If exchange traded funds are good for the United States Secretary of the Treasury, who overseas financial and monetary matters for the U.S., then the investment vehicle might be a suitable tool for the average retail investor.

According to an Executive Branch Disclosure form filed in May 2012, Jacob “Jack” Lew, U.S. Treasury Secretary, has a major portion of his investments in five index-based ETFs: SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY), PowerShares Nasdaq 100 (NasdaqGM: QQQ), SPDR Mid-Cap 400 (NYSEArca: MDY), iShares Russell 2000 (NYSEArca: IWM) and SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEArca: DIA), reports Erick Balchunas for Bloomberg. [Treasury Secretary Nominee Lew is a Fan of ETFs]

These five ETFs listed show an average 10-year annualized return of 9.7%. In comparison, the approximately 3,000 U.S. focused equity mutual funds have a 10-year annualized average return of 8.7%. Over the past decade, Lew’s five ETFs are outperforming around two thirds of the group of U.S. equity mutual funds.

The low expenses on the ETFs has also helped Lew save thousands per year on fees. The five ETFs have an average expense ratio of just 0.19%, whereas U.S. equity mutual funds have an average 1.31% expense. In addition, this is not counting loads, capital gains, transaction costs and high turnover rates.

Lew also stands out as a ETF investor because of the current investment demographics. According to Cogent Research, only 10% of the baby boomer generation own at least one ETF, whereas 20% of generation X – those born in the early 1960s to early 1980s – and 40% of generation Y – those born between latter 1970s to early 200s – utilize ETFs. [Why Generation Y Likes ETFs]

For more information on ETFs, visit our ETF 101 category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own SPY, IWM and QQQ.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.