Vanguard is a well-known name in the mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) business. The privately held company is the largest issuer of mutual funds and the second-largest issuer of ETFs in the world. Vanguard strives to keep expense ratios for investors low, which means that less of a long-term investment is consumed by fees.

Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Investor Shares

The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Investor Shares began trading in 1986. The fund provides broad exposure to U.S. investment-grade bonds. The fund is appropriate for investors seeking a stable source of income with limited fluctuation in price. In general, investment-grade bonds have a lower amount of volatility. The fund experienced a reasonable drawdown of around 7% during the 2008 financial crisis. However, compared to the broader stock market, this drawdown was fairly limited.

The fund has $147 billion in assets under management (AUM) with a yield of 2.23% as of November 2015. It has a very low expense ratio of 0.2%. The fund has 7,747 bonds in its portfolio. The bonds have an effective maturity of eight years with an average duration of 5.8 years. Over 63% of the bonds are issued by the U.S. government, followed by 14% of the holdings with a credit rating of 14%.

Vanguard Wellington Fund Investor Shares

The Vanguard Wellington Fund Investor Shares mutual fund was founded in 1929. It is one of the oldest mutual funds still in operation. The Vanguard Wellington Fund is a balanced fund with around two-thirds of the portfolio in stocks with one-third in bonds. The fund invests its assets across the economic spectrum. It is designed to be a core holding for investors who seek a diversification of bonds and equities, but do not mind the possible volatility of equities.

The fund has net assets of $88.8 billion with a yield of 2.3% as of December 2015. The fund’s portfolio has 94 stocks and 818 bonds. The average maturity of the bonds is 9.5 years, with an average duration of 6.5 years.

The 10 largest holdings in the mutual fund comprise 17.4% of total net assets. The largest holding is Wells Fargo, with a weighting of 2.5%. This is followed by Microsoft, with a weighting of 2%. The fund had a 52-week trading range of 13% from 2014 to 2015. The fund endured a substantial decline of around 38% from peak to trough during the 2008 financial crisis. Thus, the fund does have more risk than a pure bond fund.

Vanguard Growth Index Fund Investor Shares

The Vanguard Growth Index Fund Investor Shares began trading in 1992. The mutual fund holds stocks in large-cap companies in sectors that have greater potential for growth versus the broader market. The fund has a low expense ratio of 0.23% with $50.3 billion in AUM and a minimal dividend of 1.16% as of November 2015.

The fund's 10 largest holdings comprise 27.4% of the fund's total portfolio. The fund has 369 stocks. The technology sector has the largest allocation at 24.3%. This is followed by the consumer services sector, with a weighting of 22.5%. The largest holding is Apple, with a weighting of 7.4%. Alphabet is the second-largest holding at 4.6%, followed by Amazon at 2.6%.

The fund has a beta of 1.02 when compared with the Dow Jones Total Stock Market Index. This beta indicates the fund generally moves in lockstep with the broader market. As such, one of the main risks for the fund is volatility in the stock market. The fund had a substantial drawdown of around 50% during the financial crisis in 2008.

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