If you are what you eat, then should you invest in what you are? You can, you know, by way of a neat little investment vehicle called Exchange Traded Funds, or ETFs.
Somewhat akin to mutual funds, ETFs pile together a bunch of like investments into a single package you can buy, representing almost any industry you can imagine. Want a piece of the burgeoning Botswanian ice cream market? Tough break, pal, there's no ETF for that. Yet. But there is one for just about everything else.
ETFs diverge from their elder cousins through the way they mimic stocks. Mutual funds often sport early redemption fees and balance minimums. Not so with ETFs. You can trade them as often as you like and hold as few as you like. Even one measly share.
That makes it easy to invest in what you are. So an Internet-addicted, travel-seeking, not-so-young dad like me might enjoy Merrill Lynch'sInternet HOLDRs (AMEX: HHH ) fund, the iSharesMSCI Italy Index (AMEX: EWI ) fund, and maybe State Street'sConsumer Staples SPDR (AMEX: XLP ) . Why? Because I spend countless hours using the Web for work and play. I fell in love with Florence during our trip there earlier this year. And we buy enough consumer staples for the kids to feed and clothe a small army some days.
Of course, my tastes may not match yours. That's fine. Let's say jewelry is your thing. You might be pleased to know that State Street plans a gold ETF by the end of the year. And if you can't wait for the glitter, you can get some bling through the Diamonds Trust Series 1 (AMEX: DIA ) fund, though you'll only be duplicating the performance of the Dow 30.
Maybe your dream is to be on vacation. No problem. Try the Consumer Discretionary SPDR (AMEX: XLY ) , which invests in leisurely stocks such as Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) and Carnival. Or maybe like theTrumplings from The Apprentice, you're a wannabe real estate mogul. Voila! Meet the iSharesDow Jones Real Estate (AMEX: IYR ) fund.
See how easy this is? You can own almost anything. Well, at least a piece of most anything. To get there, all you need is a little imagination, a little Foolish savings, and the right ETF. Get a head start today by checking out the Fool's ETF Center.
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Still a little too shy for the world of ETFs?No sweat, you can bone up at our new ETF Center.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers has no interest in becoming a real estate tycoon, though he does cover weekly episodes of The Apprentice with Fool colleagues Dayana Yochim and Rick Munarriz. Get your weekly dose of Trumpdom here, or join the conversation here. Tim doesn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned. To see what he's invested in, check out his Fool profile, which you can find here.