How To Invest In S&P 500

Introduction: What is Invest in the S&P 500?

The S&P 500 is the most popular stock market in the United States. S&P stands for Standard and Poor's 500. It is essentially an index that tracks the performance of the 500 publicly traded companies in the United States. The moves of S&P are widely considered as the proxy or threshold for the stock market's overall performance. As Cory Clark, chief marketing officer at DALBAR, Inc, says: "The S&P 500 is by far, the most widely used indicator of investment success or failure which evaluates and audits business practices." Like most people have done, subscribing to a similar belief will yield you better returns than when you would have had to choose individual winners.

However, you must understand that it is impossible to invest in S&P 500 directly. The reason is the S&P is a stock market index and not an individual stock by itself. With S&P 500, one can only invest in index funds. So, let us learn more about how to invest in S&P 500.

How Does One Invest in the S&P 500

The S&P 500 is not the only index in the United States, but it is one of the best places to invest your funds. The reason is that the S&P 500 includes some of the biggest companies in the US. The following is the procedure that you should follow when you want to invest in S&P 500.

1.      Open a Brokerage Account

The first step you should take when investing in the S&P 500 is to open a brokerage account. A brokerage account could be a retirement account such as an IRA or an employer-sponsored 401(K), or a personal traditional taxable brokerage account. It all depends on which way you want to take.

You have multiple brokerage accounts options at your disposal, which you can choose from. However, you must consider the fees charged when buying or selling mutual funds at the Exchange-Traded Fund. You can check this list for some of the most reputable S&P brokers in 2021.

2.      Choose Between an Exchange-Traded Fund and a Mutual Fund

With S&P, you have two options that you can choose to work with. The first option is the ETFs, while the second option is the mutual fund. Both funds track the same index and seem to operate similarly. However, you have to note a few significant differences when dealing with each of them. Below, I have explained a few fine details about each fund.

        i.            Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are majorly intended to be owned over an extensive period of time. They are only traded once each year after the closure of the market. Most mutual funds have a minimum investment amount.

They also have a minimum length of time with which they are supposed to be invested. Withdrawing the funds early before a specified period could only lead to penalties. On the flip side, an investor can purchase or sell the mutual funds in round dollar amounts.

        ii.            Exchange-Traded Funds

ETFs are operated in a manner similar to regular stocks. The price will keep on varying throughout the day as investors buy and sell depending on the price fluctuations. The good thing with ETFs is that most brokerage firms will allow investors to trade in ETFs for free. Additionally, there are no time limits or purchase amounts limits.

Most investors find ETFs as the ideal S&P 500 investment options. However, mutual funds also come with loads of benefits. It is upon you to decide which vehicle you want to ride on.

3.      Choose your Ideal S&P 500 Fund

Upon deciding which option between mutual funds and ETFs you want to work with, you can then start delving into more specific details to help you make the right choice. For instance, you can consider the fees and costs that are involved. The idea is that you do not have to spend an arm and a leg on something you can get at a much lower price.

Here are some of the fees of the popular mutual funds:

·       Schwab- 0.02% for its index fund, with a minimum of $100.

·       The Vanguard 500 Index Fund - 0.14 fees, with a minimum of $3,000

·       Fidelity- 0.015% fees, no minimum.

Here are some of the fees for popular ETFs

·       The Vanguard 500 Index Fund charges 0.03% fees

·       iShares Core S&P 500- 0.04%

Weighing in such factors will help you arrive at the right choice.

4.      Enter Your Trade

At this point, you are ready. All that remains is to log into your brokerage account and enter a trade. To do this, I strongly recommend that you use the Ally Invest tool. This is because it only takes you a few minutes to enter a trade using a mobile application or website. You can also use more advanced trading platforms to enter your trade.

 

5.      Bravo! You are an Index Fund Owner

It is as simple as that. As you note, opening a brokerage account is a very easy procedure that will take you less time. You can also purchase the index funds in just a few clicks.

Benefits of Investing in the S&P 500

You now understand what S&P 500 is and how it operates. You also know the procedure to follow when you want to invest with S&P 500. Let us now look at some of the advantages that come with investing with the S&P 500.

1.      Passive Management

The first benefit that comes with investing with the S&P 500 is the passive management benefits. You must note that investors who own an S&P index fund only try to match the performance of S&P and have no intention of outperforming it. As such, the investors employ the buy and hold strategy, which is popularly referred to as passive management. With this, there is no need to monitor the stock markets' movements actively or engage in intense intra-day trading. The best thing with this is that even the less experienced investors can make huge returns by investing in index funds.

2.      Diversification

The index funds paint a clear picture of all sectors of the stock market of the United States. As such, the index funds could be said to be "diversified investments with a low market risk." If you are looking for a perfect investment that will not expose you to risks, then the S&P 500 is the right direction for you.

What are some of the challenges that Come With Investing in the S&P 500?

Despite the benefits of the S&P 500 mentioned above, it will also be important to note that the market also comes with certain challenges, which include the following;

1.      Ambiguity over the Divisor

One of the biggest drawbacks of S&P is its lack of disclosure of its techniques to calculate the divisor values. The divisor value is a significant element since it accounts for and moderates the impacts of all changes that affect the index value. As such, any errors made during the calculations or representations could threaten the validity of the index.

2.      Narrow Focus

The S&P is said to have a narrow focus because it does not include stocks from foreign companies. As such, the S&P is not a perfect representation of the global stock market. Additionally, S&P does not include other elements such as commodities and bonds. Such elements are usually significant determinants of the financial markets, states, and economies.

Where to Invest in S&P 500

There are different ways in which you can Invest in S&P 500. For instance, you can choose to work with a bank, a brokerage, a Robo advisor, or a financial advisor.

·       Bank- Using a bank is one of the most effective ways to Invest in the S&P 500. A bank will allow you to keep all your accounts in one place. In other words, all your savings, checkings, and index investments are all located in one place. The only problem with using banks is that they might include high fees and transactional costs.

·       Discount Brokerage- A discount brokerage is sometimes referred to as a trading platform. Although the associated fees are relatively low, they do not offer pieces of advice that will help you navigate through your investment journey.

·       Financial Advisor- Finacial advisors, could also be ideal options to help you Invest in S&P 500. However, this option is usually expensive compared to the others and is mostly preferred by investors with a high net worth.

·       Robo Advisors- Robo advisors have also been gaining a lot of popularity recently. Many of them will take you through your investment journey at comparatively low prices.

Conclusion

The decision to Invest in S&P 500 can be a lucrative one. However, before you invest, you must ensure that you have enough exposure and clearly understand how the index fund operates. Additionally, you should avoid investing in only one type of investment. You should also consider adding other investment portfolios to your investments. This article has explained to you everything you need to know to Invest in S&P 500.