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Vanguard tIRA to Roth Fail
Old 11-20-2013, 05:17 PM   #1
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Vanguard tIRA to Roth Fail

I've been planning on doing a tIRA to Roth IRA conversion for some time and today I took the plunge, almost. I was unable to create a new account on the Vanguard website. I tried using different browsers with no success so I called for a live person to help and was told, after a long wait on hold, that IT was working on it. They did however offer to send forms by snail mail.

I sure hope this is an isolated incident.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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This is similar to my experience with Vanguard across the board. Bad website, poor customer policies, and God forbid if you want to do something other than send them a check and let them just sit on it forever. I know they have low costs, but you get what you pay for.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:36 PM   #3
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Vanguard must have made some changes, I did TIRA to Roth conversions with no problem thru the website for years 2006 to 2011. Ran out of TIRA to convert!
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Old 11-21-2013, 04:25 AM   #4
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I also have done tIRA-to-Roth conversions on Vanguard's site without a hitch. Olbidness, can you describe what went wrong?
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:56 AM   #5
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This is similar to my experience with Vanguard across the board. Bad website, poor customer policies, and God forbid if you want to do something other than send them a check and let them just sit on it forever.
Mine is completely opposite.

I've found their website easy to use, have never had technical issues with it, and customer service personnel have been helpful and responsive. I've never done a Roth conversion but have done IRA/401k transfers from other companies without problems.
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:15 AM   #6
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I took a 401k which was through the company with Fidelity, called Vanguard and they handled it from there. Now, it was some work, complying with federal rules, electronic signature etc. And, my average expense ratio now is about 10 basis points, down from 80 basis points at Fidelity due to lack of comparable index funds. Fidelity did well for company employees and costs are more reasonable than anyone but Vanguard.......I'm happy with my Roth IRA......haven't touched it yet but I love my tax free status.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by 45th Birthday View Post
This is similar to my experience with Vanguard across the board. Bad website, poor customer policies, and God forbid if you want to do something other than send them a check and let them just sit on it forever. I know they have low costs, but you get what you pay for.
I've had the opposite experience. I've been able to do everything I wanted to at Vanguard via the web, including creating multiple IRA accounts, and tIRA to Roth conversions. While I've not always been able to do what I want at Fidelity. Sometimes the answer has been you can not do that, and sometimes the answer has been you must call and have a representative do that.

I wouldn't mind the "must call" response so much, except that often when I call the representative tries to push me into something "suitable" but more profitable for Fidelity than what I wanted to do. Ironically, because Fidelity hosts my wonderful 401k which gives me access to a number of Vanguard Institutional Index funds, I'll probably spend down my funds at Vanguard before my funds at Fidelity. However, I definitely prefer Vanguard to Fidelity.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by tuixiu View Post
Mine is completely opposite.

I've found their website easy to use, have never had technical issues with it, and customer service personnel have been helpful and responsive. I've never done a Roth conversion but have done IRA/401k transfers from other companies without problems.
+1

Never had a problem with anything I've done at Vanguard.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45th Birthday
This is similar to my experience with Vanguard across the board. Bad website, poor customer policies, and God forbid if you want to do something other than send them a check and let them just sit on it forever. I know they have low costs, but you get what you pay for.
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Originally Posted by tuixiu View Post
Mine is completely opposite.

I've found their website easy to use, have never had technical issues with it, and customer service personnel have been helpful and responsive. I've never done a Roth conversion but have done IRA/401k transfers from other companies without problems.
+1. I've had very good service from Vanguard for going on 9 years so far, and I've done most of my transactions online, my preference.

(More often than not) You get what you pay for indeed. Vanguard is definitely NOT for investors who want a lot of advice, trading and hand-holding in general, that's what the high cost retail brokers offer. For DIY investors who don't want or need those services, and the (much) higher costs, and a broad collection of low cost index funds (a most every other style as well) Vanguard is one of the best - confirmed in independent surveys many times. A lot of people seem to agree.

With $2 trillion in assets for who knows how many individual and corporate customer accounts, and record inflows last year, I suspect there are far more good customer experiences out there than otherwise.

If we can only hope for a 0-4% real return in the years ahead, many of us aren't willing to give a high cost brokerage 1% per year (25% of returns or more)...
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(Reuters) - Vanguard Group said customers had invested $130.4 billion in its mutual and exchange-traded funds during the first 11 months of 2012, beating the fund industry's previous annual inflow record.

The flows into Vanguard funds, mostly into equities, exceeded the previous annual record of $129.6 billion set by JPMorgan Chase & Co in 2008, according to fund research firm Strategic Insight. Vanguard's previous high was $104 billion, achieved in 2007, Vanguard said in a statement on Wednesday.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:03 AM   #10
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It sounds like the OP encountered a partial outage of Vanguard's IT systems. Every IT system will have outages from time to time -- EVERY one of them.

Just because somebody did many [fill in what you did] successfully in the past doesn't mean that nobody will ever encounter a problem doing that again. Likewise, just because one person encounters one problem one time does not mean that the whole system is FUBAR.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:20 AM   #11
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I get up early this morning, log on to Vanguard and within 1 minute I had my Roth IRA account open and funded. easy peezy. I guess with all technology there is potential for breakdown.

