There are many, many U.S. stock indexes.  Naturally there are even more world stock indexes. So I set myself a goal of coming up with a very short list of ETFs that can build a low-cost, globally-diversified portfolio.

I’d start with:

  • VT Vanguard Total World Stock Index (FTSE All-World Index); 0.25% expense ratio; foreign holdings: 58.2%
  • IGOV S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Fund (S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Index Ex US); 0.35% expense ratio
  • IBND SPDR Barclays Capital International Corporate Bond ETF (Barclays Capital Global Aggregate ex-USD > $1B: Corporate Bond Index); 0.55% expense ratio

That’s a good start.  However it underweights US holdings (call it home-country bias).  These ETFs provide counterbalance:

  • BND Total Bond Market ETF (Spliced Barclays USAgg Float Adj Ix); 0.11% expense ratio
  • SCHB Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF (Dow Jones U.S. Broad Stock Market Index); 0.06% expense ratio

That’s my stab at it.  Five ETFs that provide reasonable building blocks: VT, IGOV,IBND, BND, and SCHB.

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