|Expense Ratio (net)||0.15%|
|Category||Intermediate Core Bond|
|Last Cap Gain||0.00|
|Morningstar Risk Rating||Above Average|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.03|
|5y Average Return||N/A|
|Average for Category||N/A|
|Inception Date||Dec 11, 1986|
Mutual funds almost go hand-in-hand with retirement investing. And why not? The modern mutual fund predates exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by more than six decades. Most 401(k) plans hold nothing but mutual funds. So it's reasonable to link one with the other.But don't sleep on exchange-traded funds. As you'll soon find out, while many of the best ETFs out there are tactical strategies and great trading vehicles, some of them are dirt-cheap, long-term buy-and-hold dynamos that can give investors what they need in retirement: diversification, protection and income.Many (though not all) ETFs are simple index funds - they track a rules-based benchmark of stocks, bonds or other investments. It's an inexpensive strategy because you're not paying managers to analyze and select stocks. And it works. In 2018, the majority of large-cap funds (64.5%) underperformed Standard & Poor's 500-stock index - the ninth consecutive year that most of them failed to beat the benchmark.Today, we'll look at seven of the best ETFs for retirement. This small group of funds covers several assets: stocks, bonds, preferred stock and real estate. Which ones you buy and how much you allocate to each ETF depend on your individual goal, be they wealth preservation, income generation or growth. SEE ALSO: The Kip ETF 20: The 20 Best Cheap ETFs You Can Buy
Stock investors love the Fed's apparent willingness to cut short-term interest rates. The yield on five-year certificates of deposit dropped to 1.39% as of June 21, says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Banks are pre-emptively cutting CD yields to protect themselves in case the Fed moves rates lower, McBride says.
Stock-market volatility is back. Investors looking for safety are turning to bond ETFs. They hope these fast-growing ETFs offer shelter if the stock market further falters or begins to decline.
Friday's column noted that, for the first time ever, Vanguard Total Bond Market Index VBMFX lags its actively managed rivals over the long term. From its 1986 inception, the fund had always beaten the trailing 10-year average return for intermediate-term bond funds. As suggested by the performance discrepancy, Total Bond Market is an unusual index fund, in that it differs meaningfully from its active competitors.
Morningstar's Miriam Sjoblom caught my attention. For the first time in since forever, she surmised, the 10-year average return for intermediate-term bond funds was above that of Vanguard Total Bond Market Index VBMFX . As shown below, until this summer, Vanguard Total Bond Market Index had beaten its actively run competitors in every trailing 10-year period since December 1999.
As with the other portfolios, I used Morningstar's Lifetime Allocation Indexes to guide the asset-class exposures for these Vanguard portfolios. To help populate the portfolios with specific funds and monitor them on an ongoing basis, I leaned on Morningstar's Medalist ratings and input from Morningstar's analyst team.
Because of their ultralow costs and broad diversification, various Vanguard funds featured heavily in my previous model bucket portfolios, both the original series as well as the ETF and tax-efficient series that came later. In part, that's because these portfolios are designed for tax-deferred accounts, so managing for tax efficiency--a big benefit of equity index funds and ETFs--is not valuable here.