How To Build The Cheapest ETF Portfolio

November 20, 2012


TD Ameritrade Funds Summary

The portfolios are cheaper here at every risk level:

TD Ameritrade Model Portfolios

The last online brokerage, E-Trade, only offers commission-free trades on higher-priced ETFs from WisdomTree and Global X, along with a few db-X target-date funds. It’s hard to build a basic, plain-vanilla portfolio here since there are very few plain-vanilla funds offered. The best you can do here is use the dividend-focused WisdomTree funds for your equity exposure and swallow the commission on your fixed-income allocation.

Etrade Fund Summary

Even the equity allocation looks expensive here, and it’s not even providing market exposure. That might be a good thing, if you’re looking for a higher-yielding, more defensive portfolio of stocks. If you’re looking for pure market exposure, however, you’ll have to pay $9.99 per trade at E-Trade.

There are also, of course, Schwab and Vanguard, which offer commission-free trades on all of their own ETFs on their own platforms. Portfolios built on either of those platforms are very cheap, but you’ll have to pay commissions on any ETFs you buy outside of their respective product suites, which don’t include any commodities or alternatives ETFs.



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