Schwab just sent me a press release announcing their new series of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that have low operating expense ratios and passively track indexes.
The most commonly-noted drawback of ETFs is that you must buy them like a stock and thus pay trade commissions. However, if you buy these within a Schwab brokerage account, there are no commissions charged. Here is a chart comparing the new Schwab ETFs and their corresponding competitor from Vanguard. The ETFs don’t necessarily track the exact same index, but they are pretty similar.
This is definitely worth a second look. A possible criticism is that Schwab may increase expenses and reinstate trading fees in the future, which may lead to tax hits if you wish to switch back to other ETFs. Meanwhile, Vanguard has a long track record of rock-bottom expense ratios. However, it may also be that increased competition in this area by others like Fidelity and E-Trade will prevent this from happening.