Skip to content

VSMAX vs. VSS – A Comprehensive Comparison

Discover a comparison of VSMAX vs. VSS to determine which is best for you! Use the table below to compare their key characteristics.

Last Updated: 1/15/2024

VSMAX vs. VSS Key Characteristics

MetricsVSMAXVSS
1-Year Annual Return18.20%15.25%
5-Year Annual Return11.70%6.90%
Expense Ratio0.05%0.07%
Dividend Yield1.45%7.25%
Number of Holdings14224616

Overview of VSMAX

VSMAX, the Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund Admiral Shares, is a mutual fund offered by Vanguard. This fund is designed to track the performance of the CRSP US Small Cap Index, which measures the investment return of small-capitalization stocks in the United States. The primary objective of VSMAX is to provide investors with broad exposure to small-cap U.S. stocks.

Overview of VSS

The Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap ETF, trading under the ticker symbol VSS, is an exchange-traded fund managed by Vanguard. This ETF is designed to track the performance of the FTSE Global Small Cap ex-US Index, which includes small-cap companies in both developed and emerging markets, excluding the United States. VSS provides investors with diversified exposure to international small-cap stocks, offering the potential for growth and diversification outside of the U.S. market.

Performance Comparison of VSMAX vs. VSS

The total return performance including dividends is crucial to consider when analyzing different investment funds. 

As of 1/15/2024, VSMAX has a one year annualized return of 18.20%, while VSS has a five year annualized return of 15.25%. 

VSMAX vs. VSS Dividend Yield

Both VSMAX and VSS pay dividends to their shareholders from the earnings of their underlying stocks. The dividend yield is a measure of how much a company pays in dividends relative to its share price.

As of 1/15/2024 the dividend yield of VSMAX is 1.45%, while the dividend yield of  VSS is 7.25%. 

VSMAX vs. VSS Expense Ratios

The expense ratio is a measure of how much an ETF charges its investors for managing the fund. It is expressed as a percentage of the fund’s assets per year.

The expense ratio is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an ETF because it directly affects your returns over time. The lower the expense ratio, the more money you get to keep from your investment.

As of 1/15/2024 VSMAX has an expense ratio of 0.05%, while VSS has an expense ratio of 0.07%. 

VSMAX vs. VSS Holdings

A fund’s holdings are the basket of individual securities that it owns and tracks. It is crucial for investors to analyze a fund’s holdings because they are effectively what you are investing in by purchasing the fund. 

As of 1/15/2024 VSMAX holds 1422 securities, while VSS holds 4616. 

Mutual Funds vs. ETFs

When comparing investment funds, you may be confused about the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund. Keep in mind, an index fund is a specific type of mutual fund. ETFs are tradeable during the stock market hours, while mutual funds only update once per day.

etf vs mutual fund

Mutual funds are pooled investment vehicles that are managed by a fund company or an investment advisor. They issue and redeem shares directly to investors at the end of each trading day based on their net asset value (NAV). Investors can buy and sell mutual fund shares through the fund company or a broker.

ETFs are also pooled investment vehicles that are managed by a fund company or an investment advisor. However, they trade like stocks on an exchange throughout the trading day at market prices that may differ from their NAV. Investors can buy and sell ETF shares through a broker.

Some of the advantages and disadvantages of mutual funds vs ETFs are:

  • Mutual funds may offer more convenience and flexibility for investors who want to invest a fixed amount of money or set up automatic investments or withdrawals.
  • Mutual funds may require a larger minimum investment.
  • ETFs may incur bid-ask spreads and premiums or discounts to their NAV, which can affect their trading efficiency and performance.
  • Mutual funds may be less tax-efficient than ETFs, as they may distribute more capital gains to their shareholders due to their redemption mechanism.
  • ETFs may be more tax-efficient than mutual funds, as they may avoid realizing capital gains through their creation and redemption mechanism.

VSMAX vs. VSS – Bottom Line

Ultimately, both VSMAX and VSS are solid investment choices. The choice between the two ultimately depends on the exposure you want and the amount of risk you are willing to take. 

Hopefully, the information in this article helps you decide which is better for your portfolio. To continue your research, check out our other fund comparison articles as well!

Comparing ETFs With TradingView

When comparing ETFs, it is crucial that you are comparing the total return to include dividend payments. TradingView allows you to compare several stocks and ETFs at once on a single chart adjusted for dividends.

You can simply sign up for a free TradingView account and type the stock ticker you want to compare.

tradingview banner

Next, click the plus sign next to the ticker at the top left of the chart to add symbols to compare.

tradingview plus icon

Finally, ensure you click the ‘ADJ’ at the bottom to adjust the returns for dividends!

tradingview adj icon

As you can see in the TradingView chart below, you can compare multiple funds and ETFs on a single chart, making your research much easier. Feel free to compare any ETFs you’d like using the widget. Alternatively, sign up for a free TradingView account and use the main website for a better experience.

The Best Brokers For Investing

Whether you want to invest in VSMAX or VSS, you will need to sign up with a reputable brokerage account. There are many options available, but here are our top picks for investors:

1- Robinhood

Robinhood is a popular choice for investors who want a modern and simple way to invest in the stock market. Benefits of investing on Robinhood include:

  • Auto invest daily, weekly, or monthly into your favorite ETFs
  • Invest as little as $1 a day with fractional shares and auto-deposit
  • Fun and simple app to track your investments
  • Commission-free stock and option trading
  • You can usually get a free stock when you use my Robinhood referral code

2- tastytrade

tastytrade is an excellent brokerage for both investors and active traders. tastytrade offers some of the best commissions around for options and futures trading, plus stock trading is free. Benefits of investing using tastytrade include:

  • Invest as little as $1 with fractional shares
  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Competitive options and futures trading prices

Consider using my referral link to sign up for tastytrade, and you may receive some type of bonus.

3- Schwab

Schwab recently acquired TD Ameritrade along with the thinkorswim platform, making it an excellent brokerage for investors and active traders. thinkorswim is an amazing trading platform, and Schwab is a well-known financial institution perfect for investing. Benefits of using Schwab include:

  • Access the thinkorswim trading platform
  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Fractional share availability

Disclousure: This post contains affiliate or referral links to TradingView, Robinhood, and tastytrade I may be compensated for you if use them.

The Best Investing Books

As you continue researching VSMAX and VSS, you will learn there is no “perfect” investment. However, knowledge is power, and you can learn more about investing by reading books written by the best investors who ever lived. Here are some excellent investing books you should check out to help guide you through your investment journey:

Other ETF Comparisons


ITOT vs VXUS

QQQ vs VIG

ESGV vs VOO

VGT vs VIMAX

IEMG vs VSMAX

Recent Posts

tradingview logo

Join over 50 million traders who trust TradingView!

Technical Analysis
tradingview logo

Join over 50 million traders who trust TradingView!

×

Get Our Stocks & Options 101 eBook for FREE!

Learn How To:
– Craft a stock portfolio
– Leverage options trading
– Build financial freedom