Two items reminded us today about how far the world of investing has come in the past few years. Individual investors with ETFs have been given access to asset classes heretofore limited to institutional investors. This allows investors to create diverse portfolios with shockingly low expense ratios.

Matthew Hougan at in comments on the state of the index and ETF industries shows how an investor can now create a globally diversified, indexed portfolio for a sum total of 16 basis points a year. Something unheard of a few years ago.

If you are going to create your own customized portfolio you should also have a customized benchmark. Eleanor Laise at looks at growing number of tools that allow investors to determine their asset allocation, find funds to match those asset classes, build a benchmark and track your progress against said benchmark.

For those investors looking to create well-diversified, low cost portfolios today’s environment provides you with nearly all the tools you could need. Then again the same could be said for those looking to trade their their brains out.