10 Worst ETFs for Your Portfolio

When SPDR S&P 500 ETF, the first exchange-traded fund, made its debut in 1993, Whitney Houston topped the charts, shoppers were snapping up Beanie Babies and Cheers was in its final season.

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When SPDR S&P 500 ETF, the first exchange-traded fund, made its debut in 1993, Whitney Houston topped the charts, shoppers were snapping up Beanie Babies and Cheers was in its final season. The newfangled gizmo was an immediate success. By the end of its first year, SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), which tracks Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, held $500 million in assets. But that was only the beginning. The number of ETFs and similar products today has swollen to more than 1,600, with combined assets of $1.8 trillion.

The first ETFs clearly filled a need. They provided investors with low-cost vehicles for tracking well-known market benchmarks such as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite index, while allowing investors to get in and out of a fund anytime throughout the trading day.

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Kaitlin Pitsker
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Pitsker joined Kiplinger in the summer of 2012. Previously, she interned at the Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and with Chronogram magazine in Kingston, N.Y. She holds a BS in magazine journalism from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.