I've had accounts with Vanguard 5 years and every transaction has been flawless, so I was shocked by the problem.

Having a nearly 7 figure portfolio with Vanguard and my main connection to them is the internet, any glitch makes me nervous.

I funded the account with a minimum amount (3k), mainly to start the 5 year clock. Now I'll scour the archives here and ask questions to try and develop a tIRA to Roth conversion strategy that works for me.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:23 PM   #12
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(More often than not) You get what you pay for indeed. Vanguard is definitely NOT for investors who want a lot of advice, trading and hand-holding in general, that's what the high cost retail brokers offer. For DIY investors who don't want or need those services, and the (much) higher costs, and a broad collection of low cost index funds (a most every other style as well) Vanguard is one of the best - confirmed in independent surveys many times. A lot of people seem to agree.
I don't want any advice or hand-holding, and don't trade much at all. I'm in charge of my own portfolio and actually keep several million $$ at Vanguard in spite of the fact I do not like their policies and website, and their reps (and I supposedly have special access) leave much to be desired. I prefer Fido and keep the vast majority of my money at a large full-service shop where I get special pricing and services. Vanguard is probably fine for relatively small-balance accounts that just sit there. When my full-service rep at the large shop retires, I will move everything to Fido, not Vanguard.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Olbidness View Post
I get up early this morning, log on to Vanguard and within 1 minute I had my Roth IRA account open and funded. easy peezy. I guess with all technology there is potential for breakdown.

I've had accounts with Vanguard 5 years and every transaction has been flawless, so I was shocked by the problem.

Having a nearly 7 figure portfolio with Vanguard and my main connection to them is the internet, any glitch makes me nervous.

I funded the account with a minimum amount (3k), mainly to start the 5 year clock. Now I'll scour the archives here and ask questions to try and develop a tIRA to Roth conversion strategy that works for me.
Well good! Sometimes it works out to wait a day and try again.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 45th Birthday View Post
I don't want any advice or hand-holding, and don't trade much at all. I'm in charge of my own portfolio and actually keep several million $$ at Vanguard in spite of the fact I do not like their policies and website, and their reps (and I supposedly have special access) leave much to be desired. I prefer Fido and keep the vast majority of my money at a large full-service shop where I get special pricing and services. Vanguard is probably fine for relatively small-balance accounts that just sit there. When my full-service rep at the large shop retires, I will move everything to Fido, not Vanguard.
It is great that our free market provides multiple options so that everyone can find something that makes them happy.

My experience is different from yours. I have had good luck with both Fido and VG, but plan to consolidate all my assets at VG once I retire and terminate my pension plan and 401K. Fido is too expensive IMHO and good fund selection is limited.

I have been using VG for 15 years and have only good things to say about them. I am comfortable that my assets are in the upper 5% of their clients, and they have fully met my needs. They are even an alternate trustee for our bypass trusts (they have an extensive trust department). However, people are different, and if Fido makes you happy, that is where you should be.
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Old 11-21-2013, 06:51 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by 45th Birthday View Post
I don't want any advice or hand-holding, and don't trade much at all. I'm in charge of my own portfolio and actually keep several million $$ at Vanguard in spite of the fact I do not like their policies and website, and their reps (and I supposedly have special access) leave much to be desired. I prefer Fido and keep the vast majority of my money at a large full-service shop where I get special pricing and services. Vanguard is probably fine for relatively small-balance accounts that just sit there. When my full-service rep at the large shop retires, I will move everything to Fido, not Vanguard.
That's great, seriously.

I was with Fido for about 15 years before Vanguard, and their reps were just as weak as Vanguard IME, it comes with the low cost territory. And Fidelity had more of a sales bent which featured their popular actively managed funds over index funds - but that may have changed in the past 8 years while I've been with Vanguard.

You left off the $ assets they manage in quoting my earlier post, they must be doing something right contrary to your first post/characterization on this thread. Don't get me wrong, I'd recommend Vanguard, Fidelity and/or Schwab to most people I know.
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:04 PM   #16
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Don't get me wrong, I'd recommend Vanguard, Fidelity and/or Schwab to most people I know.
Interestingly, 100% of my assets are at Vanguard (around 60%), Fido (around 10%) and Schwab (around 30%). I guess I get the Midpack seal of approval.
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:17 PM   #17
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I've been planning on doing a tIRA to Roth IRA conversion for some time and today I took the plunge, almost. I was unable to create a new account on the Vanguard website. I tried using different browsers with no success so I called for a live person to help and was told, after a long wait on hold, that IT was working on it. They did however offer to send forms by snail mail.

I sure hope this is an isolated incident.
You can also download the forms fill them out and snail mail them in, It seems that vanguard has this option for almost all actions. Since I am assuming you are moving assets from a different institution (else you would not need to open an account since you should already have one) You may well need a signature guarantee which really requires paper (its also easier if you have a local bank you do business with)
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:27 PM   #18
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DW & I both have converted traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs without a problem via the VG web site. Also transfer $ from our checking account to buy taxable mutual funds at VG through the web site. Don't know that I love the VG web interface but it does work for us.
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