While getting hyped about the next great investment idea and chasing after potentially lucrative plays can be fun, investors should remember to stick to the basics with core portfolio holdings. ETFs are great for working the core.

“Without a solid core, you are doomed to underachieve because you don’t have the right balance needed to attain your goals,” David Fabian, Chief Operations Officer and Managing Partner of Fabian Capital Managed, said on TheStreet. “By starting from the ground up using concrete core holdings, you can add additional tactical positions from which to enhance your returns. That way you will have a well-rounded portfolio strategy that is easy to understand.”

Core holdings typically provide investors with large, diversified and liquid exposure to a broad index or market segment. Depending on prevailing market conditions, a core holding can make up anywhere between 40% to 60% of an overall investment portfolio.

With one ETF, investors can easily gain exposure to a diverse basket of securities. Moreover, ETFs are transparent, low-cost, easy to trade and tax efficient.

For instance, Fabian points out a couple of broad, “plain vanilla” positions that provide diversified exposure to large markets, including SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEArca: VTI), iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA) and iShares Aggregate Bond Fund (NYSEArca: AGG). Moreover, BlackRock’s iShares has a line of 10 “Core” ETFs that can also serve as core positions in an investment portfolio.

Along with these plain vanilla, beta index ETFs, investors can also utilize alternative indexing methodologies for core positions.

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