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By David Kathman, CFA, Ph.D. | 02-23-2016 12:00 AM

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide With This Fund

Bronze-rated Vanguard FTSE Social Index offers low-cost, core exposure to socially responsible companies.

David Kathman: Vanguard FTSE Social Index (VFTSX) is the biggest of a relative handful of index funds that let you invest in a socially responsible way. It tracks the FTSE4Good US Select index, which excludes alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and nuclear-weapon stocks, and those that don't score well enough on various environmental, social, and governance criteria, including things like environmental sustainability, human rights, labor relations, and diversity. 

Those screens eliminate a disproportionate number of energy stocks, which has helped the fund over the past couple of years when energy has suffered. The screens have also made it relatively heavy in technology, which gives it a bit of a growth tilt; but over the long run, those sorts of things even out. 

As with most Vanguard funds, one of the most attractive things about this fund is its very low expenses, and they're the main reason it earns a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Bronze.

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