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Old 04-12-2016, 06:00 PM   #21
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I have used all 3 and prefer Fidelity for customer service, online interface, and brick and mortar. I meet periodically with an account mgr who understands my low fee investment goals and offers excellent advice without trying to sell anything.

I picked up a nice cash incentive of $1,200 on the last IRA transfer to Fido. Look into this if you choose to invest there.

https://rewards.fidelity.com/offers/...ndfamilyoffer1
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:29 PM   #22
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Thanks to all for such a fantastic response. So much good data to digest.

We gave PNC Wealth Management a chance to pitch today. We talked in some generalities today. The managed account talk was too high a fee and he knew it as soon as it came out of his mouth. PNC Investments does have a self managed account product. He also pitched and FDIC Insured CD made up of several ETFs, run by Goldman, actively rebalanced monthly. 5yr 9 mo term, averaging ~5% annually (net of fees) in past performance. No management fee from PNC. Something to consider if I can set up a step ladder set of insured CDs. In ~5 years, as they mature, I can harvest the gains and reinvest the principal n the back end, creating a revolving income stream. I'm wary of such a complex product but the FDIC insurance of the principle is interesting.

Setting up a Schwab and Fidelity interview for later this week. Depending on how they go, I may or may not consider Vanguard at this time. I kind of want the flexibility to have stocks and ETFs in the portfolio, and I think some hand holding being available may be good. As I evolve into being an expert, I can look at Vanguard. (We do live very close to Valley Forge. My wife works les than a mile from their HQ. Actually almost took a job with them 15 years back.)

Again... THANKS !!!!!!!
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:21 AM   #23
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you can own individual stocks at Vanguard as I recall. That said, I have not seen a lot of stock research on their site... not that I have searched.
If you are looking for someone to become a FA and just do you're investing... it will likely be above your 0.25%. However, if you want someone to aid you at coming up with a portfolio and style. Admittedly someone bog standard approach... but that is not all bad.
One of my concerns is what to do when I'm no longer able to run my investments. Will DW take it over? Who will she trust? So as you become an expert... this is something you may want to consider.
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:48 AM   #24
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You can hold stocks at Vanguard. And Vanguard does offer handholding web, phone, email - but not as much as Fido and Schwab.

It appears my perspective on fees may have been out of date.

However, "I'd recommend you first decide what you want your asset allocation to look like now and the foreseeable future, and determine specifically what funds-stocks-other investments you want to hold. Then choose the firm that has the holdings you want, with the right combination of fees and service you require (it's a tradeoff, you get what you pay for). Choosing a firm first doesn't make sense to me."
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Old 04-13-2016, 04:58 PM   #25
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We had bad experiences at Vanguard as well. Very customer-unfriendly policies, bad back office, and no contact from our rep (despite having $7+ million there).

All of it is now at Fidelity. Very happy there. Great online tools, good local office staff, and you can hold Vanguard funds (not Admiral). No wrap fee required.

I second the idea of looking into their bonus offering for new money. You have to ask; it isn't automatic.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:00 PM   #26
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Schwab has a major advantage for me when travelling abroad for extended periods: They reimburse ATM fees from anywhere in the world and do not charge a currency conversion fee. Their currency conversion rates for ATM withdrawals have always seemed reasonable to me.

I have recently had some currency transfers from banks outside the US to my Schwab account. The currency conversion was outstanding and the process was seamless. A+ for Schwab on that benefit.


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Old 04-14-2016, 07:24 AM   #27
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Schwab has a major advantage for me when travelling abroad for extended periods: They reimburse ATM fees from anywhere in the world and do not charge a currency conversion fee. Their currency conversion rates for ATM withdrawals have always seemed reasonable to me.
Schwab is the the best for this but Fidelity is a very close second. Fidelity also reimburses ATM fees for withdrawals from any Visa labeled cash machine (which is pretty much all of them). They do charge 1% for FX currency withdrawals, whereas Schwab does not.

So Schwab's a bit better, but Fidelity is still a completely reasonable alternative on this front too.
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Old 04-14-2016, 05:52 PM   #28
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Newbie here so sorry if this is posted in the wrong forum or already a thread elsewhere.

As noted in my intro I am looking to move from the Private manager I use now (0.9% fee) to a low cost home. ~$1M in a couple IRAs. I have read good things about Fidelity and Vanguard, and their pro and cons. I haven't seen much discussion about Schwab. Ideally, there is a side by side comparison of several sites somewhere in this forum. I am also going to give PNC Wealth Management a shot as well. My small mortgage and daily banking are there. I suspect they'll 3rd party it out and/or the fees will be above the 0.25% max goal of mine, they deserve an interview.

Any thoughts, views, comment, cat calls, etc are appreciated.

"There are no bad ideas. All information is good information. It's what you do with it that make it a good or bad idea."
DIY requires more knowledge & time & you are on your own. Many here will tell it's easy, no problem. For them, clearly so. Not everyone is so financially literate & confident. Net, hand-holding/a 2nd opinion can be right imo. However, 0.9% of assets is high wrong IMO. There are several flat fee advisors that work out as under 0.5% for $1M. Check them out if you're not comfortable heading off on your own.
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Old 04-15-2016, 02:55 PM   #29
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Hi all. I had meetings with both Schwab and Fidelity at their local brick and mortar locations. rom a very high level they are both really very similar. As I drill down there are some puts and takes. My neophyte thoughts....

