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9 Best Vanguard Index Funds for Roth IRA in 2022

If you’re looking for the best vanguard index funds for Roth IRA, this is the guide for you. Vanguard offers some great investment options that you can put in your Roth individual retirement account. Each of these index funds consists of different types of assets, including bonds, REITs (real estate investment trusts), and equities.

Index funds are a great investment option because you gain access to a wide variety of stocks that are highly diversified and with lower risk- at a lower price.

In this article, we will outline the top 10 best Vanguard index funds that you can consider for your Roth IRA. We’ll also talk about why they stand out from other investment options available on the market today.

In summary, the best Vanguard index funds for Roth IRA are: VBTLX, VGSLX, VTSAX, VWINX, VFINX, VGSTX, VTIAX, VGIAX, and VBIAX.

Ps: Read our Beginner’s guide on how to invest and grow your money.

VBTLX – The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund

VBTLX 10 years pricing history with $10000 investment

The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund is best for investors with an intermediate-term long-term perspective.

According to Morningstar, VBTLX is a low credit-risk, low-cost fund that invests 30% of its portfolio in corporate bonds and the rest in investment-grade government bonds of varying maturity durations.

VBTLX is a good choice for investors who are looking to build a diversified portfolio with exposure to all of the major asset classes.

With a low expense ratio of 0.15% and an annual dividend yield of 12.5%, VBTLX is a smart investment choice for gaining a well-diversified portfolio at a low cost. The minimum investment allowed on VBTLX is $3,000, and the admiral class requires a minimum initial investment of $10,000 for a 0.05% expense ratio.

As of March 2022, VBTLX holds almost $80.53 billion in assets under management with over 18,199 securities of which 45% are issued by the US government. These include bonds on various maturities. The rest are corporate fixed-income investments with varying credit ratings.

With its low volatility and steady annual yields, VBTLX is a core bond that investors can hold for the intermediate term. Taxes on a VBTLX account are deferred to a Roth IRA account, which makes the index fund an ideal investment

Most corporate bonds under VBTLX are in the financial and industrial sectors.

As of 2018, VBTLX bonds have an average maturity duration of between 3.5 to 6 years. The effective maturity duration for VBTLX is 8.5 years.

Investors should be aware that this fund has very low liquidity which could lead to longer periods between trades.

VGSLX- The Vanguard REIT Index Fund

VGSLX- The Vanguard REIT Index Fund invests exclusively in real estate investment trusts and will provide an excellent opportunity for gaining exposure to real estate in an IRA.

VGSLX has an expense ratio of 0.26% and requires a minimum initial investment of $3,000. The admiral class offers a 0.12% expense ratio and require a $10,000 minimum investment. As of March 2022, VGSLX holds 170 securities and an asset value of $44.72 billion.

The average annual unadjusted effective yield is 3.5%, which may not help as much in accounting for how REITS identify their distributions due to tax obligations.

It may take some time before this asset class starts providing high returns, so patience must be exercised when deciding if it should have a place in your portfolio.

VTSAX – The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund

VTSAX: 10-year price history with $10,000 investment

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is the most popular and largest index fund that is available to investors. It represents 100% of the investable US stock market.

VTSAX is a great investment option if you are considering creating your wealth through price appreciation of broad-based funds.

Although equities expose your investment to higher volatility compared to bonds, they give more returns in an investment duration.

VTSAX holds small, mid, and large-cap stocks and is extremely well-diversified. 22.9% of the fund is in technology, while14% is in finance, and 13.7% in healthcare.

With assets under management ranging over $266.05 billion, VTSAX offers a diverse investment opportunity with over 4,074 stock options as of March 2022.

VTSAX pays a yield of 1.36%, charging a low expense ratio of 0.15%, and requires a $3,000 minimum for an initial investment. The admiral class offers a 0.04% expense ratio and it requires an initial $10,000 minimum investment.

VWINX – The Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund

The Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund is a great option for people who are looking to add some income and lower volatility in their portfolio, but still want exposure to the total market.

It invests in stocks, bonds, and short-term securities, with an emphasis on stocks that pay dividends. As of March 2022, the fund has an asset base of $66.19 billion with over 1,421 holdings available for investing.

VWINX has an expense ratio of 0.15% and requires a $50,000 minimum for initial investment. 35%-45% of investment goes to common stocks, and 60%-65% of its investments go to investment-grade fixed income securities.

VFINX – The Vanguard 500 Index fund

The Vanguard 500 Index fund is a fund for investors looking to gain exposure to the US market. It provides low-cost diversification across most of the US stocks that you will find on any major index such as S&P500 or NASDAQ100.

Since it was launched in 1976, VFINX now has an asset value of 266.3 billion as of March 2022, invested in 510 holdings with an annualized return of 11.19%. The fund aims at investing in investment-grade bonds and dividend-paying stocks. It targets 60%-65% in bonds, and 35-40% in stocks.

