retirement

Best ETFs for Your Investment Portfolios

We mixed and matched our 20 favorite exchange-traded funds to create four model portfolios to suit most investors' needs.

Fund managers wage war against the markets every day, trying to pick stocks or bonds that will push them past their benchmark bogeys. More often than not, the markets win. But investors don’t have to lose out, too. They can choose to invest in exchange-traded funds instead. Broad ETFs can capture nearly all of a market’s returns by passively tracking a benchmark, such as Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index.

Expense ratios are rock bottom — in fact, some firms are flirting with none at all (there are some catches.)

Yet with more than 2,000 ETFs now on offer, picking a few good ones can be daunting. More than a dozen funds track versions of the S&P 500 alone. Plus, scores of ETFs aim to beat the markets by carving out certain types of stocks or bonds, or by emphasizing things such as share-price momentum—anything to give them an edge over traditional indexes.

Whatever your goals, the portfolios below can serve as the bedrock of your investment program for years. Each basket features a broad mix of common stocks and bonds, all drawn from the Kiplinger ETF 20.

Maximum growth

Small Company Blend Funds graphic

K9I-ETFs.2.indd

Thinkstock

Fewer stocks, more yield

K9I-ETFs.2.indd

Thinkstock

Playing it safe(r)

midyear valuations

K9I-ETF UPDATE.1.indd

Thinkstock

Keeping It Simple

K9I-ETFs.2.indd

Thinkstock

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
What Is the Social Security COLA?
retirement

What Is the Social Security COLA?

For the average recipient, the 2021 monthly increase doesn't even cover a fill-up at the gas station — but it beats nothing.
July 14, 2021
11 Best Healthcare Stocks for the Rest of 2021
healthcare stocks

11 Best Healthcare Stocks for the Rest of 2021

The 2020s could be the decade of healthcare stocks. Here are 10 companies and one ETF to watch not just for the remainder of this year, but well beyon…
July 13, 2021

Recommended

7 Great Growth ETFs to Get Your Portfolio Going
ETFs

7 Great Growth ETFs to Get Your Portfolio Going

These growth ETFs provide exposure to the higher-risk investing style while mitigating some of the headaches associated with it.
July 21, 2021
What Is the Social Security COLA?
retirement

What Is the Social Security COLA?

For the average recipient, the 2021 monthly increase doesn't even cover a fill-up at the gas station — but it beats nothing.
July 14, 2021
8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas
retirement

8 Things You Must Know About Retiring to the Carolinas

From the picturesque beach towns to cozy mountain communities, North Carolina and South Carolina offer retirees plenty of incentives.
July 12, 2021
9 Best Biotech ETFs to Play High-Octane Trends
ETFs

9 Best Biotech ETFs to Play High-Octane Trends

Biotechnology is a dynamic but often volatile industry. These biotech ETFs provide a lower-risk way to invest in the space.
July 8, 2021