CHAPTER 7
Public Equities: Invest in the Stock Market with Confidence

Public equities are stocks or stock funds available for anyone to buy and sell on a public market, or stock exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or NASDAQ. For many readers, this may be the most important asset class covered in this book, because it plays a prominent role in most investment portfolios. Although most people have some familiarity with public equities, many of us do not fully understand the stock market, nor do we feel confident when making investment decisions.

Because there's so much to cover on this topic, we have split public equities into two chapters. In this chapter, you'll be introduced to different approaches to investing in this asset class. Some possibilities include picking individual stocks, investing through funds, or working with an advisor to establish a customized account. We'll also cover different methods you can use to diversify your stock holdings to maximize return or minimize risk. In the next chapter, we'll help you find values-aligned investments in this asset class.

The general wisdom about how to invest in the stock market has changed dramatically over the 30-plus years I have owned stock. When I started investing in the late 1980s, the recommended approach was to buy individual stocks in companies that had a widely recognized reputation for quality, reliability, and operational excellence—and hold them. My mother, who was my first investment teacher, adhered to this strategy. At one time, I owned individual stocks in over 30 companies, a few of which don't even exist today.

While many people—including my husband—still invest this way, I do not. As I learned more about investing, I realized there were other approaches I could use that offered more portfolio diversity and took less of my time. What's more, the accepted wisdom about how to invest in the stock market has shifted. There are now many people who believe the smartest strategy is to simply “buy the market,” which means owning small amounts of hundreds or even thousands of individual stocks. In addition, we now have online trading platforms, robo-advisors, and amazing web-based research tools that are changing the way people invest. Although having too much choice can sometimes be overwhelming, navigating these options doesn't have to be difficult.

At one time or another, I have used virtually every investment approach described in this chapter. My firsthand experience informed my choices along the way, and I hope it can inform yours as well. Although I have not personally used robo-advisors or online trading platforms, they offer a valuable, low-cost way for many people to get started and participate in the stock market.

The information in this chapter holds true whether you're applying it to a self-managed taxable account or to funds in an employer-sponsored retirement account. Where the funds sit is less important than the types of investments and diversification strategies you choose.

Why Should You Spend Time Learning About Public Equities?

Public equities matter, because they're considered one of the best investment options for anyone who wants to grow their wealth over the long term. They're easy to access and available to accredited and non-accredited investors alike. Historically, returns on public equities have outpaced returns on other traditional asset classes such as cash and fixed income. Most portfolios, including retirement accounts, contain public equities, and in many cases they even dominate the portfolio's composition.

A number of advantages come with owning shares of a public company. First, you have the opportunity to participate in the upside of the company's growth. Second, you may receive regular payments from your stock holdings. Each quarter, when public companies report their net income to shareholders, they can either reinvest those assets in the business or distribute them to their shareholders in the form of dividends.

A third benefit is the right to vote on management decisions. As a shareholder you have the right to advocate for changes you'd like to see the company make in its operations or business practices. Fourth, investments in public equities are extremely liquid, which means you can buy and sell them at any time. And last but not least, this asset class offers a greater depth and breadth of values-aligned options than almost any other asset class.

Of course, there's no guarantee that you'll make money in the stock market, particularly if you're only investing for the short term. The best way to approach public equities is with a long-term view. Over the short term, the stock market can have such significant up-and-down swings that it feels a bit like riding a rollercoaster. But over the long term, public equities are one of the best tools investors have to grow their wealth.

To invest in the stock market, all you need to do is open an account with an investment firm, which then becomes the caretaker, or custodian, of your money. Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity are among the most recognizable brick-and-mortar investment firms, while Ellevest, Betterment, and Robinhood are online options that offer varying degrees of trading and advisory services.

Investing in public equities can be as easy as selecting one or two well-diversified funds, or it can be more complex. The approach that works best for you will depend on the amount of time you want to spend, your return expectations, and the amount you plan to invest. When I began investing in stocks, I used a single approach—individual stock picking. Over time, as my knowledge and assets grew, I incorporated multiple strategies. You might find the same thing happens to you.

Trade-Offs in Investment Approach

There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all approach to the stock market, even though you may hear something to the contrary. There are always trade-offs.

When you invest in the stock market, you can take a DIY approach or you can work with a financial advisor online or in person. Regardless of whether you do it yourself or with an advisor, you'll be investing in individual stocks, funds, or some combination of both. Each choice differs in terms of time commitment, potential return, and diversification levels.

