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Choosing more stocks in a mutual fund over a lower expense ratio--thoughts?

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  • Choosing more stocks in a mutual fund over a lower expense ratio--thoughts?

    I was taking a look at my retirement accounts at work and wondering whether I should keep my money in the Vanguard target retirement fund that I currently have my money invested in with an ER of 0.1 or whether I should move the money into the equivalent percentages of bonds/stocks with Vanguard Total Bond Market Index and Vanguard Institutional Index which have lower ERs (0.05 for the bond index, 0.04 for the stock index).

    The target retirement fund invests in the Vanguard total stock market and total international stock market index funds so the upside I see with staying the course is that I get exposure to a greater number of companies compared to the institutional index which only tracks the S&P 500. The downside is the higher expense ratio.

    I can't tell whether I am thinking too hard about something that ultimately isn't going to make much of a difference in the long haul.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    The expense ratio is "low enough" in the target rate fund, and you are getting international exposure, which costs more. Stay put, if that is your rationale for moving.


    • #3
      If you don't want the set allocation that the target date fund gives, and $5 per $10,000 invested means that much to you, and those two things are more important to you than the simplicity and having international exposure, then I'd consider switching.

      Otherwise, I'd opt for the TDF for the internationals, unless you have another retirement account where you can hold your international allocation. It's all one big portfolio.


      • #4
        Overthinking.  The expense ratio is just fine.


        • #5
          Yeah, I thought I was probably putting way too much thought into changes that weren't going to yield big differences in potential earnings.

          I just sometimes let my brain spin on all things retirement related trying to make up for not putting more thought into it at the very start of my career.

          Thanks for the responses!