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DIY'ers - What on-line account service do you use?
Old 07-15-2007, 07:12 PM   #1
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DIY'ers - What on-line account service do you use?

After figuring out that I can do the same thing my financial "advisor" does with my money at a much lower cost, I'm now trying to determine which company to use as the vehicle for managing my own account. In terms of total service, who have you been most satisfied with? I saw a recent article listing e-trade.com as a top service provider. I appreciate everyone's input.
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:15 PM   #2
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JD Powers gives great marks to Vanguard, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab.

Consumer Reports ranks Scottrade well.

A lot of it has to do with your investing style, I imagine. Do you buy and hold or sell frequently? Do you do stocks, index funds or mutual funds?
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:23 PM   #3
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Thanks, I guess I should have said that I'm thinking about moving into some index funds. So, I'm more interested in customer service, portfolio analysis tools/trackers, etc. Thanks again.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:24 PM   #4
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I use the premium Morningstar tools for free at TRowePrice.com. I do not have any accounts with them though. This includes the portfolio tracker and the portfolio X-ray tool. I use microsoft Money to track my assets. It costs $30, but you can download a 90-day free trial version to try out.

For places to use to buy assets, I use Vanguard because of all the great low-expense ratio index funds. I use WellsFargo because of the great free checking and free brokerage. Service is superb at both these places. I use TDAmeritrade as a backup broker because I've had things there for years. I haven't paid them any commissions or fees in a couple of years though because I prefer to get things for free at WellsFargo.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:27 PM   #5
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I have used Fidelity for over ten years and am very pleased. DW uses Vanguard and she is also pleased.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:46 PM   #6
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We use Citibank for checking/large expense savings (we do everything online, I don't think they have a branch within 500 miles of here)

We use GMAC for e-savings / CD ladders. Good rates, great support. Workable website.

I use US Bank for a local branch. I keep my business checking account there and we have a personal checking account for standard transactions (notorize / medallion for free, deposit and transfer out, ATM, etc). Very helpful staff... but then, they have a branch office inside of BBY (where my wife works) so that probably influences things a lot.

Vanguard for the bulk of our assets (targeted retirement funds for IRA, index funds for taxable investing). I've been extremely pleased with the entire move and their customer service / support.

Fidelity for my wife's ESPP. Great site, decent customer support.

Schwab for individual stocks. Vanguard's brokerage account is a bit painful if you don't have enough assets with them.

It's a lot of accounts, but it's extremely transparent with MS Money / Quicken (used Money for 7 years, switched to Quicken and loving it). Citibank and GMAC are painless to pull money in and out online, no matter where your institution is.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:55 PM   #7
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I use Schwab for all investment accounts. Service has been very good the few times I
have needed help (setting up 72t, helping with 401k rollover when Fidelity dragged
their feet). They have all sorts of free investment tools, but I do not use them. They
initially were calling me every quarter to see if I needed anything, now once / year (at
my request). They have gotten much better the past couple years at getting out correct
1099's, handling the REIT dividends correctly.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:01 PM   #8
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I have been with Ameriprise for 9 years without any problems, however, I don't have a financial advisor so I don't have to listen to advice. I also get ten free trades per account a month. Since I am a buy and hold type of person this is fine with me. However, I don't think that they still offer this deal.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:01 PM   #9
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Thanks so much....this is exactly the info I was looking for.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:20 AM   #10
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DW & I mostly use Vanguard and Columbia.

I have been with Vanguard for 10 years (mutual funds only) and have always been impressed with their low expenses and high quality customer service. They are always helpful and courteous on the phone, and when making new investments I just have to write a note saying what I want done -- no need to fill out some long form where half the information (name, address, etc) they already have. Also a great website, very easy to use and packed with tools like Portfolio Analysis.

I haven't been very impressed with Columbia. Their customer service is hit and miss -- half the time you get a good rep, half the time the rep is either not knowledgeable or rude (or both). They require forms for everything which is a pain in the butt. Website is so-so. We only stay with them because DW is able to buy class Z shares.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:27 AM   #11
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I've used Schwab for years and I am generally happy with the,

But I don't think you can go wrong with any of Schwab, Vanguard or Fidelity.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:52 AM   #12
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Have used TD Waterhouse for 15 years. Over the years, they have added many new features and services but I just use the basic trading (and some screening tools). $9.95/trade, good integration with their banking.
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Old 07-16-2007, 07:25 PM   #13
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Fidelity is great. Awesome on-line service. $8 trades (if you qualify). Very good customer service people if you ever need to call (rare). Great fund supermarket. No annoying fees if your balances are high enough.

Audrey
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:38 PM   #14
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I have been with fidelity for 25 years and am very happy with them. Their spartan index funds have very low expense charges.
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:21 PM   #15
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I have accounts with Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab. Schwab is my primary and favorite, but nothing is wrong with Fidelity and it is bit cheaper. Vanguard is the best if you are primarily investing in mutual funds.

Don't bother to spread your money out without specific reason. All of the main 3 offer benefits for large account holders include fee elimination and special customer service reps. Also be aware that you often can find a promotion giving you money, Ipods, golf rounds, etc. for opening an account.
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