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Introduction and Question about Vanguard
Old 10-25-2010, 12:04 PM   #1
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Introduction and Question about Vanguard

My wife and I are in our early 30's and hope to retire by 50. Currently, we have our house paid off ($325K) and another 600K ish in investments. We hope that by saving and living cheaply, that we will be able to spend an abundant amount of time with our children and grandchildren. In another month, my wife will be staying at home with our three year old. We are also expecting our second son very soon. With that said, I hope that our experiences of living cheaply and investing wisely may bring value to some of the memebers on this board. I'm sure that I will have many questions to those of you who have been there and done that. In fact, I already my first question:

Recently, I started consolidating our investments to make it easier to manage. Since Vanguard was the company managing my company's 401K, I decided to bring all of our assets over to them. I noticed on their website that they offer a complementary meeting and taylored plan by a CFP. When I called to arrange a meeting, I spoke with someone from their conceirge services. They were fairly nice, but I felt like I was being screened the whole time. (I was asked about other assets that I had. Was this the only money that I had for retirement, etc..) The thing that really upset me was that I was told that based on the information that I gave, the CFP would determine if I needed an entire plan or if they could just make some adjustments to my portfolio. This statement definately didn't make me feel like a valued customer. I clearly met the qualifications for a complementary plan, was requesting a comprehensive plan, yet it wasn't up to me (the customer) if I was going to receive one. The reason that I keep my money at Vanguard instead of a full brokerage service is because I don't like to be "sold" anything or told what to do.

I certainly don't want this to come across as me bashing Vanguard. I've always received excellent service from them. I obviously value them as a compnay because I've entrusted my investments to them. I'm just concerned about whether or not I should keep this appt. with their CFP. Do you guys think they are going to try and convince me to allow them to manage my money? What do they have to gain by offering this free service? Do you guys think it actually exists or is it a way to try and sell people on active acct management? Does anyone have any past experiences with them developing a plan?

Thanks.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:14 PM   #2
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Sorry you had a bad initial experience with VG (Vanguard). I am biased as I have most of my assets with VG, though my 401k is at Schwab. Most of my assets were at Fido (Fidelity), all moved to VG some years ago - primarily better index funds and lower costs. If you want actively managed funds, VG is probably not the best choice though they have some good ones. I also have first hand experience with several others as my 401k provider.

I have found VG to be the LEAST likely to try to sell me something, it's just not how they operate in my experience. Fidelity "offered recommendations" at almost every opportunity, but I never had a problem ignoring them.

As for the complimentary plans. While they are decent, they are just basic plans with recommendations. They analyze your holdings and give you options to move you to a generic asset allocation. When I joined, you had to have assets of $1M to get the entire plan, but it's not that unique so you aren't missing that much. You may only need a few tweaks, but I am sure you can get the "entire plan" if you work with them (not suggesting you haven't).

Best of luck, I would recommend VG, though I am/was completely comfortable with Fido and Schwab too.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:16 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Hello Meddevice and welcome to the forum! I am a new member as well and have received some very useful replies to my initial post. From your age and assets it sounds as though you are doing extremely well. And congratulations on your upcoming baby! In terms of your question, I have never had a problem with Vanguard's customer service but also admit I haven't had to ask them very much. For what it's worth, DH and I spread our accounts across Vanguard, Fido and TRP - mainly because we started that way many years ago, are comfortable with each firm and like not being tied to one firm only (although it's unlikely there is really any or much risk in doing that with any of these three IMO.) We had Fido run a complimentary plan a few years ago so don't know anything about Vanguard's - will defer to others on that.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meddevice View Post
My wife and I are in our early 30's and hope to retire by 50. Currently, we have our house paid off ($325K) and another 600K ish in investments. We hope that by saving and living cheaply, that we will be able to spend an abundant amount of time with our children and grandchildren. In another month, my wife will be staying at home with our three year old. We are also expecting our second son very soon. With that said, I hope that our experiences of living cheaply and investing wisely may bring value to some of the memebers on this board. I'm sure that I will have many questions to those of you who have been there and done that. In fact, I already my first question:

