20 Best Mutual Funds to Invest InFind out which mutual fund companies offer the best investment funds for your money.

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If you want to start investing, but don’t know where to begin, consider mutual funds. Mutual funds allow investors to pool and invest money together to get greater returns with lower risk. With mutual funds, individual investors can buy securities and stocks that might otherwise be out of reach.

The best mutual fund companies are known for stability, solvency and a proven track record of earning competitive returns with low fees. To help you find the best mutual fund companies for retirement planning or other investment goals, here’s a list of the best funds along with a breakdown of their assets, types of investments, expense ratios and historical returns based on reports from Yahoo Finance. The best performing mutual funds include both index and actively managed funds from a variety of categories.

20 Best Mutual Funds to Invest In
Company Mutual Fund Symbol Type Expense Ratio Total Assets 5-Year Return
LGILX LGILX Large-cap stock 0.75% $1.72B 13.08%
SWPPX Large-cap stock 0.09% $24.02B 13.98%
VTSMX VTSMX Large-cap stock 0.16% $517.94B 13.79%
IJH IJH Mid-cap U.S. stock 0.12% $36.6B 14.17%
VOE VOE Mid-cap U.S. stock 0.08% $13.73B 14.90%
PRDMX PRDMX Mid-cap U.S. stock 0.87% $601.94M 12.94%
DES DES Small-cap U.S. stock 0.38% $2.06B 14.85%
VSTCX VSTCX Small-cap U.S. stock 0.29% Unknown 15.00%
SICNX SICNX International stock 0.86% $755.99M 8.47%
FTEMX FTEMX International stock 1.39% $228.94M 3.62%
DODBX DODBX Balanced mutual fund 0.53% $15.38B 12.67%
VBINX VBINX Balanced mutual fund 0.22% $31.36B 9.01%
VGSIX VSIGX U.S. government bond 0.07% $2.06B 1.24%
FGOVX FGOVX U.S. government bond 0.45% $4.45B 1.33%
VBLTX VBLTX Investment grade bond 0.16% $9.52B 3.80%
TGCFX TGCFX Investment grade bond 0.49% $1.72B 2.47%
FAGIX FAGIX High-yield bond 0.74% $10.83B 7.89%
VWEHX VWEHX High-yield bond 0.23% $21.78B 6.12%
FLAAX FLAAX Tax-exempt bond 0.70% $3.21B 4.00%
VSIGX VGSIX REIT 0.26% $62.48B 10.22%

See: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Mutual Funds

Laudus U.S. Large-Cap Growth Fund (LGILX)

Type: Large-cap stock
Expense ratio: 0.75 percent
Assets under management: $1.72B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 14.35, 7.71, 13.08, 9.37

LGILX is a long-term, top-performing mutual fund with a 10-year average return of 9.37 percent. Its performance trumps Schwab’s Standard & Poor’s 500 index fund’s 6.95 percent 10-year return. The fund’s assets are concentrated in 58 holdings, and it has a high turnover ratio of 83.50 percent. Heavily weighted towards the technology sector, the fund’s three largest holdings are Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT). Investors seeking to beat market returns might consider this large-cap growth fund that’s actively managed.

Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX)

Type: Large-cap stock
Expense ratio: 0.09 percent
Assets under management: $24.02B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 19.89, 10.73, 13.98, 6.95

SWPPX attempts to track the returns of the S&P 500. Schwab, one of the top mutual fund companies, offers this index fund, which invests at least 80 percent of its net assets in stocks represented in the S&P 500 in the same weight as the index. To minimize the return gap between the fund and the index, the fund might invest in managed futures contracts. The fund holds 508 companies and provides a core holding for a diversified investment portfolio.

Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares (VTSMX)

Type: Large-cap stock
Expense ratio: 0.16 percent
Assets under management: $517.94B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 21.58, 10.10, 13.79, 7.12

In the broad-based index fund category, this is one of the best index funds for investors. Created in 1992, VTSMX mirrors the entire U.S. stock market, including small-, mid- and large-cap growth and value stocks. Vanguard, a top mutual fund company, claims that low costs, broad diversification and tax efficiency are what makes this fund — with $517.94 billion total assets under management — so popular.

Related: 7 Characteristics of the Best Mutual Funds

iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (IJH)

Type: Mid-cap U.S. stock
Expense ratio: 0.12 percent
Assets under management: $36.6B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 30.07, 10.39, 14.17, 8.85

Last year, investors in mid-cap index fund IJH enjoyed an outsized 30.07 percent return, handily beating the large-cap equity sector. Blackrock’s iShares Core mid-cap fund seeks to represent the S&P Mid-Cap 400 index. The fund’s top three holdings — Alexandria Real Estate Equities In (ARE), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Resmed, Inc. (RMD) — come from distinct sectors. The company touts IJH’s appeal due to the wide representation of the mid-sized U.S. firms’ universe for a low fee.

