Just about all of us need to be saving and investing for our retirements, because Social Security, while vital, won’t support us well on its own. The recent average monthly Social Security retirement benefit was $1,665, or about $20,000 annually.
Sadly, many, if not most, of us are behind in our saving and investing. According to the 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey, only 72% of workers surveyed reported having saved anything for retirement, and many of those had saved far less than they should have to reach their retirement goals. It’s not too late to do better, though.
Here’s an easy investing strategy that can help you build wealth for your future — plus an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that can supercharge the strategy.
2 ETFS THAT ARE ALL YOU NEED FOR RETIREMENT
An easy, basic strategy
It’s a shame that many people put off or avoid investing because it seems complicated and intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to read a dozen books on investing or spending hours per week studying stocks, deciding which to buy or sell.
Instead, you could just park most or all of your long-term money (dollars you won’t need for at least five, if not 10, years) in one or more low-cost, broad-market index funds. Each index fund aims to deliver roughly the same return as the index it tracks, less fees. Here are three solid ones to consider:
- SPDR S&P 500 ETF
- Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
- Vanguard Total World Stock ETF
|SPY||SPDR S&P 500 ETF||420.54||+3.34||+0.80%|
|VTI||VANGUARD INDEX FUNDS VANGUARD TOTAL STK MKT ETF||211.02||+1.42||+0.68%|
|VT||VANGUARD TOTAL WORLD STOCK ETF||94.19||+0.55||+0.59%|
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Respectively, these investments will instantly invest your money in roughly 80% of the US stock market, the entire US stock market, or just about all of the world’s stock market. Sock money away into one or more of them (or other good index funds) regularly, and over many years, your wealth should grow.
Over your particular investing time frame, the stock market might average annual returns of, say, 7%, or maybe 12%. There’s no way to know. Over very long periods, it has averaged close to 10% annually. The table below is a bit conservative, reflecting 8% annual growth, and it shows how much you might amass over time simply with index funds:
Supercharge your investing strategy
That’s pretty impressive growth. You might want to aim for faster growth, though. If so, consider parking some of your money in the Invesco QQQ Trust. It’s an ETF that’s made up of the 100 largest nonfinancial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock market (measured by market capitalization).
|QQQ||INVESCO QQQ NASDAQ 100||320.89||+4.13||+1.30%|
If you look at its recent top 10 holdings, you’ll get an idea of how it has been able to deliver such returns:
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The fund has around 90 other holdings, too, including lots of well-regarded businesses, such as:
- Intuitive Surgical
- Zoom Video Communications
- Lululemon Athletica
So give these investing strategies some thought — especially if you need to do better than you’ve been doing. The first one alone, a simple index fund or two, can be enough for you — and if you want to aim higher, consider putting some money in the QQQ ETF. Don’t leave your future financial security up to chance — and don’t assume Social Security will be enough.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, at an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Selena Maranjian owns Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Amgen, Apple, Costco Wholesale, Intuitive Surgical, Meta Platforms, Inc., Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal Holdings, and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Adobe Inc., Airbnb, Inc., Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, Costco Wholesale, Intel, Intuitive Surgical, Lululemon Athletica, Meta Platforms, Inc., Microsoft, Netflix, Nvidia, PayPal Holdings, Starbucks, Tesla, Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF, and Zoom Video Communications. The Motley Fool recommends Amgen and Broadcom Ltd and recommends the following options: long January 2023 $57.50 calls on Intel, long March 2023 $120 calls on Apple, short April 2022 $100 calls on Starbucks, short January 2023 $57.50 puts on Intel, and short March 2023 $130 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.