How To Buy Good ETFs

How To Buy Good ETFs

After we have set up our brokerage accounts, we need to figure out what ETFs should we actually purchase. The reality is there are thousands of ETFs out there, and it can be mind-boggling to seek out good ETFs from the array of choices. Once again, the key is really to determine what your investment objective is. Trading ETFs short term and investing ETFs long term have vastly differing strategies. For the purposes of this mini-course, we will cover the mid-long term investment objective.

Here are some factors you may wish to consider when you are trying to find a good ETF:

1. Trading Volume – The volume of shares traded is an accurate indicator of its liquidity. Generally speaking, an investor or trader will prefer ETFs with high liquidity. The reason is because ETFs with high volume traded will decrease the bid-ask spread of the share. Bid-ask spread is the difference between the price at which a buyer wants to buy and a seller wants to sell. If the difference is vast, this means that you are less likely to move your shares when you want to sell them in the future. This is also one reason why the good ETFs will remain popular for long periods of time.

2. Size of ETF – You do not want to plow your money into just any ETF. It should also have a large amount of assets in holding. An ETF that has a net asset value of below $10 million likely means that it is not very popular with investors. This will eventually turn into illiquidity and wide spreads.

3. Diversification – One of the key advantages of investing in ETFs is its ease of diversification of assets. Whenever you buy an ETF, think about how this would add diversification to your current portfolio. For example, if you would like to diversify your portfolio greatly, you might want to purchase an ETF that covers a broad index.

4. Expense Ratio – Before you make your investment, you need to consider your costs. An average ETF carries an expense ratio of 0.44%. This means that a $100,000 invested in ETFs will cost you $440 in fees per year. Mutual Index Funds on the other hand can roll up to as high as 1-3%. When choosing your ETF, it is advisable to pick one that has a low expense ratio. However, not all ETFs are the same. There are many unproven, unorthodox ETFs which might incur high expense ratio. New investors should generally avoid such plays.

This introduction covers the 4 basic ways to find good ETFs. Of course, as you become more experienced, there may be other attributes of an ETF which you might include into your selection criteria. The bottom line is you have be familiar with the ETF which you are investing so that it is aligned to your long term objectives. An investor needs to take the holistic approach and be tolerant of short term volatility to take full advantage of exchange-traded funds.

How To Buy Bonds And Build A Portfolio

How To Buy Bonds And Build A Portfolio

If you have decided that bonds are the right investment for you, now your probably asking how to buy bonds. Bonds are an amazing way to invest your money, and can often be done on your own without a brokerage. Typically bond transactions are quite similar to stock transactions. It has to go through a brokerage. There are two options that are available – standard brokerage or specialized bond brokerage. Bond brokers require a minimum deposit into an account to get it going. If you do not have a minimum sum, such as $5,000-$10,000, you might wish to purchase a bond fund instead of buying individual physical bonds.

How To Buy Bonds?

In certain areas, banks also act as brokerages. This is especially true if you wish to purchase government bonds. Of course, it is also possible to purchase government bond from government bodies.

Purchasing bonds through brokerages come at a commission cost. At some brokerages, this commission cost is included into the price of the bond, or the “marked up price”. To ensure that you do not get overcharged in commissions, you can always search up the price of the bond online and do a quick validation.
Alternatively, you can buy a bond fund, which is a specialized security that consists of bonds and debts. The industry in which the bond is involved with differs between fund to fund. A bond fund is designed to mirror the performance of certain bond indexes or bond price trend, you will need to do research on an array of other factors such as the long term track record of the fund, the investment philosophy of the fund manager, the costs involved with investing in a mutual fund as well as the macroeconomic trends. Typically when you make a purchase in a bond fund, you will have to pay the fund manager an annual or semi-annual management fee. Be sure to factor in these hidden costs in your evaluation of the fund.

Although investing in bond funds might complicate things a little more in terms of research, a great bond fund pick can save you countless hours of headache and yield you above market returns for a long time to come.

Building A Bond Portfolio

The ultimate long-term investment goal is to build a portfolio that is able to consistently beat market returns while hedging against market swings and volatilities. The quickest way to build a great portfolio with superior returns is by investing in stocks. However, if you are a retired investor or just want to take the back seat approach in investing, you will definitely need to consider the possibility of crafting a bonds portfolio, or a fixed-income portfolio.

In theory, not many people would want to craft a portfolio that is entirely made up of bonds. However, bonds can play a major role if you are looking to build a fixed income portfolio. A fixed income portfolio is one that will generate a good passive income due to dividends or interest payouts.

A good, and conservative fixed-income portfolio should consist of about 30%-40% in low risk bonds. Besides low risk bonds, stocks and equities should also play a big part in your strategies. However, the stocks that you want to invest in are probably not volatile ones such as high-tech, bio-tech etc. The stocks you want are big, stable companies that yield very high dividends. They should also be in an evergreen market, not cyclic, and be reasonable priced. Investing in stocks is certainly risky, which is why we want to mitigate this risk by placing most of our cash flow into low risk bonds.

Other things you might want to include in the portfolio can include “real estate investment trusts” or REITs. Land space is only going to get more and more expensive, and investing in real estate trusts is a great way to leverage this trend as well as nailing some high interest rates. Investing in real estate offers the investor an excellent way to diversify from financial and credit risks brought about by stocks and bonds. A typical portfolio consists of 10-15% of REITs.

Besides risk free bonds, you can also choose to purchase high-yield bonds

High-yield bonds have low credit rating but a much higher yield. Considering that you are taking a big risk in this investment, as in the chances of default are a lot higher, it should only form about 4-7% of your entire portfolio.

Leveraging bonds to build a fixed income portfolio can be an incredibly rewarding process because of the predictable, consistent revenue they generate. If you are conservative in nature and are thinking about investing for the long term, be sure to study this in more detail and you will be able to confidently reap the benefits of bond investment.