Individual Stocks Can Produce Great Returns, but …

In 1790 when the first stock exchange was established in Philadelphia, the main way to invest was by purchasing stock in individual companies. Unfortunately, this opportunity was primarily available only to the wealthy, and it took almost 150 years for things to change dramatically.

Given its long history, it's not surprising that more has been written about how to buy and sell individual stocks than virtually any other investment topic. Even though it was originally written over 40 years ago, Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor—which is considered to be the definitive book on value investing—remains a bestseller.

Individual stock picking can be a heavy lift, particularly for the beginning investor. Yet, there are still many people who choose to invest this way. They may want direct control over what they own, believe they can outperform the market, or simply enjoy the process. Success requires you to learn about the companies you're investing in and to track their progress regularly.

If you want to invest in individual stocks, you can get started for as little as $100 when you use an online trading platform, such as Robinhood or E*Trade. Stock picking is the preferred choice for some people and the only way they want to invest. For others, it is too burdensome and nerve-racking. Thanks to the innovators and risk takers who have emerged in the last century, we now have other options.

Funds Offer Another Approach

Public equity funds allow investors to own multiple stocks without having to personally make each individual investment decision. One fund can hold hundreds or even thousands of individual stocks, providing an easy way for an investor to acquire a diversified portfolio.

Assume you have $5,000 to invest in US equities. You could buy about three shares of Alphabet (Google's parent company), which was trading for approximately $1,500 per share as of this writing, or you could buy iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF (Ticker: DSI), a socially responsible fund that holds over 400 companies, Alphabet being one of them.

Benchmarks Tell You How Well You're Doing

A benchmark is simply a standard against which similar items can be compared. They're used to measure the performance of an investment. When you invest in the stock of a large corporation, you can use the S&P 500 Index, which tracks 500 of the largest companies on all the major US stock exchanges, as a benchmark to assess how well your stock is performing vis-à-vis the overall market.

Benchmarks are also used with funds. They can be designed to track broad markets, more narrowly defined market segments, or multiple markets. There are literally thousands of benchmarks. When you invest in a stock fund, it's worth finding out which benchmark is being used because it will tell you a great deal about the types of companies held in the fund. Once you invest, check your investment against its benchmark regularly to track how well it's doing. How often you check is entirely up to you. Some people check their returns daily or weekly and others review their assets just once or twice a year. I used to check monthly, but that became too much of a burden. So now I check my investments quarterly.

Mutual Funds Seek to Beat the Market and Provide Diversity

Around the time of the Great Depression, the stock market was still catering primarily to the rich. Charles Merrill, one of the cofounders of Merrill-Lynch, believed the middle class should be able to prosper from investing in public equities just like the wealthy. He wanted to “bring Wall Street to Main Street” and set out to offer the average American an affordable, easy way to invest in quality stocks. To a large degree, he succeeded. Along the way Merrill upended the way Wall Street did business. He also launched a massive education program to help people understand—and gain confidence in—the stock market.

Merrill singled out women and ran investment courses just for them. In 1949, 800 women lined up around the block waiting to participate in one of Merrill's investment seminars.1 By the time he died seven years later, members of the middle class were becoming investors, which was a huge departure from what had come before.

Although Merrill played an instrumental role in changing who invested in the stock market, he did not change how they invested. The new investors were still adhering to the original strategy of buying individual stocks—an approach requiring knowledge, effort, and discipline. Changing how people invest required yet another innovation—the mutual fund.

Mutual funds pool the assets of many people into a single financial instrument. Fund managers then invest that money in numerous individual stocks on behalf of the investors. And that is the brilliance of mutual funds. They free investors from having to make stock buy-and-sell decisions themselves.

Although the first modern-day mutual fund launched in the US in 1924, the product did not really take off until the mid-1960s. Before then mutual funds were professionally managed, but many of the fund managers were conservative in their approach, buying in small quantities and holding onto the stocks in their portfolio for years. Enter a new breed of fund managers that included Gerald Tsai, an enigmatic man in his 30s who managed Fidelity's Capital Fund.

