VUG vs VOOG – Comparing Expense Ratios & Performance

Updated March 21, 2024

When it comes to shaping an effective growth investment strategy in the vibrant stock market, discerning the subtle nuances between Vanguard ETFs becomes pivotal. Vanguard’s VUG and VOOG are two such vehicles, designed for investors eager to propel their asset growth within the realm of U.S. large-cap stocks.

These funds come to the forefront as quintessential examples of index funds aimed at delivering potential growth. But which of these acclaimed offerings aligns best with your financial aspirations?

In this fund comparison, we dissect the attributes of each product — VUG mirrors the CRSP US Large Growth Index, while VOOG trails the fortunes of S&P 500’s growth dynamos. Dive into our exploration of these premier investment choices to discern which fund might best catalyze your portfolio's expansion.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the key differences between VUG and VOOG, two prominent Vanguard ETFs specializing in growth investment.
  • Gain insights into how VUG's larger asset base and lower fees might influence your investment strategy.
  • Measure VOOG's fund performance and its suitability in capturing S&P 500 growth-oriented stocks.
  • Learn about the historical performances and how each ETF plays a role in diversifying your stock market presence.
  • Consider the implications of expense ratios and dividend yields on your long-term asset growth objectives.

An Introduction to VUG and VOOG

For investors eyeing growth-focused investment funds in the world of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), Vanguard's offerings – VUG and VOOG – present themselves as compelling options with distinct strategies and investor appeals. Seeking to understand their place in asset allocation, we unravel the core aspects that shape the popularity of VUG and the investment strategy behind VOOG.

Understanding VUG's Popularity and Asset Base

The Vanguard Growth ETF, known as VUG, has established a robust reputation in the ETF marketplace, attracting an impressive asset base that significantly eclipses its counterpart. With Vanguard's clout and VUG's focus on mirroring the performance of the CRSP US Large Growth Index, which curates a selection of large cap growth stocks, this ETF appeals to investors who are looking for exposure to some of the most dynamic companies in sectors such as technology, healthcare, and consumer services.

  • Strong preference for VUG among investors based on its sizable management of assets over $67 billion.
  • Attractive to those who prioritize a fund with a legacy in capturing large cap growth stocks within the market.
  • Lower fee structure, a vital consideration for cost-effective long-term investment.

VOOG: A Closer Look at Its Investment Strategy

Not to be overshadowed, the Vanguard S&P 500 Growth ETF, VOOG, deploys a strategy aimed specifically at growth-orientated stocks from the esteemed S&P 500 Index. In this pursuit, VOOG zeroes in on companies within the index that exhibit strong growth potential. Though it demonstrates a higher expense ratio due mainly to licensing fees associated with the S&P brand, VOOG's tailored approach seeks to cater to a particular investor niche.

  • Selection based on the growth prospects found within the S&P 500 Growth Index.
  • A focus on VOOG's strategy for investors looking at a more refined subset of the S&P 500's offerings.
  • Accessibility remains straightforward for VOOG as well, with availability through major brokerage platforms.

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Detailed Comparison: VUG vs VOOG

Investors often grapple with the decision of selecting the right exchange-traded fund (ETF) for their portfolios. In the realm of growth-focused index funds, a VUG vs VOOG comparison is crucial as both funds are leading products offered by Vanguard with a focus on U.S. large-cap growth stocks.

Through meticulous ETF analysis, we can discern the index fund differences that may influence an investment decision and the performance evaluation of these funds over time.

  • Net Assets: VUG boasts a commanding lead with over $67 billion in net assets, dwarfing VOOG's approximate $6 billion. This significant difference points to VUG's robust market presence and investor confidence.
  • Index Tracking: While VUG aligns with the CRSP US Large Growth Index, capturing a broad range of growth stocks, VOOG is tethered to the S&P 500 Growth Index, offering investors exposure to growth stocks within the S&P 500.
  • Expense Ratios: VUG offers a competitive edge with a lower expense ratio of 0.04%, whereas, VOOG's expense ratio stands slightly higher at 0.10%. This can translate to long-term cost savings for VUG investors.
  • Performance Metrics: In terms of historical performance, both VUG and VOOG have demonstrated closely related trajectories, showcasing a similar factor exposure that presents them as equally attractive for investors seeking growth in large-cap U.S. equities.

