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Vanguard vs. Fidelity vs. Schwab vs. etc. etc.
Old 10-05-2008, 11:16 PM   #1
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Vanguard vs. Fidelity vs. Schwab vs. etc. etc.

Can't figure out which sub forum to post this in so I'll try here since I am still a newb. ( My intro thread is "bass Player with no Strings")

Is there anywhere that gets into comparing customer satisfaction with retirement services for companies like Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab.



Other forums?

I'm surprised there isn't more here. I found a few threads but it seems to me this would be very helpful info.


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Old 10-06-2008, 01:55 AM   #2
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In general you will find fans for all three companies, with Vanguard generally getting a few demerits for inflexible customer service. However, their lower mutual fund expenses and higher money market rates make up for this in many cases.

In general (I have accounts with all three although Schwab is my primary). If you were going to stick strictly with mutual funds, and CDs and you have between 10-100K I think I'd go with Vanguard. If you have interest in investing, in stocks, ETFs, alternative investments, I think Schwab or Fidelity are superior. Picking between those two I think would, to a large extent, depend on the location and staff of the most convenient office.

For a more formal survey in the past Money, Kiplinger magazine and other have done comparison, and you can search for more threads here.

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Old 10-08-2008, 09:03 PM   #3
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I use all three firms in my investing. Here's my (subjective) view:

* Vanguard has the lowest expense ratios and gives you the best value for your money. I'm happy with the customer service. Only minus is that most funds have a $3,000 minimum.

* Fidelity has a much wider choice of funds than Vanguard's. Vanguard's isn't too shabby, but there is something for just about everyone at Fidelity.

* Schwab is a great brokerage. Lots of online help and resources. There are cheaper discount brokers but I don't know of any with such great service.

One additional consideration in these turbulent times. If you open a brokerage account at Schwab (or any other broker) and the firm goes under, you are insured by SIPC. However, SIPC is a private organization run by the brokers, NOT a federal program like FDIC for banks. If there were a major meltdown of brokerage firms, SIPC might run out of money. Unlikely, but worth mentioning. I don't believe that mutual funds have this problem, since they are merely pools of securities. Of course, the securities can drop in value, but other than that, I don't think a mutual fund can go bankrupt. A brokerage can, and if it does, the securities that it holds in the "street name" could be imperiled.
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