12 Best Index Funds to Invest in 2023
Index Funds are a collection of securities and stocks which when grouped together follows a particular benchmark or index. Index Funds are created by investment banks or agencies. There are different index funds based on various stock market indices. Index Funds can be of two types, index mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs.
The significant difference between an Index Fund and a regular stock is that the former is passively managed and the latter is actively managed. In passive management, stocks are given the time to grow without consistently buying and selling shares. This means that the expenses incurred during a usual trade are limited. Therefore, index funds can be a desirable option compared to regular stock market securities, if an individual is looking forward to investing long-term.
Index Funds are created based on a particular index, and the guiding lines of those indices will always stay above the growth of the index fund. There are various combinations of index funds in the market, and individuals should choose what they want to invest in according to their needs. There isn’t one best index fund to invest in, but here is a list of our top 12 best index funds to invest in in the year 2023.
1. Vanguard S&P 500 ETF
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF is based on the index called S&P 500 or Standard and Poor’s 500. Investors can buy Exchange Traded Funds in the stock market during working hours. The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF was first traded in the year 2001. The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF is a sought-after index among investors for their diversified stock selections.
Vanguard is a stock brokerage which is famous for its low-cost brokerage fees. The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF has an expense ratio of only 0.03%, which is a meagre amount according to market standards. This also means that more than most of the profits will go to the investors themselves. This index is an excellent option for long-term investors as it is low-risk and less expensive.
2.Chwab S&P 500 Index Fund
The Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund is also an S&P 500 index. Most of the best funds follow the S&P 500 Index because it gives a list of the top 500 companies in the US and can be considered as the representation of the US stock market.
The Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund was created by Charles Schwab. It is a slightly smaller index fund when compared to Vanguard S&P 500 ETF. But Schwab S&P 500 Index Funds have an almost non-existent expense ratio of 0.02%. The Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund is available to buy from the Schwab company itself or other online brokers.
3. Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
Holding a total stock market index fund is like owning a part of the entire equities of the US stock market. This means that the total stock market index fund will have the stock of all the companies in the US stock market. As the name suggests, Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF is an Exchange Traded Fund.
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF also has an expense ratio of 0.04%. But unlike many other total stock market index funds, the vanguard total stock market ETF charges a minimum investment of 3000 dollars. The Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF trails the CRSP US Total Market Index.
4. Fidelity ZERO Large Cap Index
This index fund is one of those special funds with a zero expense ratio. The name rightfully suggests that as well. The Fidelity large-cap index is a collection of securities that are top players in the stock market. Large-cap companies are well established in the business field, and the risk will be considerably low.
Investing in these index funds does not require the investor to make a minimum investment. There can be a small transaction fee.
This fund has provided a return of -10.95% in the past year. But taking the last three years, it has given a profit of 10.63%
The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF is an index fund which follows the benchmark index of the S&P 500. iShares is a leading Exchange Traded Fund provider in the market, which was first introduced in the year 2000. The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF has an expense ratio of around 0.03%. The fund currently has a holding of about 503. The total returns in the last ten years are approximately 12.52%, and the previous year is -18.13%.
iShares is a brokerage that deals with ETFs and comes under a company called BlackRock.
6. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust
This index fund is another one that follows the S&P 500 index. The SPDR is an Exchange Traded Fund that came into existence in 1993. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust is one of the oldest and most heavily followed ETF index funds since it is considered one of the first ETF funds to start the ETF frenzy.
The State Street Global Advisors sponsor the SPDR S&P 500 ETF. SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust has an expense ratio of around 0.95%. Shareholders of the top 500 companies in the US will have this fund in their investment portfolio.
7. Vanguard Russell 2000 ETF
The Vanguard Russell 2000 ETF is an index fund which is a collection of 2000 securities. And all of these are from small-cap companies. The expense ratio can go as low as 0.10% since Vanguard sponsors this index fund. The Vanguard Russell 2000 ETF is an Exchange Traded Fund which follows the Russell 2000 index.
This index fund was first traded in the year 2010. Its 10-year trailing returns come to around 9.05%, and last year was about -6.47%. Company employees use this fund as a 401(k) plan for retirement. There is also no minimum investment requirement.
8.Invesco QQQ Trust ETF
Invesco QQQ Trust ETF is an index fund with a collection of non-financial companies. Instead, all the companies in this fund are technology- or growth-based. This index fund is sponsored and managed by Invesco, an investment management firm. The Invesco QQQ Trust ETF was first introduced in 1999 and currently has a collection of large-cap companies. The expense ratio of the fund is around 0.20%.
The ‘QQQ’ in the name of the index fund has its roots in the original NASDAQ ticker name. The Invesco QQQ Trust ETF follows the NASDAQ 100 index.
