Expand your investment opportunities
International mutual funds add diversification to a U.S.-focused portfolio by giving you access to hundreds—sometimes thousands—of foreign securities, which spreads out risk more than owning just domestic stocks.
In general, we suggest that at least 20% of your portfolio be invested in international stocks and bonds.
Get broad exposure to international markets
You can use just a few funds to invest overseas. Each of these funds gives you access to a wide variety of international securities in a single, diversified fund.
- Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund holds more than 5,500 non-U.S. stocks.
- Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund holds about 3,000 non-U.S. bonds.
How to choose an international mutual fund
There are a few ways you can invest in foreign markets:
- International funds invest only in foreign markets, excluding the United States.
- Global or world funds combine investments in foreign markets and the United States.
- Regional funds focus primarily on a specific part of the world, like Europe or the Pacific region.
- Developed markets funds invest in foreign countries considered to have proven economies, like Japan, France, and the United Kingdom.
- Emerging markets funds target "developing" economies, like India, Brazil, and Taiwan.
Would you prefer index or active funds?
Do you feel more comfortable tracking the market, or would you rather try to beat it?
- Index funds try to track the performance of a specific market benchmark.
- Actively managed funds are steered by our expert portfolio managers who select specific securities for the fund. While these funds give you a chance to beat the benchmark, they can also underperform.