Introduction to investing in index funds and ETFs: A practical guide for investors in Europe

“I want to grow my savings. But, I don’t know how to invest.”

It is awful to see your hard-earned savings erode due to low – actually, almost non-existing – interest rates. You can’t help but feel like your savings are going nowhere while stuck in a bank account.

You hear you can grow your savings if you invest them. But you don’t know how to do it prudently

Saving is easy. You spend less than you earn. You know how to do that. But investing?! Investing sounds complicated, time consuming and speculative. 

“Worse, investing is risky! Will I make a big mistake and lose my money? I am not an expert.”

Your family and friends also know little about investing. You didn’t study Finance in school. You don’t know who and what to ask. Investing is a foreign concept. You don’t even know where to begin.

You have read a few things about investing but you get confused with all the acronyms and terms: TER, market capitalization, broad index…

What if you knew how to invest your savings the right way?

The Internet has a ton of suspicious “get rich quick investing” schemes. And you don’t want to get involved with them. However, there is a time-tested simple investment strategy – index/passive investing – which has produced great returns for investors like you and me.

You’ve stumbled into a couple of amazing resources but they were all written by people that live in the United States (US). Can I invest like them? What is a 401(k) anyway? How can European residents buy VTI/VTASX? 

What if you specifically knew how European residents can invest in index funds?

Taxes, regulations, brokers and available funds make investing while living in Europe different than investing while living in the US. The principles of passive investing are the same regardless of location. But the practical details differ.

My book “Introduction to investing in index funds and ETFs” covers what you need to know and do so you can start investing. It covers both the theory and practice of investing in index funds for residents in Europe.

A list of “best ETFs for Europeans” can only take you so far. It tells you “what” but it does not explain you “why”. Investing with so little knowledge feels like you are flying blind. You are doing something but you don’t know if it will take you where you need to go. This book is different.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

This book is about learning how to fish. This book is about becoming confident on your ability to make sound investment decisions. 

You need not spend months researching how to invest in index funds. You can quickly learn how to invest your savings without having to take a PhD on Economics. You can learn passive investing in a couple of hours with this book.

What is inside?

The book explains the essential concepts and steps for starting with passive investing while living in Europe. Besides the book there are videos that cover supplemental topics relevant for investors: taxes, brokers and online tools.

The book

It is an ebook with around 100 pages. It has 6 chapters:

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction to Investing: Covers the fundamentals of investing. What is investing and why people bother doing it? What are the different investments (e.g. equities, bonds) that exist and how do they work? What is the risk/return trade-off? What is the importance of diversification?
  • Chapter 2 – Introduction to Passive Investing: Covers the fundamentals of passive investing. How is passive investing different from other types of investing? Why is passive investment great for investors like you and me? What is an investment fund? How is the passive investing landscape in Europe?
  • Chapter 3 – Introduction to the Simple Portfolio: Covers the details of my preferred portfolio. How does that portfolio look like? Why is it a popular portfolio among European investors? A deep understanding of this portfolio makes it easier to find the most suitable investment funds.
  • Chapter 4 – Understanding Index Funds: Explains the important characteristics of equity and bond index funds. Before you can choose funds for your portfolio, you need to evaluate them and assess if they fit your investment plan.
  • Chapter 5 – Preferred ETFs: Covers my preferred ETFs for implementing the Simple Portfolio. I explain the process I follow to find suitable ETFs. I’ll help you understand why I prefer these specific ETFs instead of others.
  • Chapter 6 – Asset Allocation: Explains the importance of investing in both equities and fixed income. I’ll explain how you can find an equity/fixed income split that works for you and how to rebalance your portfolio.

Along with the book you will get a spreadsheet with useful information related to the book: detailed ETF analysis, source data for graphs/tables, historical data.

Video: How to select ETFs in practice for the Simple Portfolio

The book explains my process for selecting ETFs, which I call “Exclude + Prioritize”. This process chooses a few suitable ETFs from a universe of hundreds of ETFs. The book explains the process in a written format.

This video is a live walkthrough where I run the same “Exclude + Prioritize” process. In it you will learn how to use multiple online tools to select the best ETFs for you in practice.

Video: Walkthrough of useful online resources

The Internet is the best friend of any index investor.

This video covers the most useful online resources for European index investors. You will learn about tools that help you find information about ETFs, that help you find information about financial markets and that help you learn more about investing.

Video: Guide to brokers for index investors

You need a broker to invest in ETFs. In this video you will learn how brokers work. You will also learn how to use a broker and how to choose one. You will learn about the common aspects among brokers.

