Best Vanguard ETFs

Vanguard is one of the largest financial institutions in the world and is the second-largest issuer of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The company offers scores of ETFs, but we distilled the list down to 10 that we think are the best overall. Best Vanguard ETFs Right Now These ETFs are included based on a combination of…
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Vanguard is one of the largest financial institutions in the world and is the second-largest issuer of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The company offers scores of ETFs, but we distilled the list down to 10 that we think are the best overall.

Best Vanguard ETFs Right Now

These ETFs are included based on a combination of size, inclusion in the portfolios of many robo-advisors, and their appearance on various “best ETF” lists.

The 10 are listed in no special order since each represents a different sector of the global financial markets.

Vanguard US Total Stock Market ETF (VTI)

VTI tracks the performance of the CRSP US Total Market Index. It includes large-, mid-, and small-cap companies, generally covering the entire US market.

Its five largest holdings are Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $148.92
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 3,627
  • Fund total net assets: $814.1 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.03%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 14.01%

Vanguard Small Cap Growth ETF (VBK)

VBK tracks the performance of the CRSP US Small Cap Growth Index. The five largest holdings in the index are Tableau Software Inc., MarketAxess Holdings Inc., Zebra Technologies Corp., Burlington Stores Inc., and Sun Communities Inc.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $185.45
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 626
  • Fund total net assets: $24.8 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.07%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 14.69%

Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT)

VT tracks the FTSE Global All Cap Index, which includes markets in both developed (including the US) and emerging market countries. The five largest holdings are Microsoft Corp., Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $73.38
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 8,228
  • Fund total net assets: $17.5 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.09%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 8.49% after taxes on distributions and sales of fund shares

Vanguard U.S. Mid-Cap Value ETF (VOE)

VOE tracks the performance of the CRSP US Mid Cap Value Index. The index includes medium-size companies, that are considered undervalued compared to their competitors.

The five largest holdings in the fund include Newmont Goldcorp Corp., Motorola Solutions Inc., WEC Energy Group Inc., Willis Towers plc, and Eversource Energy.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $109.42
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 208
  • Fund total net assets: $19.1 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.07%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 13.87%

Vanguard U.S. Small Cap Value ETF (VBR)

VBR tracks the performance of the CRSP US Small Cap Value Index. The index includes smaller companies, that are considered undervalued compared to their competitors.

The five largest holdings in the fund include IDEX Corp., Atmost Energy Corp., Leidos Holdings Inc., PerkinElmer Inc. and Allegion plc.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $125.97
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 872
  • Fund total net assets: $30.4 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.07%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 13.03%

Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA)

VEA tracks the FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index. The index tracks the performance of companies of all sizes, located in the major markets of Europe and the Pacific region, as well as Canada.

The five largest holdings in the fund include Nestlé SA, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Roche Holding AG, and Novartis AG.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $39.90
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 3,944
  • Fund total net assets: $114.8 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.05%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 5.81%

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)

VWO tracks the FTSE Emerging Markets All Cap China A Inclusion Index, and includes emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Taiwan, and South Africa.

The five largest holdings in the fund include Tencent Holdings Ltd., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Naspers Ltd., and China Construction Bank Corp.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $40.09
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 4,743
  • Fund total net assets: $87.7 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.12%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 4.25%

Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND)

BND works to keep pace with US bond market returns. It invests in intermediate-term bonds, providing income with modest price fluctuations.

The average effective maturity is 8.2 years. 64% of the fund’s holdings are in US Government securities, with the remaining 36% in investment-grade corporate bonds, broken down as follows:

  • AAA, 3.9%
  • AA, 3.5%
  • A, 11.1%
  • BAA, 17.5%

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $83.98
  • Number of bonds in the fund: 8,566
  • Fund total net assets: $229.3 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.035%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 3.82%

Vanguard Total International Bond (BNDX)

BNDX tracks the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate ex-USD Float Adjusted RIC Capped Index, which is to say it tracks the global bond market, excluding the US.

The fund also uses hedging strategies to protect against fluctuations in exchange rates.

The current largest bond market allocations by country are as follows:

  • Japan, 19.8%
  • France, 11.8%
  • Germany, 9.1%
  • Italy, 7.3%
  • The United Kingdom, 6.9%

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $58.46
  • Number of bonds in the fund: 5,897
  • Fund total net assets: $131.6 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.9%
  • 10-year average annual returns: N/A – 4.23% since inception, which was May 31, 2013

Vanguard REIT Index (VNQ)

VNQ tracks the MSCI US Investable Real Estate 25/50 Index.

The index tracks stocks issued by real estate investment trusts (REITs), which purchase and hold commercial real estate, including office buildings, hotels, retail space, apartment complexes, and other properties.

The five largest holdings in the fund include Vanguard Real Estate II Index Fund, American Tower Corp., Crown Castle International Corp., Prologis Inc., and Simon Property Group Inc.

It has the following characteristics:

  • Price (as of August 9, 2019): $90.89
  • Number of stocks in the fund: 189
  • Fund total net assets: $64.2 billion
  • Expense ratio: 0.12%
  • 10-year average annual returns: 15.46%

Final Thoughts on Best Vanguard ETFs

Unless you’re investing through a managed platform, such as a robo-advisor or a traditional human investment advisory, your best option will be to invest through funds within your Vanguard brokerage account or Personal Advisor Service account.

Each represents a portfolio of hundreds of different securities, enabling you to invest in a general market rather than in individual companies, properties or governments.

The best type of fund investing is usually done through ETFs. They’re passively invested funds that track popular investment indexes, and they have very low expenses compared to mutual funds.

And though they only promise to match the underlying markets, they usually outperform mutual funds. This is because, in an attempt to outperform the market, mutual funds also risk underperforming it.

And if you’re going to invest in ETFs, Vanguard has some of the very best in the industry.

The best evidence is that Vanguard ETFs are commonly included in the portfolios of both robo-advisors and professional investment advisors.

Just by investing in a small number of Vanguard ETFs you can get exposure to global stock and bond markets, and have a fully diversified portfolio at very low cost, and with no management responsibility on your part.


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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet's founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

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