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3 Vanguard ETFs That Could Turn Your $1,400 Stimulus Check Into $5,000

By Robin Hartill, CFP® - Mar 23, 2021 at 7:45AM

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Turn your $1,400 check into $5,000 with zero effort.

Your bank account may have just gotten fatter thanks to the $1,400 stimulus check. But with a little time and patience, you could make that money grow into way more than $1,400 by investing it. Of course, investing your payment only makes sense if you don't need the money for current expenses, you have an adequate emergency fund, and you don't have high-interest debt. 

If you can afford to invest your stimulus money, exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are a great place to start. You can invest in hundreds or thousands of stocks with a single purchase. You buy and sell ETFs in exactly the same way that you'd buy or sell a stock.

Vanguard ETFs have some of the lowest management fees out there, and these three Vanguard ETFs could turn a $1,400 stimulus check into $5,000.

An overjoyed young man surrounded by U.S. dollars.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI)

If you're not sure which stocks to buy, why not buy them all? The Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI -0.49%) pretty much invests across the entire U.S. stock market, with 3,663 stocks.

Your results will be very similar to what you'd get by investing in an S&P 500 index fund, which tracks the performance of 500 of the largest companies' stocks in the U.S. But because the VTI is a total stock market fund, you get exposure to mid-cap stocks and small-cap stocks, too. While larger stocks are typically more stable, the smaller ones have more growth potential.

The fund's top five holdings are Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google parent company Alphabet, and Facebook.

VTI has an expense ratio of 0.03%. That means you spend just 0.03% on fees, while the other 99.7% gets invested. Past performance doesn't guarantee future results. But if you'd invested $1,400 in the VTI in March 2011, you'd have more than $5,200 today.

2. Vanguard Extended Market Index (VXF)

While the VTI gives you mid-cap and small-cap exposure, its performance is still dominated by the big S&P 500 players. If you want to focus specifically on smaller companies with bigger growth potential, check out the Vanguard Extended Market Index (VXF -1.24%). The VXF tracks an index of 3,371 U.S. stocks, representing virtually all of the U.S. stock market, minus the S&P 500.

Its top five holdings are Square, Zoom, Uber Technologies, Snapchat parent Snap, and communications platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) company Twilio. Its largest sector category is information technology, followed by healthcare and financials.

The fund's expense ratio is 0.06%. If you invested $1,400 in the VXF and achieved the same performance of the past decade, you'd grow your stimulus payment to $5,175 in 10 years.

While small-cap stocks tend to outperform large-cap stocks in the long term, they're also more volatile. So keep in mind that the VXF is a higher-risk investment compared to an S&P 500 index fund or total stock market fund.

VTI Total Return Price Chart

VTI Total Return Price data by YCharts

3. Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT)

The Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT -1.19%) is another high-risk, high-reward investment. It invests in 341 stocks in the information technology sector. Its top five holdings are Apple, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Visa, and Mastercard

Investing in one single stock market sector is risky, so the VGT is a good option only if you already own index funds that invest across the broader stock market. Also, after an unbelievably hot 2020, many tech stocks have been cooling off a bit. The sell-off could be an opportunity if you buy and hold the VGT for the long term, but don't be surprised if your returns don't quite sizzle at first.

The VGT has an expense ratio of 0.1%. Over the past decade, the fund has been a growth investor's dream. Had you parked $1,400 in the ETF a decade ago, your investment would be worth $9,000 today.

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Stocks Mentioned

Vanguard Index Funds - Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF Stock Quote
Vanguard Index Funds - Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF
$199.91 (-0.49%) $0.99
Vanguard Index Funds - Vanguard Extended Market ETF Stock Quote
Vanguard Index Funds - Vanguard Extended Market ETF
$138.88 (-1.24%) $-1.74
Vanguard World Fund - Vanguard Information Technology ETF Stock Quote
Vanguard World Fund - Vanguard Information Technology ETF
$346.20 (-1.19%) $-4.18

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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