What is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)?

ETF is short for exchange-traded fund and is a collection of stocks or other assets. When you buy an ETF, you’re buying all of the stocks that are in the ETF without having to buy each one separately. Just like stocks, ETFs are traded on an exchange and because of that they can be bought and sold throughout the day. They usually track an index like the S&P 500 or closer to home, the ASX Top200.

At a first glance, an ETF might look a bit like its distant relative: a unit trust. But unlike its cousin, this sexy little portfolio of different shares, bonds, and other instruments, is single and ready to mingle – it can be traded on stock exchanges (like the ASX) as one instrument. The most common ETFs are designed to track the performance of a market benchmark or index by mirroring the makeup of that index in a portfolio.

Other ETFs can track things like the performance of the SPDR MSCI Australia Select High Dividend Yield (SYI).  When these indexes go up or down, so does that ETF’s price and the value of your investment.

ETFs are an important diversification tool which have recently gained popularity because of their costs, which are lower than traditional actively managed funds. That means you don’t have to pay high fees to own one (we love that)! Instead of buying a bunch of physical gold pieces, burying them, and drawing up a treasure map (X marks the spot), you can buy a gold ETF and still enjoy the perks.

The upside of ETFs

  • One transaction, many shares
  • Your risk is spread
  • Pocket Friendly
  • International Shares - Booya!
  • Easy to Buy, Easy to Sell
  • Transparent Info

New to investing and want to know about the latest research?

Stocks, which are considered to be higher-risk investments, have historically delivered much better returns for investors who have long time horizons.

If you invest your money instead of keeping it in a savings account, you would have the potential to beat inflation with any returns above inflation made from your investment.


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