I do have a basic understanding of the Volatility Index (Chicago Board Options Exchange Market Volatility Index), but I wasn't sure how this index is best used by an individual, average investor.
From what I can gather, you basically buy it when you think there will be a big price change and sell once that turbulent time has passed (i.e. to hedge the risk of your portfolio). Isn't it true though that you can largely achieve the same effect by using futures/options?
I guess the difference is that in VIX it doesn't matter if the market goes up or down, and I can imagine wanting to buy something like that. But if my understanding is true, when should I consider buying/selling, and how much?