You're ready to invest for retirement but can’t decide which investments are right for you. You want an adequately diversified portfolio, so you have a higher chance of success, yet there seems to be too many moving parts and too many options to figure out just the right investment choices.
Using a basic asset allocation plan and some broad-market index funds can help you assemble a diversified portfolio without the stress of deciding from thousands of investments. Even better is that you can find these index funds as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) so you can invest with your preferred investment instrument.
The Charles Schwab Corp. is one company that offers both mutual funds and ETFs, allowing you to invest broadly with just three to five funds at one company. You can achieve diversification while keeping everything in one place. (For related reading, see: Finding the Right Mutual Fund: Top Tips.)
The funds below will help you properly allocate your money for retirement using just a few of Charles Schwab’s best investments.
The Charles Schwab Total Stock Market Index (SWTSX) mutual fund buys almost the entire U.S. stock market. It has more than 2,700 stock holdings. This allows you to invest in large, medium and small capitalization stocks with one investment instead of three or more mutual funds – for a low expense ratio of 0.03% as of 2018.
There is also an ETF version of this fund called the Charles Schwab U.S. Broad Market (SCHB). This one is equally cheap, with fees of just 0.03%.
The Schwab International Index (SWISX) covers a large cap stocks in developed markets. The mutual fund has an expense ratio of 0.06%. The ETF version of this is the Schwab International Equity (SCHF).
If you want emerging markets, add the Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company (SFENX). This is a fundamental index but still comes with a low fee of only 0.39%. It does include some developed markets also, so it is not a pure emerging markets play.
If you'd rather purchase an ETF, look to the Schwab Emerging Markets ETF (SCHE). This one has more emerging market exposure than the mutual fund version, and with a cost of only 0.13%, it could be a better option for adding a bit of emerging markets exposure. (For related reading, see: Benchmark Your Returns With Indexes.)
Terri Kallsen: Investopedia Profile
The Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond Index Fund (SWAGX) allows you to invest in almost every area of the U.S. bond market including government bonds and corporate bonds of maturities varying from short term to long term. The expense ratio is only 0.04%. The ETF version of this fund is the Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (SCHZ).
Finally, Charles Schwab offers many other specialty investments you can add to your portfolio to fit your needs and investing beliefs. Examples include the Schwab Small Cap Index (SWSSX) for those wanting more exposure to small companies, Fundamental Global Real Estate (SFREX) for customers looking for more real estate plays and the Schwab U.S. Tips ETF (SCHP) for added exposure to inflation-adjusted bonds.
The Bottom Line
Most top fund companies, Charles Schwab included, have a roster of funds that can provide suitable options for all investors. By using low-cost index funds that cover all your asset allocation needs and working with one provider, saving for retirement can be easier. (For related reading, see: Are Your ETFs Too Risky? Learn How to Evaluate Them.)