Build TD Ameritrade’s Selective Portfolios With ETFs

The electronic trading behemoth TD Ameritrade wants to manage your portfolio. It quickly gets boring, but boring is good. Find out why.
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What are the TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios?

There are five TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios. They are allocated 15% to 85% stocks and 15% to 85% bonds. They can be built with just 4 ETFs. They range from low-risk to high-risk portfolios.

For the past 10 years, the TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Growth has returned 8.27 with a standard deviation of 13.06. The dividend yield is 2.35. The 30-year return is 9.24%. Year to date the TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Growth Portfolio has returned 12.65%.

What is the historical return of TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios?

Below you can see the historical returns for the TD Ameritrade Select portfolios

Data was last updated on October 1, 2021 at 04:21 a.m. ET

NameAsset class countYear to dateReturn in 202010 year returnCAGR since 1989 (%)Risk levelExpense ratio
TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Conservative51.61%9.835.677.0210.05%
TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Moderate53.63%11.296.687.510.05%
TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Moderate Growth54.97%12.267.347.7910.05%
TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Growth57.66%14.198.628.2720.05%
TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Aggressive59.77%15.739.638.5930.05%

How do TD Ameritrade Selectice 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%

How do you build the TD Ameritrade portfolio with ETFs?

Here is how you build the TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Growth portfolio with ETFs.

  • 43.00% US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 27.00% International All-World ex-US (VEU)
  • 26.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 3.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

The letters in brackets denote the stock symbol for the recommended ETF. You can look up the symbols at your stockbroker. You can see a listing of all the ETFs we recommend on this page.

Find out how to build all of the portfolios below.

Note! that TD Ameritrade uses other ETFs to gain the same exposure.

What is TD Ameritrade?

TD Ameritrade is a giant in the brokerage world. They offer an electronic trading platform for the trade of financial assets, including common stocks, preferred stocks, futures contracts, exchange-traded funds, options, cryptocurrency, mutual funds, and fixed-income investments.

In 2019 it was snatched up by Charles Schwab in a $26 billion buyout deal.

In 2019 TD Ameritrade had just shy of $1.3 trillion in client assets.

“At the end of World War II, the average holding period for a stock was four years. By 2000, it was eight months. By 2008, it was two months. And by 2011 it was twenty-two seconds.”

– Scott Patterson from the book Dark Pools

TD Ameritrade has had an outsized influence on electronic trading and bringing costs down for stock trading. The book by Scott Patterson Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market describes how electronic trading rose to dominate modern stocks trading. TD Ameritrade, then called Ameritrade, plays several key roles in the electronic trading dominance drama, for example, in their purchase of Datek Securities. I highly recommend the book.

“What an expensive and needless mess. You could probably find a cure for cancer in a year if you just reassigned all the smart people who are now working on this artificially created and otherwise useless problem.”

– Scott Patterson from the book Dark Pools

Dark Pools, The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market

TD Ameritrade has always been at the forefront of electronic trading. They were some of the first to promote electronic trading for retail investors.

They launched their trading program for Windows in 1996 called Accutrade.

Accutrade-from-ameritrade
Ameritrade launched its Accutrade trading software program in 1996. This is an ad for the program.

Description of TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios

The TD Ameritrade Select portfolios closely resembled the TD Ameritrade robo-portfolios.TD Ameritrade’s robo-portfolios are called Essential portfolios. TD Ameritrade states that when you select a Selective portfolio you get access to a human advisor to help you.

Selective Portfolios is designed to meet your unique goals with a combination of advanced technology and professional insights. From day one, you have access to dedicated Selective Portfolios Specialists, ready to help you along the way.

– TD Ameritrade

The selective portfolios are many times more expensive than their essential robo advisor portfolio counterparts.

There are five TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios with varying degrees of risk. They have the same composition as Vanguard LifeStrategy portfolios. You can see the Vanguard LifeStrategy portfolio in our article Vanguard LifeStrategy Portfolios, Let’s Put Investing In A Box.

TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios are dreadfully dull – just the way we like them.

What is the asset allocation for TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios?

Below you can see the asset allocation for TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios.

TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Aggressive

  • 53.00% US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 32.00% International All-World ex-US (VEU)
  • 12.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 2.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Growth

  • 43.00% US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 27.00% International All-World ex-US (VEU)
  • 26.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 3.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Moderate Growth

  • 31.00% US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 19.00% International All-World ex-US (VEU)
  • 44.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 5.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Moderate

  • 25.00% US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 15.00% International All-World ex-US (VEU)
  • 53.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 6.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

TD Ameritrade Core Portfolio Conservative

  • 16.00% US Total Stock Market (VTI)
  • 9.00% International All-World ex-US (VEU)
  • 66.00% Total US Bond Market (BND)
  • 1.00% Cash (money market fund) (BIL)
  • 8.00% Non-US Bonds (BNDX)

Here is how we select the right ETFs

There are a lot of ETFs! It is laborious work to sift through hundreds and hundreds of ETFs just to find the right one, but it is worth it!

Finding the right and BEST ETF could earn you a lot more money than number two.

We have carefully selected an ETF for each asset class that the portfolios on portfolioeinstein.com use. If you want to read more about our selection process and see what we consider the best ETFs please visit our article What Is The Best ETF?

If you are a European investor you need to buy European ETFs. We have listed 47 of the best ETFs in our article What Are The Best ETFs For European Investors? (Here Is 47).

As of 2021 we also track socially responsible investing ESG portfolios. Socially responsible investing (ESG) portfolios prioritize investing that puts an emphasis on environmental, social, and corporate governance issues.

You can find the socially responsible investing ESG ETFs in the same article.

Resources for TD Ameritrade Selective portfolios

Get the book Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market to learn more about TD Ameritrade’s rise to dominance.

TD Ameritrade has a very informative youtube channel targeting Millenials. There is a lot of useful info on there.

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 TD Ameritrade have managed accounts?
TD Ameritrade offers a managed account in which you can choose the selective portfolios. It costs a fee and it more expensive if you build the portfolios by yourself.

What are some portfolios that are similar to TD Ameritrade portfolios?
The most similar portfolios are Rick Ferri’s Core Four portfolios.

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