Interested in buying a graduation gift for a loved one? Or perhaps you’re a recent graduate yourself, and you’re looking for good exchange-traded funds to start your own investment portfolio. You’ve come to the right article. These are the three ETFs to buy that represent a great mix of growth and stability for young investors.
There are a few things to keep in mind when picking your first ETFs to buy as a young investor. You want to keep fees to a minimum. And, given your long investment time horizon, you want exposure to stocks that will grow quickly in coming years and decades.
So what three ETFs would make up a great new graduate’s portfolio? Read on.
Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO)
Without a doubt, the SPDR S&P 500 Trust (NYSEARCA:SPY) is America’s most popular ETF. It’s the largest ETF by assets, and it’s often the most actively traded as well. And with good reason. If you own nothing else, your fundamental holding should probably be in America’s 500 largest, most dynamic firms. When you hear folks talking about how the stock market produces 9% annually over time, they are referring to the S&P 500 index.
But while the SPY ETF cruises off its long history and reputation, a rival has emerged. Vanguard has always prided itself on low fees. And they’ve pushed things to a new level with the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:VOO).
The VOO ETF charges just 0.03% a year in management fees, compared to the SPY’s 0.09%; 0.09% is very cheap as far as ETFs go, but VOO is even better, especially if you have a long-time horizon. On a $10,000 investment, for example, SPY would charge $9 per year in fees, versus $3 per year for VOO. Compounded over several decades, that could easily end up being a several thousand dollar difference. In any case, investors should have exposure to the S&P 500 as a core holding, and the VOO ETF is the best to buy for that aim right now.
iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (IWF)
You can’t go wrong owning the S&P 500. But for younger investors in particular, you may want a spicier option. That leads us to the iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:IWF). Many folks default to the Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) for this sector.
But keep in mind that the QQQ ETF owns just 100 leading growth companies, and has outsized exposure to just a handful of mega-cap tech companies. That’s fine if you want a heavy dose of the FAANG giants. But if you want to participate in the broad range of explosive tech growth we’re seeing in smaller Silicon Valley firms right now, you need to diversify more widely.
The iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF manages that by having a more distributed portfolio spanning many hundreds of different companies. Additionally, it has more holdings outside of pure tech companies, giving you more diversification. It has exposure to sectors such as healthcare that have promising demographic trends for long-term investors in particular. That protects the ETF from suffering so heavily should we get another tech wreck like in 2000. And at just 0.20% a year, IWF’s management fee is more than reasonable as well.
Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT)
We’re just coming off what many have termed the American century. The United States ascended to the role of the world’s superpower. In doing so, its economy became the world’s undisputed leader as well. Not surprisingly, U.S. stock returns have crushed those of stock exchanges of almost all other large countries as well.
There’s no guarantee that the next century will be as auspicious for American equities, however. The U.S. faces an aging population, a splintering political environment, and a crushing debtload going forward. That’s not to say that U.S. stocks are doomed in the future. They could well continue their exhilarating run in coming years.
But in an uncertain world, one of the best forms of diversification is geographic. The Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (NYSEARCA:VT) is one great ETF to buy to protect a young investor against weakness in American stocks. The VT ETF splits its money across all the world’s stocks ranked by market cap. This gives investors a healthy dose of America’s largest companies, but also the leading firms from Europe, Japan, China and so on. As long as stocks rise globally, VT will go with it, whether or not America continues to lead the pack. And with a management fee of just 0.09% a year, this is one of the cheapest options out there to get non-U.S. stock exposure.
At the time of this writing, Ian Bezek held no positions in any of the aforementioned securities. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.
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