Why I Prefer Investing in ETFs: A Guide to Smart Investing

Brian Chan
7 min readSep 25, 2023
Photo by Tyler Prahm on Unsplash

In today’s fast-paced financial world, making the right investment choices can seem like an overwhelming task, especially if you’re new to the game. However, I have a simple yet effective strategy that I’ve been using for years: I invest primarily in Exchange-Traded Funds or ETFs. Let me break down why I believe they’re the way to go and how you can benefit from them too.

What is an ETF?

The definition from investopedia[1]:

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a type of pooled investment security that operates much like a mutual fund. Typically, ETFs will track a particular index, sector, commodity, or other assets, but unlike mutual funds, ETFs can be purchased or sold on a stock exchange the same way that a regular stock can. An ETF can be structured to track anything from the price of an individual commodity to a large and diverse collection of securities. ETFs can even be structured to track specific investment strategies.

ETFs are traded throughout the day on stock exchanges, just like individual stocks. This brings us to the first advantage of ETFs:

1. High Transparency and Liquidity

One of the key benefits of ETFs is their transparency and liquidity. You can easily buy and sell ETFs during market hours, just like regular stocks. All you need is the ETF’s ticker symbol, such as SPY for the S&P 500 ETF or QQQ for the Nasdaq 100 ETF. You can check their prices in real time and execute trades instantly. In contrast, mutual funds are priced once a day, making them less flexible for active trading.

2. Cost-Efficiency

ETFs generally have lower costs compared to mutual funds. They typically come with lower management fees, often well below 1%. For example, the VOO ETF has a management fee of just 0.03%[2]. On the other hand, mutual funds can have high upfront fees, often reaching up to 1%[4], along with additional management fees and minimum investment requirements.

ETF Details of VOO

3. Diversification