David Fabian: Investing in the retirement phase of your life cycle often requires a different mindset towards generating income or positioning in a more conservative manner. While there is nothing wrong with those pursuits, it may not appeal to those who are more comfortable taking risks or don’t rely heavily on spendable income from their retirement accounts.
In my experience, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to investing. Rather your portfolio should align with your individual risk tolerance, investment objectives, and time horizon. Those factors will play an important role in designing a strategy to meet or exceed your expectations over the long haul.
Those investors who want to still pursue a modest degree of growth in their portfolio may want to step outside of the traditional value-focused strategies that lean towards high income generation. This may also provide a unique dynamic that fosters surplus capital appreciation during favorable market trends.
Fortunately, there are two Vanguard ETFs that offer attractive characteristics for achieving this endeavor.
Mega Cap Growth
The Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:MGK) is a low-cost option for those that want to access 150 of the largest growth-oriented stocks in the United States. Top holdings in MGK are companies such as Apple Inc (AAPL), Google Inc (GOOG) and Facebook Inc (FB). Not surprisingly, the technology sector makes up 25% of this index, while consumer discretionary stocks add another 23%. What you won’t find much of are utility, energy, and telecommunication companies.
The stocks in MGK are some of the biggest and savviest companies on earth. Their successful business models have allowed them to stand out and thrive, which in turn is reflected in their overall market share. They will likely continue to focus on expanding or refining their products and services rather than returning capital to shareholders in the form of dividends.
A fund such as MGK is going to be driven by more cyclical trends in high growth areas rather than a balanced sector dispersion such as you would find in a benchmark like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). Nevertheless, this ETF has the potential for outperformance during strong bull markets and may offer the opportunity to overweight your portfolio towards consumer-driven themes.
In addition, it’s ultra-low expense ratio of just 0.11% annually makes it a very affordable investment vehicle to own.
Dividend growth is another area of the market that is often overlooked by retirees. That is because the associated yields of these companies are typically lower than other areas of the equity income universe. Yet despite this facet, companies that have consistently declared year-over-year increases in their dividends have stable cash flow and resources to support growth in other areas.
The Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEARCA:VIG) is a core holding in both of our flagship growth and income portfolios. This fund is based on the NASDAQ Dividend Achievers Index, which identifies large-cap companies with a consistent track record of growing dividend payments.
VIG currently has an underlying portfolio of 180 stocks with top holdings in Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and Johnson & Johnson Inc (JNJ). Consumer staples and industrial companies are two sectors in this ETF that each represent a substantial 21% of the index.
This ETF currently has a yield of 2.44% and sports a rock bottom expense ratio of 0.10%. The combination of broad diversification amongst a group of high quality stocks with favorable fundamental attributes make VIG a solid candidate for growth seekers.