Yes, this is one of the better balanced funds and trust me, no fund is the "best"; it is impossible! I have DODBX and it has been wrecked this past year! yes, it is closed, but dont let that fool you! Nobody has THE answers, not-nobody! For me, I plan to get VWELX and VWINX to add to my DODBX and others!
Look at BOTH VWELX and OAKBX and OAKGX. I know the low fees of vanguard are attractive and speak volumes BUT somehow these guys at Oakmark do seem to be able to do one heck of a great job inspite of the fact that their fees are a bit higher than day vanguard or Fidelity.
While at it, consider say Fidelity PURITAN, FPURX! This fund is huge, like DODBX and expenses are pretty much the same, a wee higher, but that is irrelevant. Also, Fidelity's Balanced Fund, FBALX would be "good" as well, I think, but I believe its weighted "beta" is a bit higher than say their Puritan Fund and thus it will have a bit wider market swings.
matters not which balanced fund you get, but get at least one and if 10,000 minimum for vanguard's VWELX is no problem settle for that one! If $$$ is an issue, go with Fidelity Puritan or balanced, a paltry 2,500 minimum! If that is "high", go with OAKBX, a $1,000 minimum and I think you will be very happy with them: just buy and hang in for the long haul and dollar cost average and just keep it it!
I looked at the Oakbx and the oakgx...nice...too bad both were closed! I wish I had been aware of the oakbx earliers. Impressive. Been a long time wellington holders from my early IRA's. Just today added a nice chunk from my works retirement funds. I hope it will navigate these waters we sail through today.
You might find better funds for short periods, but long haul? I doubt it. Low costs are a huge edge. The fund has been around since mid-1929 if I recall correctly and has seen it all.
I put my kids' college funds in here in the early-90s. Maybe they would have done better in another fund prior to 2000, but they needed the money 2000-2005 and Wellington turned out to have been an inspired choice. They took a hit, but not a huge one, and ended up maintaining and then increasing value through the early 2000s.
It's the tortoise, not the hare, that wins the race.
Today my mailbox had the Summer, 2007, newsletter, "In the Vanguard." There's an interesting article on Page 3 about Wellington. You can probably find it on the Vanguard web site. The article looks at the 10 year period from 6/30/1997 to 6/30/2007 and compares the performance of U.S. stocks (Wilshire 5000), International stocks (MSCI All Country World Index ex USA), U.S. bonds (Lehman U.S. Aggregate Bond Index), and Wellington. They divided the decade up into three segments: 6/30/1997-2/29/2000, 2/29/2000-3/31/2003, and 3/31/2003-6/30/2007 or, roughly, boom, bust, recovery. Wellington wasn't the star performer in any of the three periods, BUT for the entire decade it beat all three of the asset classes.
Keep in mind that "In the Vanguard" is Vanguard propaganda. I'm sure that Vanguard wouldn't be highlighting Wellington's performance if Wellington didn't compare favorably. And, I'm not saying that Wellington is the perfect fund for everyone. But, you can do much worse--and it's hard to do better long haul.
By the way, lots of advisors these days tout index funds over actively managed funds. Vanguard (okay, Bogle) practically invented the category and the Vanguard 500 Index Fund is the one most often cited. A flyer that came with In the Vanguard lists the results of ALL Vanguard funds over 1, 5, and 10 years. Wellington handily beat the 500 Index Fund over 10 years--though not for the 1 and 5 year periods.
Check out PRWCX (T Rowe Price Cap Appreciation)....it holds 60% in stocks and has 40% in cash, bonds & convertible bonds.
19 years up and only 1 negative year. New fund manager is being broken in, though.
It's pretty good, but the stock portion is mostly large cap value, so it's not real diversified.
Since Dodge and Cox (DODBX) is not available, definitely go with Oakmark Equity and Income (OAKBX). More mid and small cap stocks.
I have quite alot of Wellington in my 401K, but am going to get into OAKBX in a taxable account. You can only get the fund directly from Oakmark.