Ultimately, while the two funds may appear similar at first glance, nuanced distinctions in their approach to index tracking, net assets, and fees highlight the importance of detailed analysis when making an informed investment decision.

Whether you lean towards VUG with its lower fees and larger asset base or VOOG with its specific index focus, the verdict depends on your individual investment strategy and financial goals.

Evaluating Performance: Growth and Returns of VUG and VOOG

When exploring the landscape of Vanguard ETFs, discerning the nuances of ETF performance is crucial to making informed investment decisions. Both VUG and VOOG stand out, but an in-depth growth evaluation and analysis of their annual returns offer investors a clear view of their financial journeys.

We venture into the historical performance of these funds to understand better what investors might expect in terms of yield and asset appreciation.

Assessing the One-Year and Five-Year Annual Returns

The current financial environment, as of January 15, 2024, showcases VOOG with a one-year annualized return of 29.90%, a robust figure that captures the attention of growth-centric investors.

Equally important, VUG registers a remarkable five-year annualized return of 46.78%, outpacing its counterpart and solidifying its position as a formidable player in the realm of long-term investment growth.

Investment analysis is incomplete without considering total return performance, which encompasses capital gains and dividends. This metric is fundamental when juxtaposing investment vehicles such as VUG and VOOG. It's the combination of VUG returns and VOOG yields that can guide potential allocations within an investor's portfolio.

A balanced view of past performance provides a lens through which future financial potential can be estimated, offering a cornerstone for growth evaluation.

Expense Ratios and Investor Costs

When delving into the world of investments, savvy investors recognize the profound impact of expense ratios on their portfolios. The difference between the expense ratios of Vanguard's ETFs—VUG and VOOG—may seem minimal at a glance; however, the long-term effects on investor costs are far from insignificant.

With VUG's expense ratio standing at just 0.04%, it presents a stark contrast to VOOG's 0.10%, indicating that investors in VUG have the edge in terms of ETF management fees.

  • VUG's lower fee structure carves a path for enhanced VUG efficiency, allowing investors to retain a greater proportion of their investment gains.
  • Conversely, the VOOG fees, albeit only slightly higher, could potentially erode a portion of the investors' returns over an extended investment horizon.

Understanding these expenses is crucial for investors, as they contribute directly to the net value of the investment. It's a fundamental step in constructing a portfolio that aligns not only with growth objectives but also with cost-effectiveness, emphasizing VUG's appeal for those focusing on minimizing overhead and maximizing potential.

Dividend Yields: How VUG and VOOG Stack Up

Dividend yields and total return are often key factors for income investors when selecting an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

As investors look to enhance their portfolio with growth-oriented assets like the Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG) and Vanguard S&P 500 Growth ETF (VOOG), understanding the difference in dividend payouts becomes crucial. 

Amidst VUG dividends and VOOG payouts, there lies a yield comparison that caters to varying strategies within the realm of income investing.

Impact of Dividend Yields on Total Return

The total return of an investment encompasses both capital appreciation and dividends received. For VUG and VOOG, this total return is reflective of the fund’s growth potential as well as the income generated through dividends.

As of January 15, 2024, VUG and VOOG differed in their dividend yields, with VOOG offering a higher yield of 0.87%, while VUG provided investors a yield of 0.52%.

This contrast in dividend yields may influence an investor's decision, depending on whether they prioritize a strategy for immediate income or reinvestment towards growth.

  • VOOG's higher dividend yield offers a more attractive passive income stream, which can be particularly appealing to retirees or those who rely on their investments for current income.
  • VUG's lower yield reflects its potential for reinvestment and compounding, catering more towards investors with a long-term total return perspective who may not need immediate income.

Portfolio Composition: Analyzing the Holdings

When it comes to designing a robust investment approach, assessing portfolio composition is crucial for understanding market exposure and potential performance.

The Vanguard Growth ETF, VUG, and the Vanguard S&P 500 Growth ETF, VOOG, stand out as considerable choices for their respective market segment exposure and diversification strategies. 

Each ETF contains a lineup of esteemed assets, which underscores the need for a thorough holdings analysis to discern their distinct investment advantages.

