Diversification In Relation To Index Funds – Episode #20

Do Index Funds provide enough diversification? Is it a bad idea to only hold a few index funds as your entire investment portfolio? In today’s episode Ethan Bloch answers these questions.

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Links from today’s episode:

Stocks Are King. But Bonds Can Be Tasty Too! – Episode #19
Comment about Index Fund diversification

  • Diversification is the key to an impressive stock portfolio.

  • Thai

    LOL, the 'Easter Bunny' analogy was a nice touch.

  • Carl

    A couple brokerages for index funds have been recommended; however, they all require a minimum to invest as well as charge for each index fund purchase. I was looking at a couple others, and it appears that scottrade has the lowest min to invest as well as the lowest commissions. Considering that, I wondered why you didn't recommend scottrade on your previous episodes.

    Is it simply that those companies with greater commission rates have better customer support, or am I missing something else that vanguard and other companies provide that scottrade does not? What do you have to say of scottrade?

    Thanks for the help.

    Carl

  • Hi Carl,

    So Schwab has a minimum of $100, Vagaurd is $3000 and Fidelity is usually $10000 but the bond fund I reccomended is $2500. That being said NONE of these brokerages charge commissions to invest in their Index Funds. They are completely FREE of transaction costs and loads... completely. The only charge is the management fee, which is represented by the expense ratio. You can view all the different Stock Index Funds I've recommended here (this also shows the different fee's associated with each): http://www.thewaytobuildwea... , http://www.thewaytobuildwea...

    I'm am wondering where you read or saw that there are commissions on these index funds?

    Now if you buy another firms index fund, for example if you have an account with Fidelity and buy a Vanguard index fund there will definitely be a transaction fee. So you gotta make sure your buying the index funds offered by your brokerage. And this is the reason I didn't recommend Scottrade as a good brokerage for Index Fund's, because they don't have any of their own Index Funds.

    They do however offer index funds from other firms, and in some instances don't charge you any commissions or no loads. However to find these needles in the haystack it is not that easy and out of the entire basket of these funds, there are only three worth mentioning: WFIVX, a Total Stock Market Index Fund with a minimum initial investment of $1000 (decent, Schwab is $100) but an expense ratio of 0.68% (terrible, Schwab's comparable fund is 0.52%). The next is WFVEX, an S&P 500 Index Fund with a minimum initial investment of $2500 and an expense ratio of 0.45% (closer to Vanguard's minimum of $3000 but nowhere near Vanguards fee of 0.15%) . And finally the most comparable fund to the index funds I've recommended from Fidelity and Vanguard is SVSPX, an S&P 500 index fund with minimum initial investment of $10000 (decent, Vanguards is $3000 and Fidelity is $10000) and an expense ratio of 0.18% (bad, Vanguards is 0.15% and Fidelity's is 0.10%). If I've missed something please don't hesitate to tell me.

    I should say Scottrade does offer ETFs, but your gonna pay a transaction fee everytime you contribute to them. Here are my thoughts on ETFs, http://www.thewaytobuildwea....

    Finally, Scottrade is a great low cost brokerage and I do have an account with them. But I only purchase individual companies common stocks through them and not index funds. In fact down the road I will be doing an episode about of the best brokerages for investing in stocks and Scottrade will be one of the brokerages.

    Thanks for the question. I hope this helps.

    Cheers.

    Ethan

  • Carl

    I appreciate the great explanation.

    Looking back, I had confused option order prices for regular market order prices for index index funds. I was looking here:
    http://www.scottrade.com/on...

    As an aside, I want to thank you and everyone involved for putting this show together. I'm graduating soon and with some of the job offers I've received, I'll be making more money than I know what to do with as a single guy, so I expect to put the knowledge I'm gaining from your show to good use very soon.

    Keep up the good work.

    Carl

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