Schwab
+ Website and research platform easier to use in my opinion.
+ More funds and ETFs to choose from but everything I my baseline portfolio available at both places.
+ Claims they can give access to Advisor class funds for a $19.95 transaction fee. I need to research that more. Not convinced they can.
~ Wishy washy on sign up bonus. "We'll match any other guy'" Nothing upfront or specific provided.
- Trade fees slightly higher, but not hugely.
- The advisor they hooked me up with was too much used car salesman. Came on real hard, and did a lot of competitor bashing.

Fidelity
+ Free seminars and training are plentiful.
+ Many specialists available directly in the office. They brought in 4 specialists for introductions at the meeting.
+ All but one fund I was looking to purchase were no transaction fee funds.
+ Advisor they assigned had more experience, and seemed more grounded.
+ $1200 sign up bonus
- Research platform not quite as robust.
- Universe of funds and ETFs smaller

I definitely save big on management fees over my current guy with either. On a handful of funds in my baseline, I'll pay a slightly higher load than today as all the Advisor class offering aren't available thru Schwab or Fidelity.

Still a lot to think about but we'll make a move net week.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:24 PM   #30
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PB,
Awesome research. Much appreciated.

I think my bias to Schwab was partially due to one individual who I've dealt with on 2 occasions. Definitely not a used car salesman. If I pull back from Vanguard, I'll definitely give the local Fidelity office a try.

Another insight is that Schwab has a bank. Pretty sure that Fidelity Investments, like Vanguard, does not have a bank. I don't think this matters at all, but it could have some unique bearing on your situation.
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Old 04-15-2016, 03:46 PM   #31
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Another insight is that Schwab has a bank. Pretty sure that Fidelity Investments, like Vanguard, does not have a bank.
The Fidelity Cash Management Account offers everything a bank does. I've been happy with it for years.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:13 PM   #32
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The Fidelity Cash Management Account offers everything a bank does. I've been happy with it for years.
Good to know. Features look terrific.

I use Vanguard checks on a money market account. Also, direct deposit goes there. Occasionally I have had difficulty. For example, it required support calls with Vanguard to set up direct deposit. Couldn't use what was printed on their check.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:20 PM   #33
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Much of the experience with these companies depends on the individual employee with whom you happen to interact. All have both helpful and unhelpful, hard working and lazy, types in their employ. The better employees tend to get kicked up to handling larger accounts.
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Old 04-15-2016, 04:32 PM   #34
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I am now self-directed, with some quarterly input from a fidelity private client advisor (by phone, no brick and mortar nearby). With fidelity, if you hold accounts over 1M, you do have access to their private client advisory services free of charge.
I do find her helpful, to discuss my goals, and how we get there. The fidelity website dashboard is one of the best, it makes research & self management very efficient. The fidelity advisor I have does not hard sell anything, is knowledgeable, and seems to really want to help me to self manage.

I also hold a vanguard account, which I opened mainly to have (no cost) access to vanguard admiral funds. I have had no conversations with vanguard, and their website is very basic.
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Old 04-15-2016, 10:49 PM   #35
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You might want to watch this:

https://www.ifa.com/videos/ep_201_2016-q1-market-review


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Old 04-15-2016, 10:52 PM   #36
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The cheapest people are the Schwab investors, Vanguard and Fidelity people are at least more rational, IMHO.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:30 AM   #37
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Frankly I think for most folks, the decision is based on minor details and personal preferences. IMO you can't really go wrong with any of these three.
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Old 04-16-2016, 05:43 AM   #38
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The cheapest people are the Schwab investors, Vanguard and Fidelity people are at least more rational, IMHO.
Is it fair to ask why you think this way?
I'm using Schwab and Vanguard currently. Have used Fidelity in the past.
Perhaps I multiple personality?
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Old 04-16-2016, 08:01 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by PapaBear67 View Post

Schwab
+ Website and research platform easier to use in my opinion.
+ More funds and ETFs to choose from but everything I my baseline portfolio available at both places.
+ Claims they can give access to Advisor class funds for a $19.95 transaction fee. I need to research that more. Not convinced they can.
- Trade fees slightly higher, but not hugely.
- The advisor they hooked me up with was too much used car salesman. Came on real hard, and did a lot of competitor bashing.

Fidelity
+ Free seminars and training are plentiful.
+ Many specialists available directly in the office. They brought in 4 specialists for introductions at the meeting.
+ All but one fund I was looking to purchase were no transaction fee funds.
+ Advisor they assigned had more experience, and seemed more grounded.
+ $1200 sign up bonus
- Research platform not quite as robust.
- Universe of funds and ETFs smaller

Still a lot to think about but we'll make a move net week.
I'm not sure that the universe of ETFs area really any different between the two unless you are looking at no transaction fee ETFs. In this case.. look at which ones are offered.
In my case, my schwab rep is more softly spoken than my fidelity one. I think this is not necessarily the character of the house, but the individual people. I would suspect you could ask for a different rep if you chose schwab.

good luck on your choice... I haven't decided which to down select and I'm in no real hurry
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