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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

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EFTs vs. Ishares

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: What is the difference between ETFs and Ishares?

A: "EFT" stands for "exchange traded fund", an investment vehicle that gained popularity in the past decade as the best way to address the problems that plagued mutual fund investors in previous years. EFTs have lower costs than mutual funds, easier to manage and often result in higher overall gains and lower overall taxes than mutual funds. "Ishares" is the largest brand name of EFTs, much like the word "Ipod" is a brand name of digital audio players. After awhile, people tend to use the words interchangeably but they really have different meanings. uses Ishares are the primary vehicle for investing retirement funds. While other investments are available, these tend to be the most popular investment choices for the reasons listed. More information is available on the Frequently Asked Questions page of this Web site.


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