Build Morningstar Portfolios With ETFs

Learn to build Morninstar's Lifecycle and managed portfolios with ETFs. How do they compare against other portfolios?
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What are the Morningstar portfolios?

Morningstar Portfolios can be built with up to 16 ETFs. They are exposed to between 0% and 100% equities. There are low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk portfolios.

For the past 10 years, the Morningstar Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio has returned 10.11 with a standard deviation of 15.77. The dividend yield is 2.0. The 30-year return is 9.15%. Year to date the Morningstar Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio has returned 12.71%%.

How do you build the Morningstar portfolios with ETFs?

Here is how you build Morningstar Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio with ETFs.

You can find many more Morningstar portfolios below.        

  • 50.00%  US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 10.00%  US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 30.00%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 5.00%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 5.00%    Total US Bond Market (BND)

What is the historical return of Morningstar’s portfolios?

Below you can see the investment return for Morningstar’s many portfolios.

NameAsset class countYear to dateReturn in 202010 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Risk levelExpense ratio
Morningstar Conservative Retirement Saver Portfolio77.10%11.887.628.420.05%
Morningstar Moderate Retirement Saver Portfolio510.60%14.369.549.1630.05%
Morningstar Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio512.71%14.8610.119.1530.05%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 20601612.76%11.88.799.3630.11%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 20501612.95%11.999.059.4230.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 20401813.00%12.119.269.4730.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 20301811.68%11.568.889.330.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, Income187.29%8.896.748.1320.09%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 20601612.29%11.598.669.3330.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 20501612.37%11.748.889.3730.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 20401811.77%11.558.89.3130.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 2030189.31%10.397.868.8420.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, Income185.79%7.945.847.6210.09%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 20601610.93%11.418.499.2630.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 20501610.68%11.378.529.2330.10%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 2040188.87%10.547.868.8720.09%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 2030186.14%9.096.68.1510.09%
Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, Income184.06%6.974.857.0210.08%

How does Morningstar’s portfolios compare to the best portfolios?

Below you can see the returns of the best portfolios that we have benchmarked.

NameSee PortfolioYear to dateReturn in 202010 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Draw Down
Premium Portfolio15.92%18.2913.8410.77-37.63%
Premium Portfolio8.30%18.118.6311.14-44.87%
Premium Portfolio13.48%19.712.8410.49-32.77%
Premium Portfolio20.78%3.198.5210.59-36.46%
Premium Portfolio20.17%3.668.6210.48-36.35%
Premium Portfolio15.18%21.0313.7810.83-37.00%
Premium Portfolio19.24%8.711.5610.65-35.26%
Premium Portfolio15.41%7.488.3910.64-37.91%
Premium Portfolio16.16%5.3610.8811.23-35.43%
Premium Portfolio20.81%3.4210.2110.47-40.85%

What is Morningstar?

Morningstar is a giant within portfolios and portfolios analysis. They display a pure mastery of asset allocation, and it shows in their high returns. There are a lot of portfolios! Here you will find asset allocation as well as performance for the many portfolios Morningstar has created.

Morningstar is an investment research company. The offer analysis of mutual funds, ETF, and stocks. They also provide rating data and portfolio tools. In recent years they have begun to rate companies on a socially responsible investing scale. You can read more on that in our article Socially Responsible Investing (ESG) Portfolios On Portfolio Einstein.

Morningstar offers a fantastic set of tools to examine a fund or ETF called the X-ray. It shows many metrics about a fund or ETF. For example, it shows which stocks are in an ETF. It also shows the value or growth tilt of a fund or ETF.

I use it almost every day!

I did a mini-tutorial on this tool. To see it in action please see the article What Is The Best ETF And Mutual Fund?

What is special about Morningstar portfolios?

There are 2 sets of portfolios in this article:

  • The Lifetime Allocation Indexes (target-date funds)
  • The Morningstar savings portfolios.

The Lifetime Allocation Indexes (target-date funds)

The Morningstar®Lifetime Allocation Indexes are Morningstar’s target-date retirement portfolios. There are a lot of them as Morningstar has an aggressive, moderate, and conservative fund for each target-date. This means that for their 2030 target date they have 3 portfolios (aggressive, moderate, and conservative). For their 2040 target-date fund, they have 3 portfolio allocations (aggressive, moderate, and conservative).

