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VTIAX vs VTSAX: Which Vanguard Admiral Fund Is Better?

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This is a thorough comparison of VTIAX vs VTSAX and the conclusion of which admiral fund is better for you.

Exploring the difference between Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) and Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSAX) will provide us with more clarity when investing.

I also share how you can start taking advantage of these two funds by investing in the equivalent exchange-traded funds (ETFs), buying fractional shares, or getting started with investor shares.

VTIAX vs VTSAX Comparison Graphic

 

VTIAX vs VTSAX

The primary difference between VTIAX and VTSAX is the index they track.  VTIAX tracks the Spliced Total International Stock Index, while VTSAX tracks the CRSP US Total Market Index.

VTIAX tracks the Spliced Total International Stock Index

VTSAX tracks the CRSP US Total Market Index

Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) invests in international stocks, including developed and emerging markets.

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) provides investors with exposure to the entire United States equity market.

The U.S. equity market includes small, mid, and large-cap growth and value stocks.

Essentially, VTSAX only holds U.S. stocks while VTIAX holds only international stocks.

VTIAX

  • Tracks Spliced Total International Stock Index
  • Minimum Investment: $3,000
  • Expense Ratio: 0.11%
  • Number Of Stocks: 7717

VTSAX

  • Tracks CRSP US Total Market Index
  • Minimum Investment: $3,000
  • Expense Ratio: 0.04%
  • Number Of Stocks: 3535

Another significant difference is the number of stocks in each, with VTIAX having 7717 different companies in the index compared to 3535 with VTSAX.

However, VTSAX has a lower expense ratio of 0.04% compared to 0.11% with VTIAX.  That makes VTIAX more than twice as expensive as VTSAX.

 

VTSAX vs VTIAX Performance

VTSAX and VTIAX have performed differently over the last 10 years, with VTSAX beating VTIAX by 8.39% annually.

Here is how their performance compares:

VTSAX vs VTIAX Performance Chart

As you can see, VTSAX has significantly outperformed VTIAX over the last 10 years.

 

VTIAX vs VTSAX Expense Ratio

The difference in expense ratio between VTIAX vs VTSAX is only 0.07%.  VTSAX has an expense ratio of 0.04%, while VTIAX has an expense ratio of 0.11%.

This can have a meaningful impact on your portfolio costs over the long term.

Example:

Assuming you start with an initial investment of $100,000 and contribute $10,000 each year over the 30 years.

You will have $57,000 less in your account because of the extra 0.07% expense ratio.

This difference for a long-term investor could be considered significant.

Winner: VTSAX with the lowest expense ratio of 0.04%

 

VTSAX and VTIAX Minimum Investment

For a first-time investment in VTSAX and VTIAX, you need to have a minimum of $3,000.

After that, you are at liberty to invest any amount you want.

As a first-time investor, this might be a barrier to starting your investing journey.

Alternatively, you can invest in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) equivalent of these admiral funds.

The ETF equivalent for these admiral funds are:

VTSAX = VTI

VTIAX = VXUS

You only need to have the price of one share as a minimum investment.  For example, if VTI’s share price is $50, you can invest in the fund with as little as $50.

So if you are starting small, your best choice might be beginning with an ETF equivalent and then switching once you reach the $3,000 minimum.

As an alternative, you could invest with no minimum requirement into VTSAX’s ETF equivalent, which is VTI, through the Vanguard platform or M1 Finance.  (Use this link for a $50 Bonus)

 

What Is The Difference Between VTSAX and VTIAX?

The main difference between VTSAX and VTIAX is their holdings.  VTSAX holds only US-based companies, while VTIAX holds only international companies.  This means they have no overlapping holdings.

VTSAX and VTIAX also differ in the number of holdings in each fund.  VTIAX holds twice as many stocks compared to VTSAX.

By investing in a fund with more holdings, you are helping diversify your portfolio and minimize risk.

VTIAX vs VTSAX Comparison Chart

Differences between VTSAX and VTIAX:

  • Different Number Of Holdings (~3535 vs ~7717)
  • Asset Allocation
  • Tracking Index
  • Expense Ratio (0.04% vs 0.11%)

 

VTIAX Profile

  • Fund Inception: 2010
  • Tracks the Spliced Total International Stock Index
  • Expense Ratio: 0.11%
  • Vanguard Fund
  • Minimum Initial Investment: $3,000
  • Number Of Stocks: 7717
  • Equivalent ETF (VXUS)

Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) is an easy way to gain exposure to international equities, including developed and emerging markets.  It also tracks the Spliced Total International Stock Index.

