BIV vs VBTLX Fund Comparison

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

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Minafi's Take on BIV vs VBTLX

Here's an in depth look at the differences between Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund ETF Shares ($BIV) and Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares ($VBTLX).

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.

95% FI Score
  • biv
  • ETF
  • Bond
  • Total US Bond Market

Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund ETF Shares

Expenses: 0.07% (Better than 1% of similar funds)

This is a great choice for a Total US Bond Market Bond fund. See why »

98% FI Score
  • vbtlx
  • Mutual Fund
  • Bond
  • Total US Bond Market

Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares

Expenses: 0.05% (Better than 1% of similar funds)

This is a great choice for a Total US Bond Market Bond fund. See why »

$BIV is classified as an ETF while $VBTLX 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

Both of these funds are Bond Total US Bond Market funds – which means they're likely both investing in about the same investments behind the scenes.

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.

BIV VBTLX
Market Score 9.5 /10 10.0 /10
Category Score 10.0 /10 10.0 /10
Total 19.5 20.0

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: tie

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, BIV has an expense ratio of 0.07% while VBTLX has an expense ratio of 0.05%. In this case, both of these funds have a similar fee.

Winner: $VBTLX (barely)

Fund Size Comparison

Both BIV and VBTLX have a similar number of assets under management. BIV has 35.6 Billion in assets under management, while VBTLX has 269 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? BIV or VBTLX?

Since both of these funds are Bond Total US Bond Market funds, you'll most likely only need to invest in one of these funds – not both. Running both of these funds through Minafi's FI Score algorithm, gives BIV a score of 95 and VBTLX a score of 98.

Since both of these have a similar FI Score, the difference between these two if minimal. A higher FI Score doesn't mean future growth will be higher, but it does mean that it better fits criteria for a good fund. Honestly though, these two aren't far off. They're both excellent funds.

Winner: tie

$BIV

Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index Fund ETF Shares

95

Read More
Ratings
Rating Type Rating
Expense Ratio Score 10 /10
Expense Rating 9 /10
Market Score 10 /10
Category Score 10 /10
Overview
Overview Details
Fund Type ETF
Inception Date Apr-3-2007
Exchange NYSE ARCA
Expense Ratio 0.070%
Net Assets 35.6 Billion
Yield 2.56%
Holdings
Description Info
Market Bond
Category Total US Bond Market
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%

$VBTLX

Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares

98

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 Dec-11-1986
Exchange NMFQS
Expense Ratio 0.050%
Net Assets 269 Billion
Yield 2.52%
Holdings
Description Info
Market Bond
Category Total US Bond Market
Sectors
  • Agency MBS ARM 0.04%
  • Agency MBS CMO 0.92%
  • Agency MBS Pass-Through 22.10%
  • Asset-Backed 0.42%
  • Bank Loan 0.00%
  • Cash & Equivalents 2.32%
  • Commercial MBS 1.20%
  • Convertible 0.73%
  • Corporate 26.68%
  • Corporate Bond 25.95%
  • Covered Bond 0.05%
  • Government 45.65%
  • Municipal 0.63%
  • Non-Agency Residential MBS 0.00%
  • Non-U.S. Government 1.04%
  • Other 0.00%
  • Other Government Related 2.52%
  • Preferred 0.00%
  • Securitized 24.72%
  • U.S. Agency 1.08%
  • U.S. Treasury 41.00%
  • U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected 0.00%

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