A Guide to Generating Income with ETFs


Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have emerged as popular investment vehicles that offers potential for income generation. In this article we’ll take a look at the benefits, considerations, and strategies for investing in ETFs as a source of income. Whether you are a seasoned investor or just starting your investment journey, understanding how ETFs can serve as an income-generating tool is important for building a sustainable and successful investment portfolio.

ETFs for Income Generation

The process of generating income from an ETF is simpler than you might think. Equity ETFs distribute dividends, fixed income ETFs pay interest, and ETFs across various asset classes provide capital gains. Moreover, if you invest in ETFs, you can benefit from tax credits associated with dividend payments.

Any payment received from an ETF is referred to as a distribution, which represents your share of the fund’s income and gains. You will receive an annual statement detailing the breakdown of your received distributions, including any tax credits you can claim to facilitate tax reporting.

The ETF market is expansive, offering a large number of options beyond passive investments in broad equity or bond indices. In fact, many fund managers have listed actively managed funds on a variety of exchanges in recent years, catering to those who prefer an active approach.

Read: Guide to Buying ETFs

Key Considerations for Generating Income with ETFs

The fundamental principles of income-focused investing apply equally to ETFs as they do to other investment vehicles. Here are some essential factors to keep in mind:

1. Risk and Return Profile: Evaluate the risk and return characteristics of an ETF and determine how well they align with your own financial goals and risk tolerance. Consider how the ETF fits into your overall investment portfolio.

2. Cost Analysis: Assess the costs associated with investing in an ETF and how they may impact your overall returns. Strike a balance between fees and potential income.

3. Distribution Frequency: Determine the frequency of distributions that works for you. Some ETFs pool income for regular distributions, while others distribute whenever possible. This information can be found in the product disclosure statement.

4. Portfolio Composition: Examine the underlying holdings of an ETF to ensure proper diversification across your investment portfolio. The ETF issuer should provide a comprehensive list of holdings.

5. Index Methodology: Different ETFs track various indices, some of which specifically target yield, while others focus on capital growth. Align your strategy with the appropriate index methodology that suits your income objectives.

7 Top Performing ETFs

As the market continues its upward trend in 2023 there are many ETFs that offer growth potential and diversification. The following top-performing ETFs are spread across various sectors, providing you with attractive opportunities for the year ahead. From technology-focused funds to defensive alternatives, these ETFs should be considered as part of your portfolio.

Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF (MGK)

The Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF (MGK) focuses on large-cap companies, particularly in the technology sector. With a significant reliance on trillion-dollar tech giants and mega-cap blue chips, this ETF offers exposure to leading companies with substantial growth potential. Despite the market’s breadth remaining modest, MGK has delivered impressive returns, boasting a year-to-date performance of 31.4% as of June 2, surpassing the broader S&P 500 during the same period. If you seek a concentrated investment in dominant market players, the Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF is worth considering.

Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ)

In the current market climate, technology stocks have been the driving force behind the market’s success. The Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) is benchmarked to the Nasdaq-100, which comprises the largest U.S. corporations, with approximately 51% of its assets allocated to the technology sector. With top holdings including industry giants like Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., and Nvidia Corp., QQQ provides investors with exposure to the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100. If you believe in the continued growth of the technology sector, the Invesco QQQ Trust is a suitable option for your portfolio.

Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ)

The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) focuses on companies at the forefront of the AI megatrend. As the demand for AI technology continues to rise, this ETF offers a comprehensive approach to investing in the emerging robotics and AI industry. With top holdings including semiconductor firm Nvidia, robotic surgery leader Intuitive Surgical Inc., and manufacturing automation firm Keyence Corp., BOTZ provides exposure to the key players driving innovation in this sector. With impressive year-to-date returns of over 35%, the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF presents an enticing opportunity for investors seeking direct exposure to AI technologies.

Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK)

The Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) provides investors with exposure to a broad range of innovative technologies. While the fund is not solely focused on AI, it heavily concentrates on the tech sector. Managed actively, ARKK invests in disruptive companies that have the potential to revolutionize industries. With top holdings including electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc. and streaming leader Roku Inc., ARKK has experienced substantial growth, outperforming the market in recent times. If you are comfortable with higher risk and seek exposure to cutting-edge technologies, the Ark Innovation ETF is worth considering for its potential for significant returns.

Global X MSCI Greece ETF (GREK)

For those interested in country-specific ETFs, the Global X MSCI Greece ETF (GREK) offers exposure to the Greek economy. With Greece experiencing economic growth and falling inflation rates, this ETF provides a unique opportunity to invest in the local market. Comprising primarily Greek companies, including Eurobank Ergasias Services and Holdings SA and the Greek Organisation of Football Prognostics SA, GREK has demonstrated strong performance, with year-to-date gains of over 40%. If you believe in the growth potential of the Greek economy, the Global X MSCI Greece ETF presents an attractive investment option.

Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Active ETF (MINT)

Amid a rising interest rate environment, bond funds are gaining favor among investors. The Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Active ETF (MINT) offers exposure to short-term bonds, which are currently providing better rates of return than longer-dated and riskier bonds. With a yield of 5.2%, significantly higher than that of the S&P 500, MINT presents an opportunity for investors seeking stable income potential with lower volatility. As short-term bonds can offer attractive returns without exposing investors to long-term market fluctuations, the Pimco Enhanced Short Maturity Active ETF is a good choice if you’re looking for income generation.

iShares Gold Trust (IAU)

As a defensive alternative to high-flying tech stocks and mega-cap leaders, the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) provides direct exposure to physical gold prices. With concerns about inflation and a potentially challenging market environment, many investors turn to gold as a safe haven asset. IAU offers a convenient and accessible way to invest in gold without the need to buy and store physical bars or coins. If you are seeking portfolio diversification and a hedge against market volatility, the iShares Gold Trust is worth considering.

JP Morgan Equity Premium Income ETF (JEPI)

JPMorgan Equity Premium Income (JEPI) is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that provides the combination of income generation potential with capital preservation. With a primary focus on low-volatility stocks and a covered call writing strategy, JEPI aims to deliver consistent risk-adjusted returns.

Generating income through ETFs is a straightforward process. By understanding the distribution mechanisms and considering key factors like risk, costs, distribution frequency, portfolio composition, and index methodology, you can optimize your income generation strategy. With a wide array of ETF options available, including actively managed funds, you have the flexibility to tailor your portfolio to your specific income needs.


  • Marcus Anderson

    Marcus Anderson is a seasoned investment specialist and a key contributor to MoneyMaver. With a passion for making investing accessible to everyone, Marcus has dedicated his career to simplifying the world of finance and helping people make informed investment decisions. Marcus holds a degree in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and has over a decade of experience in the financial sector. He started his career as an investment analyst for a major Wall Street firm, where he honed his skills in financial analysis and investment strategy.

Scroll to Top