Recently, I started consolidating our investments to make it easier to manage. Since Vanguard was the company managing my company's 401K, I decided to bring all of our assets over to them. I noticed on their website that they offer a complementary meeting and taylored plan by a CFP. When I called to arrange a meeting, I spoke with someone from their conceirge services. They were fairly nice, but I felt like I was being screened the whole time. (I was asked about other assets that I had. Was this the only money that I had for retirement, etc..) The thing that really upset me was that I was told that based on the information that I gave, the CFP would determine if I needed an entire plan or if they could just make some adjustments to my portfolio. This statement definately didn't make me feel like a valued customer. I clearly met the qualifications for a complementary plan, was requesting a comprehensive plan, yet it wasn't up to me (the customer) if I was going to receive one. The reason that I keep my money at Vanguard instead of a full brokerage service is because I don't like to be "sold" anything or told what to do.

I certainly don't want this to come across as me bashing Vanguard. I've always received excellent service from them. I obviously value them as a compnay because I've entrusted my investments to them. I'm just concerned about whether or not I should keep this appt. with their CFP. Do you guys think they are going to try and convince me to allow them to manage my money? What do they have to gain by offering this free service? Do you guys think it actually exists or is it a way to try and sell people on active acct management? Does anyone have any past experiences with them developing a plan?
Thanks.
Not surprising at all. Vanguard CFPs are paid a salary, but get a bonus on how many assets they can capture. Same with Schwab and Fidelity. They are paid on growing the territory they are assigned, so they will want you to move everything to them..........
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meddevice View Post

Recently, I started consolidating our investments to make it easier to manage. Since Vanguard was the company managing my company's 401K, I decided to bring all of our assets over to them. I noticed on their website that they offer a complementary meeting and taylored plan by a CFP. When I called to arrange a meeting, I spoke with someone from their conceirge services. They were fairly nice, but I felt like I was being screened the whole time. (I was asked about other assets that I had. Was this the only money that I had for retirement, etc..) The thing that really upset me was that I was told that based on the information that I gave, the CFP would determine if I needed an entire plan or if they could just make some adjustments to my portfolio. This statement definately didn't make me feel like a valued customer. I clearly met the qualifications for a complementary plan, was requesting a comprehensive plan, yet it wasn't up to me (the customer) if I was going to receive one. The reason that I keep my money at Vanguard instead of a full brokerage service is because I don't like to be "sold" anything or told what to do.

Thanks.
Welcome Meddevice and congrats on saving as much as you have so young.

I have the bulk of my assets at Vanguard and hang out at the Bogleheads Investing Advice and Info site as well. Vanguards forte is providing low cost, mostly index fund/ETF's for their customer/owners. Beyond boiler plate asset allocation plans they do not provide sophisticated financial planning advice. Having said that the majority of us do not need such advice and can do it ourselves with some reading (see rec's here: Category:Books and Authors - Bogleheads and here: An updated FIRE recommended reading list (with a military twist)) and posting at bogleheads and here.

In terms of your experience I think you misinterpreted the reasoning behind their questions. No one can (nor should) provide an investment plan without knowing what all your savings and invested assets are. Secondly, as Midpack pointed out, the level of services you get for free are dictated by the total amount of assets you have invested at Vanguard. While I'm sure the representative would be happy to earn a bonus as FD pointed out I don't think it was their primary motivation. I would go ahead and meet with them and then post here or at bogleheads (or both) with the plan presented to you for feedback before making any decisions.

Good Luck!

DD
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:43 PM   #6
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Thank you to everyone who responded. I am going to keep the appointment with the CFP with Vanguard. I decided that the experience that I had earlier was inconsistent witht the level of service that I've experienced in the past. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meddevice View Post
Thank you to everyone who responded. I am going to keep the appointment with the CFP with Vanguard. I decided that the experience that I had earlier was inconsistent witht the level of service that I've experienced in the past. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
You might want to clarify exactly what you would like from VG and then see if others have received that. Additionally, your questions may be answered here.

I'm split between VG and Fidelity, but I've gotten more hand holding from Fidelity when they rolled over my 401(k) with them to an IRA. Happy with both.
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