Time waits for no one. These wise words apply to all areas of life, from catching the bus to catching up on your 401(k). Perhaps no one knows this lesson more deeply than the person who didn’t start saving early for retirement.

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It might seem strange that a hedge such as Bitcoin gets the moniker “digital gold”. After all, the two investments couldn’t be more different, right? One, a hard physical asset, the other entirely digital. But the more we get into why these two assets are popular, the more we understand why the comparisons are made over and over again.

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First, let’s get the definitions out of the way: The SPDR S&P 500 Trust (SPY) and the Vanguard S&P 500 (VOO) are both exchange traded funds, or ETFs. An ETF is an index fund that issues shares that you can buy and sell over a stock exchange, just like shares of an individual stock.

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Disclosure: We are reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more. “FIRE” is the nickname for the “Financial Independence, Retire Early” approach to personal finance. In practice, FIRE is a combination of financial planning strategies and lifestyle decisions that (hopefully) lead to financial independence years before reaching

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Let’s get the basic definitions out of the way first: SPY and VTI are both exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. These are index funds with shares that are traded on the stock market.

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What are Stocks? Stocks represent ownership. A share of stock is simply a share of ownership in a company. When you own a share of stock, you own a share of all the company’s future profits and liabilities. It’s a small claim on a company’s future profits.

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