Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, can offer you valuable benefits, and when purchased with some research, offer distinct advantages like low upfront fees, ease of purchase and the ability to snag some stock in indexes you may be interested in like tech, pharma , housing or even sustainability companies.

ETFs are a basket of securities that you can buy or sell through a brokerage firm on a stock exchange.

“Investors of all levels of experience—whether they’re just starting out or have been investing for decades—are well served by building low-cost, broadly diversified portfolios of mutual funds and ETFs that align with their unique circumstances,” said Vanguard spokesperson Michael W Nolan. “It’s important for investors to focus on the things they can control, such as keeping investment costs low, setting an asset allocation that is appropriate for their investment goals and tolerance for risk, and sticking with their plan through the ups and downs of the market .”

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For reference, Nolan stated that investors can develop low-cost, diversified, long-term portfolios with four core Vanguard ETFs: Total Stock Market ETF, Total International Stock ETF, Total Bond Market ETF and Total International Bond ETF. Another simple alternative for global, market-capitalization-weighted equity exposure, says Nolan, is Total World Stock ETF.

tickerSecurityloadChangechange %
VTIVANGUARD INDEX FUNDS VANGUARD TOTAL STK MKT ETF195.320.000.00%
VXUSVANGUARD STAR FD TOTAL INTL STOCK INDEX FD E54.85+0.31+0.57%
BNDVANGUARD BD INDEX FUND INC TOTAL BOND MARKET ETF76.32+0.23+0.30%
BNDXVANGUARD CHARLOTTE FUNDS TOTAL INTL BOND ETF50.72+0.02+0.04%
VTVANGUARD TOTAL WORLD STOCK ETF89.35+0.25+0.28%

Furthermore, FOX Business asked a financial expert about how to choose the right ETFs for new, average and skilled investors.

“Overall ETFs arguably have leveled the playing field by giving all investors access to a wide variety of asset classes and market segments,” says DJ Tierney, senior portfolio strategist at Schwab.

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Novice investors

For newer investors, Tierney said ETFs with broad, low-cost diversified exposure to US and international equities may be a good first step.

“The Schwab US Broad Market ETF offers broad US equity market exposure,” he said.

tickerSecurityloadChangechange %
SCHBSCHWAB STRATEGIC TR US BROAD MKT ETF45.77-0.02-0.04%

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Average investors

For typical investors, Tierney said they can put several ETFs together to create a diversified portfolio with equity, US and international, fixed income and real assets all in a portfolio.

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Experienced investors

Skilled investors may be interested in diversifying equity exposure amid factor exposures, Tierney said.

“Fundamental indexing is an example of moving beyond traditional indexing and instead weighting companies by their economic footprint,” added Tierney.