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Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 10:35 AM   #1
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Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I thought I had asked this question, but can't seem to find it.*

I am looking to move all of my taxable investments, and my IRA's, away from my Financial Advisor.* I want this to be my last (hopefully) big investment acct switch, so I am trying to make sure I fully explore the pros and cons of each.* *Current thinking is Fidelity or Vanguard.* (or maybe Schwab?)*

My intent is to invest mainly in Vanguard index funds where possible, especially for the equities.* Still trying to figure out the bond/income/cash side of it.* Maybe bond funds, maybe cd's, maybe TIPS, Treasury Directs...* I'm so confused.....*

Intend to ER (in some form or fashion) in ~4.25 yrs at 50 (1524 days, but who's counting...)

Following are what I see as the pros of Fido / VG.* Can everyone give me your take on this?* Those that are pre-ER, and those that are already in ER.

Fidelity Pros:
- A bit more of a full-service firm, with more investment options(?) (I'm thinking bond purchases etc - maybe not any easier at Fidelity than VG)
- I already have my 401k with my employer at Fidelity
- When I ER, I can roll the 401K's easily into a Fidelity rollover IRA (I know, could easily roll over to Vanguard also, but might be marginally easier at Fidelity)
- They do have brick and mortar locations, if I ever wanted to actually talk to a live person.

Fidelity Cons:
- If I am mostly buying Vanguard index funds, am I laying on an extra layer of expenses by using Fidelity?
- If I keep adding to the Vanguard funds each month, do those additions also attract some fees from Fidelity?

Vanguard Pros:
- low fees, and no extra fees to invest in Vanguard

Vanguard Con's:
- No brick and mortar locations (or are there?)

Looking at my listing above, it looks like I am leaning more to Fidelity.* Actually, before putting the pro-con list together, I was assuming I would go with VG.*

What else am I missing?*

Thanks!
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 10:37 AM   #2
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

You are planning on investing mostly in VG funds, so I would just go with VG and be done with it. Why add complexity to it?
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 12:37 PM   #3
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I've been with Fidelity for 25 years and love it. But I buy a lot of Vanguard Funds and just pay the $75 fee. Kinda like the best of both worlds.

I have a Private Access broker and I can just drop in and see her with a short notice. Is this also typical for Vanguard, Schwab, etc?
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 12:40 PM   #4
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

same here 25 years with fidelity..the private access service is nice..one stop shopping is a plus too
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 12:56 PM   #5
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldAgePensioner
I have a Private Access broker and I can just drop in and see her with a short notice.* Is this also typical for Vanguard, Schwab, etc?
I don't think Vanguard does this because they don't have lots of physical locations. Schwab does it, but I have never wanted a personal butt-kisser, so I can't comment on service, etc.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I expect there are those with strong feelings on both sides ... any reason not to do both?
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 01:14 PM   #7
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Quote:
Originally Posted by d
I expect there are those with strong feelings on both sides ... any reason not to do both?
Convenience, mostly. If you have all your accounts with one company it is easier to move money around quickly.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 01:41 PM   #8
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Some of Fidelity's index funds have expenses as low as or lower then Vanguard.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 01:45 PM   #9
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Quote:
Originally Posted by d
I expect there are those with strong feelings on both sides ... any reason not to do both?
We do both. *When DW was self employed she opened a sep-ira with Fidelity and after she became employed she opened an IRA with them. *When she RE'd 2 years ago she rolled her 401(k) to Fidelity.

I have an IRA with Vanguard, plus most other after-tax savings with Vanguard in a joint account. *I still have a 401(k) which I plan on rolling over to Vanguard when I RE. *I kinda like having access to both companies. *eg the Financial Engines calculator at Vanguard is free and pretty good, but as we close in on both being retired, the Retirement Income planners at Fidelity are, I think, better. *I also tend to use the portfolio analyzer at Vanguard at regular intervals.

The index funds at Fideleity are also now very low cost so not much in it really.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 03:51 PM   #10
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I like my butt-kisser. 6' tall long blond hair and female.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 04:09 PM   #11
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I don't think Vanguard does this because they don't have lots of physical locations.* Schwab does it, but I have never wanted a personal butt-kisser, so I can't comment on service, etc.
Hey, if I had OAP's broker I would see her weekly. Mine unfortunately is a guy, but very helpful for other than butt-kissing which is not what they are there for anyway. As a P.A. client you are important, but not that important.