The Vanguard 500 Index fund has an expense ratio of 0.14% and the minimum initial investment is $3,000. The admiral class shares require a $10,000 minimum investment and charge an expense ratio of 0.04%.

You can invest $1000, or any amount you want to start with and add more later on as your investments grow in value.

VGSTX – The Vanguard Star Fund

The Vanguard Star Fund is ideal for those who prefer to invest in an index fund as their core portfolio, and want the protection that comes with investing in a diversified mix of stocks.

As of March 2022, VGSTX is a balanced fund with an asset value of over $26.08 billion with investments in 12 holdings that are also owned by Vanguard. The fund has a 0.32% expense rate and requires a minimum of $1,000 to invest.

VTIAX – The Vanguard Total International Stock Market Fund

The Vanguard Total International Stock Market Fund is another good option if you want to invest in a diversified international fund that will also have exposure to the best stocks from across the world.

VTIAX tracks the FTSE Global All Cap ex U.S. Index. This index covers 5,700 stocks across foreign developed and emerging markets.

As of March 2022, the Vanguard Total International Stock Market Fund has an asset value of $48.61 billion invested in 7,806 holdings, with an expense ratio of 0.18% and requires a minimum initial investment of $10,000.

VGIAX – The Vanguard Growth Index Fund

The Vanguard Growth Index Fund is best suited for those who are investing in a Roth IRA and want to focus primarily on stocks with the potential for high long-term growth.

VGIAX is in Morningstar’s large growth category and focuses on large-cap stocks that have a potential for long-term above-average growth.

VGIAX tracks CRSP U.S. Large Growth Index and is passively managed for investors who want to invest passively in large cap U.S. growth stocks. 

As of March 17, 2022, VGIAX assets under management were at $12.58 billion, invested in 1.579 different holdings. The expense ratio is 0.34% and requires a minimum of $50,000 for the initial purchase.

VBIAX – The Vanguard Balanced Fund

VBIAX 10 year performance with $10,000 investment

The Vanguard Balanced Fund is best suited for those who want to invest in a balanced fund that will provide some exposure to stocks, as well as having the option of including bonds and cash.

VBIAX invests 60% assets in stocks and 40% in bonds. As of March 2022, the asset value stood at $56.81 billion with 15,510 holdings. As of now, the fund is closed for new investors, except for the Admiral shares that are offered under a different class of shares with a $3000 minimum investment.

VBIAX allocates stocks on two main broad indexes, based on the CRSP U.S. Total Market Index.

Stocks on this index are traded in the New York Stock Exchange, and Nasdaq. They include large cap, mid cap, small cap, and microcap.

The bonds in VBIAX track the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Float Adjusted Index, including the investment-grade fixed income securities with maturities of more than one year. 

Pros and Cons of The Vanguard Index Funds

While this is not exclusive to investing with Vanguard only, here are some pros and cons you should know about when investing in Vanguard index funds for Roth IRA.

✅ Pros❎ Cons
Low-cost Vanguard index fund replicates the market S&P 500You have to be certain when choosing your investment duration. There is no room for adjustment
Bond funds are a great diversification option for investorsVanguard has multiple index funds which require prior due diligence before choosing
The funds give you exposure to both local and international stock investment opportunitiesMost of the Vanguard index funds have a minimum investment requirement which can lock people out

How to Determine the Best Vanguard Index Funds for Roth IRA

Several factors can help you decide on the best vanguard index funds for Roth IRA to invest in.

Considering that Vanguard has dozens of index funds that you can choose from, it’s important to not only know what you’re looking for, but also how to find the best investment option.

Do the research: First, you’ll need as much time as is necessary, to research through the options that are available for you.

Know if you are a short-term or long-term investor: Decide on the duration you want to invest before choosing a Vanguard index fund.

Different people interpret both the short-term and long-term investment duration differently. Generally, you’re a long-term investor if you want a 10-year space before you start withdrawing from your accounts.

Consider your age: A young investor has more long-term investment solutions compared to a retiree. They may put more of their assets into individual stocks and equities that have more potential for growth and appreciation.

Consider getting help from a personal finance coach: If you don’t know where to start or lack the time for nibbling through Vanguard’s fine print, a personal finance coach can help you make better investment decisions.

Use a Robo-advisor: There are several digital platforms that can help you build and manage an investment portfolio. Robo-advisors use algorithm-driven models in the process. You will then pay a management fee of about 0.25%. Charles Schwab has a free Robo-advisor.


The best Vanguard index funds for Roth IRA should fit in with your risk tolerance and deliver a steady stream of income.

Investing in Vanguard index funds for your Roth IRA allows you to own an index fund investment that has been known historically to provide decent returns even with minimal investments.

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