No one other target-date fund provider offers this and it does seem overly complex and confusing. I think it negates much of the simplicity normally associated with target-date retirement funds. In addition, the portfolios have a lot of asset classes. In fact, they have the most number of asset classes of all the target-date portfolios on portfolioeinstein.com. The Goldman Sachs target date portfolios come close. The Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Indexes even have exposure to commodities.

However, with that said – they do very well as can be seen in our comparison of target-date funds here: What Is The Best Target Date Fund?

The Robo advisor Ellevest has teamed up with Morningstar and their portfolios share a resemblance to the Morningstar portfolios. See our post on Ellevest in our article Robo Advisor Ellevest, Are These Women Only High Complex Portfolios Worth It?

The Morningstar savings portfolios

These portfolios have been constructed by Christine Benz who is a  director of personal finance at Morningstar. She has put together the portfolios to help you save for retirement.

In addition, she has also built portfolios for a 3-bucket approach when you already are in retirement. Those portfolios are not suited here but you can find them here. Christine Benz is the author of two wonderful books that come highly recommended.

The first book is Morningstar 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances and the second is Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: Five-Star Strategies for Success.

Morningstar's 30-Minute Money Solutions A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances
Get it on Amazon

Here is Christine Benz talking about getting your finances in order

Asset Allocation of the Morningstar portfolios

Please note: The ETFs in parenthesis are our own suggested funds to use to proxy as the asset class. They are not recommendations by Morningstar!

Morningstar Aggressive Retirement Saver Portfolio

  • 50.00%  US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 10.00%  US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 30.00%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 5.00%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 5.00%    Total US Bond Market (BND)

Morningstar Moderate Retirement Saver Portfolio

  • 47.00%  US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 8.00%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 20.00%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 5.00%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 20.00%  Total US Bond Market (BND)

Morningstar Conservative Retirement Saver Portfolio

  • 33.00%  US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 5.00%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 10.00%  International Developed Blend      (VEA)
  • 4.00%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 30.00%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 7.00%    Short-Term Investment-Grade (VCSH)
  • 11.00%  TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 2030

  • 11.52%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 10.00%  US Large Cap (VV)
  • 8.79%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.94%    US Mid Cap Value  (JKI)
  • 4.29%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.77%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 3.10%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 2.69%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 2.37%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.68%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 21.27%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 7.24%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 10.03%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 0.45%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.45%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 2.12%    TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 2040

  • 12.13%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 10.54%  US Large Cap (VV)
  • 9.26%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 5.20%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 4.52%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.97%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 3.81%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.31%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 2.91%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.93%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 25.26%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 9.54%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 3.00%    Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 0.05%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.62%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 0.25%    TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 2050

  • 11.34%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 9.85%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 8.66%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.86%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 4.22%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.71%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 4.10%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.56%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 3.13%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 3.18%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 26.55%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 11.06%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 2.40%    Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 2.78%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, 2060

  • 10.45%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 9.08%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 7.98%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.48%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 3.89%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.42%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 4.30%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.73%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 3.28%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 3.43%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 27.45%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 12.56%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 2.35%    Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 2.95%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Aggressive, Income

  • 7.45%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 6.47%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 5.68%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 3.19%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 2.77%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 2.44%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 1.18%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 1.03%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 0.90%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.00%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 9.68%    International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 2.42%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 23.27%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 4.28%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 19.96%  TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 2030

  • 6.13%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 5.32%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 4.68%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 2.63%    US Mid Cap Value  (JKI)
  • 2.28%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 2.00%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 1.65%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 1.43%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 1.26%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.18%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 10.87%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 3.70%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 36.52%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.64%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 7.71%    TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 2040

  • 8.66%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 7.52%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 6.61%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 3.71%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 3.22%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 2.83%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 2.72%    US Small Cap Value  (VIOV)
  • 2.36%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 2.07%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.43%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 17.11%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 6.46%    Emerging Markets  (VWO)
  • 24.39%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 0.41%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 2.00%    TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 2050