Four or five times the PA broker has been able to handle complicated or confusing situations that I don't think I ever would have gotten handled at a non-Fidelity broker. I opened my first Fidelity account 30 years ago, and though I am not sure, I don't think they have ever made an error. I formerly kept an account at BrownCo because they had a better trading website, and because they were cheaper. But service wise Fidelity is much better. And now, Fidelity has caught up with web based trading and with commission levels. I think if you do a lot of option treading, there are specialized brokers that may be better.

Vanguard may be excellent also; I have no real experience there.

Ha

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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 04:19 PM   #12
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I don't see any strong reason to prefer one over the other, but I'm moving my Fidelity 401k to Vanguard where I have a Roth IRA just to have everything in one place.

It seems like overall you end up paying less fees at Vanguard than Fidelity, which is the tipping factor for me.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 06:04 PM   #13
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Never used fidelity except for some corporate stock sales stuff. My old company used them as the "flavor of the year" once.

No problems with vanguard. Have my own personal butt kisser at the flagship level.

Fidelity lost a laptop that for some reason needed 25 year old retirement plan information from a company I used to work for.

So far vanguard hasnt exposed any of my personal financial data to anyone for theft.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 07:01 PM   #14
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

It really boils down to the demure and oomph of the butt-kisser. Mine is so cool that it's a no issure.

Go by John Hancock and view Susan Hilvers. USA's star CFP and VP of the Universe.

Eat the dust.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 07:24 PM   #15
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldAgePensioner
Go by John Hancock and view Susan Hilvers.* USA's star CFP and VP of the Universe.

Eat the dust.
OAP. I'm getting the vibe that it is you who would like to be kissing Susan's butt or whatever she might allow you to kiss. Actually, sounds pretty appealing to me also.*

Could you post a pic?

Ha
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 07:44 PM   #16
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

The lady is pretty beyond my abililty to describe. She is also class personified. I only wish,
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 08:02 PM   #17
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Everyone, thanks for the feedback.* Sounds like I wasn't wrong; they're both pretty good for the* RE crowd, and you can keep the fees manageable at both.*

So, does anyone know, DOES Vanguard have storefront offices spread around the country?* Sounds like no.* * I had not seen any.* And I just drove by a shiny new Fido office (in a well-to-do part of town flush with retirees... go figure)

I hadn't given the butt-kissing asprect too much thought.* Come to think of it, that WAS one of the reasons I was dumping my FA; that butt-kissing doesn't come without a price....And my FA is not aven remotely attractive...

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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 09:02 PM   #18
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

Vanguard has offices located in:

* Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
* Scottsdale, Arizona
* Charlotte, North Carolina
* Melbourne, Australia
* Brussels, Belgium
* Singapore
* Tokyo, Japan
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 09:17 PM   #19
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I've been able to get good help from Vanguard over the phone whenever I've needed extra assistance. I know Vanguard service has come under fire in the past, but I've never had a problem. (It may also depend on what tier you are in based on assets kept there).

I also use Schwab and have had good help on the phone. Would never occur to me to go into their office -- much easier to stay at home and mail stuff or use the web or phone.

Plain fact is that I call these guys once or twice a year -- everything else I do on the web. If you really get into the buy-and-hold/rebalance annually approach this all tends to get really easy no matter who you go with or what their service infrastructure.

I would be concerned if Fidelity is charging a $75 fee to buy a Vanguard or other outside fund -- that could add up. Overall, my experience is Vanguard is pretty militaristic about keeping fees low for long term investors and cutting breaks on even those fees to their higher-tier clients. Some of this may be possible because they are organized as a 'co-op' that runs somewhat along the lines of a non-profit. Not sure about Fidelity's overall expenses now, but when I used them before, their approach to fees were more in line with those of a for-profit company.
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard
Old 04-15-2006, 09:33 PM   #20
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Re: Fidelity vs. Vanguard

I also have both Fidelity and Vanguard. Virtually all my retirement accounts are at Fidelity except for a former employer pension.
Most of my interaction w/Vanguard has been on the pension account and payout similuation--functional but not impressive.
I called Fidelity last week to get some more tips on using their Income Planner (an awesome monte carlo based planning tool). Quickly provided a couple tips plus pointed out to me that I should be using their detailed budget allowance in my plan so I could capture the different inflation rates used--medical costs are inflated at 7% vs the standard rate you input.
The Fidelity also showed me a way to bump my cash earnings from 2.5% to 4.4.
Ended up covering a range of topics, non earthshaking but all helpful and constructive and spent nearly an hour.
I get $8 trades which I can not get at Vanguard even at Flagship.
Plus their bill pay options (hardly write a check anymore) and other account options are much richer in choices and features.
Both are good but do consider what you features can make your life easier.
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