Investing in the stock market can be a great way to make money, but it's also easy to lose a lot of money under certain circumstances. The market is prone to volatility, and there's always a chance that a downturn is right around the corner.
Market turbulence shouldn't stop you from investing, however. Despite its risk, the stock market remains one of the easiest ways to generate wealth over time -- as long as you have the right investments in your portfolio.
If you've been burned by the stock market in the past, it may be time to add some new investments to your portfolio. These three ETFs are some of the safest and most stable funds available, yet they can still give your savings a serious boost.
1. iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV)
The iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV -1.62%) tracks the S&P 500 index, meaning it includes the same stocks and seeks to achieve the same performance as the index itself. The S&P 500 is a major benchmark of the overall stock market, and it includes hundreds of the strongest companies in the country.
The biggest advantage of this fund is that it's more likely to survive stock market volatility. The S&P 500 itself has existed for decades, and during that time it's faced countless crashes, corrections, and bear markets. Despite everything, it's still managed to earn positive average returns over the long term. Because this ETF follows the S&P 500, it's very likely it will recover from downturns as well.
Although it's one of the safest ETFs out there, this fund also packs a punch. Since its inception in 2000, it's earned an average rate of return of around 7% per year. In other words, while it has experienced good years and bad years, those annual returns have averaged out to around 7% per year.
Over the long run, these returns can add up. If you were to invest, say, $300 per month while earning a 7% average annual return, you'd have around $340,000 after 30 years.
2. Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI)
The Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI -1.65%) is similar to the S&P 500 ETF except it provides greater diversification. Rather than only including stocks from 500 large companies, this ETF includes close to 4,000 stocks from small, midsize, and large corporations.
In general, the more diversified your portfolio, the less risk you face. If you're investing in thousands of stocks and a few of them don't perform well, they won't sink your entire portfolio.
Because this fund also includes small and midsize companies, that could help your money grow faster. Smaller organizations tend to experience faster growth than their larger counterparts, which could result in above-average returns. But because you're investing in thousands of stocks (including many from large, stable companies), you're still limiting your risk.
This ETF was launched in 2001, and since then it has earned an average rate of return of close to 9% per year. If you were to invest $300 per month earning a 9% average annual return, you'd end up with roughly $491,000 after 30 years.
3. Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM)
The Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM -1.31%) is a fund that actually pays you to own it. This fund includes over 400 dividend stocks, which are companies that pay a portion of their profits back to shareholders in the form of a dividend.
Investing in dividend ETFs can be a fantastic way to build wealth and generate a source of passive income. The more shares you own, the more you'll receive in dividends. If you invest consistently, you'll eventually accumulate hundreds of shares, and you could potentially collect thousands of dollars in dividend payments each year.
Since this fund's inception in 2006, it has earned an average rate of return of around 8% per year. In addition, it also pays a quarterly dividend that currently falls around $0.60 to $0.80 per share. Although that may not sound like much, when you own hundreds of shares, those dividends add up quickly.
If you've been burned by the stock market in the past, you're not alone. The market's volatility can be costly, but it doesn't have to be. By investing in the right ETFs, you can minimize your risk while maximizing your long-term earnings.