  • 9.89%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 8.59%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 7.55%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.24%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 3.68%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.24%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 3.57%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.10%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 2.73%    US Small Cap Growth  (IJT)
  • 2.68%    REITs VNQ)
  • 21.71%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 9.04%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 14.53%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, 2060

  • 9.54%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 8.28%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 7.28%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.09%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 3.55%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.12%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 3.92%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.41%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 2.99%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.93%    REITs  (VNQ)
  • 23.17%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 10.61%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 11.89%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Conservative, Income

  • 3.29%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 2.86%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 2.51%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 1.41%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 1.23%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 1.08%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 0.52%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 0.45%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 0.40%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 1.50%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 4.28%    International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 1.07%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 34.50%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 6.35%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 29.58%  TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 2030

  • 9.10%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 7.90%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 6.94%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 3.90%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 3.39%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 2.97%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 2.45%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 2.13%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 1.87%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.68%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 16.47%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 5.61%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 22.03%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 0.98%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.45%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 4.65%    TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 2040

  • 11.03%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 9.58%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 8.42%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.73%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 4.10%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.61%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 3.46%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.01%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 2.64%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.93%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 22.38%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 8.45%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 10.00%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 0.16%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.62%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 0.82%    TIPS  (VTIP)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 2050

  • 10.92%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 9.49%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 8.34%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.68%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 4.07%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.57%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 3.95%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.43%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 3.01%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 3.18%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 24.76%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 10.31%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 6.18%    Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 2.78%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, 2060

  • 10.16%  US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 8.83%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 7.76%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 4.36%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 3.78%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 3.32%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 4.18%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 3.63%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 3.19%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 3.43%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 25.67%  International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 11.75%  Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 5.62%    Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 2.95%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)

Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Index Moderate, Income

  • 5.44%    US Large Cap Value (VTV)
  • 4.72%    US Large Cap (VV)
  • 4.15%    US Large Cap Growth (VUG)
  • 2.33%    US Mid Cap Value (JKI)
  • 2.02%    US Mid Cap (IJH)
  • 1.78%    US Mid Cap Growth (IJK)
  • 0.86%    US Small Cap Value (VIOV)
  • 0.75%    US Small Cap (VIOO)
  • 0.66%    US Small Cap Growth (IJT)
  • 2.00%    REITs (VNQ)
  • 7.07%    International Developed Blend (VEA)
  • 1.77%    Emerging Markets (VWO)
  • 28.74%  Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 5.28%    Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.00%    Commodities (DBC / GSG)
  • 24.63%  TIPS (VTIP)

Morningstar resources

The Morningstar website

The https://www.morningstar.com/articles/archive/467/us-videos.html Morninstar video archive – great for keeping up with investment news!

Morningstar also has a youtube channel.

Morningstar has a podcast, and you can find it on all podcast outlets

Suggestions for your next steps

Finding the correct portfolio is hard. Maintaining your portfolio is also daunting. If you are still in doubt about which portfolio to choose, we suggest you read our article How To Invest Money: 5 Simple Steps That Work For Anyone

If you have already committed to a portfolio – good for you! If you need help maintaining the portfolio you will find our rebalance worksheet useful. Rebalancing your portfolio lowers your risk and may provide higher returns in the long run. It is completely FREE.

You can find the rebalance worksheet in our article Here Is The Most Easy To Use Portfolio Rebalance Tool.

Rebalancing lowers your portfolio risk and may increase your returns.


If you want access to our high-performing portfolios then you need to take a look at the premium portfolios. This is a paid product that gives you the 59 best-performing portfolios since 1989. The portfolios represent a great opportunity for you to have a shot at increasing the returns of your portfolio.

Portfolioeinstein Premium Portfolios

Related questions

Does Morningstar offer managed portfolios?

Morningstar only offers managed portfolios to investment advisors. Morningstar offers ETFs based upon their own indices.

What is the Morningstar Instant X-Ray?

The Morningstar Instant X-Ray is a powerful fund and ETF tool to see details of a fund or ETFs. With the tool, you can easily see asset allocation, expense ratio, p/e value, and many more metrics.

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