Since we fully support the idea of DIY-investing, we understand that some of you may be interested in adding ETFs to your investment portfolio. You should never pay anyone to purchase ETFs for you. When applying a passive investing strategy, an investor’s return will be the market return minus fees. So, by definition, investors who follow the premise of passive investing by mainly purchasing ETFs will always be better off investing on their own.


Robo-advisors will typically create a portfolio for you that consists of a healthy mix of fixed income and equity, where the fixed income will almost always be a bond / long treasury ETF. The equity part will most likely contain an even mix of a “total stock market” ETF, an emerging markets ETF and a developed markets ETF. So, here you go, feel free to buy these yourself and avoid a “very small fee” of x.x%, which will eventually cost you thousands of dollars. Also, if you don’t know how or feel like it is too complicated to buy ETFs yourself, don’t worry, it’s really not that hard. We’ll try to find you the most simple how-to video at the end of this page.

Fixed income:

  • SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF (SPTL) – 30%
  • Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCSH) – 10%

Equity:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) – 40%
  • iShares Core MSCI International Developed Markets ETF (IDEV)- 15%
  • iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Emerging Markets ETF (EEMV) – 5%

If you would like specific examples; these are the ETFs that your robo-advisor investment portfolio will consist of:

Wealthsimple

Fixed income:

  • SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF (SPTL) ~ 20%
  • SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust (GLDM) ~ 2%
  • Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCSH) ~ 13%

Equity:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) ~ 15%
  • iShares MSCI International Developed Markets ETF (IDEV) ~ 15%
  • iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Emerging Markets ETF (EEMV) ~ 10%
  • iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Global ETF (ACWV) ~ 10%
  • PIMCO 15+ Year U.S. TIPS Index ETF (LTPZ) ~ 15%


Fees:

Invisor

Fixed income:

  • BMO Aggregate Bond ETF (ZAG) ~ 20%
  • BMO High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (ZHY) ~ 15%



Equity:

  • Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) ~ 30%
  • Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) ~ 15%
  • Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) ~15%
  • BMO Global Infrastructure ETF (ZGI) ~ 5%

RBC InvestEase

Fixed income:

  • iShares Global Government Bond Index ETF (XGGB) ~ 15%
  • iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF (XBB) ~ 30%



Equity:

  • iShares Core S&P 500 Index ETF (XUS) ~ 20%
  • iShares Core S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF (XIC) ~ 20%
  • iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets IMI Index ETF (XEC) ~ 5%
  • iShares Core MSCI EAFE IMI Index ETF (XEF) ~ 10%

While Vanguard is probably a broker we do not recommend due to to their high costs, they do provide this simple how-to video on how to buy an ETF or stocks. The process should be very similar with your low-cost broker.


While we can recognize that the above information might not seem revolutionary we do truly believe that it can help individual investors avoid unnecessary fees. If you did manage to find value in our efforts, we do appreciate a donation in order to continue to provide our work for free

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