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Has anyone used Vanguard's CFP service?
Old 09-11-2012, 11:34 AM   #1
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Has anyone used Vanguard's CFP service?

Has anyone gotten Vanguard's Voyager Select & Flagship Services complimentary financial plan ? How comprehensive is it? Worthwhile or just a marketing ploy to invest solely with Vanguard? Is there any difference in the service between VS and F customers?

Would appreciate any experiences and information. Thanks.

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Old 09-11-2012, 11:57 AM   #2
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I did it when we first brought DH's IRA there. At the time he still had a 401(k) at Fidelity and I had a 401(k) at Fidelity. We filled out a questionnaire then had an oral discussion with the person doing the plan.

They did give us a recommended AA (based upon our risk tolerance answers) and for the Fidelity 401(k)s they made recommendations based upon the funds we had available (they asked us that).

For the money actually at Vanguard they basically divided it all into the total Stock market, total bond and total international funds. That wasn't terribly surprising since I understand that it is sort of their default recommendation (at least for our age maybe it is different for those who are younger).

Based upon feedback here and research I had an interest in putting some money in Wellesley but the planner flat out said she didn't recommend it. I guess because it does have higher fees than the pure index funds.

The only thing that irritated me was that I told her to assume we were going to put about 10% of the total portfolio in Wellesley. Given that, what would her recommendation be for the other 90%? She refused to answer that question and give any recommendation that was based upon us owning any Wellesley at all. She said that I would need to figure out on my own how to do the asset allocation to keep it at my desired allocation (50/50 at the time) while having 10% Wellesley. If course, I could do that (and did) but it irritated me that she wouldn't do it.

On the other hand, of course, this was free so it wasn't a big deal.
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Old 09-11-2012, 12:35 PM   #3
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I was pleasantly surpised. The advisor actually listened to my concerns and gave recommendations accordingly (in my case, a more conservative allocation ). My wife's 403B includes PIMCO which they recommended we stick with, so there was no push to move everything to Vanguard. I made a couple of follow-up calls and likewise have been happy with the information given me.
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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I have used it a few times - usually do it every 2-3 years just as a check on my own views. It is ok and well worth the price (free for me).

In my experience, it isn't very flexible. My investments will fund my son's education, my daughter's wedding and my retirement living expenses. They have no ability to include cash outflows for my son's education and my daughter's wedding (like Quicken Lifetime Planner does), only my living expenses - so what I had them do is to ignore a portion of my investments equal to the present value of those cash flows as a workaround. My frustration is if a $80 piece of software and provide that flexibility then the system that VG uses should be able to.

But I'm a bit particular and I think for many people it would be a useful process (warts and all).
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:28 PM   #5
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I don't think Vanguard gives anyone a financial plan which is supposed to include info on taxes, insurance, investing, estate planning, etc. Instead they give only an investment plan which is how to invest your money.
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Satisfied with the FP service.
Old 09-11-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
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Satisfied with the FP service.

Recently I had an Interview with the Vanguard Financial Planner.
- I was 45S/55B, was suggested 50/50 and given the reasons why.
- All my funds are in Vanguard to start with, I was not recommended any non Vanguard funds
- Any fund amounting to 5% or less of the Total Portfolio would not add or make any positive impact, reasons were given why.
The answer was to simplify to a few mutual funds, and that was a good suggestion as I had forgotton that point and the funds number creep was starting based on the noise of the day.
- I think I got more out of the service by completing the advance questionaire and then discuss the points for and against with the Planner on the phone added with skype so that I could see him speak.
- In the end all of the suggestions were well taken and I am making the discussed Portfolio changes gradually by myself.
All in all it was good to bounce my ideas with someone else and did learn things about my portfolio from another pair of eyes. Definitely worth it in my opinion.It was non biased and very objective.

Good Luck !!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:31 PM   #7
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Agree with LOL.

We tried the "free" Voyager Select planners several years ago and were disappointed. No doubt, we expected too much. The adviser said straight out, "We only recommend Vanguard funds." They refused even to consider the role of our non-mutual-fund, non-stock investments, which meant their "plan" ignored more than half of our assets. They wanted us to sell all our non-Vanguard investments and invest the proceeds in Vanguard, never mind the potential tax consequences.