Like many of his peers, Tsai did not adhere to the status quo. He had no qualms selling everything in his portfolio in a single year, nor did he flinch at executing large trades. As a result of his skill and the market dynamics in the 1960s, Tsai achieved unprecedented success. In one year, his fund delivered close to a 50% return while the broader market gained only 15%. As a result, Tsai was elevated to rock star status. He appeared in the popular press, and his star power helped ignite a following that shifted the way the average investor thought about the stock market.

Today there are close to 8,000 mutual funds in the market.2 Like Tsai, today's fund managers pick stocks they believe will outperform the broader market. Because they have a human being making stock selections, these funds are referred to as actively managed. Fees for actively managed mutual funds are typically higher than for other types of stock funds and can be in the range of 0.5% to 1.5% or more. This can have a significant impact on your investment's return. Let's say you invested $5,000 in a mutual fund that provided a gross return of 6.5% over the course of a year. If the fees were 1.5%, your net return would be only 5.0%.

To maximize return, active fund managers tend to buy and sell stocks within their portfolio during the course of the year. This buying and selling is known as turnover, and it's expressed as a percentage of the total assets under management. For example, a fund with 10% turnover means that only 10% of the total stocks in the fund were sold during the course of the year, while a 300% turnover would mean that, in essence, the entire portfolio was bought and sold three times during the year. This matters. If the stocks are in a taxable account and included capital gains when they were sold, you will have to pay taxes on those gains.

Index Funds Offer Simplicity, Diversity, and Market-Rate Returns

An index fund is a special type of mutual fund designed to closely track the performance of a specific part of the stock market. In 1975 John Bogle introduced the first index fund. It tracked the S&P 500 Index and provided a profoundly different way for anyone to invest. His competitors mocked him, called him un-American, and named his fund “Bogle's Folly.” But that didn't stop him. Although he started with just $11 million in assets, his fund ultimately achieved great success. Bogle went on to found Vanguard, which is now one of the most successful investment firms in the country and a prominent advocate for index investing.

Index funds are not designed to outperform the market. Rather, the intention is for them to stay as close as possible to the index around which they were designed. In this case, the index can become the benchmark against which the performance of the fund is measured. The divergence between the return of an index fund and its associated benchmark is known as tracking error. With index funds, the goal is to minimize tracking error to the point where the fund's performance mimics the index it's following. The tracking error in an index fund tends to be in the 0% to 2% range, while an actively managed fund can have a tracking error of 4% to 7%.3

Like all mutual funds, index funds offer investors a diversified portfolio of stocks. However, unlike an actively managed mutual fund where fund managers are making buy-and-sell decisions, an index fund is passively managed. Investment decisions are made automatically and based on a set of rules that govern the fund.

Passive management keeps costs down. Fees on an index fund can be as little as 0.03%, which is only three hundredths of a percent (i.e., three basis points). In this case, if a $5,000 investment resulted in a 6.50% gross return, the net return would be 6.47%. As an investor, you'd capture almost the entire return. There is also very little turnover, making these funds extremely tax efficient. Index funds can hold hundreds, if not thousands, of companies. Because of this you can build significant diversity into your public equities portfolio with just one or two investments. These advantages are important to many investors, as suggested by the growing popularity of index funds.

Public Equity ETFs Mimic Index Funds in Many Ways

Exchange-traded funds, also known as ETFs, first entered the US market in 1993, which is relatively recent compared to the other types of public equity funds. Like an index fund, an ETF in the public equities market holds a group of stocks and tracks the performance of a particular index. Many ETFs are passively managed; however, that is not always the case. So don't assume a fund is passively managed just because it's an ETF.

For our purposes, the primary difference between mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs has to do with the way they're bought and sold. Mutual funds, including index funds, can only be traded at the end of a business day, which is when the price is set. If you “sell” a mutual fund at some point during the day, the price you receive will be the end-of-day price, regardless of the fund's price at the time you placed your sell order. An ETF, on the other hand, acts like an individual stock. It can be bought and sold at any time during the trading day, and its price fluctuates during that time. For the average investor buying an ETF as a long-term investment, this “benefit” probably won't even matter. It primarily affects investors who are playing the market and want to buy and sell during the same trading day to take advantage of price fluctuations in a particular financial product.

A difference that may matter more to you is how these two vehicles handle dividends. Index funds allow dividends to be automatically reinvested in the fund, while ETFs may require a manual process.4 Unless your custodian offers a commission-free trading option, you may also pay a fee each time you convert your ETF dividends into more shares. So if you plan to make frequent investments in your fund, an index fund might be better for you.

