FAQs: When and Where to Buy ETFs - dummies

By Russell Wild

Purchasing ETFs, especially for the first time, can be a daunting task. Here are some common questions about the process of purchasing funds for the first time:

Where is the best place for me to buy ETFs?

Set up an account with a financial supermarket such as Fidelity, Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, or Charles Schwab. These places allow you to hold ETFs, along with other investments — such as mutual funds or individual stocks and bonds — in one account. (You probably don’t need or want individual securities.)

Different financial supermarkets offer different services and charge different prices depending on how much you have to invest, how often you trade, and whether you do everything online or by phone. You need to do some shopping around to find the brokerage house that works best for you.

Is there a good or bad time to buy ETFs?

Nope, not really, at least not that can be determined in advance. Studies show rather conclusively that the stock and bond markets (or any segment of the stock or bond markets) is just about as likely to go up after a good day as it is after a bad day (week, month, year, or any other piece of the calendar).

Trying to time the market tends to be a fool’s game — or, just as often, a game that some like to play with other people’s money.