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Highly Recommended Introductory Guide to ETFs
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 Since there are now 438 ETFs, this appendix is out-of-date and useless, wasting twelve pages.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.