While there are other differences between ETFs and index funds, they're relatively minor. Some say fees on passively managed ETFs are lower than fees on index funds. But this really depends. I've seen both ETFs and index funds with fees, which are also known as expense ratios, as low as 0.03%. There are also claims that ETFs have a lower price of entry, because there are no minimums to speak of. While it's true that some index funds have minimums, many don't. So what you pay to get in and what you pay in fees really depends on the investment you choose.

As a reader of this book, the most important determinant of whether you pick an index fund or an ETF may very well be motivated by how well it aligns with your values, particularly if you're investing for the long term.

Table 7.1 compares different products you can buy in the public equities market. The table is intended to present general differences. With thousands of each of these products in the market, there are no hard-and-fast rules. You can find index funds with higher fees, mutual funds that hold more equities, or any number of other divergences from the figures presented here.

TABLE 7.1 Public Equity Product Comparison

Active/Passive Number of Equities Held Fees (Expense Ratios) Purchase Price Sale Price
Individual stocks Active,
investor selects
Purchased one at a time None Stock share price Set at time of sell order
Mutual funds Active,
fund manager selects
30 to 100 (or more) 0.5%–1.5% Possible minimum Set at end of day
Index funds Passive 100 to thousands 0.03%–1.0% Possible minimum Set at end of day
ETFs Passive or active 100 to thousands 0.03%–2.5% ETF share price Set at time of sell order

Investing with a Financial Advisor

If you decide that you don't want to go it alone, financial advisors can help you implement any investment strategy. They can help you find the best mutual fund managers, index funds, or ETFs to meet your needs. Some financial advisors will even help you build a personalized portfolio, which is also known as a separately managed account. In this case, your advisor would select individual stocks that align with your values and investment criteria. Minimums for this service tend to be $50,000 to $100,000 or more. The fee you pay for this specialized service could be less than what you are charged for some actively managed mutual funds.

What's the Best Investment Approach for You?

We've covered a lot of ground, so this is a great place to pause and think about your investment options and which approach might work best for you. Table 7.2 will help you get started, as it summarizes the trade-offs between the investment products we have covered so far.

TABLE 7.2 Trade-Offs between Public Equities Investment Products

Level of Effort Return Values Alignment
Individual stocks High Depends on investor skills Full control
       
Mutual funds Medium Seeks to exceed benchmark Fewer options
       
Index funds Low Seeks to track benchmark Broad range of options
       
ETFs Low Seeks to track benchmark Broad range of options

Understanding your priorities will help you identify the investment products that are best suited for you. As you're thinking things over, try to answer some key questions:

  • Do you want a simple DIY approach that doesn't require a lot of your time? If so, index funds and ETFs might be the best option. Just realize you might be giving up some return.
  • Are you driven to maximize returns or to have a higher degree of control over what is in your portfolio? If so, you could select individual stocks or invest through mutual funds.
  • Are you seeking the highest level of impact? If so, you can pick your own stocks, invest in a thematic fund, or work with a financial advisor to develop a separately managed account.
  • Are you glad you learned all this information but really don't want to make all the decisions yourself? If so, you can invest through a values-aligned robo-advisor, or you could hire a financial advisor that specializes in impact investing.

Diversifying Your Portfolio

The more you diversify your portfolio, the more opportunity you have to mitigate risk. This is because you're spreading your assets across a number of investments that should react differently under varying market conditions.

We've already discussed one form of diversification, which is the number of stocks included in your portfolio. You can also diversify by company size, growth potential, industry sector, and geography. But you don't have to consider all these factors at once, particularly when you're starting out. You can select one and add more diversification over time, as you become more knowledgeable and your wealth grows.

Start with Company Size

Whether you're picking individual stocks, investing in funds, or working with a financial advisor, company size is a great way to start thinking about diversification within public equities. A simple metric, called the market cap, is used to describe the size of a company on the stock market. It's calculated by multiplying a company's stock price by the number of shares outstanding. For example, if a company had 25 million shares of stock and the share price were $100, that company would have a market cap of $2.5 billion, making it a mid-cap stock.

Table 7.3 shows the size of companies ranging from mega-cap to nano-cap. You can invest across this spectrum and choose funds that hold companies of the same size or funds that include companies across a range of sizes. In the latter case, you'd be accessing significant market cap diversification with one investment.

