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on March 17, 2007
Reading this 338-page book will make you a very intelligent ETF investor. Whether or not you will be successful depends on you. Russell Wild, the author, provides a solid, entertaining, and comprehensive analysis of ETFs - the latest Wall Street craze. ETFs have grown to over $400 billion in assets with over 438 ETFs in existence.

Wild begins with the history of ETFs. Then he compares ETFs to stocks and mutual funds including the tax implications of selling ETFs, and the differences in annual expense ratios. A comparison to closed-end funds would have also been helpful, since many investors are not familiar with that useful investment category.

One chapter introduces the need to open a brokerage account to buy and sell ETFs, and then focuses on the major firms offering them. Next, the author delves into the riskiness of ETFs, how risk is measured, and discusses beta and correlation. Many investors will learn a great deal about risk in this chapter, which they often neglect in making investment decisions.

The author has multiple chapters on the basic ETFs, including large and small caps focusing separately on value and growth, and then reviews sector ETFs, REIT ETFs, and commodity ETFs.

In one of the closing chapters, Wild provides sample ETFs portfolios for different risk levels, suggest that buy-and-hold is the way to go, and then provides a few exceptions to that approach. He also includes a chapter on using ETFs in retirement plans, as well as has chapters on the 10 most common questions about ETFs, and the 10 biggest mistakes investors make.

Wild includes a 12-page appendix from [...] that contains a listing of 300 ETFs by broad categories, their name, ticker symbol, expense ratio and exchange. Since there are now 438 ETFs, this appendix is out-of-date and useless, wasting twelve pages. The reader can go directly to the website to get the latest listings.

Another appendix contains a cross section of ETF and other useful websites. Another excellent website to add to his list is [...] which provides current short-term performance data after each day's market close on all the ETFs. The 6-page glossary of terms and the 14-page index all provide helpful information

In conclusion, this is simply the best introductory book on ETFs. The author provides many useful tables, charts and diagrams to bring home his key points. For those investors looking to actively trade or invest in ETFs, or are searching for profitable back-tested strategies the next book they should buy after this one is Marvin Appel's Investing With Exchange-Traded Funds Made Easy (see my review of this book on AMAZON). If investors/traders want to use a simple relative strength approach, then they should consider David Vomund's ETF Trading Strategies Revealed paperback recently released.
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on April 5, 2007
Mr. Wild is an entertaining writer, who breaks down what is appropriate for small, medium and wealth investors. My only wish is his chapter on sample portfolios were more detailed. I would have liked to see sample portfolios optimized for cost, risk tolerance, equity only and for those nearing and in retirement. Vanguard should consider giving away this book out to anyone opening an account with them, given how much he repeatedly triumphs Vanguard's nearly universal low fees!
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on January 13, 2007
Even though this book is focused on ETFs, it is far more than just that. It actually covers investment strategy in an easy-to-understand manner. It compares ETFs to other investment vehicles, and demonstrates how to balance a portfolio to meet specific investment goals. What I found particularly valuable was Chapter 16 - Sample EFT Portfolio Menus. It is broken down by investment goals (i.e. - "Racing toward riches: a portfolio that may require a crash helmet.") and has specific ETFs and the proportions to meet the stated goal.

This is the best book I have ever seen for intermediate level investors. It informs without lecturing and provides specific, actionable recommendations.
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on February 4, 2008
PROS
- enjoyable writing style, easy read.
- author's knowledge.
- author provides specific reviews of many ETFs.
- much additional information on financial management, beyond ETFs.

CONS
- the author carefully builds a solid case for buying ETFs, but does not adequately address why someone would buy an EFT over a low cost index fund held in a retirement account.

- for some readers (like me), there needs to be more technical discussion of how ETFs are structured and how they operate, as opposed to describing ETFs merely by their benefits and roles in a portfolio.

