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Need Vanguard Educated, Please.
Old 04-20-2019, 07:07 PM   #1
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Need Vanguard Educated, Please.

I would like to switch our stuff to Vanguard. I am hesitant because there are no offices I can visit for direct help should the need occur. Also, my understanding is Vanguard's customer service is sometimes lacking. Is there a place I can get some coaching and or reading materials/how to? I need to change in the next 3 months for a reason I choose not to disclose. I prefer Vanguard because of cost. I currently feel lost. Thanks
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:10 PM   #2
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Fidelity has funds as cheap or cheaper than Vanguard and they have brick and mortar locations. I'd recommend that you give them a try.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:14 PM   #3
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Fidelity has funds as cheap or cheaper than Vanguard and they have brick and mortar locations. I'd recommend that you give them a try.
If brick and mortar is important, Fidelity has a great reputation and I'm sure you won't go wrong with them. But FWIW I'm a happy Vanguard customer, they were incredibly helpful to me when I ultimately made the decision to go with them, and have always been pleased with their assistance by telephone.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:17 PM   #4
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Call Vanguard directly and ask for guidance on the specific actions you want to take. You can always come back here or the Bogleheads forum to discuss the conversation before you act. If you are not comfortable with Vanguard customer service you should consider Fidelity or Schwab.
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Old 04-20-2019, 07:30 PM   #5
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Call Vanguard directly and ask for guidance on the specific actions you want to take. You can always come back here or the Bogleheads forum to discuss the conversation before you act. If you are not comfortable with Vanguard customer service you should consider Fidelity or Schwab.
2nd this. Be careful in your haste. Don't do something costly.
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:25 PM   #6
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I've been with Fidelity for decades, no problem and lots of branches to visit.

I avoid Vanguard for the same reason, very few branches.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:23 PM   #7
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Schwab has offices. Need to look at the entire universe before jumping.
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Old 04-20-2019, 09:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bja1234 View Post
I would like to switch our stuff to Vanguard. I am hesitant because there are no offices I can visit for direct help should the need occur. Also, my understanding is Vanguard's customer service is sometimes lacking. Is there a place I can get some coaching and or reading materials/how to? I need to change in the next 3 months for a reason I choose not to disclose. I prefer Vanguard because of cost. I currently feel lost. Thanks
Vanguard helps thousands of people establish new accounts every year. You shouldn't feel any hesitation to give them a call and let them walk you through the process, it is not complicated.

If you want to talk to someone face-to-face, then you may be more comfortable with Fidelity or Schwab. You will have plenty of good low-cost options at any of these companies.

I have accounts with Fidelity and Vanguard. I have had no trouble with either place. I personally prefer Vanguard for several reasons, but Fidelity does have some funds that have costs even lower than Vanguard funds.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:12 AM   #9
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+1 on Schwab. Been with them for 20 years. Never had a bad experience.

They've also driven their fees down to nearly nothing and have offices. Tho, their online and phone support is quite good.

The only time I've ever gone to an office is when I had very large live checks where I wanted to hand them to someone and walk away with a receipt in hand.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:17 AM   #10
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I've found Vanguard's website very informative. Only needed to call them a few times and each time found Vanguard helpful.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:26 AM   #11
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Vanguard get's my vote, their MM is typically a little higher than Fidelity. No issues with phone support.

While having a hard office is great, I found out later not so much. I did open a Fidelity account last year but have never used it. I kept getting a lot of calls from their brokers and their staff when they found out how much money we had, and kept on about when I was going to move it over from Vanguard. The office is 30 miles away so not so convenient. I have not closed the account so it is sitting empty.

My computer and my phone are in my study.
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:31 AM   #12
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Vanguard helps thousands of people establish new accounts every year. You shouldn't feel any hesitation to give them a call and let them walk you through the process, it is not complicated.

If you want to talk to someone face-to-face, then you may be more comfortable with Fidelity or Schwab. You will have plenty of good low-cost options at any of these companies.

I have accounts with Fidelity and Vanguard. I have had no trouble with either place. I personally prefer Vanguard for several reasons, but Fidelity does have some funds that have costs even lower than Vanguard funds.
+1. Exactly what I’d say. I prefer Vanguard but I once had all our money with Fidelity and a sizeable 401k with Schwab. I’d be completely comfortable with any of the three.

I wouldn’t characterize Vanguard’s customer service as “sometimes lacking,” they just offer less hand holding, and none face to face.

