S&P 500 Index funds are by far the most common stock market funds. They’re cheap, effective, and easy to find and invest in.
If you’re thinking about using Safer 401(k) to guide your retirement savings, you’ll need to find an S&P 500 fund to invest in — but that shouldn’t be too hard!
The S&P 500
The S&P 500 Index is the gold standard of U.S. stock market indices. It’s what fund managers compare their year-on-year performance to. It’s what credible financial news organizations talk about when they comment on “the stock market.” It’s what the market’s “Fear and Greed” index is based on.
Some people seem to think that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is the “standard” by which investors gauge the market. This is completely false, and if you’re going to be making any decisions with your own money in the stock market, you need to come to terms with this. Not only is the S&P 500 an objectively better measure of the stock market, but the funds that track the S&P 500 are exponentially larger, with lower fees and more reliable performance.
This is why, when you start looking for stock index funds to invest in — whether in your 401(k), TSP, IRA, etc. — you will almost certainly find a mutual fund or ETF that tracks the S&P 500.
Since the S&P 500 Index is the single best stock index with the most funds available (which have incredibly cheap fees), this is what we focus on. All of our analysis is based on the S&P 500, and you should not attempt to use Safer 401(k) with any other stock index fund, e.g., the Dow Jones.
But honestly, we don’t anticipate you’ll have any difficulty in finding a good S&P 500 fund to invest in. No matter who your 401(k) administrator is, they’ll have an S&P 500 fund, front-and-center. Even the Federal Government’s “Thrift Savings Plan” (a 401(k) for government employees) offers something called the “C Fund.” This is an S&P 500 Index fund, plain and simple.
Not quite sure if you’ve got an S&P 500 fund available to you? Here are a few examples of popular funds.
- SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)
- Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX/VFIAX)
- Vanguard 500 ETF (VOO)
- TSP “C” Fund
- Fidelity 500 Index Fund (FUSEX)
- Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX)
- State Street Equity 500 Index Fund (SSSYX)
- iShares S&P 500 Index (IVV)
Any and every one of these mutual funds or ETFs — and any other fund that tracks the S&P 500 Index — can be used with the Safer 401(k) product.
Now learn how to read the Safer 401(k) “Risk Report.”
See more on how this works with a Thrift Savings Plan.
See how our performance can be better than the index that we invest in!