Naturally we didn't expect them to give tax advice, but I mention this to show that their advice just wasn't much use to us. I have gotten vastly more insight from the ER Forum.

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Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I don't think Vanguard gives anyone a financial plan which is supposed to include info on taxes, insurance, investing, estate planning, etc. Instead they give only an investment plan which is how to invest your money.
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Vanguard planner was very helpfull
Old 09-11-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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Vanguard planner was very helpfull

Quote:
Originally Posted by rkser View Post
Recently I had an Interview with the Vanguard Financial Planner.
- I was 45S/55B, was suggested 50/50 and given the reasons why.
- All my funds are in Vanguard to start with, I was not recommended any non Vanguard funds
- Any fund amounting to 5% or less of the Total Portfolio would not add or make any positive impact, reasons were given why.
The answer was to simplify to a few mutual funds, and that was a good suggestion as I had forgotton that point and the funds number creep was starting based on the noise of the day.
- I think I got more out of the service by completing the advance questionaire and then discuss the points for and against with the Planner on the phone added with skype so that I could see him speak.
- In the end all of the suggestions were well taken and I am making the discussed Portfolio changes gradually by myself.
All in all it was good to bounce my ideas with someone else and did learn things about my portfolio from another pair of eyes. Definitely worth it in my opinion.It was non biased and very objective.

Good Luck !!
+1

We have had two planning sessions with Vanguard, once a few years ago and again recently after a windfall. I found them to be very helpful though you can tell they are canned. The most recent planner validated my portfolio strategy but was pretty insistent that we shift more into bonds. He said we had enough and simply didn't need the equity exposure. I am slowly moving us from 60/40 to 40/60 (with a long pause at 50/50 while I sniff the air for any sign of inflation.)

Perhaps the best thing was for DW to hear someone other than me declare us FI!
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:54 PM   #9
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......Perhaps the best thing was for DW to hear someone other than me declare us FI!
+1
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I don't think Vanguard gives anyone a financial plan which is supposed to include info on taxes, insurance, investing, estate planning, etc. Instead they give only an investment plan which is how to invest your money.
Is this opinion based on personal experience with the service? Thanks.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkser View Post
- I think I got more out of the service by completing the advance questionaire and then discuss the points for and against with the Planner on the phone added with skype so that I could see him speak.
Good to know they have that capability and willingness.
Thanks for the entire response.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
We tried the "free" Voyager Select planners several years ago and were disappointed. No doubt, we expected too much. The adviser said straight out, "We only recommend Vanguard funds." They refused even to consider the role of our non-mutual-fund, non-stock investments, which meant their "plan" ignored more than half of our assets. They wanted us to sell all our non-Vanguard investments and invest the proceeds in Vanguard, never mind the potential tax consequences.
That's info I didn't want to just assume, and good to know going in, though I also don't want to assume they haven't changed or improved based on customer feedback. Thx.
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Really good responses
Old 09-12-2012, 10:27 AM   #13
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Really good responses

Thanks to everyone. I think I have a better feel for what to realistically expect going in, including pitfalls & resistance.

Tyro
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I don't think Vanguard gives anyone a financial plan which is supposed to include info on taxes, insurance, investing, estate planning, etc. Instead they give only an investment plan which is how to invest your money.
True, they are limited in the advice they can give out by Vanguard.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst
Agree with LOL.

We tried the "free" Voyager Select planners several years ago and were disappointed. No doubt, we expected too much. The adviser said straight out, "We only recommend Vanguard funds." They refused even to consider the role of our non-mutual-fund, non-stock investments, which meant their "plan" ignored more than half of our assets. They wanted us to sell all our non-Vanguard investments and invest the proceeds in Vanguard, never mind the potential tax consequences.


While I wasn't entirely happy with their plan as I mentioned earlier, they did fully consider our funds at fidelity and made recommendations for our fidelity 401k plans.
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