10 Best Low-Cost Index Funds

Index funds with low expense ratios, or yearly management costs, are known as low-cost index funds. Because money lost to fees is no longer accumulating in your investment account. Investors who focus on decreasing their investing costs can achieve considerably greater returns over time. 

Additionally, index funds, which are a type of exchange-traded fund (ETF), are preferred by many investors over mutual funds because of their reduced cost ratios and tax-efficient nature.  

Besides, the expense ratios of index-tracking ETFs are often low since they are passively managed, which keeps operational costs low. Active trading or in-house stock analysis are not required for passive investment strategies.  

Furthermore, paying fewer fees is one of the best strategies to increase your investment return. Index funds diversify holdings and allow investors to maintain more money in their accounts, allowing their gains to compound quicker.  

Index funds, according to John Ingram, chief investment officer, and partner at Crestwood Advisors, “are a terrific alternative for any investor and are particularly ideal for smaller retail investors.”  

Many of the lowest-cost index funds track large-cap stock indexes in part, and some track specialist sectors entirely. One of the best low-cost ways to invest in those regions is through such funds. 10 of the best low-cost index funds are listed here. 

1. Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund ETF: 

According to experts, the Vanguard total stock market fund ETF is the best low-cost index fund. The Vanguard Complete Stock Market Index Fund ETF is the best option if you want to hold a single index fund ETF that invests in the total US stock market in the proper proportions.  

Owning shares in this fund removes the need to purchase other stocks or ETFs unless you want to focus your portfolio’s exposure on a certain market segment. Furthermore, by investing in this fund, you’ll be able to hold large, mid, and small-cap firms in proportion to the overall market — and at a low expense ratio.  

Furthermore, this method is difficult to match regarding time and cost efficiency for the set-it-and-forget-it investor. However, many investment management firms provide total market funds at similarly cheap prices. 

 2. IShares Russell 3000 ETF (Ticker: IWV):  

According to Brian Stivers, an investment advisor and founder of Stivers Financial Services, the Russell 3000 index represents nearly all of the US stock market, accounting for 98 percent of the entire market capitalization of US equities.  the shares Russell 3000 ETF is one of the best low-cost index funds. 

Furthermore, he prefers to invest in funds managed by huge investment organizations like BlackRock and Vanguard. Additionally. These organizations manage trillions of dollars in assets and provide dozens of small-investor products.

Over the previous 15 years, IWV has averaged a 10.9 percent annual return and has outperformed its category by 1.59 percent. However. The fund manages $12.10 billion in assets and pays a 1.1 percent return. 

3. Fidelity Zero Large Cap Index (FNILX):  

The Fidelity Zero Large Cap Index mutual fund is part of Fidelity’s effort towards no-expense-ratio mutual funds. Hence the ZERO designation. Most users also consider the fidelity Zero large-cap index as one of the best low-cost index funds. Although the fund does not formally track the S&P 500, it does follow the Fidelity U.S. Large Cap Index, but the distinction is purely academic.  

However, the fundamental difference is that Fidelity doesn’t have to pay a licensing fee to use the S&P name, which keeps costs down for investors. Additionally, the expense ratio is 0%. That means that every $10,000 invested will cost you nothing in the long run. 

4. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex- U.S. ETF (VEU):  

Stivers prefer exchange-traded funds to mutual funds because of their reduced fees and the option to trade them at any moment at the current market price.  

Additionally, VEU, a global fund that focuses on large- and mid-cap developed and developing market companies from dozens of countries and has more than 3,500 stocks, according to him, offers “excellent diversification. 

Vanguard is also a leader and one of the best low-cost index funds, according to Stivers, with an annual expense ratio of 0.08 percent, or $8 for every $10,000 invested. Furthermore, the 10-year average return of the fund is 7.05 percent. VEU is also offered as a mutual fund under the ticker “VFWAX” for investors who prefer mutual funds. 

5. Vanguard S&P 500 ETF:  

The Vanguard S&P 500 ETF invests in the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: GSPC), a market capitalization-weighted benchmark index that consists of America’s 500 largest corporations. It has one of the best low-cost index funds. 

Many investors choose this product because of its vast diversity. Furthermore, the S&P 500 index is “self-cleansing,” which means that when a firm no longer qualifies for inclusion in the index, it is removed and replaced by a rising company that does.  

Besides Only high-quality companies are listed by the S&P and are invested in by the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF due to the formulaic nature of the inclusion process. 

6. Ishares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF ( USMV):  

Ishares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF has one of the best low-cost index funds. USMV invests in lower-volatility large-cap stocks in the United States, tracking the MSCI USA Minimum Volatility Index. This fund appeals to Ingram because it “protects against market downturns and periods when hot stocks underperform.”  

Additionally, when the S&P 500 climbs more than 2% each month, this ETF typically trails the S&P 500, but when the S&P 500 is flat or rises less than 2% per month, USMV usually follows the S&P 500.  

Furthermore, he says that when the S&P 500 falls, the USMV normally outperforms. Adobe Inc. (ADBE), a software business, and Kroger Co., a supermarket store chain, are among the top holdings (KR). The expenditure ratio for USMV is 0.15 percent, and the yield is 1.45 percent. 

7. Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF:  

The Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF invests in firms with market capitalizations ranging from $2 billion to $10 billion. Seventh on our list of best low-cost index funds is the vanguard Mid-Cap ETF. 

