Like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) is designed to track the performance of the overall U.S. stock market, but with a slight twist that can impact results. Unlike SPY, Vanguard’s offering mirrors the CRSP US Total Market Index, including large-, mid- and small-cap equities that are diversified across growth and value styles, offering a broad snapshot of the market as a whole.

VTI holds a wide range of companies across 10 sectors, including: Basic Materials (2.20%), Consumer Goods (8.00%), Consumer Services (13.40%), Financials (19.80%), Health Care (12.70%), Industrials (13.30%), Oil & Gas (4.00%), Technology (21.20%), Telecommunications (2.00%), and Utilities (3.40%). As of October 2019, its 10 largest holdings, accounting for 19.40% of total net assets are Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble and Visa.

The ETF’s gross expense ratio is 0.03% and VTI currently has about $845 billion in assets under management.

Rationale

Naturally, the most direct way to gain exposure to the holdings in VTI is to buy its listed shares. But there are a number of good reasons for investors to reconsider that approach. Unlike SPY, VTI is weighted to mirror the CRSP US Total Market Index, rather than directly tied to the S&P 500’s focus. This exposes investors to sectors of the stock market that may not be as heavily invested as most S&P-focused funds. Rather than buying VTI shares themselves, investors interested in gaining exposure to this broad index might consider buying funds that provide exposure to its top-weighted sectors, including technology, financials and consumer goods, in order to spread out their investments even more broadly than VTI does. After all, the return drivers that will benefit VTI might also benefit other funds that are even more diversified.

Investing in VTI

A search on Magnifi suggests that investors can gain access to the CRSP US Total Market Index via a number of different funds and other ETFs, including those shown below.  

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