A well-diversified investment portfolio does not have to be anything fancy. An investor can build a broad portfolio with just three low-cost, index-based exchange traded funds.

“While it is certainly possible to do better with active managers or style tilts, a portfolio of broad low-cost index funds is not a bad default option for investors who do not have strong conviction about a given active manager or investment strategy,” writes Alex Bryan, fund analyst with Morningstar, “It may be boring, but such a portfolio should do better than most.”

For instance, an investor can build a diversified portfolio of domestic stocks, international stocks and bonds with three ETFs, such as the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (NYSEArca: VTI), Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (NYSEArca: VXUS) and Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSEArca: BND).

VTI provides exposure to the the entire U.S. stock market, tracking 3,629 stocks across large-, mid- and small-cap categories. The ETF has a 0.05% expense ratio. [Diversified Growth ETFs for a Retirement Portfolio]

VXUS tracks 5,504 stocks in global markets outside of the U.S.. The fund’s top country weights include U.K. 15.9%, Japan 15.1%, Canada 7.1%, France 6.6%, Germany 6.5% and Switzerland 6.3%. The ETF has a 0.14% expense ratio.

BND follows 6,342 investment-grade U.S. bonds, including government, agency and corporate debt. The ETF has a 0.10% expense ratio. [Four Fixed-Income ETFs for Your Retirement Portfolio]

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