Companies in the mid-cap market group have established operations and stable revenue streams, but many have yet to reach their full potential.  

However, this ETF attempts to replicate the CRSP U.S. Mid-Cap Index by holding the same stocks in the same proportions as the index. Besides: The fund’s 0.04 percent cost ratio is competitive among mid-cap ETFs. 

8. Ishares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (IJR): 

Investors should include small-cap stocks in their core holdings, according to Ingram, who recommends IJR, which tracks the S&P SmallCap 600 index. The Ishare Core S&P Small-Cap ETF is also one of the best low-cost index funds. 

However, this fund and the index it tracks leave unprofitable small-cap companies out, and it has outperformed the Russell 2000, a much broader small-cap index, in the past. Stamps inc. Stamp a mailing and shipping services company and Macy’s inc.  

A retailer is among the top holdings m “Small equities, which normally perform well during cyclical recoveries, are a smart bet in today’s market. Additionally, we believe the current recovery will continue, and this allocation is appealing “he declares the fund has an expense ratio. 

9. Invesco S&P Ultra Dividend Revenue ETF:  

According to Todd Rosenbluth, head of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA Research, RDIV’s good performance in the first half of 2022 will continue into the second half of the year. It has one of the best low-cost index funds. 

Furthermore, the fund has gained more than 25% year to date and pays a 4.64 percent dividend. “RDIV strives to avoid value traps while providing multi-cap dividend exposure,” he explains. The S&P 900 Dividend Revenue-Weighted Index is used to calculate RDIV.  

Furthermore, the 60-name index is created through a series of procedures, including weeding out companies with the highest overall dividend yields and greatest dividend payout percentages in each sector.  

However, the ETF then rebalances quarterly and weights the remaining highest dividend yielders based on earned revenue. Besides Pharmaceutical major Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and telecommunications corporation, Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) is currently among the fund’s top holdings. 

10. SPDR Blackstone Senior Loan ETF (SRLN): 

 Last on our list of best low-cost index funds is the SPDR Blackstone Senior Loan ETF. Investors are having a difficult time finding income in this ultra-low interest rate environment. SRLN is a low-yielding alternative to the US Treasury.  

Additionally, the fund invests in floating-rate bonds, which means that if interest rates rise, the fund’s interest payments will grow as well. SRLN offers an “attractive” yield of 4.59 percent, according to Ingram.  

However, the fund has a short duration, around three months, which protects it from rising interest rates. “Interest rates, which have been decreasing since April of this year, are extremely difficult to predict.  

Despite this, SRLN is well-positioned in today’s fixed-income market, given the solid economic recovery and rising inflation “he declares Investors should be aware that floating-rate notes have historically underperformed when the economy has slowed. SRLN has a 0.7 percent yearly expense ratio. 


There are a few different types of low-cost index funds. Understanding the various types will aid you in selecting the right low-cost index fund for you. There are;  

1. Total stock market funds in the United States. For ultra-minimalist investors who enjoy broad-based exposure to the U.S. stock market, total U.S. stock market funds, which track indexes that include all publicly traded U.S. companies, are a good choice.  

2. S&P 500 index funds: S&P 500 index funds are one of the most straightforward ways to acquire diversified exposure to America’s major corporations.  

3. Market segment index funds: Another option to organize your low-cost index fund portfolio is to invest in ETFs by market segment. Investing in index funds that specialize in large-cap, mid-cap, or small-cap companies can help you adapt your portfolio to your risk tolerance. 

FAQs On Best Low-Cost Index Funds

Is it the right time to invest in a low-cost index fund? 

Investing in an actively managed fund with greater fees reduces your capacity to earn compound interest. While index funds are generally broad, you can increase your portfolio’s exposure to specific market segments by allocating more money to individual stocks or funds based on your investment preferences. Furthermore, There’s little incentive to pay more than the bare minimum in fees when there are so many low-cost index funds available. Adding a low-cost index fund to your portfolio allows you to keep more of your hard-earned cash. 

What are index funds and how do they work? 

An index fund is a type of investment fund that is based on a predetermined basket of stocks or indexes. It can be a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund (ETF). Fund management or another organization, such as an investment bank or a brokerage, may develop this index.

Furthermore, these fund managers then imitate the index, establishing a fund that is as close to the index as possible without actively managing it. However, as companies are added and removed from the index, the fund manager mechanically duplicates those changes in the fund. 

Can you lose all your money in low-cost index funds? 

In the financial world, there are few guarantees, but there is essentially no possibility that any index fund would ever lose all of its value. Furthermore, investors will not make the enormous returns that they might from high-risk individual equities because index funds are low-risk. 

What are the Downsides to Index Funds?  

Investing in index funds has never been more popular. Indeed, they are all the rage on both Wall Street and Main Street. However, there are some significant disadvantages to this investing strategy that are hidden beneath the surface—disadvantages that you should be aware of and carefully consider. Like index funds are inflexible, they limit personal investment growth. It also exhibits high volatility, among others.  

What is the number 1 rule of investing?

Rule No. 1 The basic concept of investing is to focus on not losing money. Not losing money entails first being certain of what you’re doing, then going ahead and making the investment, because most people are guessing, hoping, wishing, praying, and waiting. 



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