Anyone with experience using Vanguard
Hi, This is my first post here and hopefully I can get some unbiased opinions on some of my concerns. Please dont flame me if you think these are stupid questions as I really dont know a lot about this kind of stuff and would feel better if I got some of my concerns answered by people who dont stand to 'profit' by selling me something that takes advantage of the unknowing. I have been burned by investments in the past and just recently somebody at a bank wanted to sell me an annuity which after doing research on, found that it was not in my best interest, but theirs because of the high expenses they get up front.
First off, I am currently 55 and going to retire end of June. I have accumulated 300K in my companys 401 K plan. I can leave it with JPMorgan (but not in that same fund) but I despise JPMorgan and will be pulling it out of there (for reasons I dont need to burden you with here).
Right now, all of it is in what they call a custom, for our company, 'Stable Value' fund (they classify it as cash, however I really dont know exactly what it consists of) which has been pulling in a 5 year average of 6.21 percent. That rate has been decreasing lately and is at a one year rate of 5.70 amd 1.35 for the last 3 months right now. I have, in the past invested in some of the other stock/bond funds that were offered in the 401K plan, however I have lost value in just about ALL of them. I think JPM saddled the plan with some real dogs for us to invest in. In waiting for the funds to come back, they discontinue them and change to new funds, hence locking in our losses. Hence, it has left somewhat of a uneasy feeling in my gut about how they operate. I really dont know a whole lot about this kind of stuff so I am quite intimidated with having to move it now to somewhere different.
That being said, I am thinking of either moving it to a rollover IRA at a local bank (yielding about 5.00 percent) or taking the plunge as in moving it to Vanguard as I have been reading lots of stuff (not understanding it all, but most of it seems positive) about them as having funds with no fees (loads I think they call it) or very small percents as far as maintenance costs.
I really do not plan to tap these funds for a timeframe of 10-12 years.
OK, now for the questions/concerns...
1) If I call Vanguard, is there a charge to have them prepare a 'plan' or for them to talk to me? I realize that time spent by someone discussing my concerns cost someone paying the advisor but do I need to pay up front first not knowing if I will like what I find out from them
2) I guess I want to get into the no load or low maintenace funds as I dont want to have the costs eat away at the return too much. Is pulling in the vicinity of a 5 percent annual return (after fees) on this type of investment do-able? (I'm not looking for the double digit return here, as my goal is safety, if there is such a thing.)
3) I am concerned with buying into something all in one lump (and perhaps at the high end of things) so will Vanguard have MY best interest if I express this to them as far as where to put the funds or can they be trusted to know the proper mix/exposure of whatever fits my risk tolerance (which would be conserative)? I am quite afraid of going into Bonds a lot as I got burned back in the early-mid 90's buying into bonds on the advice of a 'planner' at a bank and lost lost lost on them before pulling out. At the time, I didnt know that bonds go down in value at times when interest rates escalate and I feel that interest rates have not hit their peak at this time and dumping lots of the invested $$$ into bonds at this time concerns me greatly (bonds being conservative), as it seems that Vanguards target funds seem to invest more into bonds as the time to their target gets closer (target fund 2015).
4) Do I really need to know exactly where and what funds I want them to invest in as I really know nothing about this kind of stuff (except bonds go down when interest rates rise).
5) Does Vanguard offer CD investments (not an annuity) for all or part of the money, as I find the safety of CD's as a more conserative choice?
I dont think I will seek the advice of a paid planner as I really dont know who to trust, being conned a few times in the past. Again, I am looking for unbiased opinions.
Thanks for any/all answers/opinions