9. Shelton NASDAQ-100 Index Direct
Similar to the Invesco QQQ Trust ETF, the Shelton NASDAQ 100 Index Direct is also a representation of companies that are non-financial and are instead more along the lines of technology. But the difference is that the former is an ETF, and the latter is a Mutual Fund.
This mutual trust fund had its inception in the year 2000. The expense ratio of this fund is 0.5%. This index fund invests in companies that are in the NASDAQ 100 index. In the last year, Shelton NASDAQ-100 Index Direct saw a yield of -16.11%, taking the last ten years into account, and it has a total gain of 16.33%.
10. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is another index which is followed by a lot of brokerages. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust is one of the index funds that the State Street Global Advisors curated. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust is also one of the earliest ETF funds, which started trading in 1998.
What makes this index fund unique is that there are only limited ETFs that follow the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Investors who want to follow the Dow Jones Industrial Average or invest in blue-chip companies can invest in this index fund. The expense ratio is around 0.16%, and an investor can hold stocks of 30 large-cap companies when investing in SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust.
11.VanEck Semiconductor ETF
VanEck Semiconductor ETF is an index fund which is a collection of securities of those companies that produce semiconductors and other products and equipment related to semiconductors. VanEck Semiconductor ETF is one of the newest ETFs on the list and was first traded in 2020. VanEck Semiconductor ETF has currently got about 25 holdings under this ETF. The expense ratio of this ETF is 0.35%
12. Wilshire 5000 Index Fund (WFIVX)
Wilshire 5000 Index Fund follows the Wilshire 5000 index. The Wilshire 5000 Index Fund only has a holding of 1700 companies, even though it is called a 5000 index fund. But this is a very sought-after index fund, but it is a bit expensive compared to the other top index funds.
The investors must pay a minimum investment of 1000 dollars, and its expense ratio is around 0.54%. This fund was first put out in the year 1999. Wilshire 5000 Index Fund has a yearly yield of 0.85%, and its last 10-year yield was around 12%.
The above-mentioned index funds can be bought either directly from the company sponsoring it or through online brokers. Index funds follow one of the Indices that are present in the market. But not all index funds have got all the securities available. There is a combination of securities, and an investor should choose a fund according to their needs and financial goals.
What are the Best Index Funds to Invest in Long-Term Growth?
ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds are the best index funds to invest for long-term growth. This is because ETFs are freely traded in the stock market and are also very inexpensive to maintain. Index funds that track famous indices like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average give investors the confidence to put their money in those funds, especially since they have always been profitable.
The value of the index fund comes back up even if it goes down during the recession. Therefore, investing in index funds are always beneficial in the long run. A few of the best index funds are as follows:
- Fidelity ZERO Large Cap Index: Fidelity ZERO Large Cap Index provides funds without minimum investment and with a zero expense ratio. Fidelity ZERO Large Cap Index is also one of the newest funds.
- Vanguard S&P 500 ETF: Investing in an ETF sponsored by Vanguard will imply that they have a meager expense ratio. And besides, they also track the S&P 500 index. Therefore, it is safe to say that it is a sure-shot way to gain profits if this index fund is in your portfolio.
- Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF: This index fund is unique for its balanced and appropriate inclusion of all the types of companies in the US market. Be it small cap or big cap, and financial and non-financial. The more diversity in stocks, less is the risk involved.
The aforementioned funds are generally accepted index funds in the US stock market. As an investor, you should also look into the types of companies that these index funds are holding.
What are the Safest Index Funds to Invest?
Index Funds are safer than most actively managed stocks and securities. The safest index funds to invest in are mostly bonds and ETFs. And more specifically, ETFs that track the S&P 500 index or Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The following are a few of the safest index funds to invest in 2023:
- The US Treasury Index Funds: The US Treasury Index Funds can be considered the safest index fund to invest. Treasury bonds are the financial instruments with the least amount of risk.
- Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF: This index fund has a collection of companies that provide high-profit yields. And its expense ratio is also around 0.06%.
- Vanguard Real Estate ETF: This is a fund which is based on real estate investment trusts. Real estate index funds are comparatively safer than most S&P 500 funds, as they give more significant dividends.
Many more index funds can be added to the list. But this list can also vary since the stock market is subject to fast changes.
What is the Best Bond Index Fund to Invest?
The least risky financial instrument of all financial avenues is Bonds. A corporation, government or company issues a bond to raise funds from the investor for a particular period. The total bond market fund will provide you with all the bonds available. You will find our best picks for top bond index funds to invest in the list given below:
- Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares: This index bond fund follows the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Float Adjusted Bond Index. Its duration is 6.8 years, and an investor should make a minimum investment of 3000 dollars.
- Fidelity US Bond Index Fund: This index fund tracks the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index. But unlike the previous bond index fund, this fund does not have a minimum investment requirement. Its duration is for 6.47 years.
- Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond Index Fund: Similar to the previous two bond index funds, this fund also tracks the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index. This one also does not have a minimum investment requirement. And its duration is for 6.6 years.
Bond Index funds are one of the safest and the most sure-shot ways to gain dividends. The Bond index funds mentioned above are just a few of the bond index funds in the market.
What are the Best Specialized Index Funds to Invest?
Specialized Index Funds are those pools of funds to be invested in a particular group of companies from a single sector or an industry. This means that a specialized index fund is a collection of companies from similar backgrounds. A few of the top performers in the category of specialized index funds are as follows:
- VanEck Semiconductor ETF: This index fund is a collection of companies producing and making semiconductors and materials.
- Invesco QQQ Trust ETF: This index fund focuses on all the technologically based companies.
- Vanguard Financial Index: As the name suggests, it has a bevy of financially based companies.
There are plenty of index funds, literally thousands in the world, out of which there are specialized index funds. Specialized Index funds help you to be invested in companies of a particular industry or sector.
What is an Index Fund?
Index Funds are a group of stocks representing a particular sector or an industry. Index Funds are based on a benchmark index in the stock market. And the index funds which follow this benchmark mimic this index. This means that when the index loses its value, we can predict or foresee the index funds and all the stocks under it losing their value.
But Index funds are a great way to lock in your long-term investments. There are passively managed funds and, therefore, much cheaper than usual stock that you trade in the stock markets daily. Index funds can be of two types, Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded Funds. Index Funds are available to buy from the official sites of the fund’s sponsors and the stock market itself in the case of ETFs.
How to Choose the Best Index Fund to Invest?
The best Index Funds can be chosen by keeping in mind the 5 points given below.
- Choose the required sector: There are various sectors and industries within the stock market. The index funds can be smaller in size even though the indices contain a large number of companies in them. And it also narrows down considerably to incorporate various types. For example, there can be an index fund with tech and FMCG companies. Therefore, it is up to the investor to find out what companies they want to invest in.
- Choose the type of fund: Index funds are mainly of two types: Mutual Funds and Exchange Traded funds. It is called a mutual fund when the pooled amount or funds are invested in stocks that the brokerage or investment firms see fit. On the other hand, ETFs are a group of securities traded together during stock market hours.
- Know the expense ratio: The expense ratio of each index fund may be different and can depend on the firm which sponsors that index fund. Therefore, research about the brokerage and investment firms as well.
- Minimum Investment: Most index funds require a minimum investment to start investing in it. But there are also other funds which do not need one. Therefore, know all the facts about the fund before investing. You can purchase directly from the sponsoring company or a trusted broker.
- Fund Performance: The graphs of the index are always better than the fund’s index. But it also depends upon the group of securities in the fund. Therefore, study the charts as well before choosing an index fund.
Before making any investment, it is the responsibility of the investor to learn as much as possible about the investment avenue. Therefore, even though these are the main points to note, you may want to check out the sponsors and managers behind the index fund and research well regarding all the aspects of the fund.
What is the Best Time to Invest in Index Funds?
Index Funds benefit long-term investors because they have a low maintenance fee. Investors can invest at any point in time. And in most cases, after a period of 20 or 30 years, there may be growth. But even still, index funds are still part and parcel of the stock market, and the stock market is the most volatile financial place on the globe.
How to Invest in Index Funds?
An Investor looking forward to investing in index funds can do it in two ways:
- Through the stock market: Index funds that are ETFs or Exchange Traded Funds can be bought and sold through the stock market. And you can also directly buy the mutual funds from the sponsor companies’ websites. All of these should be done by yourself.
- Through the brokerage: You can buy index funds through brokerage firms in order to decrease the efforts in finding the most accurate ones and to maintain the portfolio.
Investors extensively use both methods. The methods are employed depending on the type of index fund they choose.
Why are Index Funds a Popular Investment?
Index funds are an excellent investment avenue for all long-term investors because the expense ratio is comparatively less than when investing in standard stocks. Investors also choose Index Funds over traditional stocks because they provide greater diversification at low costs. Managing a diversified portfolio with actively traded stock will cost a lot of money, as fund managers are expensive.
But index funds will be passively managed and hence only require the attention of fund managers sometimes. You will only have to have a good brokerage and then be generally vigilant. This will also mean that investing in index funds is less risky. Since it is a group of stocks and they are well diversified.
Are Index Fund Investments beneficial?
Yes, Index Fund investments are highly beneficial for all those investors looking forward to investing long-term. Index Funds can be a low-cost option when it comes to investing as compared to actively managed funds.
The risk associated with index fund investments is also limited as market-approved indices guide them, and usually, index funds mimic the index it follows. The profits are also quite good since the expense ratio is low. All the proceeds go to the investor’s account apart from the meagre transaction fees and low expense charges.
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