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Vanguard Voyager Select
Old 01-16-2009, 10:05 AM   #1
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Vanguard Voyager Select

So I transferred a bunch of money to Vanguard last month, and this month (my wife - not me for some reason) got a 'Time Sensitive' flyer, with a picture of a guy doing something with a pencil, announcing we're Voyager Select customers. Woot! (Oh wait a minute, I just checked more pictures, this guy's making a wooden boat. But he's in an aluminum boat by the end of the brochure, maybe the wooden boat didn't work out too well.)

Anyhow, what's the deal? As far as I can tell it's some lower fees. Is the 'sound advice' any good? And I'm wondering, say you're account value fell below the minimum, do you Time Sensitive flyer saying you're out of the club?
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Old 01-16-2009, 10:10 AM   #2
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And I'm wondering, say you're account value fell below the minimum, do you Time Sensitive flyer saying you're out of the club?
Doesn't look like it's anything you should be concerned about.

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I don't believe in blindly following any strategy: I'll step out of the way of a freight train I see coming. So I use firecalc/asset allocation maybe 80% of the time, and otherwise do my best to avoid the potholes. Worked well so far.

I got the idea from a friend who is a close friend of William Bernstein.
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:35 PM   #3
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Anyhow, what's the deal? As far as I can tell it's some lower fees. Is the 'sound advice' any good? And I'm wondering, say you're account value fell below the minimum, do you Time Sensitive flyer saying you're out of the club?
In my experience at Vanguard, once you qualify for the voyager select status, you will retain that status, even if your qualifying assets drop well below their threshold levels. You could always call to verify this though.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:23 PM   #4
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Anyhow, what's the deal? As far as I can tell it's some lower fees. Is the 'sound advice' any good?
Don't knock the lower fees - every penny counts.

I've done the free advice thing - didn't tell me anything I didn't know but certainly was non-invasive, not pushy etc. Give it a shot - the good thing is that it focuses your mind on setting out our objectives, and pulling together all your data for some analaysis.


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And I'm wondering, say you're account value fell below the minimum, do you Time Sensitive flyer saying you're out of the club?
Shouldn't worry about that. I've even had "admiral" funds that fell significantly below the minimum for a while but retained the lower fees.
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:48 PM   #5
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Shouldn't worry about that. I've even had "admiral" funds that fell significantly below the minimum for a while but retained the lower fees.
I have an admiral money market fund sitting with $10 in it. I asked VG if they were going to downgrade me, but they said once you have the admiral status in a fund, they wouldn't force you out for low balance reasons (at least in a MM fund). I assume stock funds would be subject to some minimum balance requirement (like $2500 or something) - I think it is listed on their website and prospectus too.
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:01 AM   #6
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Agree with the others. Once you're an Admiral, you're in. VG won't drop you -- and the reduced fees do save you a lot over time.

As for the freebie portfolio review, it's definitely tilted toward Vanguard products, but they're not pushy and you can ask lots of questions.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:27 PM   #7
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We went below the $500K VS amount, due to spending a chunk of money market savings to buy a rental home, and after 12 months, Vanguard finally sent us a letter saying that we were being downgraded to plain old Voyager. I believe our egos survived intact

I wonder what Vanguard will do about people whose balances have dropped below VS threshholds strictly because Vanguard funds, themselves, have fallen greatly in value. Seems like Vanguard could risk offending its customers, by downgrading them for something that is more Vanguard's fault than theirs--if it is anyone's fault at all.

Incidentally, we tried the free portfolio review. Their advice boiled down to "sell all your other holdings and buy Vanguard funds with the proceeds." I'm certainly glad we didn't pay for that advice.

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Old 01-17-2009, 11:10 PM   #8
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ncidentally, we tried the free portfolio review. Their advice boiled down to "sell all your other holdings and buy Vanguard funds with the proceeds." I'm certainly glad we didn't pay for that advice.

Amethyst
Because that's pretty much the standard advice on this forum as well?
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:17 AM   #9
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We went below the $500K VS amount, due to spending a chunk of money market savings to buy a rental home, and after 12 months, Vanguard finally sent us a letter saying that we were being downgraded to plain old Voyager.

................

I wonder what Vanguard will do about people whose balances have dropped below VG thresholds strictly because Vanguard funds, themselves, have fallen greatly in value.
I've never seen anyone mention being downgraded due to a decline in the value of the funds they hold at VG. The fact your downgrade occurred after withdrawing funds which resulted in you dropping below the threshold makes me wonder if the might not use that as a differentiator - no downgrade unless self-inflicted?
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:25 AM   #10
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The reality is that these Vg 'status' classes are a marketing ploy and convey no real benefits. It's similar to the old American Express "membership has its privileges" ads of years ago. They try hard to make you feel special and a lot of folks fall for that, but every perceived benefit that Vg might give you, you can get elsewhere for free already.

So whether you go up or down doesn't mean anything at all.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:35 AM   #11
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The reality is that these Vg 'status' classes are a marketing ploy and convey no real benefits.
You mean the fact the expense ratio for the Wellesley Fund is 0.25% but drops to 0.15% for Admiral Class doesn't mean anything?

Well, VG's marketing ploy sure fooled me!
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:22 AM   #12
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Admiral share classes have nothing to do with "status" classes like Voyager, Voyager Select, Flagship, and Fleet classes, so I guess you were fooled.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:34 AM   #13
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No fair piling on...
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:40 AM   #14
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Yes my impression is that getting to the low cost Admiral point ($100k in an account) was very worthwhile, but I did this tongue in cheek post because this 'Select' status seems mostly bogus.

Unlike United Frequent Flyer status. I forget the designations, but if you travel frequently (like for work - I used to do a lot of international traveling), the higher status really helps you get points for free trips.

It said something about a $30 brokerage fee which is waived. I didn't know I would have gotten charged $30 previously. Seems kind of pointless.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:51 AM   #15
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The valuable differences I found, between joining Voyager, and having no "status" with Vanguard other than being a customer, are the "dashboard" you can create to show all your Vanguard and non-Vanguard investments, and the speed (usually 24 hours) with which the "Voyager Team" responds to e-mails.

I did notice that when "Voyager Select" was created for $500K customers, it provided exactly the same bennies as "Voyager" ($250k) had been previously. I suspect the $250K level got downgraded.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:42 AM   #16
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Many Admiral-level expense ratios are available if you use ETFs. I have "Life-raft" status and had several Admiral funds at one time, but have since moved many of them to the cheaper ETFs.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:37 AM   #17
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I was endanger of dropping below the magic Flagship number in VG, do to nothing but market down turn. I asked and they said if I didn't take the money out to cause the drop below Flagship I would remain Flagship.

It doesn't get me a lot, but the same person talks to me when I call most times and he calls me once in awhile to be sure all is ok. No pressure.

I have called the regular number and while waiting on hold realize I should have called my special Flagship number. I hung up and called back on my Flagship number and it went right through no hold.

Jeb
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