TABLE 7.3 Market Cap Size

Market Cap Approximate Range
Mega-cap more than $200 billion
Large-cap $10 billion to $200 billion
Mid-cap $2 billion to $10 billion
Small-cap $500 million to $2 billion
Micro-cap $50 million to $500 million
Nano-cap less than $50 million

There is a trade-off, however. Smaller-cap stocks tend to offer investors higher growth potential but have higher business risk, whereas larger-cap stocks typically have lower growth rates but often weather market downturns better than smaller-cap stocks. This is why you often hear that larger-cap stocks are less risky than smaller-cap stocks. Unfortunately, this pattern doesn't always hold true.

Since no one can predict exactly what'll happen, having a balance between larger and smaller companies hedges your bets. It provides the opportunity for more return potential while also stabilizing your portfolio during times of economic stress.

Add Growth Potential

Growth potential is tied to cap size, so you're actually making these two decisions simultaneously when you invest in a company or a fund. When you buy an individual stock, the cap size and growth potential are inherent in that company. When you buy a fund, it's possible to purchase a growth, a value, or a blended fund. A blended fund holds a mix of growth and value stocks. You can quickly determine the average cap size and growth potential strategy of a fund by looking at how it appears in the Morningstar Style Box. Figure 7.1 explains how this box works.

Snapshot of the Morningstar Style Box.

FIGURE 7.1 Morningstar Style Box

Growth stocks usually refer to high-quality, successful companies that are expected to grow above the average rate and outperform the market. Value companies are typically more stable, more mature companies that have lower volatility and often pay investors a dividend. Growth stocks tend to be more expensive and often more volatile than value stocks. They also have higher, though less predictable, earnings growth. As a result, they carry the potential for higher return and higher risk. In some cases, determining whether a stock should be classified as growth or value is unclear; this classification sometimes involves more art than science.

If You're a Bit Overwhelmed

All these choices can be a bit overwhelming. If you've reached your point of information saturation or are pretty clear that you're going to opt for a broad stock fund that captures most of the US market in terms of cap size and growth potential, feel free to skip ahead to the “Putting It All Together” section. You can always come back to the rest of the material, which is most applicable for investors with larger asset bases or specific interests, later. If you're just getting started, you can build a strong portfolio with the information that we've covered so far. Then you can enhance it with the next two strategies over time.

The last two strategies are important for investors who are making individual stock choices, want to target a particular segment of the market, or intend to build more diversity into their portfolio by investing outside the US.

Confirm Industry Sector Diversity

If you want more stability in your portfolio, include a healthy mix of companies from different industries or sectors. This is particularly important for investors who are picking their own stocks. When you purchase a fund, industry and sector choices have already been made and may determine why you choose one fund over another.

Table 7.4 shows how two very different funds—Vanguard FTSE Social Index Admiral (VFTAX) and Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ)—allocate assets across six different industries. VFTAX tracks the Russell 1000 and is considered a broad-market, well-diversified fund. With the exception of technology, the fund's assets are fairly evenly distributed among a number of industries. In contrast, over 80% of the assets in QQQ are concentrated in three industries with technology dominating.

TABLE 7.4 Sector Diversification

Source: Morningstar as of August 18, 2020.

VFTAX QQQ
Technology 28% 45%
Healthcare 15% 7%
Financial services 13% 2%
Consumer cyclical 13% 18%
Communication services 13% 20%
Consumer defensive 7% 5%

The industries included in VFTAX span all three sectors: cyclical, defensive, and sensitive. This adds another layer of diversification because each sector responds differently to market conditions. QQQ is not only more concentrated by industry, it's also more concentrated by sector. These differences influence the volatility and risk-return trade-offs of these two investments. VFTAX should experience less volatility but probably will not match the return potential of QQQ.

In some cases you may choose to invest in a fund to capitalize on its industry focus. For example, you may purchase shares in Invesco QQQ Trust, because you believe that technology is going to outperform other sectors. Or perhaps you want to use a specific industry, such as real estate, to diversify your portfolio. You can do this by investing in a real estate–focused fund. Or you might increase the impact of your portfolio by adding a fund that invests in renewable energy, timber, or water—all strategies we will discuss in Chapter 10.

Expand through Geography

Investors who are just starting out or who are seeking a simple approach to their portfolios may opt to invest in US companies only. Those who want to mitigate against having all their assets in one economy can consider diversifying by geography.

