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3 Charles Schwab ETFs That Could Help You Retire a Millionaire

It may not be the best-known name in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) arena, but yes -- brokerage firm Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW) offers its own proprietary exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They're surprisingly competitive with more established names in the ETF business, too, in terms of choice as well as cost. They're certainly worth a look if you're a believer in owning exchange-traded funds rather than picking individual stocks.

Here's a rundown of three Schwab ETFs that could help you retire a millionaire. (And no, you don't have to be a Charles Schwab customer to buy them.)

1. Schwab Fundamental U.S. Broad Market Index ETF

The Schwab Fundamental U.S. Broad Market Index ETF (NYSEMKT: FNDB) was formerly designed to mirror the performance of the Russell RAFI U.S. Index. Around the middle of this year, however, it will be slightly reconstructed to reflect the RAFI Fundamental High Liquidity U.S. All Index.

Never heard of it? Don't sweat it -- most people haven't.

In simplest terms, the RAFI Fundamental High Liquidity U.S. All Index was created and remains managed by the Research Affiliates company as a means of fine-tuning index-based investing strategies. In this case, the index in question isn't market-cap-weighted. Rather, once a constituent company gets too big, Research Affiliates reduces that stock's overall importance to the index's value. As of the latest look Apple, Microsoft, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase are the fund's biggest holdings. But, once Research Affiliates rebalances the index in June these names' weightings will be dialed back to a baseline, essentially locking in some of these stocks' recent gains.

The index's manager also regularly increases the overall weighting of underperforming holdings; the upcoming rebalancing will scoop up more of its recently underperforming quality stocks.

The end result of this approach? An automated "buy low, sell high" strategy that takes trade-timing decisions off of an investor's plate. More importantly, it works! This approach has resulted in a market-beating performance of about 1.5% to 2% per year. That's not a whole lot for a single year. But the nickels and dimes add up.

The Schwab Fundamental U.S. Broad Market Index ETF is a compelling alternative to funds like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, which is based on the less balanced S&P 500. It's an especially attractive alternative given the Schwab fund's management expense ratio of only 0.25%.

2. Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF

Just a few days ago, I pointed out that the S&P 400 Mid-Cap Index regularly outperforms the S&P 500 index, making a case for owning a stake in the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF Trust. That's not the only easy means of garnering some exposure to the mid-cap sliver of the stock market though. The Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF (NYSEMKT: SCHM) would do just as well.

But first things first.

Yes, many proponents of index investing suggest starting -- and even finishing -- with an instrument built to reflect the performance of the S&P 500. These companies are more familiar, their size has historically helped them hold up to tough challenges, and of course, they're more familiar to you.

As time has marched on, however, the quality and staying power of midsize companies has improved. Better still, their stocks have consistently performed better since the 1990s.

^SPX Chart

^SPX data by YCharts

What gives? In simplest terms, companies that qualify for inclusion in the S&P 400 are in the proverbial sweet spot of their existence. Their business or products are well developed enough, but the companies themselves have yet to reach their full potential. These middle years are often high-growth years. That's reflected in their stocks' performances. Alphabet, Amazon, and Super Micro Computer were all once mid-cap stocks, before growing their way into the S&P 500.

The Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF isn't based on the S&P 400. But, meant to mirror the performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Mid-Cap Total Stock Market Index, it's certainly close enough to achieve comparable results.

3. Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF

Last but not least, add the Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF (NYSEMKT: SCHG) to your list of Charles Schwab exchange-traded funds that could help you become a millionaire.

At first blush it seems a lot like the Schwab Fundamental U.S. Broad Market Index ETF; its biggest positions right now include Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon.

It's distinctly different than the Schwab Fundamental U.S. Broad Market Index ETF though. Built to mirror the Dow Jones U.S. Large-Cap Growth Total Stock Market Index, this fund only holds growth stocks and is decidedly overweighted with the market's most proven growth names. For instance, Microsoft alone accounts for over 12% of the index's value, while Apple makes up nearly 10% of the index. If and when these top names fall out of favor and lose some of their growth edge, they'll be displaced by other tickers with more compelling growth factors.

This is a potentially uncomfortable premise. Investors are often told that growth and value ebb and flow at different times, with value stocks on the verge of a period of outperformance thanks to higher interest rates. Investors are also encouraged to diversify their holdings instead of overweighting a small handful of stocks ... particularly stocks in the same sector (technology, in this case). A stake in the Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF certainly seems to push a couple of different risk envelopes here.

This line of thinking, however, arguably ignores an important reality of investing in the modern era. That is, the growth-versus-value thing doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to; the right growth stock can and does perform regardless of the economic backdrop. At the same time, the technology sector is where you're going to find the majority of real growth opportunities these days.

In other words, your stock-picking strategies have to make sense for the environment you're in. And right now, a little top-heavy growth exposure still makes good sense.

You can buy and hold this ETF for next to nothing, by the way -- its total expense ratio is a tiny 0.04%.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Charles Schwab is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. JPMorgan Chase is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. James Brumley has positions in Alphabet. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, Charles Schwab, JPMorgan Chase, and Microsoft. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2026 $395 calls on Microsoft, short January 2026 $405 calls on Microsoft, and short June 2024 $65 puts on Charles Schwab. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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