How To Invest In SP500? Your Ultimate Guide

How To Invest In SP500? Your Ultimate Guide

If you are at all familiar with the stock market, you’ve probably heard of the S&P 500. One of the most popular stock market indexes in the world alongside the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 tracks the performance of the 503 most valuable stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Nasdaq. 

Due to the popularity of the S&P 500, there are numerous ways of investing in the index, which is also considered as the benchmark for the performance of the United States stock market. 

Financial investing can be a complicated affair, which is why it is so important to know what options you have before risking your capital in an investment. 

For example, you can invest in the S&P 500 via a number of high-profile exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, which allocate their capital in the same proportion that the S&P 500 is weighted in to accurately track the performance of the index. 

Such funds are passively managed and simply exist to replicate the performance of the underlying index. 

Beginner investors are often advised to place some of their capital in index funds, as they offer stable performance and relatively low volatility, which is why millions of people invest in the S&P 500 every year. 

If you are a beginner investor who would like to invest in the S&P 500 and want to explore your options - this investfox guide is for you. 

What Is The S&P 500 And How Does It Work?

Before dividing deeper into how to invest in the S&P 500, we must first clearly define and understand what the S&P 500 is and what functions it serves on the broader stock market. 

The S&P 500, often referred to as just the "S&P," is a stock market index that measures the performance of 500 large publicly traded companies in the United States. It is one of the most widely followed and referenced stock market indices in the world and is considered a reliable indicator of the overall health and direction of the U.S. stock market. 

The companies included in the index are carefully chosen by the Standard & Poor’s committee, which considers various factors for each stock, including market capitalization, trading volume, sector representation, and overall financial viability. 

Here are a few key things to know about the S&P 500, namely that:

  • The fund was initially launched on March 4, 1957, and has since been administered by Standard & Poor’s, a division of S&P Global
  • The S&P 500 is a market capitalization-weighted index, which means that constituents with a larger market cap have an outsized influence on the price movements of the index 
  • The S&P 500 committee selects 500 companies from the pool of publicly traded companies in the U.S. The committee aims to include companies that are representative of the overall economy across various sectors
  • The index is calculated using a formula that takes into account the stock prices and market capitalizations of the included companies. The formula is designed to adjust for changes in the composition of the index, such as stock splits, mergers, and changes in the number of outstanding shares
  • The S&P 500 has two primary return metrics - price return and total return. Price return simply measures the change in price over time, while total return also considers dividend payouts in the calculation 
  • Investors can't directly invest in the index itself, but they can invest in funds that track the index's performance. These funds are known as index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). By investing in these funds, individuals can achieve returns that closely match the performance of the S&P 500

The S&P 500 has a long history of delivering consistent long-term growth, which makes it very attractive to investors all around the world. Many experienced investors, such as Warren Buffett, advise beginners to invest in the S&P 500 consistently to accumulate wealth in the long run. 

Investing In The SP500 Through A Mutual Fund

Another method of investing in the S&P 500 is through a mutual fund. Mutual funds that track an underlying index function similarly to ETFs, however, they may come with restrictions on when investors can enter, while the fund’s managers charge annual fees to cover administrative and miscellaneous expenses. 

Since S&P 500 mutual funds are passively managed, the annual fees will typically be quite low, which is attractive to a wide range of investors, especially those that are building up their retirement savings. 

Investing in a mutual fund typically involves creating or redeeming shares directly with the fund company. This can sometimes lead to delays and can affect the fund's liquidity, which is an important point to consider. 

Furthermore, mutual funds often have minimum investment requirements and trades are executed at the end of the day, so investors cannot take advantage of intraday price movements. 

How To Invest In SP 500

Investing in the S&P 500 is a fairly simple process. If you choose to invest through an ETF, you will need to open a stock trading account with a brokerage, find the ticker of the ETF of your choice, choose the size of the position you would like to hold, and make your investment.

After that, you can periodically monitor your investment to make sure that its returns match your expectations and investment objectives. 

It is important to choose an ETF with a low expense ratio and a track record of delivering performance. You can use charting software to overlay the performance of the ETF with the actual performance of the S&P 500 to see if there have been any major discrepancies in the past. 

Investing Using Leverage

Some leveraged ETFs, such as the Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull ETF allow investors to double or triple their returns from an S&P 500 investment by using financial derivatives and options contracts to gain leverage. 

Such investments can be considerably more risky and volatile, thanks to the nature of options contracts and short/long positions. However, more adventurous investors can find such funds a welcoming addition to their otherwise conservative portfolios. 

A key advantage of leveraged S&P 500 funds is that they remove the hassle of individually picking options chains and opening long/short positions and simply provide a more outsized profit/loss potential on the same underlying index. 

5 SP500 ETFs You Can Invest In

While choosing between different ETFs, tracking the same index may sound counterintuitive. But while these funds are near-identical in performance, where they differ are fees and dividend yields. Each fund has a different expense ratio, which is typically quite low due to the passive nature of index funds. 

