BIL vs VFIAX Fund Comparison

A comparison between BIL and VFIAX based on their expense ratio, growth, holdings and how well they match their benchmark performance.

Group Created with Sketch.

Minafi's Take on BIL vs VFIAX

Here's an in depth look at the differences between SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF ($BIL) and Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares ($VFIAX).

To start off, here's a look at the basics of each fund. Keep an eye on the FI Score. That's a custom score from 0 to 100 that we generate based on how good this fund is for the casual investor. Most investors only need a handful of total funds in their portfolio. The higher the score, the more likely this is one of those few. Score alone isn't enough! Keep reading on to see how different (or perhaps similar) these two funds are.

81% FI Score
  • bil
  • ETF
  • Alternative
  • Short

SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF

Expenses: 0.14% (Better than 1% of similar funds)

This is an OK choice for a Short Alternative fund. See why »

97% FI Score
  • vfiax
  • Mutual Fund
  • US Stocks
  • Large Blend

Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares

Expenses: 0.04% (Better than 1% of similar funds)

This is a great choice for a Large Blend US Stocks fund. See why »

$BIL is classified as an ETF while $VFIAX is classified as a Mutual Fund. Even though one of these is a mutual fund and the other is an ETF, that doesn't matter too much for their holdings. Both ETFs and mutual funds are just containers to hold lots of investments inside of them.

The biggest differences between these two is where they may be offered. ETFs are more widely availble from a larger number of investment apps and websites. Mutual funds, on the other hand, are generally offered by the platform they're issued by (Fidelity funds on Fidelity, Vanguard funds on Vanguard). Usually 401(k)'s will offer both ETFs and Mutual Funds. If you're investing outside of a 401(k), I'd recommend you verify the fees associated with ETF and mutual fund transactions. Some platforms charge an additional fee to purchase a mutual fund.

To learn more about the difference between these two, you can read about the difference between ETFs and Mutual Funds.

When evaluating a fund, the first things I look at are:

  • What it invests in
  • How much it charges in fees
  • How large the fund is

Let's look into these criteria one by one and see if either of these funds stands out.

Fund Holdings Comparison

Minafi's FI Score algorithm takes into account the category and market. The more niche a fund is, the lower the score. This doesn't mean it's a worse fund, but it does mean you should stop and make sure this a fund you need to diversify your portfolio.

BIL VFIAX
Market Score 9.7 /10 9.9 /10
Category Score 0.0 /10 10.0 /10
Total 9.7 19.9

A score of 10 means this is a solid market and category that almost every investor will want to have investments in. The lower the score, the more specific the investment. These scores are based on when most investors would add these funds to their portfolio. A score of 10 means that this fund (or one like it) belongs in a three-fund portfolio. The lower the score, the farther down in your portfolio a fund would go.

Winner: $VFIAX

Fee Comparison

Fees are one of the biggest killers of portfolio growth. The difference between a 2% fee and a 0.04% fee over 30 years can result in your portfolio having half the total value!

If you're just getting started investing and learning how fees impact your portfolio, I'd encourage you to read through my free investment course (specifically '2.2 - All About Fees') where I go over all the different types of fees you can be charged and how to lower them.

For these two funds, BIL has an expense ratio of 0.14% while VFIAX has an expense ratio of 0.04%. In this case, both of these funds have a similar fee.

Winner: $VFIAX (barely)

Fund Size Comparison

Both BIL and VFIAX have a similar number of assets under management. BIL has 18.5 Billion in assets under management, while VFIAX has 519 Billion.

Minafi categorizes both of these funds as large funds. Fund size is a good indication of how many other investors trust this fund. A large fund by itself doesn't mean it's a good fund, but it is one thing to consider when figuring out how to choose the right fund.

Winner: tie

Which Should You Choose? BIL or VFIAX?

Comparing these two funds isn't an apples to apples comparison. BIL is a Alternative Short fund, while VFIAX is a US Stocks Large Blend fund.

If you're aiming to build a diversified, low-fee, tax-optimized portfolio you likely won't be choosing between these two funds since they're different enough.

Running both of these funds through Minafi's FI Score algorithm, gives BIL a score of 81 and VFIAX a score of 97.

Winner: $VFIAX, Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares

$BIL

SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF

81

Read More
Ratings
Rating Type Rating
Expense Ratio Score 10 /10
Expense Rating 9 /10
Market Score 10 /10
Category Score 0 /10
Overview
Overview Details
Fund Type ETF
Inception Date Oct-31-2016
Exchange NYSE ARCA
Expense Ratio 0.136%
Net Assets 18.5 Billion
Yield 1.58%
Holdings
Description Info
Market Alternative
Category Short
Sectors
  • Basic Materials 0.00%
  • Communication Services 0.00%
  • Consumer Cyclicals 0.00%
  • Consumer Defensive 0.00%
  • Energy 0.00%
  • Financial Services 0.00%
  • Healthcare 0.00%
  • Industrials 0.00%
  • Real Estate 0.00%
  • Technology 0.00%
  • Utilities 0.00%

$VFIAX

Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares

97

Read More
Ratings
Rating Type Rating
Expense Ratio Score 10 /10
Expense Rating 10 /10
Market Score 10 /10
Category Score 10 /10
Overview
Overview Details
Fund Type Mutual Fund
Inception Date Aug-31-1976
Exchange NMFQS
Expense Ratio 0.040%
Net Assets 519 Billion
Yield 1.88%
Holdings
Description Info
Market US Stocks
Category Large Blend
Sectors
  • Basic Materials 2.14%
  • Communication Services 10.85%
  • Consumer Cyclical 10.27%
  • Consumer Defensive 7.76%
  • Energy 3.05%
  • Financial Services 13.43%
  • Healthcare 15.51%
  • Industrials 8.42%
  • Real Estate 2.91%
  • Technology 22.39%
  • Utilities 3.27%
Regions
  • Asia Developed 0.05%
  • Europe Developed 0.51%
  • Europe Emerging 0.02%
  • North America 98.82%
  • United Kingdom 0.61%

Adam says: Learn how to confidently invest for retirement!

Join the Minafi Investor Bootcamp to see how.

This 10-course bootcamp starts at only $10 for everything!

Minafi - The intersection of FI, minimalism & mindfulness.

Don't miss out on new posts, courses, interactive articles and more!

Join & Get Your First Course Free

© 2021   Adam Fortuna

Site Map
Triangle Graduation Cap Angle Down Book regular Phone laptop regular fire regular fire regular search regular Acorn duotone Seedling duotone thumbs up duo