The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) and the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) are both among the Top 100 ETFs. AGG is a iShares Intermediate-Term Bond fund and TLT is a iShares Long Government fund. So, what’s the difference between AGG and TLT? And which fund is better?
The expense ratio of AGG is 0.11 percentage points lower than TLT’s (0.04% vs. 0.15%). AGG is mostly comprised of AAA bonds and TLT has a high exposure to AAA bond. Overall, AGG has provided lower returns than TLT over the past ten years.
In this article, we’ll compare AGG vs. TLT. We’ll look at holdings and fund composition, as well as at their risk metrics and annual returns. Moreover, I’ll also discuss AGG’s and TLT’s portfolio growth, performance, and industry exposure and examine how these affect their overall returns.
|Name||iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF||iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF|
|Category||Intermediate-Term Bond||Long Government|
The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) is a Intermediate-Term Bond fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 88.8B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 4.04% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.95% with an expense ratio of 0.04%.
The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is a Long Government fund that is issued by iShares. It currently has 15.15B total assets under management and has yielded an average annual return of 9.00% over the past 10 years. The fund has a dividend yield of 1.5% with an expense ratio of 0.15%.
AGG’s dividend yield is 0.45% higher than that of TLT (1.95% vs. 1.5%). Also, AGG yielded on average 4.96% less per year over the past decade (4.04% vs. 9.00%). The expense ratio of AGG is 0.11 percentage points lower than TLT’s (0.04% vs. 0.15%).
FYI: The best way I've found to invest in ETFs is through M1 Finance. It's free and you even get an instant line of credit! Have a look here (link to M1 Finance).
|AGG Bond Sectors||Weight|
AGG’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of AAA, BBB, A, AA, and Others at 68.92%, 15.38%, 11.16%, 2.92%, and 1.63%. The fund is less weighted towards Below B (0.0%), B (0.0%), and BB (0.0%) rated bonds.
|TLT Bond Sectors||Weight|
TLT’s Top Bond Sectors are ratings of AAA, Others, Below B, B, and BB at 100.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, 0.0%, and 0.0%. The fund is less weighted towards BBB (0.0%), A (0.0%), and AA (0.0%) rated bonds.
NOTE: The easiest way to add diversification to your portfolio is to invest in real estate through Fundrise. You can become private real estate investor without the burden of property management! Check it out here (link to Fundrise).
The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) has a Sharpe Ratio of 0.9 with a R-squared of 99.96 and a Treynor Ratio of 2.7. Its Mean Return is 0.28 while AGG’s Beta is 1.01. Furthermore, the fund has a Alpha of -0.08 and a Standard Deviation of 3.03.
The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) has a Treynor Ratio of 1.82 with a Sharpe Ratio of 0.55 and a Alpha of -2.83. Its Beta is 3.54 while TLT’s R-squared is 68.76. Furthermore, the fund has a Standard Deviation of 12.76 and a Mean Return of 0.63.
AGG’s Mean Return is 0.35 points lower than that of TLT and its R-squared is 31.20 points higher. With a Standard Deviation of 3.03, AGG is slightly less volatile than TLT. The Alpha and Beta of AGG are 2.75 points higher and 2.53 points lower than TLT’s Alpha and Beta.
BTW: Uncorrelated crypto assets such as Bitcoin can serve as a hedge and mitigate risk. I've allocated around 5% of my portfolio to crypto assets through Gemini - the simplest and cheapest broker I've found! Click here to read more (link to Gemini).
AGG had its best year in 2019 with an annual return of 8.68%. AGG’s worst year over the past decade yielded -2.15% and occurred in 2013. In most years the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF provided moderate returns such as in 2017, 2012, and 2014 where annual returns amounted to 3.53%, 4.04%, and 6.04% respectively.
The year 2011 was the strongest year for TLT, returning 33.6% on an annual basis. The poorest year for TLT in the last ten years was 2013, with a yield of -13.91%. Most years the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF has given investors modest returns, such as in 2012, 2017, and 2010, when gains were 3.25%, 8.92%, and 9.25% respectively.
|Fund||Initial Balance||Final Balance||CAGR|
A $10,000 investment in AGG would have resulted in a final balance of $15,368. This is a profit of $5,368 over 11 years and amounts to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.04%.
With a $10,000 investment in TLT, the end total would have been $23,809. This equates to a $13,809 profit over 11 years and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.00%.
AGG’s CAGR is 4.96 percentage points lower than that of TLT and as a result, would have yielded $8,441 less on a $10,000 investment. Thus, AGG performed worse than TLT by 4.96% annually.
Over the past years, I have discovered several tools and products that have helped me tremendously on my path to financial freedom:
P.S.: The links below are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you sign up for one of the services. Thank you for your support!
1) Take a look at M1 Finance, my favorite broker. I love how easy it is to invest and maintain my portfolio with them. I can set up automatic transfers, rebalance my portfolio with one click and even borrow up to 35% of my assets at super low interest rates!
2) Fundrise is by far the best way I've found to invest in Real Estate. You can diversify your portfolio by investing in their eREITs or even allocate capital to individual properties (without the hassle of managing tenants!).
3) If you are interested in crypto, check out Gemini. I've started allocating a small amount of assets to the growing crypto space and Gemini has just been a breeze to use. Once you register, make sure to also open an Active Trader account to buy crypto at the lowest fees on the market (just 0.03%!).
To see all of my most up-to-date recommendations, check out the Recommended Tools section.