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9 Great Vanguard ETFs

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Vanguard is best known for low-cost mutual funds, but its exchange-traded funds may be a better bet. Vanguard’s 52 ETFs track the same benchmarks as its passively managed index mutual funds, and in some cases the ETFs charge lower annual fees. Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Fund ETF (symbol VTI), for example, boasts an annual expense ratio of 0.05%—meaning shareholders pay a nickel per year for each $100 invested, compared with 0.17% for the Investor share class of the mutual fund.

ETFs also provide more flexibility than funds. ETFs trade like stocks throughout the day, whereas mutual funds are priced once, at the end of the trading day. We don’t recommend frequent trading of ETFs for a number of reasons: additional costs, potential tax consequences and the better-than-50-50 odds that you won’t succeed. But dipping into an ETF can be opportune when the market stumbles, letting you take advantage of a temporary downturn.

We picked these nine funds, including six that are in the Kiplinger ETF 20, a list of our favorite ETFs, because they have super-low expenses, above-average trading volume and do a good job of tracking their benchmarks. Check them out.

Returns are through July 24; three-year and five-year returns are annualized; assets are for the ETF share classes only.

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