Investment Products

Index funds

Not all index funds are equal. Vanguard is a uniquely structured company that's built to pass more savings directly to you.

Does your index fund invest in you?

Vanguard was founded on a simple but revolutionary idea—that an investment company shouldn't have any outside owners. That's why we're structured the way we are: Our funds own our company, and investors like you own our funds.

We're not distracted by the demands of private owners or other outside interests. So as more investors choose our index funds and new economies of scale help us lower costs, those benefits are passed directly to you.

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Vanguard index funds stand above the rest

An index mutual fund or ETF (exchange-traded fund) tracks the performance of a specific market benchmark—or "index," like the popular S&P 500 Index—as closely as possible. That's why you may hear people refer to indexing as a "passive" investment strategy.

An enviable cost advantage

The average expense ratio across our index mutual funds and ETFs is 72% less than the industry average.1

Consistent long-term returns

89% of our index mutual funds and ETFs have performed better than their peer-group averages over the last 10 years.2

Unmatched expertise

We launched the first index fund for individual investors in 1976. And we've been perfecting our benchmark selection and tracking skills every day since.

Lower risk through broader diversification

Each index fund contains a preselected collection of hundreds or thousands of stocks, bonds, or sometimes both. If a single stock or bond in the collection is performing poorly, there's a good chance that another is performing well, which helps minimize your losses.

Lower taxes

Index funds don't change their stock or bond holdings as often as actively managed funds. This often results in fewer taxable capital gains distributions from the fund, which could reduce your tax bill.

Professional management

Our mutual funds are managed by experts who choose and monitor the stocks or bonds the funds invest in, saving you time and effort.

Learn more about investing

What is an index fund?

Enjoy the benefits of broad diversification, tax efficiency, and low costs with index mutual funds and ETFs.

Index funds vs. actively managed funds

The choice comes down to how much risk you're willing to take for the possibility of higher performance.

ETFs vs mutual funds: A comparison

There are funds for every investor. Find one that's right for you.

Find the right index fund for you

Whether your investment goals are near or far, you can find the right combination of low-cost index mutual funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) to suit your needs.

Stock funds

Align with stock market performance to give you the potential for long-term growth.

Bond funds

Offset some of the risk of investing in stocks and provide the potential for income.

Balanced funds

Combine the benefits of investing in both stocks and bonds in a single fund.

International funds

Increase diversification by giving you exposure to investment opportunities around the world.

ESG funds

ESG funds are a great way to complement your portfolio with funds that reflect your values.

Target-date funds

Our Target Retirement Funds help give you a straightforward approach to your retirement savings.

Ready to invest in a fund?

New to Vanguard or looking to consolidate your savings?

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Ready to invest in a fund?

New to Vanguard or looking to consolidate your savings?

Already a Vanguard client?
Log in to view your account.

1Vanguard average index ETF and mutual fund expense ratio: 0.05%. Industry average index ETF and mutual fund expense ratio: 0.18%. All averages are asset-weighted. Industry average excludes Vanguard. Sources: Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of December 31, 2023.

2For the 10-year period ended December 31, 2023, 40 of 54 Vanguard bond index funds, 16 of 18 Vanguard balanced index funds, and 140 of 150 Vanguard stock index funds—for a total of 196 of 222 Vanguard index funds—outperformed their Lipper peer-group averages. Results will vary for other time periods. Only index mutual funds and ETFs with a minimum 10-year history were included in the comparison. Source: Refinitiv Lipper, an LSEG Business. Note that the competitive performance data shown represent past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results, and that all investments are subject to risks. For the most recent performance, visit our website at visit our website at

For more information about Vanguard mutual funds or Vanguard ETFs, obtain a mutual fund or an ETF prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are contained in the prospectus; read and consider it carefully before investing. 


You must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares through Vanguard Brokerage Services (we offer them commission-free online) or through another broker (who may charge commissions). See the Vanguard Brokerage Services Commission and Fee Schedules for limits. Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable directly with the issuing Fund other than in very large aggregations worth millions of dollars. ETFs are subject to market volatility. When buying or selling an ETF, you will pay or receive the current market price, which may be more or less than net asset value.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. There is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or mix of funds will meet your investment objectives or provide you with a given level of income.

Bond funds are subject to the risk that an issuer will fail to make payments on time and that bond prices will decline because of rising interest rates or negative perceptions of an issuer's ability to make payments. Investments in stocks or bonds issued by non-U.S. companies are subject to risks including country/regional risk and currency risk. Funds that concentrate on a relatively narrow market sector face the risk of higher share-price volatility.

Investments in Target Retirement Funds are subject to the risks of their underlying funds. The year in the fund name refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the fund would retire and leave the workforce. The fund will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive investments to more conservative ones based on its target date. An investment in a Target Retirement Fund is not guaranteed at any time, including on or after its target date.

ESG funds are subject to ESG investment risk, which is the chance that the stocks or bonds screened by the index provider or advisor, as applicable, for ESG criteria generally will underperform the market as a whole or, in the aggregate, will trail returns of other funds screened for ESG criteria. The index provider or advisor's assessment of a company, based on the company's level of involvement in a particular industry or their own ESG criteria, may differ from that of other funds or an investor's assessment of such company. As a result, the companies deemed eligible by the index provider or advisor may not reflect the beliefs and values of any particular investor and may not exhibit positive or favorable ESG characteristics. The evaluation of companies for ESG screening or integration is dependent on the timely and accurate reporting of ESG data by the companies. Successful application of the screens will depend on the index provider or advisor's proper identification and analysis of ESG data. The advisor may not be successful in assessing and identifying companies that have or will have a positive impact or support a given position. In some circumstances, companies could ultimately have a negative or no impact or support of a given position.