popular alternative to mutual funds, taking advantage of an opportunity to cut commissions is persuasive. Your current online broker may already offer commission-free ETFs as an investment choice. But is it the best option for you?

Commissions Are Relative

A $5 to $10 trading fee may not seem like much but brokerage commissions are just a cost to your portfolio’s returns. Every dollar you spend must be made back just to break even. The cost is relative when you consider the amount you’re investing. But as the table below shows, the return you need to break even can be very high. Continue Reading…