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Vanguard vs. others
Old 03-07-2015, 09:43 AM   #1
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Vanguard vs. others

I'm wondering why Vanguard is so popular with folks here. I'm into a number of Fidelity funds, mostly because my 401k is with Fidelity. Is there something special about Vanguard funds that I'm missing?
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:51 AM   #2
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FIDO is plenty popular too. I think Vanguard has lower expenses on some of their funds, but the difference isn't huge. Vanguard's got popular funds as well (Wellington, etc.). I'm sure FIDO has similar. Both are good.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:00 AM   #3
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Less filling, or tastes great?

I have relatively few funds in Vanguard, most are at Fidelity. Vanguard wasn't an option for my 403(b) while working.

Vanguard has developed a cult following over the years, due to a focus on low-cost and indexing, and marketing those points well.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:19 AM   #4
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I never deal with Vanguard directly, much of my 401k is in their funds. My rollover IRA and Roths are in Fidelity. Low cost ETFs, few index funds, even an actively managed fund(oh heavens the sky might fall). I enjoy going 15 minutes to an investment center and review my stuff face to face. Both are great fund companies.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by O2Bfree View Post
I'm wondering why Vanguard is so popular with folks here. I'm into a number of Fidelity funds, mostly because my 401k is with Fidelity. Is there something special about Vanguard funds that I'm missing?
Low-cost index funds/ETFs, Jack Bogle, and pssst, Wellington and Wellesley.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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I'll add ownership structure.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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I had been in the camp that preferred Vanguard over Fidelity, generally slightly lower ERs, but I don't think that is always the case anymore. Fidelity is usually close, maybe better in a few areas.

Some people felt Fidelity provides superior service, but everything I ever needed (not much) from Vanguard was handled easily (almost all online), so I never felt this was an issue.

However, after helping to settle my FIL's estate recently (still a WIP in some minor ways), being able to walk into a B&M Fidelity office was a huge benefit. FIL had some paper stock certificates, plus some stocks held at two different transfer agents. We made an appointment, I did whatever up-front work that was needed (just organizing the stuff, and getting the transfer agent details), and the Fidelity agent got everything transferred and accounts set up and it all went smoothly. They provided the Medallion Signature guarantees that were required, notaries and everything for the transfer agents (those forms did need to be mailed in, but just the forms). Then I just went online to verify they all got credited to the account a week or so later.

This could have turned into a real hassle by mail - where to get the Medallion signature guarantee? Mail the stock certificates, and insure for the cost of replacement (not an insignificant cost), trips to the post office, tracking everything and following up at snail-mail speed. No thanks.

We are in the process of consolidating at Fidelity, because of this.

-ERD50
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:11 AM   #8
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I had been in the camp that preferred Vanguard over Fidelity, generally slightly lower ERs, but I don't think that is always the case anymore. Fidelity is usually close, maybe better in a few areas.
Yes, that's what I've noticed. Performance seems comparable as well.
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:18 AM   #9
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Unless something has changed recently, Vanguard has a better selection of index mutual funds available.
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:29 PM   #10
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I don't believe that the Johnson family gets a cut of Vanguard investor earnings.
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Old 03-07-2015, 01:23 PM   #11
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Most of my assets are with Vanguard since Fido didn't particularly want me. About 25 years ago I had a small IRA (less than $15,000) with Fido. When my money market fund balance dropped below the fund minimum they closed the account and sent me my money. I got back over the fund minimum and reopened the account. Oops, went below the minimum and they closed the account again. I moved my IRA to Vanguard.


I consolidated with Vanguard and my workplace retirement is with TIAA-CREF. Oh by the way the "not worth their time" account is now well into six figures, not quite seven.
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Old 03-07-2015, 03:05 PM   #12
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https://www.google.com/search?q=fide...y=0&gws_rd=ssl
The above link will take you to a menu of choices of previous debates on this site.
For me personally, Fidelity wins easily if you care about customer service and having reps who can actively problem-solve with critical thinking.
I also have an account at Vanguard and was Flagship at one time but loss the status when I moved a substantial portion to Fidelity for bonus cash and absolute frustration with the Vanguard rep not being able to do anything but quote Vanguard's rules.
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Old 03-07-2015, 04:27 PM   #13
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If it wasn't for Vanguard then Fidelity wouldn't even offer Spartan funds. Competition is a good thing. Also this article makes me never want to do business with Fidelity. They are an actively managed fund company that has indexes because they must.


