Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are an excellent way for you to start investing. They’re simple to get the hang of and capable of generating significant profits without having to spend too many figures. But, what is it?

An ETF is a tool that lets investors buy several amounts of stocks or bonds simultaneously. The way it works is: 

  • You buy a certain amount of ETFs belonging to a particular index.
  • Your investment will be given to the same amount of companies specified in that index. 
  • Because they trade more like stocks, you even have the option to buy shares of ETF at any time, as long as the stock market is open.

To get you up to speed, here are some essential concepts that you should know beforehand.

There are two types of ETF. First, the passive ETFs are only capable of tracking a given stock index. Second, active ETFs, which hire portfolio managers and get them to invest the money at hand.

ETFs handle charge fees, know as expense ratios, which you can find listed as the annual percentage.

Finally, most (if not all) ETFs pay dividends. Dividends are a given income given to you just for being the owner of stocks. You can choose for your dividends to either be paid in cash or for them to be reinvested.

Another essential point of ETFs is that there is no minimum investment requirement, but in return, they deal with trade on a per-share basis, meaning that you’ll need to have enough money to pay at least the current price of one share before beginning to deal with ETFs.

Advantages and disadvantages of ETFs


  • ETFs supply a great catalogue of potential stocks, usually at fair prices.
  • ETFs do all the research and guesswork for you, as they invest based on the market’s registered performance. 
  • ETFs are extremely easy to buy and sell.
  • ETFs can take out the pressure of giving variety to your stock catalogue from your shoulders, as they will automatically choose from a series of businesses at once.


  • Buying stocks via ETFs usually doesn’t have as much profit as compared to buying stocks individually.
  • ETFs, while usually not expensive, are still not free (bummer).

How to invest with ETFs

Open a brokerage account.

As with many other options in the stock market, you need a brokerage account before you can enter the world of ETFs. Nowadays, many brokerage account providers already offer access to ETF services when settling an account, so it isn’t even that much of an expense in retrospect. Investigate and evaluate which provider suits your needs the best.

Choosing an ETF

If this is your first venture into ETFs, you should probably start with a passive index fund, as they’re usually cheaper and tend to be more profitable in most cases. Some options for beginners could be one of the following:

  • Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
  • Schwab International Equity ETF
  • Schwab U.S. REIT ETF
  • Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF

Trust your ETF

Always have in mind that ETFs are usually meant to work automatically, with little to no influence from you after your first interaction.

ETFs have already proven to be trustworthy and reliable, so you’re at your best when letting it do its work as intended, without forcing any changes out of a sudden. Even if at some point it seems to be taking some short-term risks with your investments, remember: your assets are at their best when letting them grow over a large amount of time.