Broker Check

What's In A Name?

There are more than 145 ETFs in the marketplace today, each with a specific investment target. Of the ten or so ETF fund families, iShares are one of the most common, with over 80 funds in the ETF market. In addition, the funds mentioned in the accompanying article because of their memorable nicknames are other popular choices.

iShares: Include a wide variety of equity-based and fixed-income ETFs tracking foreign and domestic indexes.

Spiders: Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipts (SPDRs); ETFs in this family mirror the S&P 500 index, an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market, as well as specific sectors within that index.

Vipers: Vanguard Index Participation Equity Receipts; these ETFs track domestic indexes, mainly targeting investments by company size or sector.

Diamonds: Diamonds Trust Series I; this security represents the Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index of 30 widely held blue-chip stocks.

To see if Exchange Traded Funds will work for you, contact me.

The great car predicament: buying versus leasing

Everyone who thinks about driving a new car is usually faced with the same dilemma: buy or lease? But what’s the difference between the two? Here is a brief explanation to help you decide whether leasing or buying is most in line with your goals.


You’ve seen the ads: car dealerships offering new vehicles for little or no money down and payments that, on the surface, appear very inexpensive. However, dealerships can advertise low lease payments in contrast to higher traditional purchase prices because when you lease, you are paying for limited use of the vehicle, essentially the depreciation, plus finance charges during the term of the loan.

The advantage of leasing, however, extends beyond low monthly payments. You can drive a new car - generally one more expensive than you could afford to buy outright - every two or three years and never have to worry about negotiating your trade-in. At the end of the lease, you simply turn in your keys and look for another new car. What’s more, your down payment is usually significantly less than on a purchase, unless you are tempted by an advertised lease rate that requires more money due at signing.

Of course, there are two sides to every story, and leasing is no different. First, negotiating a lease is more complicated than negotiating a purchase because the terms and price calculations involved with leasing can be confusing, especially if they’re not fully disclosed. Therefore, it’s imperative you do your homework, as many of the high costs of leasing are buried in the small print.

In addition, the leasing cycle is hard to break. The thought of driving a new car every three years can be appealing - not to mention you’ll usually be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty - but you never have a trade-in to apply toward your next purchase. Furthermore, leases are binding. If you decide to terminate early because you can no longer afford the payments or need a different car, your liability may be costly. Beyond that, your mileage may be heavily restricted, so long road trips might be out of the question as any overage can lead to an extra miles cost.


Generally, when you buy you spend the most amount of money, as you are paying the price of the vehicle plus interest. Therefore, when you shop it helps to have a strategy that goes beyond maximizing your down payment and negotiating the purchase price. You should also seek the lowest interest rate for your car loan, and research reports on the car’s reliability, value and performance. If you don’t, you could pay a lot more than you should for the car you want - both now and in the future.

The typical purchase agreement requires you to first make a down payment, pay sales tax in cash or roll it into your loan, and make monthly payments with an interest rate determined by your loan company. Your first payment is usually due one month after the purchase agreement has been signed. After your last payment, you receive the title from the lender and own the vehicle outright. Although you may have paid more money out of pocket, you have equity in a vehicle that you can trade in or continue to drive. But keep in mind that buying a car with a loan is essentially like putting money into a declining-value savings account - you never get out what you put in. The longer you own and drive your vehicle, the less equity you have when you decide to sell it.

Deciding if you should lease or buy your next vehicle is never easy and your unique financial circumstances should be considered in your decision-making process. For more information or a review of your situation, please contact me today.