Decide the Countries to Invest
After figuring out the right asset mix, the next question is roughly deciding in which countries to invest. Unlike a common mutual fund, most index funds or ETFs follow specific indexes, and those indexes are country-, or region-specific. Most Canadian investors mix US, Canadian, International assets together to diversify their portfolio.
Begin with Index Funds or ETFs?
Index funds and ETFs both work excellently for passive investors, however, they work slightly different. Index funds are great for smaller sized portfolios (under 10K) or those who invest small amounts every month. This is because most ETFs charge a trading fee per transaction. However, as you increase your assets, you can move your investments to ETFs because of the compelling advantage of cost.
Tools to Choose Index Funds or ETFs
Research companies offer great tools for users to narrow down the funds or ETFs that fit their needs. Morningstar offers the most comprehensive research - Make sure to choose the country you live in and register (free membership available) first to start your research.
Understand Funds or ETFs Names
Fund or ETF names look intimidating at first as they are rife with financial jargon. However, they use similar words and concepts to name a fund (e.g. large and medium caps, growth or value). Once you remember common terms, it’s a lot easier to get the sense of how the fund or ETF is designed.
Fund Code (Ticker)
Once you are narrowing down your options, make sure record the the fund or ETF code along with the names. These are basically IDs and let you search more information.