Video: Guide to taxes for index investors

At first sight taxes look complicated but they don’t have to. They are simple when you understand the core principles.

In this video you will learn about the fundamentals of taxes so you easily find about the specific details for your specific case. This video explains aspects of taxes that investors should be aware of.

Be the first to know when the book is released!

If you want to get a sense of what the book looks like, take a look at my (free) e-mail course – “Introduction to Investing”. That course is a summary of some aspects covered in the upcoming book.

The “Introduction to investing in index funds and ETFs” book is almost ready to be released. Sign up below to be the first to know when it is ready.

What are people saying?

“I have read some materials in the past regarding investing in ETFs but usually all was ending in confusion. After reading your blog I actually started investing.” – Martin D. (Bulgaria)

“You always break everything down with many examples and in plain language. I really like your tone and the way you explain things. Also, the fact that your guides are European-centered makes it very relevant for people like me to read what you have to say and act on it.” – Pasi M. (Finland)

The course taught me a lot and gave me the confidence to actually start investing.The recommendations for specific ETFs and reasoning why were the most helpful things for me. It was just enough for me to make an informed decision I could act on immediately.” – Jiri K. (Czech Republic)

FAQ

When does the book come out?
I am still finishing the book and the videos so I can’t share a date yet. Subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know when it comes out.

How long is the book?
The book will be around 100 pages long.

What format does the book come in?
This will be an ebook. No print version for now. The formats will be PDF, MOBI and EPUB. You will get a zip file containing the book, the videos and spreadsheets.

Is this book right for me?
This book is perfect for:

  • People looking to start investing in index funds and ETFs
  • People that have some experience with investing but want to understand why. Why particular funds are used? Why bother with bonds? Why are index funds preferred?
  • Residents in Europe that are looking to passive invest
  • People that want to invest for the long-term (> 10+ years)
  • People that want to manage their own investments

This book isn’t appropriate for:

  • People looking for a “get rich quick” scheme
  • People looking for tips for the next big company. This isn’t a book about picking stocks.
  • People looking to invest for the short term. Investing is too risky to do in the short-term.
  • US Persons
  • People looking for a financial advisor. I am not a financial advisor.

What if I don’t live in Europe?
The book is primarily aimed at an European audience. That said, the investment strategy suitable for Europeans is useful for any non-US person.

What if I’m not happy with the book?
You can get your money back. If this book does not help you learn and understand about index funds, let me know and I’ll give you a complete refund. No argument. No risk. No questions asked. 100% guaranteed.
You can reach out to me at mario@indexfundinvestor.eu.

Have other questions? Contact me at mario@indexfundinvestor.eu, I’ll be happy to answer.

Who am I?

I’m Mário Nzualo and I’m the author of indexfundinvestor.eu. I’m based in Berlin, Germany.

In 2015 I read the book “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” and started investing in index funds. Over the years I’ve read countless books, blogs and papers on passive investing and personal finance.

In 2018, I created my blog, indexfundinvestor.eu. On my blog, I write about topics related to index/passive investing in a familiar language. I am particularly interested in explaining in simple terms how European residents can implement index investing. 

I write to make it easier for other investors to embark on this journey.

I’ve published dozens of posts on my blog and a free email course for beginners.

As my with my other writing you can expect the following from this book:

  • Simple and clear language you can understand
  • Concrete examples which help you see how investing works in practice 
  • Succinct so you can quickly understand the essence of passive investing

If you want to get a sense of what the book looks like, take a look at my (free) e-mail course – “Introduction to Investing”. That course is a summary of some aspects covered in the upcoming book.

I will send more updates about the book in the coming weeks. Subscribe to my newsletter to receive these updates.

Be the first to know when the book is released!

The “Introduction to investing in index funds and ETFs” book is almost ready to be released. Sign up below to be the first to know when it is ready.

Disclaimers

The opinions expressed in this book and site are solely my own and not affiliated with any other organization or institution.

I am not a professional financial advisor. The information presented in this book is not financial advice. Purchasing this book or reading this site does not create an advisory relationship with me.

This is only a documentation of what I’ve learned about investing in index funds. The book should be used for informational purposes only. Despite my best attempts to avoid it, it is possible that information provided in this book is incorrect or incomplete.

The responsibility of assessing the benefits and risks of financial decisions lies entirely on you. You need to make your own choices with your money based on your circumstances and the information you have available.

Investing is risky and can cause partial or complete loss of money. This book provides no guarantees of financial returns.