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FZROX vs VTSAX: Who Wins the Low Cost Index Fund Battle?

This is a thorough comparison of FZROX vs VTSAX and the conclusion of which low-cost index fund is better for you.  Exploring the difference between the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) and the Fidelity ZERO Total Market Index Fund (FZROX) will provide us more clarity when investing.VTSAX vs FZROX Graphic

VTSAX vs FZROX

The primary difference between VTSAX vs FZROX is that they are funds being provided by different brokerages.  VTSAX is a Vanguard fund while FZROX is a fund from Fidelity.  Both funds provide investors with a way to invest in the total U.S stock market.  Fidelity made major headlines when they announced FZROX would not have any fees or expense ratio attached to the fund.

 

VTSAX:

  • Tracks CRSP US Total Market Index
  • $3,000 Minimum Initial Investment
  • 0.04% Expense Ratio
  • 3535 Holdings

 

FZROX:

  • Tracks US Total Investable Market Index
  • No Minimum Investment
  • 0% Expense Ratio
  • 2457 Holdings

 

FZROX Overview

FZROX Overview

  • Fund Inception: 2018
  • Expense Ratio: 0%
  • Number Of Stocks: 2457
  • Top 10 Holdings: 23%
  • Yield 1.25%

Fidelity ZERO Total Market Index Fund (FZROX) is the only zero expense ratio index fund available on the market.

FZROX Top 10 Holdings

FZROX is largely made up of Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook, but also provides exposure to over 2000 stocks.

VTSAX Overview

VTSAX Overview

  • Fund Inception: 200
  • 10-Year Performance 10.15%
  • Expense Ratio: 0.04%
  • Number Of Stocks: 3535
  • Top 10 Holdings: 22.40%
  • Yield 1.88%

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) provides investors with exposure to the entire U.S. equity market.  The U.S equity market includes small, mid, and large-cap growth and value stocks.

VTSAX was created in 2000, it currently has an expense ratio of 0.04% and offers exposure to over 3500 stocks.

VTSAX Holdings NEW

VTSAX is largely made up of Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Google but also provides exposure to over 3500 stocks.

 

FZROX and VTSAX Similarities

Although FZROX and VTSAX are not the same types of funds, they have similarities.  They are both very low-cost index funds.  Their expense ratio is almost identical (0% vs 0.04%).  At that low of an expense ratio, the difference can be considered negligible.

Example:

Investing 10,000 into VTSAX and letting it grow for 30 years at a 7% return, would result in $75,273.45.

Investing 10,000 into FZROX and letting it grow for 30 years at a 7% return, would result in $76,122.55.

A difference of $849.10.

 

Similarities between FZROX and VTSAX:

  • Low-Cost Index Funds
  • Moderate – Aggressive Funds (Risk Level 4)
  • Invests Mainly In Large U.S Companies

 

FZROX and VTSAX Differences

VTSAX and FZROX primarily differ in that the FZROX fund is a Fidelity fund while VTSAX is a Vanguard fund.  FZROX also provides less diversity with only 2457 holdings compared to 3535 holdings in VTSAX.  There is also a minimum investment for VTSAX of $3000.  You can start with less by investing in VTSAX’s equivalent ETF, which is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTI).

Lastly, VTSAX has a slightly higher expense ratio compared to FZROX (0.04% vs 0%).

Differences between FZROX and VTSAX:

  • Expense Ratio
  • Minimum Investment
  • Portfolio Composition
  • Diversification (Holdings)
  • Yield

 

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FZROX vs VTSAX Performance

VTSAX and FZROX have different time frames for comparing performance.  FZROX was created in 2018 therefore we cannot compare the 10-year performance.  However, they are both categorized as a 4 out of 5 for risk level according to Morningstar and would most likely perform similarly over a 10 year period.  profile. 

Here is their performance side by side over the last year:

FZROX vs VTSAX Performance

You can hardly see a difference.

 

$3,000 Minimum Investment

VTSAX has an initial minimum investment of $3,000 since it is classified as an admiral fund.  Vanguard admiral funds used to have a $10,000 minimum investment but recently that has been reduced to $3,000.  Once the $3,000 minimum threshold is met, there is no minimum investment thereafter.

 

Which is Better VTSAX or FZROX?

The answer depends on your goals and the brokerage you prefer to use.  To make it easier to decide I’ll lay out the advantages of both of them.

VTSAX Advantages:

  • More Diversification
  • Vanguard Brokerage (Investor Owned)

 

FZROX Advantages:

  • No Cost
  • Higher Yield/Dividend

 

VTSAX Winner

 

My Winner: VTSAX

My winner is VTSAX solely based on the fact that I love Vanguard.  Vanguard is a brokerage that is investor-owned.

 

Here is how Investopedia explains it:

“Vanguard has a fairly unique structure in terms of investment management companies. The company is owned by its funds. The company’s different funds are then owned by the shareholders. Thus, the shareholders are the true owners of Vanguard.”

 

I believe that both funds are excellent choices but I have to give the edge to VTSAX because of Vanguard’s commitment to their investors.  Vanguard has always been the first to offer very low-cost options for investing, it was one of John Bogle’s pioneering achievements.

As far as Fidelity, they have a responsibility to their shareholders to continue to increase their profits.  This means they are using FZROX as an industry “Loss Leader” in hopes that they can make a profit from you in some other way.  Also, there is no guarantee they will continue to offer the FZROX fund at a zero percent fee.  They could increase that fee at any time and it wouldn’t be surprising.

On the other hand, Vanguard has a long history of LOWER fees for its investors.

That being said, it’s important to choose the fund that best fits your investment goals.

 

VTSAX or FZROX for Financial Independence

Both VTSAX and FZROX can get you to Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE).  They both have a similar return on investment and have rock bottom expense ratios (0.04% & 0%).  So, either option is a great investment for financial independence.

After keeping fees to a minimum, you can work on increasing your savings rate and Prioritizing Your Investments.

Then, you will be well on your way to Financial Independence and Early Retirement!

 

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This information is my opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.