Here are some index fund investment tips that investors can use when choosing investments. Index funds are basically mutual funds that track a market index (S&P 500, NASDAQ, etc.). As index funds do not require extensive management to decide where to invest, the funds generally have low fees and expenses and make investing simple for the average investor. While index funds are quite popular, there are things that an investor should be aware of and consider before investing.
Look at Fees
The low fees of an index fund are one of its most attractive qualities. While index funds generally have low fees, some are lower than others. As the idea of an index fund is to simply track a market or segment of a market, there is no need to pay high fees that an investor might consider paying for better management with a regular mutual fund.
The Two Sides of Safety
Index funds are looked upon as a ‘safer’ investment than many others due to their built in diversity. While index funds are unlikely to dramatically fall in value (unless the market as a whole tanks), index funds are also less likely to have spectacular positive returns. Of course, index funds that track smaller segments of the market (small cap, etc.) are more volatile and hold greater risk of a steep decline and a greater opportunity for growth.
Emerging Market Exposure
Index funds can also be used to give an investor exposure to overseas markets. Foreign market index funds might track the returns of emerging markets in general, a specific region, a specific country or parts of a foreign market. These diverse index funds allow an investor to be exposed to foreign markets without having to learn about and evaluate specific foreign companies.
Investors who believe a general area of the market is about to turn up can also use index funds to their advantage. For example, if an investor feels that technology spending is about to increase and wants to be positioned to profit from the trend, the investor can purchase an index fund that tracks technology stocks instead of having to pick individual stocks to purchase.