New to Investing? Take a Look at These Funds

When you’re just starting to invest, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options. Instead of rushing in and buying something you don’t understand, purchasing an exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an excellent first move. ETFs are similar to mutual funds, except they trade like a stock.

There are thousands of these ETFs, each centered around a different theme. Some good ones to start with are the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI 0.43%), the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO 0.39%), and the Vanguard Russell 2000 ETF (VTWO 0.61%). These are basic but important in every investor’s portfolio. Here’s why all investors (even experienced ones) should consider these three ETFs.

The basis of all portfolios should include these indexes

The Total Stock Market ETF centers around all stocks traded in the U.S. This includes small and micro-cap stocks that the Vanguard 500 (which tracks the S&P 500) misses. As a result, the index has captured the rise of companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Tesla, where the S&P 500 didn’t. However, capturing these rises doesn’t always mean outperformance.

Data by YCharts.

While these two closely track each other, there are different time periods where one might outperform the other. Because of that, purchasing both in equal amounts is a great idea.

Another reason these two should be your first purchase is the instant diversification it provides. You’re purchasing thousands (Total Stock Market) plus 500 (Vanguard 500) companies spread across multiple sectors with both indexes. This prevents being over-exposed to one sector, which might occur when you first begin.

Lastly, purchasing these indexes isn’t settling. This was a common misconception I had when I first began investing, but sometimes matching the market is a wise investment strategy. Warren Buffett believes most investors would succeed by purchasing a low-cost index fund like these two. In fact, when he passes away, 90% of his estate will be invested in one of these funds.

Both of these ETFs would make great…

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