Number of Holdings and Market Segment Exposure

VUG and VOOG extend diverse market exposure through their curated holdings, which are essential in achieving the desired growth objective. An examination of their portfolios as of January 15, 2024, shows that VUG is comprised of 221 securities, while VOOG holds a slightly higher number at 239 securities.

This nuanced difference highlights how each ETF strategically positions itself within the large-cap growth segment, catering to distinct investor aspirations for portfolio diversification.

Comparing Top Holdings between VUG and VOOG

Embarking on a comparisons of the top holdings in each fund reveals valuable insights into their investment structures. VUG assets and VOOG securities boast prominent commonalities, including heavyweight companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, affirming the funds' commitment to harboring top-tier growth stocks.

Analyzing the portfolio composition and top holdings of both VUG and VOOG elucidates the parallel paths these ETFs traverse in pursuing market growth, while also highlighting how sophisticated holdings analysis becomes a linchpin for investors navigating their choices.

Trading Dynamics: Liquidity and Efficiency in VUG and VOOG

In evaluation of ETF liquidity and market efficiency, VUG and VOOG present distinct characteristics that can influence an investor's experience. The Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG), with its substantial VUG trading volumes, stands out as a highly liquid option, facilitating smoother transactions and providing enhanced market efficiency.

This is a crucial factor for those who require prompt trade execution, specifically day traders and investors managing significant portfolios.

VOOG, the Vanguard S&P 500 Growth ETF, while offering notable growth prospects, lags slightly behind in terms of liquidity. For investors, understanding VOOG liquidity measures can make a substantial difference, especially during periods of market volatility when quick exits or entries into the market are considered.

Although VOOG may still fit well within long-term investment strategies, the ETF's liquidity profile is an important consideration.

  • Higher VUG liquidity leads to easier trading.
  • VUG's ample trading volumes offer more flexibility.
  • Market efficiency is often better with ETFs like VUG that have higher trading volumes.
  • VOOG's liquidity measures, though lower than VUG's, can still accommodate most investment strategies.

Ultimately, the decision between VUG and VOOG might come down to how much weight an investor places on trading dynamics such as ETF liquidity and market efficiency. VUG may provide an edge for those prioritizing these aspects, while VOOG should not be discounted without a thorough analysis of its liquidity measures and how they align with the investor's trading strategy.


As we wrap up our assessment, both VUG and VOOG have established themselves as robust vehicles for growth investing, each with an ability to complement a shrewd portfolio strategy.

VUG steps forward with an advantageous offering that includes a lower expense ratio, an extensive asset base, and superior liquidity—factors that resonantly echo the needs of many investors aiming to optimize their investment choice. 

Conversely, VOOG stands out to a different set of investors, those who might prioritize a higher dividend yield, which could be a cornerstone in an income-oriented investment approach. Although facing a higher expense ratio and a less liquid market, VOOG's appeal is not diminished for those whose portfolio strategy weighs heavier on immediate income generation.

In the grand scheme of investment strategies, whether VUG or VOOG aligns with your horizon comes down to personal financial goals and the refined discretion that defines your growth investment journey.


What is the main difference between VUG and VOOG?

VUG and VOOG both focus on U.S. large-cap growth stocks but track different indices. VUG tracks the CRSP US Large Cap Growth Index, while VOOG tracks the S&P 500 Growth Index. Additionally, VUG has a lower expense ratio of 0.04% and higher liquidity compared to VOOG's 0.10% expense ratio.

Do VUG and VOOG offer similar performance?

Yes, despite some differences, VUG and VOOG have shown similar factor exposure and historical performance, often making them virtually interchangeable for investors focusing on large-cap growth stocks in the U.S. market.

Should I choose VUG or VOOG for my portfolio?

The decision between VUG and VOOG depends on your personal investment criteria. Consider factors like expense ratios, liquidity, dividend yields, and whether you prioritize long-term growth or immediate income. Both ETFs offer exposure to growth-oriented large-cap U.S. stocks and can be valuable in a diversified investment strategy.

Jerry Garnes

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About the Author

Jerry Garnes is a seasoned writer in personal finance. His informative and insightful pieces have been featured by esteemed platforms like Bankrate, The Street, and Business Insider. In addition to his financial expertise, Jerry is a passionate poet and musician with a deep love for nature.

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