Vanguard Mid-Cap Value Index (VOE)

Type: Mid-cap U.S. stock
Expense ratio: 0.08 percent
Assets under management: $13.37B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 26.59, 10.61, 14.90, 7.54

Value funds are known to be among the best mutual funds due to their long-term market outperformance. Value stocks are defined as companies that might be temporarily undervalued by investors. They typically grow at a slower pace than their mid-sized cohort. According to Vanguard, mid-capitalization stocks might be more volatile than large-caps.

T. Rowe Price Diversified Mid-Cap Growth (PRDMX)

Type: Mid-cap U.S. stock
Expense ratio: 0.87 percent
Assets under management: $601.94M
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 21.13, 8.75, 12.94, 8.21

PRDMX has beaten both the Lipper Mid-Cap Growth Funds Average and the Russell Midcap Growth Index during the previous one-, three-, five- and 10-year periods, according to T. Rowe Price. The fund’s objective is to provide long-term capital growth through investing in growing mid-cap firms with projected faster than normal earnings growth. This approach has greater risk than investing in more conservative large companies.

WisdomTree SmallCap Dividend Fund (DES)

Type: Small-cap U.S. stock
Expense ratio: 0.38 percent
Assets under management: $2.06B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 37.02, 11.01, 14.85, 7.17

DES is designed to track the investment returns of the U.S. dividend-paying small-cap firms. The top three holdings are Vector Group Ltd. (VGR), CVR Energy Inc. (CVI) and GameStop Corp. (GME). Small cap companies that pay dividends represent strong firms and are an important component of long-term returns for this asset class, according to the Royce Funds.

Vanguard Strategic Small-Cap Equity Fund (VSTCX)

Type: Small-cap U.S. stock
Expense ratio: 0.29 percent
Assets under management: Unknown
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 30.35, 9.83, 15.00, 7.35

VSTCX is a more aggressive holding from the small-cap asset classes. This actively managed fund includes companies that the manager believes offer potential for above-average returns. Aided by a computer algorithm, the manager aims to match the risk with a comparable index fund while offering a superior total return. Small capitalization firms might be more volatile than larger cap companies and thus, returns can be harder to predict, according to Vanguard.

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Schwab International Core Equity Fund (SICNX)

Type: International stock
Expense ratio: 0.86 percent
Assets under management: $755.99M
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 12.24, 2.55, 8.47, N/A

SICNX, a diversified international stock fund, strives for income and capital appreciation. The fund leans toward investing in companies from emerging markets with smaller and more volatile economies. The fund invests at least 80 percent of its assets in low- to middle-income economies, which tend to be more volatile than larger and more secure economies. Thus, this fund is suitable for investors comfortable with a certain level of risk that might arise from changes in interest rates, currency exchange rates as well as economic and political circumstances.

Fidelity Total Emerging Markets Fund (FTEMX)

Type: International stock
Expense ratio: 1.39 percent
Assets under management: $228.94M
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 22.89, 4.13, 3.62, N/A

FTEMX, an actively managed balanced emerging markets fund, has exposure to both stocks and bonds from countries with low- to middle-income economies. The fund typically invests approximately 60 percent of the fund assets in equities and 40 percent in debt securities of all quality levels. The fund managers examine the company’s structure, price, liquidity, economic risk and more. This is a riskier fund, appropriate for investors looking to tap into the international sector.

Dodge & Cox Balanced (DODBX)

Type: Balanced mutual fund
Expense ratio: 0.53 percent
Assets under management: $15.38B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 24.23, 8.49, 12.67, 6.05

Founded in 1931, this actively managed balanced fund has a long history. It strives for income, conservation of principal as well as growth. These goals are accomplished with diversified holdings of stocks and bonds. The fund managers use a value-based approach and seek to invest in firms with long-term positive prospects and current low valuations. The fund owns between 25 and 75 percent in equities and the remainder in debt securities. Managers evaluate the company’s financial strength, competitive advantage, business quality, reputation and more.

Vanguard Balanced Index Fund Investor Shares (VBINX)

Type: Balanced mutual fund
Expense ratio: 0.22 percent
Assets under management: $31.36B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 13.17, 7.08, 9.01, 6.28

VBINX, a low-fee Vanguard fund, offers investors a one-stop mutual fund with access to the entire financial market. Approximately 60 percent is invested in a representative sample of the U.S. stock market and 40 percent in bonds tracking the U.S. bond market. This fund is a comprehensive investment and is a suitable core holding in a diversified portfolio.

