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When the markets are strong, as they are now – a 6% gain in less than six months this year, and 16% over the past 12 months, as measured by the S&P 500 — it’s easy for clients to lose sight of the importance of expenses.

Conscious of the damaging effects of fees, we researched those funds that offered solid performance at a low price. We collected all the funds with more than $1 billion in assets and expense ratios of 10 basis points or less. Then we ranked them on their 10-year annualized returns.

The average fund listed here posted a 10-year annualized gain of 8.2%, modestly outpacing the 7% for the S&P. You can find higher gains, at least in hindsight, but this performance came at a fraction of pennies on the dollar. The average fund here carries an average expense ratio of just 7 basis points.

All data from Morningstar.
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20. DFA US Large Company I (DFUSX)
3-Yr. Return: 10.28%
10-Yr. Return: 7.02%
Expense Ratio: 0.08%
Total Assets (millions): $7,478
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19. SEI Large Cap Index A (SIIT) (LCIAX)
3-Yr. Return: 9.98%
10-Yr. Return: 7.06%
Expense Ratio: 0.03%
Total Assets (millions): $2,333
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18. Fidelity Total Market Index Investor (FSTMX)
3-Yr. Return: 9.76%
10-Yr. Return: 7.09%
Expense Ratio: 0.09%
Total Assets (millions): $41,472
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17. Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth ETF (VOT)
3-Yr. Return: 8.86%
10-Yr. Return: 7.11%
Expense Ratio: 0.07%
Total Assets (millions): $9,296
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16. Vanguard Large-Cap ETF (VV)
3-Yr. Return: 10.09%
10-Yr. Return: 7.15%
Expense Ratio: 0.06%
Total Assets (millions): $15,222
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15. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG)
3-Yr. Return: 8.13%
10-Yr. Return: 7.16%
Expense Ratio: 0.09%
Total Assets (millions): $29,629
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14. Schwab Total Stock Market Index (SWTSX)
3-Yr. Return: 9.76%
10-Yr. Return: 7.20%
Expense Ratio: 0.03%
Total Assets (millions): $5,859
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13. Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF (VOE)
3-Yr. Return: 8.83%
10-Yr. Return: 7.23%
Expense Ratio: 0.07%
Total Assets (millions): $14,865
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12. Schwab Small Cap Index (SWSSX)
3-Yr. Return: 8.41%
10-Yr. Return: 7.44%
Expense Ratio: 0.05%
Total Assets (millions): $3,173
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11. Fidelity Extended Market Index Investor (FSEMX)
3-Yr. Return: 7.81%
10-Yr. Return: 7.59%
Expense Ratio: 0.10%
Total Assets (millions): $19,450
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10. Vanguard Industrials ETF (VIS)
3-Yr. Return: 8.89%
10-Yr. Return: 7.63%
Expense Ratio: 0.10%
Total Assets (millions): $3,117
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9. iShares Core S&P Small-Cap (IJR)
3-Yr. Return: 9.95%
10-Yr. Return: 8.20%
Expense Ratio: 0.07%
Total Assets (millions): $29,858
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8. iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap (IJH)
3-Yr. Return: 9.37%
10-Yr. Return: 8.29%
Expense Ratio: 0.07%
Total Assets (millions): $39,529
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7. Vanguard Tax-Managed Small Cap Adm (VTMSX)
3-Yr. Return: 9.89%
10-Yr. Return: 8.29%
Expense Ratio: 0.09%
Total Assets (millions): $5,292
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6. iShares Core S&P US Growth (IUSG)
3-Yr. Return: 11.59%
10-Yr. Return: 8.51%
Expense Ratio: 0.05%
Total Assets (millions): $2,234
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5. Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR)
3-Yr. Return: 12.02%
10-Yr. Return: 9.85%
Expense Ratio: 0.10%
Total Assets (millions): $2,425
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4. PIMCO Fixed Income SHares C (FXICX)
3-Yr. Return: 2.20%
10-Yr. Return: 9.92%
Expense Ratio: 0%
Total Assets (millions): $1,343
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3. Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT)
3-Yr. Return: 11.06%
10-Yr. Return: 10.25%
Expense Ratio: 0.10%
Total Assets (millions): $7,007
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2. Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (VDC)
3-Yr. Return: 9.97%
10-Yr. Return: 10.29%
Expense Ratio: 0.10%
Total Assets (millions): $4,385
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1. Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT)
3-Yr. Return: 17.59%
10-Yr. Return: 10.73%
Expense Ratio: 0.10%
Total Assets (millions): $13,321
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