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VEA Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF 76.35% VXUS Vanguard Total International Stock ETF 64.86% VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF 38.41% IEFA iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF 83.93% IXUS iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF 73.22% IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF 49.11%
https://advisors.vanguard.com/VGApp/iip ... endfigures
https://www.ishares.com/us/literature/t ... 059993.pdf
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VEA Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF 81.21% VXUS Vanguard Total International Stock ETF 74.58% VWO Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF 49.31% IEFA iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF 91.91% IXUS iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF 85.19% IEMG iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF 59.84%
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insigh ... ncome-2018
https://www.ishares.com/us/literature/t ... 711553.pdf
As before, the iShares funds had about 10% more of their dividends classified as qualified dividend income across the board than the Vanguard equivalents, but every fund across both fund families had a significant decline in the qualified dividend percentage (ouch!). I'm curious if anyone knows why international was less tax-efficient in 2019 than 2018.
As an aside, out of idle curiosity I recently did some number crunching on whether international stock could work better in a low-cost variable annuity than a taxable account. For example, Fidelity has a variable annuity with all-in expenses as low as 0.22% for international exposure (on a $1M balance). My conclusion so far is that it's hard to find a realistic scenario where the variable annuity is a clear financial win, even before considering the practical disadvantages like illiquidity and limited fund choices. Trading off qualified dividends and long-term capital gains for tax deferral doesn't usually seem to be worth it. However, if international fund tax-efficiency continues to decline going forward, that would provide a boost for the variable annuity in this analysis.