The Wilshire 5000: Invest In The Entire U.S. Stock Market

You can view the full list of the members of the Wilshire 5000 on the Wilshire website.

Wilshire 5000 vs Other Market Indices

While the Wilshire 5000 is the most comprehensive of the market indices, there are several other indexes to consider when evaluating the market:

S&P 500

Unlike the Wilshire 5000, the S&P 500 is relatively narrow in scope. It tracks the share prices of 500 of the largest public companies in the United States. To be included in the S&P 500, companies must have outstanding shares worth over $10 billion.

Nasdaq 100

The Nasdaq 100 measures just 100 companies traded on the Nasdaq exchange. Unlike the Wilshire 5000, it includes both domestic and international companies, but it doesn’t include financial organizations.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is the most narrow of the indices, tracking just 30 stocks. It measures the performance of blue-chip stocks, meaning large companies that historically have performed well and demonstrated growth.

Russell 3000

The Russell 3000 measures the performance of 3,000 of the largest U.S. stocks and gives exposure to the total stock market. It is the most similar to the Wilshire 5000 of the indexes listed.

Wilshire 5000 Returns vs Major Market Indexes

How to Invest in the Wilshire 5000

While you can invest in individual stocks in the index, diversifying your portfolio according to the Wilshire 5000 can be overwhelming—and expensive. You’d have to buy shares of thousands of equities, and managing and rebalancing your portfolio on your own would be immensely difficult.

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Another option is to invest in index funds, one-stop-shop investment vehicles that aim to mimic the performance of a particular index. That said, Wilshire 5000 index funds are less common than funds that track other indexes, in part because of the massive scale of the index and lower liquidity of smaller companies in the index, according to etf.com. You also may experience slightly more volatility with a Wilshire 5000 fund, given the amount of mid- and small-cap stocks it has.

Funds that track the index, parts of it or similar total-market indexes include:

  • Schwab Total Stock Market Index (SWTSX)
  • Wilshire 5000 Index Fund (WINDX)
  • Wilshire 5000 Index Portfolio Investment Class Shares (WFIVX)
  • Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI)

Should You Invest in the Wilshire 5000?

If you’re looking to invest in all of the stock market, it might be hard to find a more comprehensive all-in-one investment than a Wilshire 5000 index fund. But keep a few things in mind:

Watch out for expense ratios. While index funds charge lower fees overall, less common indexes, like the Wilshire 5000, tend to have higher costs than you might find with an S&P 500 fund. And their size doesn’t guarantee superior returns that might justify those higher fees.

You may not get as much exposure to small- and mid-cap companies as you want. Even with a fund that tracks the whole stock market, your investment will still likely skew very heavily toward large companies. Remember: The S&P 500 has about 80% of the market capitalization of the Wilshire 5000. This means those companies will represent the vast majority of the latter in a market-capitalization-weighted index fund. If you want exposure to small and mid caps, you may be better served by index funds expressly tailored to those.

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If you’re not sure what investments are best for you, consider consulting with a financial advisor to discuss your needs and develop a personalized investment plan.