Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion of credit cards that offer rewards in cryptocurrency.

Then we pivot to this week’s question from a listener who emailed us asking: “ETFs or index funds: Which of the above is better for short-term investing?”

Check out this episode on any of these platforms:

Our take

If you’re considering a cryptocurrency-earning credit card, weigh the pros and cons. Crypto is trendy at the moment, but its volatility means that your rewards earning rate could vary greatly from day to day. On the other hand, using rewards points to buy cryptocurrency could be an easy way to dabble without much risk.

On the topic of short-term investing, know what your time horizon is and what your goals are before choosing an investment vehicle. For time horizons shorter than three to five years, consider conservative investment options.

Things like cash management accounts, high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit have a lower potential return rate than other investment options, but that’s the trade-off for protecting money needed in the near term.

Other investments are popular for a longer timeline. Exchange-traded funds and index funds both allow you to invest in a basket of securities, which can help diversify an investment portfolio. ETFs may be slightly more tax-friendly than index funds.
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