Vanguard Funds vs ETFs
After researching Vanguard funds vs. ETFs I still haven’t found a good resource that lists in detail the benefits and downsides of each.
- A Vanguard mutual fund is provided and managed by Vanguard. You can only buy Vanguard funds on vanguard.com or over the phone.
- A Vanguard Exchange Traded Fund is packaged up like a stock and its shares can be traded on any market with any brokerage account.
This is my attempt to compile a comprehensive list of tradeoffs.
|Can you exchange?1||Yes||No, you must sell shares to cash to exchange.|
|Can buy fractional shares?||Yes||No|
|Can reinvest dividends?||Yes||Yes|
|Price updates||Once a day||Continuously|
|Expense ratio||Sometimes lower|
|Control over price||Can buy at exact price.
Can set up limit orders.
|Tax||Slightly more tax efficient2|
|Auto-scheduled investing||Possible||Not possible|
|Default cost basis3||Average||FIFO|
Overall, ETFs give you more precise control over your investment. They let you lock in the exact price and set up limit orders. On the other hand, mutual funds let you exchange between funds without having to liquidate and let you reinvest dividends more quickly.
Disclaimer: obviously I am the farthest thing from any sort of financial advisor—this is just information aggregated for your convenience.
Updated 4/27/2020: any amount of ETF dividends can be reinvested as fractional shares.