Vanguard’s VTIAX has an expense ratio of 0.11%.

This fund excludes US-based equities.  Therefore, it has an asset allocation that is 100% international stocks.

However, these international companies do a significant amount of business in the states.

 

VTIAX Performance

Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) is popular as an additional fund to compliment a US-centric fund.

The reason for this is that historically, international funds have underperformed the U.S. market.

However, past performance does not predict future returns.

Here is the performance of VTIAX over the last 10 years:

VTIAX Performance Chart

Here is how VTIAX compares to the S&P 500 Index:

VTIAX vs S&P 500 Performance

As you can see, VTIAX has significantly underperformed the S&P 500 Index over the last 10 years.

 

 

VTIAX Holdings

Vanguard’s VTIAX is largely made up of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Tencent, Nestle, Samsung Electronics, and Roche but also provides exposure to over 7000 stocks.

Here are the top 10 holdings for VTIAX:

VTIAX Top Holdings

Major regions in the index include:

  • Emerging Markets
  • Europe
  • Pacific
  • Middle East
  • North America (excluding the U.S.)

VTIAX Region Allocation

The top 10 holdings make up 10% of its total net assets.

 

VTSAX Profile

  • Fund Inception: 2000
  • Tracks the CRSP US Total Market Index
  • Expense Ratio: 0.04%
  • Vanguard Fund
  • Minimum Initial Investment: $3,000
  • Number Of Stocks: 3535
  • Equivalent ETF (VTI)

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) represents close to 100% of the U.S. equity market that is publicly traded.

It also tracks the CRSP U.S. Total Market Index.

Vanguard’s VTSAX has an expense ratio of 0.04%.

This notably implies that the fund has limited exposure to several international stocks.

However, this does not affect the companies represented in the fund.  These stocks have a significant international presence.

 

VTSAX Performance

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) is popular for so many reasons, of which consistent returns are a significant part.

VTSAX Performance Chart

Its risk level is similar to that of the S&P 500.

VTSAX Performance Chart

 

VTSAX Holdings

Vanguard’s VTSAX is largely made up of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Tesla and provides exposure to over 3500 stocks.

Here are the top 10 holdings for VTSAX:

VTSAX Top 10 Holdings

Major sectors in the index include:

  • Healthcare
  • Technology
  • Consumer Services
  • Financials
  • Industrials

The top 10 holdings make up 25% of its total net assets.

 

VTSAX/VTIAX Allocation

Many investors want to know what is the best VTSAX/VTIAX allocation.  Vanguard uses a VTSAX/VTIAX allocation of 60/40 split with its Total World Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTWAX).

Fidelity chooses an allocation of 70/30 for its world funds.

The founder of Vanguard, John Bogle, didn’t recommend any international holdings, but if you disagree, he would say limit international to 20%.

The truth is, no one knows if the U.S. or International will outperform over the next 30 years.

Many will argue that VTSAX does have international exposure because U.S. companies do so much international business.

The “right” VTSAX/VTIAX allocation will be your preference.

If you believe globalization provides international exposure, you might be comfortable with 100% U.S. stocks.

Advice on international exposure generally ranges from 0% to 40%.

Ultimately, this will be your choice as an investor.

Related Posts:

 

VTIAX vs VTSAX In a Roth IRA

Many investors will hold VTSAX in a Roth IRA and keep VTIAX in a taxable account.  Having international funds in a taxable account allows you to claim the foreign tax credit every year.

It’s also a smart idea to hold bonds or REITS in tax-advantaged accounts.

The high dividends payouts can cause a tax drag on your portfolio.

 

My Winner: BOTH

VTIAX and VTSAX can be excellent long-term investments, and they both can have a spot in an investor’s portfolio.

Both admiral funds are very low cost which keeps more money in your portfolio.

They also have significant diversification with thousands of stock holdings each.

If you are comfortable with 100% U.S. stocks, VTSAX can be a great choice and is a favorite in the FIRE community.

However, if you want international diversification, you can pair VTIAX with VTSAX until you reach the perfect VTIAX/VTSAX allocation.

If the minimum investment is an issue, you can always invest in their equivalent ETFs using Vanguard or M1 Finance.  (Use this link for a $50 Bonus)

Lastly, Vanguard also has the lowest fees and best index funds available overall.

Having said that, you should consider your investment goals when deciding between the two funds.

 


Disclaimer
This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site!

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.
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