- the author's case for ETFs does not address one serious drawback of ETFs: difficulty of conducting automatic dollar cost averaging (DCA); of course, this is possible to do transaction-fee-free (or nearly so) at some brokerages, but ETFs require trading commissions and you have to conduct DCA yourself, as brokerage typically will not buy stocks (or ETFs) on an automatic schedule.
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on March 11, 2007
I am an investment advisor preparing to teach an adult education class on Index Investing. This book is by far the most current, concise and informative text available today. It is not only complete but easy to read. Mr. Wild's sense of humor makes every chapter a delight to read. Mr. Wild knows his subject. Read the book and you will too.
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on July 10, 2007
I started knowing nothing, and finished being very sure of how to select - and why to purchase specific ETFs. I've not found a better introductory book on the subject (and I hope Vanguard are paying the author a good sum for plenty of free advertising!)
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on January 13, 2008
I've been in the ETF 'game' for awhile now and have read quite a number of books on investings, ETFs, finance, and the whole lot. As always, the Dummy series does an excellent job in explaining what might be complicated for some folks in an understandable and fun way. The author does a superb job with cutting through the bull of the bear n' bull pundits and giving you very real and very good advice. This should be your first book to read if you are considering ETFs - then you can take on more detailed and convoluted volumes. Good job!
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VINE VOICEon April 2, 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Most people are familiar with mutual funds. For many years mutual funds have provided small investors with an inexpensive way to invest in the stock or bond markets. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a more recent development. According to the author, they were first developed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1990. The first U.S. ETF, the SPDR S&P 500, was introduced in 1993. ETFs are similar to traditional index mutual funds in that they typically consist of a large number of stocks or bonds. In that way, once again like index mutual funds, they allow the small investor an opportunity to inexpensively diversify his or her investments. There are significant differences between mutual funds and ETFs, however. Mutual funds are typically only priced at the end of a trading day and can only be bought from or sold back to the issuing firm. ETFs, on the other hand, are traded continually during the day and can be bought and sold like individual stocks. ETFs typically also have lower annual management fees.

In this book, Russell Wild does an excellent job in explaining the basics of ETFs. As is generally the case with books in the "Dummies" series, the writing is clear and often amusing. He also spends considerable space explaining how an individual investor can build a solid investment portfolio of ETFs. The only significant drawback to the book is that it is a trifle repetitious. I think he could have made most of these points in about half the space. But given that most readers will be unfamiliar with the subject -- or else why would they be buying a book in the "Dummies" series? -- perhaps the repetition is needed.

Finally, note that this is a second edition. I don't own the first edition so I can't comment on whether those who do will profit much from the new material included in this edition. If you are unfamiliar with this subject and are looking for a good introduction, this is the book is for you.
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on February 18, 2015
After our former employer closed, our 401k plan was terminated and we all had to move our accounts elsewhere. Since I haven't yet found a job, I had to move mine to a brokerage. My final statement for 2014 showed that in 11 months I had paid fees equal to 4.5 months of my contributions . I gave up more than 1/3 of my contributions to a company who did absolutely nothing for us but give us a lot of handouts that confused the younger inexperienced investors! Well, if I'm giving my money away, it's going to go to worthy charities, not some guys wearing expensive shoes. After a lot of research I came to the conclusion that ETFs were probably a good way for me to self-direct my account, but I had a LOT of questions and a lot of fear. All my questions, plus some that I didn't even know to ask, were answered in this book. And while very far from being anything even close to an expert in this field, I felt comfortable enough to start investing in some ETFs. While not yet fully invested, my account value has increased by 3% in 6 weeks. (And yes, I do realize that I could lose it all tomorrow.) This well-written book gave me the confidence of knowledge and I couldn't begin to put a value on that. Many thanks, Mr. Wild, and I hope you are working on a book about analyzing stocks. I want the first copy!
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on January 31, 2012
This book (I have both the Kindle and Paper Back) is my new buddy. I actually take it with me to Starbucks , to bed, to chit chats with my buddies.....but more importantly is why?

This ETF for Dummies is John Bogle's "Common Sense Investing" and Benjamin Graham's "Intelligent Investing" synthesized into one enjoyable read plus much much more!!

The other reviews describe the details. I simply like THE STYLE of presentation! The book is like having the stock broker on the phone when ever I wish , when I need guidance or a definition or an explanation as to the strategy and vocabulary of Wall Street. Russell writes as if it is a phone conversation with his client. The best part is there is NO HUSTLE. There definitely is with my Broker. So I look things up , get solid portfolio plans and options and I can call him back by lifting up the book and looking at the glossary, index or table of contents to get back in conversation with Russell.

Russell tells me , hey , you want to get complicated here is where to look. Complicated is not in this book , but you have all the references to get further details clearly printed in this book.

The Kindle Edition allows me to immediately go to sites on the web he is referencing or even to ETF's I wish to look up while I am reading, without going over to my computer. Way Cool!!!
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