According to Morgan Stanley's 2020 Geographic Classifications, countries are distributed into the following three geographic regions:5

  • Developed markets: United States, Canada, much of Western Europe, and the strongest economies in Asia;
  • Emerging markets: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—the biggest emerging markets—often referred to as the BRICS; and
  • Frontier markets: Smaller economies in Eastern Europe as well as countries in Africa and the Middle East.

As the world becomes more globalized and companies increase their operations across many countries, some investors contend where a company is based will become less important as a means of diversifying a portfolio. This perspective is probably more relevant when comparing stocks from developed countries and somewhat less so when considering businesses in emerging or frontier markets. Some argue that the potential for economic growth and stock returns in countries such as Brazil, India, and China will be stronger over the long term than growth in developed countries. For this reason, they believe it's important to have a portion of your portfolio invested outside the US.

Putting It All Together

If you're stock picking, please try to be diligent about ensuring you have a diversified portfolio. The fewer stocks your portfolio holds, the more important this may be. Company size and sector diversity might be the most important criteria for you.

If you're buying funds, consider diversifying first through a combination of company size and growth potential decisions. You can start with just one fund that provides a high level of diversity. This is a great strategy if you're just starting out or you have a smaller asset base. As your experience and wealth grow, you can expand into other sectors and geographies. If you're ready for broader exposure now, you have a number of options.

Table 7.5 describes the decisions the five sample investors introduced earlier in the book might make in terms of their public equities' investments.

TABLE 7.5 Public Equity Investment Examples

Anika
  • 27 years old
  • Non-accredited
  • Risk appetite: moderately aggressive
Anika's money is currently in an index fund that holds large- and mid-cap companies as well as a blend of growth and values stocks. Although this approach is working for her, she plans to replace her current fund with a values-aligned equivalent. Since her assets are in a 401(k), she won't incur taxes when she makes this transition.
Jade
  • 32 years old
  • Non-accredited
  • Risk appetite: moderately conservative
Although Jade and her husband are saving for a house, they've decided to invest some of their money in individual stocks because they enjoy the process and want to pick companies aligned with their environmental goals. They plan to make selections together and will assess both the financials and values-alignment of each company they consider for their portfolio.
Ava
  • 46 years old
  • Accredited
  • Risk appetite: moderate
The investments Ava received through her divorce are all individual stocks, which she doesn't want to manage. She's hiring a financial advisor, who'll help her transition to a mix of values-aligned mutual funds and ETFs. She'll diversify her portfolio by company size, sector, and geography in the process.
Toni
  • 73 years old
  • Accredited
  • Risk appetite: conservative
Toni and her husband need higher returns if they're going to safeguard their daughter's future. As a result, they're transitioning some of their assets to public equities. They plan to invest in a passively managed US large-cap growth fund that will grow over the long term and require minimal management.
Maria
  • 51 years old
  • Accredited
  • Risk appetite: aggressive
Now that she has additional assets, Maria wants a more diversified portfolio. Her current public equities holdings are primarily in US companies. She plans to increase her geographic exposure and is targeting a mix of 55% US, 30% developed, and 10% emerging markets. She's even going to experiment a bit in frontier markets with the remaining 5%.

Take Action

As a first step, and in preparation for the next chapter, you might want to stop for a moment to determine what you currently own.

  1. If you haven't downloaded the “What You Have” Workbook from our companion website, you can do so now.
  2. Use Morningstar or another online tool to identify the types of equities you own. Are you in individual stocks? Mutual funds? Index funds? ETFs? How much are you paying in fees? What cap sizes do you own? Do you hold growth stocks, value stocks, or a blend? What sectors are you invested in? You can reference the video on our website to learn how to find this information in Morningstar.
  3. What did you learn? Are your public equities holdings currently diversified, or are they skewed to one company size, growth potential, industry sector, or geography? Do you want more diversity? Less diversity? Are there other changes you want to make?

Endnotes

  1. 1   https://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/our-story/merrill-wall-street.html#fbid=7aMXOll1Hvh.
  2. 2   https://www.statista.com/statistics/255590/number-of-mutual-fund-companies-in-the-united-states/.
  3. 3   https://www.styleadvisor.com/resources/statfacts/tracking-error.
  4. 4   https://www.fool.com/investing/how-to-invest/etfs/etf-vs-index-fund/.
  5. 5   https://www.msci.com/market-classification.
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