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4 Best-Performing Vanguard Funds of 2021

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Founded by John C. Bogle in 1975, Vanguard is one of the world's largest investment management companies. With around $7.2 trillion of assets under management, the company offered nearly 209 domestic funds and 232 funds for foreign markets as of Jan 31, 2021. It offers asset management and financial planning services to clients throughout the globe.

Vanguard stands apart from the other mutual fund companies because it is owned by the funds themselves. The company believes that this structure helps management focus better on shareholder interests. Among the advantages, Vanguard claims to offer is low-cost, no-load funds.

The initial investment of the majority of mutual funds from the family ranges from $0 to $3,000. As of Dec 31, 2021, none of the Vanguard mutual funds carried any load.

Vanguard invests in a variety of sectors that are sensitive, cyclical and defensive. From the sensitive sectors, most investments were made in the technology sector. Among the cyclical sectors, the fund family has invested the maximum in the financial services sector, while among the defensive sectors it has invested heavily in healthcare.

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) and the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLK) have climbed 25% and 15.7% over the past year, respectively.

To that end we have selected Vanguard Strategic Small-Cap Equity Fund Investor Shares (VSTCX - Free Report) , Vanguard Explorer Value Fund Investor Shares (VEVFX - Free Report) , Vanguard Windsor Fund Investor Shares (VWNDX - Free Report) , and Vanguard Equity-Income Fund Investor Shares (VEIPX - Free Report) as our top fund picks from 2021.

4 Best Funds to Buy Now

We have highlighted three Vanguard mutual funds carrying a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy). These funds have encouraging three and one-year returns. Additionally, the minimum initial investment is within $5000.

We expect these funds to outperform their peers in the future. Remember, the goal of the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is to guide investors to identify potential winners and losers. Unlike most of the fund-rating systems, the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank is not just focused on past performance, but also on the likely future success of the fund.

The question here is: why should investors consider mutual funds? Reduced transaction costs and diversification of portfolio without several commission charges that are associated with stock purchases are primarily why one should be parking money in mutual funds (read more: Mutual Funds: Advantages, Disadvantages, and How They Make Investors Money).

Vanguard Strategic Small-Cap Equity Fund Investor Shares invests primarily in equity securities of small-capitalization domestic companies after assessing the relative return potential of such securities. Companies that offer a balance between strong growth prospects and reasonable valuations relative to their industry peers are selected by the advisor.

This Small Cap Blend product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and one-year benchmarks are 20.9% and 33.5%, respectively. Vanguard Strategic Small-Cap Equity Fund Investor Shares has an annual expense ratio of 0.26%, which is below the category average of 1.03%.

Vanguard Explorer Value Fund Investor Shares seeks appreciation of capital over the long term. The fund invests primarily in stocks of small and mid-size domestic companies, picking stocks considered by the fund’s advisor as undervalued. Also, such stocks may have above-average dividend yields.

This Small Cap Blend product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and one-year benchmarks are 19% and 28.4%, respectively. VEVFX has an annual expense ratio of 0.64%, which is below the category average of 1.03%.

Vanguard Windsor Fund Investor Shares invests primarily in large- and mid-capitalization companies whose stocks are considered by the advisor to be undervalued.

This Large Cap Value product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and one-year benchmarks are 21.5% and 28%, respectively. VWNDX has an annual expense ratio of 0.29%, which is below the category average of 0.94%.

Vanguard Equity-Income Fund Investor Shares aims to provide a level of current income that is above-average and decent long-term capital growth. The fund invests mainly common stocks of medium-sized and large companies that are undervalued compared to similar stocks and pay above-average levels of dividend income.

This Large Cap Value product has a history of positive total returns for over 10 years. Specifically, the fund's returns over the three and one-year benchmarks are 17.4% and 25.6%, respectively. VEIPXhas an annual expense ratio of 0.28%, which is below the category average of 0.94%.

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