Like others I was originally attracted to Fidelity about 25 years ago because of their brick-n-mortar locations, and I still held a lot of individual stocks. But as our holdings moved from stocks to mutual funds (Four Pillars), I moved our entire portfolio to Vanguard 14+ years ago because they had way more index funds and lower fees - Fidelity and Schwab have closed that gap, but not entirely.

I haven’t missed brick-n-mortar at all, I can do anything I’d ever want online or over the phone - and have for 14+ years.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:04 AM   #13
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We used Vanguard and Fidelity for 15-20 years. Since we had much less invested, there was not much reason to call and ask for support. After we used the UGM money at Fidelity, we became Vanguard centric. Recent past gives us about 7-10 years with Schwab and Vanguard. Online and phone support, Schwab is superior. But will stick with both, and use to our advantage.

Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard - you can build with lowest cost investments at any. If I were forced to only use one, it would be Schwab or Fidelity. In the future, one of us will probably need advice, and face to face meetings are preferred.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:11 AM   #14
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I have no local offices and Fidelity's phone support sucks. Vanguard's is much superior as they regularly use the tools.

My last Fidelity "Private Client Representative" was a no good annuity salesman. When I complained to the branch manager he said I could call the 800 number.
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Old 04-21-2019, 08:30 AM   #15
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IMHO it's worth looking carefully at what specifically you want from Vanguard. If you're going all-in on their mutual funds and making regular contributions to them then establishing an account there clearly makes sense. Otherwise their funds and ETFs can be purchased from many brokerages.

I personally am such a huge believer in what they stand for and the community (Bogleheads) that they've inspired that I'd probably have all of my investments with them if I thought it prudent, but owing to concerns about cyberattacks and such I split things between Vanguard and Schwab. I find Schwab's customer service to be exemplary - a cut above Vanguard's for sure - and having access to Schwab bank, which reimburses ATM fees worldwide, is wonderful for travel.

I don't see any benefit to having access to Schwab's brick-and-mortar offices unless one is very new to investing. Far more sophisticated advice can be had on the Bogleheads forums and reading a few books by frequent posters there such as William Bernstein, Larry Swedroe and Rick Ferri goes a long way towards making one a decent DIY investor. Just my preference - all of the firms mentioned above are excellent.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:11 AM   #16
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An advantage to a brick-and-mortar office is if there are forms you need a guaranteed signature for. I needed one last year to transfer some VG shares to my son's account and went to my Wells Fargo branch to get it. They said they needed to see an account statement to prove I had the shares I wanted to transfer. That sounds like total BS because VG wouldn't blindly transfer shares if I didn't have them there. I think they just wanted to see what I had, because I got a push to buy CDs at WF, which I quickly cut short. And as it turned out I had the wrong forms because VG has a different set for brokerage accounts vs the old ones, but at least the new forms can be confirmed with a voice recognition call so I didn't have to go back for another guarantee. But this headache could've been reduced by going into an office, and filling out the right form there.

Other than that I've never felt a need to go to a physical branch. I suppose if you have a big check it'd be safer than mailing it, and quicker than depositing it in your bank and then transferring it. It's been a long time since I've had a check, but maybe when transferring an IRA?
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:29 AM   #17
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I wouldn't worry about the account opening process at VG - it's very seamless and easy. You can/should be able to do most if not all of it online.

VG reps are in my experience pretty much equal to those at Fido, TD and others. No experience with Schwab. That said, a few things to consider..

If you want to have a good MM to hold liquid cash or deposit dividends into, VG Prime Money Market is usually the highest yielding..

If you want to buy Wellesley, Wellington or any of the other popular VG funds, you'll usually pay a (pretty hefty) transaction fee at Fido and other brokerages. You can (of course) buy and sell them with no TF at VG..

All that aside, if B&M is important..can't beat Fido or the others for that extra face to face interaction and hand holding..
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:30 AM   #18
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We have accounts at Fidelity, Schwab, and Vanguard (husband's 401k). I can't recommend Vanguard, as I've found their customer service consistently lacking/incompetent. Either Fidelity or Schwab would be fine choices.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:34 AM   #19
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We have accounts at Fidelity, Schwab, and Vanguard (husband's 401k). I can't recommend Vanguard, as I've found their customer service consistently lacking/incompetent.
How so? It might be more helpful if we had some examples.
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Old 04-21-2019, 09:37 AM   #20
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I've had accounts with both for many years and never a problem with either. And who needs B&M storefronts these days ? Just an added cost of doing business.
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