It's possible to build a diversified retirement portfolio with just a handful of low cost index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The following funds are some of the top choices available from online brokerage Charles Schwab to help you properly allocate your retirement savings. They will give you exposure to U.S. and international stocks, bonds, as well as a few other asset classes.

Index mutual funds and ETFs track an underlying market index and most are passively managed. They typically have lower fees than actively-managed funds, making them a a popular choice among retirement savers.

Key Takeaways

  • Charles Schwab has a wide range of index funds and ETFs that make it possible to build a diversified retirement portfolio with only a handful mutual funds.
  • Index funds and ETFs typically have low fees.
  • Some of Schwab’s top funds for retirement give investors exposure to U.S. and international stocks, bonds, and real estate.

U.S. Stocks

The Charles Schwab Total Stock Market Index (SWTSX) fund invests in almost the entire U.S. stock market. It has more than 3,000 stock holdings, which gives your portfolio exposure to large, mid and small-cap stocks with one fund. It has a low expense ratio of 0.03%.

There is also an ETF version of this fund, the Charles Schwab U.S. Broad Market (SCHB). This one is equally cheap, with fees of just 0.03%. 

For exposure to the largest publicly-traded companies in the U.S., consider the Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX). It tracks the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and has an expense ratio of just 0.02%.

International Stocks

To include international stocks in your portfolio, the Schwab International Index (SWISX) mutual fund invests in large-cap stocks in non-U.S. developed markets and has an expense ratio of 0.06%.

Choosing right the right asset allocation for a retirement portfolio includes determining a number of factors, including your risk tolerance and time horizon.

If you are willing to take on more risk, the Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF (SCHE) invests in large and mid-cap emerging markets stocks and has a 0.13% expense ratio.

Bonds

A well diversified retirement portfolio should also include bonds. The Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond Index Fund (SWAGX) covers 3,000 U.S. government and investment grade bonds with maturities ranging from short to long term. The expense ratio is only 0.04%. The ETF version is the Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (SCHZ), which has the same expense ratio.

Other Asset Classes

Finally, Charles Schwab offers an array of specialty funds you can add to your retirement portfolio to fit your investment goals. Investors looking for a real estate play should consider the Fundamental Global Real Estate Index (SFREX). This mutual fund has an expense ratio of 0.390%.

The Schwab U.S. Tips ETF (SCHP), meanwhile, provides exposure to U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, which are inflation-adjusted bonds. It carries an expense ration of 0.05%

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 and ETFs that cover all your asset allocation needs—and working with one provider—saving for retirement can be easier.