Regardless, a cost-conscious investor may choose the S&P 500 ETF with the lowest expense ratio and minimize expenses. 

You can invest in these funds from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a valid and active brokerage account under your name. 

SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY)

  • SPY is the largest S&P 500 ETF with assets under management exceeding $420 billion 
  • The fund was launched by State Street on January 22, 1993, and has an expense ratio of 0.0945% 
  • SPY offers an annual 1.43% dividend yield 
  • The average daily trading volume over the past five years has been roughly 86 million shares 
  • The fund holds an ESG score of 6.66/10 
  • SPY has returned 14.94% since the start of 2023 

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV)

  • iShares Core S&P 500 ETF is the second-largest ETF tracking the S&P 500, with assets under management exceeding $350 billion 
  • IVV was launched on May 15, 2000, by BlackRock and has an expense ratio of 0.03%, making it one of the most affordable ETFs in the world 
  • IVV has an annual dividend yield of 1.50%
  • The average daily trading volume over the past five years has been roughly 5 million shares 
  • IVV has an ESG score of 6.66/10 
  • The fund has returned 14.99% since the start of 2023, which is higher due to its lower expense ratio 

Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO)

  • The Vanguard 500 Index Fund is the third-largest ETF in the United States, with assets exceeding $331 billion 
  • The fund was launched on September 7, 2010, by Vanguard and has an expense ratio of 0.03%
  • VOO has an annual dividend yield of 1.54%
  • The fund also has an ESG score of 6.66/10
  • Since the start of 2023, VOO has returned 14.97% 

Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP)

  • The Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF has assets of more than $43 billion
  • The fund became available to the public on April 24, 2003, and has an expense ratio of 0.20$ - making it one of the pricier S&P 500 ETFs 
  • RSP has an annual dividend yield of 1.72%
  • The fund has an ESG score of 6.7/10 
  • RSP has returned 5.06% since the start of the year, highlighting the influence of the largest constituents of the S&P 500, which have been wiped out due to RSP’s equal weighting system 

ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF (SH)

  • The ProShares Short S&P 500 ETF is an inverse ETF that gains from the decline in price of the S&P 500. The fund has assets of over $1.7 billion 
  • The fund was launched on June 19, 2006, and has an expense ratio of 0.88% 
  • SH has an annual dividend yield of 2.46%
  • SH has an ESG rating of 5.72/10 
  • The fund has returned -9.30% since the beginning of the year 2023 

Pros & Cons Of Investing In SP500

Depending on your expectations and investment objectives, investing in the S&P 500 may have some advantages and disadvantages. It is important to carefully consider each of these factors to determine whether this is the right course of action for your goals.


  • Diversification - The S&P 500 is composed of 503 different stocks from a variety of industries, which helps the index avoid the concentration of risk 
  • Historical performance - Over the long term, the S&P 500 has shown a history of delivering positive returns. This can make it a relatively stable investment choice for those with a long investment horizon
  • Passive investment - Investing in the S&P 500 index is a form of passive investing, which means you don't need to actively select individual stocks. This approach can save time and reduce the need for constant portfolio management
  • Low fees - Many S&P 500 index funds and ETFs have low expense ratios compared to actively managed funds. This can help investors keep more of their returns over time


  • Market risk - Like all stock market investments, the S&P 500 is subject to market volatility. Its performance can be influenced by economic conditions, geopolitical events, and other external factors
  • Limited international exposure - The S&P 500 focuses solely on U.S. companies. If you're seeking exposure to international markets, you would need to consider additional investments
  • Short-term underperformance - While the S&P 500 historically has delivered positive returns over the long term, there are periods where it may underperform other market segments or asset classes
  • Low returns - The annual returns generated by the S&P 500 are typically not very high, which may prompt some investors to choose a more hands-on approach 

Key Takeaways From How To Invest In SP500

  • The S&P 500 is a benchmark index of the U.S stock market and is one of the most followed equity indexes in the world
  • The S&P 500 is composed of 503 influential large-cap companies from the NYSE and Nasdaq
  • Investors can gain exposure to the index via S&P 500 ETFs, which can also include inverse and leveraged ETFs or mutual funds 
  • The S&P 500 is known for delivering positive returns over longer time periods 
  • Most funds tracking the S&P 500 are passively managed, which makes their expense ratios very low 

FAQs On How To Invest In SP500

Should you invest in SP500?

Investing in the S&P 500 is a good way for investors to gain exposure to the broader U.S. market and provide a stable return from a diversified investment. Since the S&P 500 is widely regarded as a benchmark of the U.S. economy, investors that are bullish could benefit greatly from investing in it. 

What is the biggest SP500 stock?

Apple is the biggest stock in the S&P 500 and accounts for over 7.7% of the weight of the entire index. The S&P 500 is market capitalization-weighted, which means that movements in Apple stock have more effect on the index than that of any other constituent. 

Is SP500 volatile?

The S&P 500 is one of the least volatile investments available on the stock market. The index is composed of over 500 stocks of large companies from different sectors, which greatly disperses the risk exposure of the index.