Fidelity settles lawsuits over its own 401(k) plan - Aug. 18, 2014
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:46 PM   #14
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Yes, that's what I've noticed. Performance seems comparable as well.
Be careful. What do you see when you compare the performance of FSGDX and VFWAX? Or VTIAX? I see something I do not like and I have a Fidelity 401(k) where FSGDX is the international fund.
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Old 03-07-2015, 05:57 PM   #15
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Nothing special about Vanguard except that they have lover fees then Fidelity.

But Schwab has even lower fees then Vanguard so if I would invest new money it would go to Schwab.

But I am too old for that Need to build CD ladder now.
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Old 03-07-2015, 07:41 PM   #16
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I have been intensively learning financial stuff being snowed in 2 days a week and ER this year. I hired a financial planner using DFA funds 22 years ago. I'm not sorry that I did, but over the last 5 years, their philosophy and their expenses have substantially changed. DFA funds slightly beat Vanguard but the current FP eats the difference. So I have decided to change to a flat fee FP because the tax consequences of switching an after tax portfolio to Vanguard are frightening.

I admire Vanguard's ownership model, but from hours and hours of internet research, the company falls very flat when it comes to owner/customer service issues.

As far as brokerages go, Vanguard, Schwab, and Fidelity all have their benefits. If I was savvy 25 years ago I would have gone with Vanguard. But now, due to my current situation, I'l likely to chose Schwab or Fidelity.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:54 PM   #17
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Schwab user here, happy so far. Interested to see the details of the Schwab roboadvisor which should start rolling out next week.

EWGal I had a fixed fee DFA advisor setup, decided to go it alone for various reasons, no problems here. I still kept the same DFA equity funds in my Schwab accounts, the only change is I can not purchase any more DFA funds, only sell (dividends still reinvest). Going forward one merely diverts new money or rebalance funds to a Schwab, Vanguard, etc. fund. My bond portion was already in various Vanguard funds.
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:00 AM   #18
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I've had accounts at Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab - and I was comfortable with all of them. Vanguard is popular here because they had/have a much broader selection of low expense index funds for more asset classes, and many here do not need (or want to pay for) much hand holding customer service. That's where Vanguard had/has an edge.

If you want more research tools for stocks, more actively managed mutual funds or brick-n-mortar locations, Fidelity or Schwab have more to offer. While they both have some very low expense funds (only because they were/are ** losing those customers to Vanguard), they have more with substantially higher expense ratios. You're going to pay more for the tools, customer service, etc. And the knowledge base of Fidelity and Schwab reps vary considerably, you'll get some very knowledgeable/helpful reps but you'll also get some enthusiastic novices too. It's usually the new employees who answer call/questions, not their best seasoned pros - unless maybe your portfolio is large enough to warrant more. We had well over $1MM at Fido when we left, not enough to warrant more even though we were very low maintenance. They made almost no effort to dissuade us from moving everything...FWIW

I would let what specific investments you want to hold be the primary factor for determining which firm to hold your assets with. You'd hate to pick a firm, only to then find the other guy has the funds/ERs you really want. When I was into individual stocks and a few active funds, and thought brick-n-mortar locations was a plus, I had all our assets with Fido. Now I only hold index funds and I'd much rather do everything online, and all our money is at Vanguard. My company 401k was with Schwab, they were more like Fido than Vanguard IME.

** http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/43812508-9...#axzz3TnNmWNwB
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:21 AM   #19
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I think any brokerage you select and are happy with will be good. Just make sure you find the lowest fees you can or ones that you are comfortable with.


I use Schwab and I and my parents have been with them for many years. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where Charles Schwab is headquartered and I have been happy with the service and options available.


I think many folks go Vanguard after reading Jack Bogle's books and the books of others who recommend index fund portfolios. They tend to sell the Vanguard Funds to the readers.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:55 AM   #20
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In the EU the Vanguard ETFs pretty much still are the only low cost option available.

A few others are catching up (IShares), but smaller selection and higher fees in general.
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