Vanguard Intermediate-Term Government Bond Index Fund Admiral Shares (VSIGX)

Type: U.S. government bond
Expense ratio: 0.07 percent
Assets under management: $2.06B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): -0.90, 1.88, 1.24, N/A

VSIGX gives investors exposure to the fixed-income markets, spanning the U.S. treasury, U.S. government agencies and foreign debt that’s guaranteed by the U.S. government. The underlying debt has maturities between three and 10 years. Although the fund’s principal value might vary with changes in interest rates, the default risk for U.S. related debt is negligible. In other words, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will go bankrupt. This fund offers investors an opportunity to participate in the U.S. government debt markets with one fund.

Fidelity Government Income Fund (FGOVX)

Type: U.S. government bond
Expense ratio: 0.45 percent
Assets under management: $4.45B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): -0.49, 1.87, 1.33, 3.99

This diversified government bond fund strives to provide high income and to preserve capital. The fund invests at least 80 percent of its funds in U.S. government securities and other debt instruments related to the U.S. government. With 20 percent of its assets, the fund might use more complex and risky investment leverage strategies. The fund’s value might go up or down depending upon changes in interest rates, as bond values tend to fall as interest rates increase.

Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index (VBLTX)

Type: Investment grade bond
Expense ratio: 0.16 percent
Assets under management: $9.52B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 4.65, 5.72, 3.80, 6.88

Long-term bonds offer investors the opportunity for higher fixed-income returns with the downside of greater volatility. This ultra low-fee, long-term bond fund gives investors a broad exposure to U.S. investment-grade bonds with maturities longer than ten years. Approximately 60 percent of assets are in corporate bonds and 40 percent are allocated to longer-term U.S. government bonds.

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TCW Core Fixed Income I (TGCFX)

Type: Investment grade bond
Expense ratio: 0.49 percent
Assets under management: $1.72B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 1.29, 2.23, 2.47, 5.71

The fund invests in all corners of the fixed-income debt markets, including government, corporate, asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities. TCW’s goal is to give investors maximum income and with better than average total long-term returns. This fund is invested in debt with BBB ratings or above and holds approximately 475 individual issues.

Fidelity Capital & Income (FAGIX)

Type: High-yield bond
Expense ratio: 0.74 percent
Assets under management: $10.83B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 17.20, 6.02, 7.89, 7.74

FAGIX is a riskier bond fund that strives for higher income by investing in both equity and debt securities. The fund includes investments in defaulted securities and emphasizes lower-quality and troubled debt in an attempt to offer higher returns. This is a riskier fund and suitable for investors able to tolerate wide swings in value.

Vanguard High-Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)

Type: High-yield bond
Expense ratio: 0.23 percent
Assets under management: $21.78B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 13.43, 4.78, 6.12, 6.35

This Vanguard high-yield or junk bond fund invests in medium- and lower-quality corporate bonds. This actively managed fund, created in 1978, strives to maximize income while containing risk. Similar to Fidelity’s high-yield bond fund, this investment is appropriate for investors willing to take on additional risk in exchange for a potentially higher yield.

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Nuveen All American Municipal Bond A (FLAAX)

Type: Tax-exempt bond
Expense ratio: 0.70 percent
Assets under management: $3.21B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): -0.12, 4.94, 4.00, 4.94

This actively managed U.S. municipal bond fund is appropriate for high tax bracket individuals seeking federally tax-exempt income. This longer-term bond fund strives to preserve capital and provide a stream of tax-free income. Some fund income might be taxed by states and municipalities.

Vanguard REIT Index Fund Investor Shares (VGSIX)

Type: Real estate investment trust
Expense ratio: 0.26 percent
Assets under management: $62.48B
1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year returns (percent): 12.07, 11.40, 10.22, 4.23

VGSIX is a real estate index fund that invests in a variety of real estate investment trusts or companies that buy office buildings, hotels and other types of real estate. REITs can offer diversification to an existing stock and bond portfolio. REITs are required to pay out 90 percent of their annual income and might provide investors an income stream. As with stocks and bonds, REIT prices can also go up and down.

Methodology: To compile its list of the best mutual funds ranking, GOBankingRates evaluated each institution’s historical returns, expense ratios, assets under management and its investment offerings based on reports from Yahoo Finance and individual investment companies.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some financial organizations mentioned in this article are clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement.