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Old 08-13-2019, 02:04 PM   #121
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And what, pray tell, is that "easy solution"? I don't have time for a lawyer to create a trust or a will before travel - and don't want to break "our" money out into separate "his" and "hers" accounts as that's not what it is.

What solution would you propose? Far as I can tell, there is no solution that's even remotely acceptable / workable.
Do the DIY will, not naming the specific Vanguard account. Include the account in a list of supplemental info. Enjoy your travel. When you return well rested, give the matter some serious thought. Consider transferring assets to another brokerage. There are suitable ETFs, many commission-free. Or, pay a small $4.95 commission to buy Vanguard ETFs.

But whatever causes you the least anxiety is the right solution for you.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:06 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by 24601NoMore View Post
And what, pray tell, is that "easy solution"? I don't have time for a lawyer to create a trust or a will before travel - and don't want to break "our" money out into separate "his" and "hers" accounts as that's not what it is. ...
You just said it... you don't "want" to separate the joint account into separate his and hers accounts.... that would be an easy solution... you each name your spouse as primary beneficiary and as contingent beneficiaries those who you would name if they allowed joint beneficiaries.

If one of you dies then combine the accounts into one... if you both die then the contingent beneficiaries get the money as you want. I don't see any downside other than you don't want to do it.

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... and without a single "good" reason that I've heard from them.
I hypothetized why they would rather not do it in that other thread.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:25 PM   #123
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Having written production firmware code for two different Fortune 500 companies, I'll just say that it is quite a bit harder to write (and test) the error cases than it is for the run-of-the-mill everything-is-working case.

It's also hard to maintain software systems which have the production demands like the US stock market. It's a real time system which needs to have pretty much 100% up-time, near instantaneous response times, incoming and outgoing data from hundreds or thousands of other computer systems. And, I'm sure they have minor changes going on all the time that need to be seamlessly integrated without breaking anything else.

As far as Vanguard's site being slow, I would not expect them to build a system that can handle 10x or 100x a normal load and still maintain typical response times. That would be a waste of money in my view.
But I'd expect better behavior than a simple "server got an error" message. Users shouldn't even know or care what a "server" is. I'd also expect that error to come up quickly. If they are having back end issues, throw everyone off to a page explaining the issue. In the rare cases where Amazon has had issues, they do this with a nice, calming web page. Not just a white line of type.

Quality code typically has 50% or more of error cases. It is hard and costly to write such good code.

It is part of my issue with a lot of consumer goods these days. They clearly don't care about that stuff.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:29 PM   #124
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It's also hard to maintain software systems which have the production demands like the US stock market. It's a real time system which needs to have pretty much 100% up-time, near instantaneous response times, incoming and outgoing data from hundreds or thousands of other computer systems. And, I'm sure they have minor changes going on all the time that need to be seamlessly integrated without breaking anything else.

As far as Vanguard's site being slow, I would not expect them to build a system that can handle 10x or 100x a normal load and still maintain typical response times. That would be a waste of money in my view.
Actually, they do load test their software for high demands - they've been doing that for at least the last 20 years. They have an entirely separate "production like" system that they load up prior to every major software release, to test that it can support high logins and the highest accessed pages and transactions.

You're 100% right, they are making minor changes all the time. And of course a developer will swear on a stack of bibles that their change will have no impact on the health of the system. Been there, done that, and have sworn on that bible lots of time (usually right, but not always .... ).

It's a constant battle to monitor this. And you're right, it's not cheap - either the separate hardware/software licenses/dedicated test team/etc.

Vanguard knows what they're doing. It is a trade off on how much money/resources to devote to this though. Everyone wants the expense ratios to be almost $0.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:37 PM   #125
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DW worked in IT in the finance industry. This problem is giving her flashbacks. Their management went through huge pains to avoid any kind of mismatch of account balances as presented to the customers. It was a huge, huge worry.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:47 PM   #126
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separate the joint account into separate his and hers accounts.... that would be an easy solution...

I don't see any downside other than you don't want to do it.
The downside is that it is "our" money - not "my" money or "her" money. And we simply do not have "his" and "her" money in our household.

Separating into two different accounts explicitly makes it "his" and "her" money legally, as it is then "owned" by the person with the Tax Id on the account. Whether that would ever potentially become an issue is unpredictable - and a customer should not have to take the unnecessary risk, or have the PITA additional account administration of splitting (and worse, regularly tracking transaction activity on) additional accounts just because VG can't get their act together and do what literally every other financial institution on the planet already does (joint benes).

Really not sure why that point is unclear.

VG seems to want to protect against every conceivable thing that could ever happen (that literally no other company seems concerned about), but seems perfectly happy for their CUSTOMER to take risk of things that could conceivably happen. That is not good customer service, period. If I wasn't already so invested in VWIAX and other VG funds that I can't get elsewhere, I would have already started the transfer process to move the money. I'm that irritated about it all.

I'm left with two very bad options - create a DIY will (no lawyer can do in time) and potentially muck it up, or split the accounts as mentioned and in essence create "his" and "her" money instead of "our money" while taking on all of the additional risk and PITA additional work of transaction tracking on double the number of accounts that entails. Neither is a good option, and VG's obstinance on this is a yet another example in my strong opinion on them simply not taking care of their customers. Add in all of their system and process issues, and it's clear they are either growing too fast or simply do not know how to properly manage the business they do have.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:58 PM   #127
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The downside is that it is "our" money - not "my" money or "her" money.

Separating into two different accounts explicitly makes it "his" and "her" money legally, as it is then "owned" by the person with the Tax Id on the account. Whether that would ever potentially become an issue is unpredictable - and a customer should not have to take the unnecessary risk, or have the PITA additional account administration of splitting (and worse, regularly tracking transaction activity on) additional accounts just because VG can't get their act together and do what literally every other financial institution on the planet already does (joint benes).

Really not sure why that point is unclear.

VG seems to want to protect against every conceivable thing that could ever happen (that literally no other company seems concerned about), but seems perfectly happy for their CUSTOMER to take risk of things that could conceivably happen. That is not good customer service, period. If I wasn't already so invested in VWIAX and other VG funds that I can't get elsewhere, I would have already started the transfer process to move the money. I'm that irritated about it all.

I'm left with two very bad options - create a DIY will (no lawyer can do in time) and potentially muck it up, or split the accounts as mentioned and take on all of the additional risk and PITA additional work of transaction tracking on double the number of accounts that entails. Neither is a good option, and VG's obstinance on this is a yet another example in my strong opinion on them simply not taking care of their customers.
I have no dog in the fight as to the Vanguard issue, but I am wondering how splitting a joint account into his and hers individual accounts could increase risk for you. The young wife and I have only ever had joint accounts, but it occurred to me more than once in the past that it might be safer to have separate accounts in the event that either one of us were sued personally (we were both in professions where that sometimes happens) and suffered an adverse judgment. Suppose it were me who was sued. The creditor could attach any bank account with my name on it, but that creditor could not attach an account held solely by the young wife, unless the creditor was successful in a fraudulent conveyance lawsuit against her. Not arguing with you, just interested.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:04 PM   #128
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I have no dog in the fight as to the Vanguard issue, but I am wondering how splitting a joint account into his and hers individual accounts could increase risk for you. The young wife and I have only ever had joint accounts, but it occurred to me more than once in the past that it might be safer to have separate accounts in the event that either one of us were sued personally (we were both in professions where that sometimes happens) and suffered an adverse judgment. Suppose it were me who was sued. The creditor could attach any bank account with my name on it, but that creditor could not attach an account held solely by the young wife, unless the creditor was successful in a fraudulent conveyance lawsuit against her. Not arguing with you, just interested.
Fair question. Splitting it basically makes it HER money - not our money. Ditto on my side.

What if (totally unlikely, but since VG seems concerned about totally unlikely events on THEIR side happening, just throwing it out there), a husband and wife with "his" and "her" money were to divorce? His money goes to him..her money goes to her. Or, he is incapacitated (say, in a coma). Without Power of Attorney or Medical Directives (neither of which we currently have), she can't get access to "my" money even in an emergency. Ditto, me getting access to "her" money if she were incapacitated but still alive. Obviously, in JTWROS we can what we need to access, and that's why we set it up that way not only at VG but every single other institution we deal with.

I'm sure there are a gazillion other examples. But just those two should be plenty.

Separate, "his" and "her" $$s is simply not we manage our household finances, and VG "forcing" us to split money up that should not be split up is annoying beyond words. Like I said, if I could get VWIAX and other VG funds elsewhere, I would have already moved the $$. To that point, if anyone knows of a brokerage where I can get VWIAX and VTMFX, please let me know.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:13 PM   #129
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I think in the divorce context, it really doesn't matter whose name is on the account. The court will divide it up and issue a QDRO to handle resulting tax issues, if any. The incapacitation issue was not on my radar, so I'll have to think about that a little more.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:16 PM   #130
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For some reason, long-ago poster ObGyn56 comes to mind.
I wonder how hes doing these days?
Obgyn65 - don't make him older than he is

Didn't some folk here manage to persuade him to buy a small amount of Wellington or Wellesley? I seem to remember that the process of trying to get him used to the volatility inherent in equities was a challenging one. He was doing great voluntary work. I'm sure he's far more focused on helping others, than listening to a bunch of us geezers talk to him about the concepts of risk and volatility.

I too hope he is doing well. I think about him from time to time.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:25 PM   #131
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I have no dog in the fight as to the Vanguard issue, but I am wondering how splitting a joint account into his and hers individual accounts could increase risk for you. The young wife and I have only ever had joint accounts, but it occurred to me more than once in the past that it might be safer to have separate accounts in the event that either one of us were sued personally (we were both in professions where that sometimes happens) and suffered an adverse judgment. Suppose it were me who was sued. The creditor could attach any bank account with my name on it, but that creditor could not attach an account held solely by the young wife, unless the creditor was successful in a fraudulent conveyance lawsuit against her. Not arguing with you, just interested.
Check your state laws. In my state, we're each deemed to own 50% of jointly owned assets. A creditor would only be able to take up to 50% of the account if one of us was sued.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:29 PM   #132
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To that point, if anyone knows of a brokerage where I can get VWIAX and VTMFX, please let me know.
This isn't a direct solution, but a workaround, if you're willing to consider ETFs, even just for new money.

https://etfdb.com/tool/mutual-fund-to-etf/

No comment on the reliability of the results though.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:34 PM   #133
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This is essentially a 'stress test' of Vanguard's systems. They have a lot of work to do before there is a serious event in the markets.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:40 PM   #134
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But I'd expect better behavior than a simple "server got an error" message. Users shouldn't even know or care what a "server" is. I'd also expect that error to come up quickly. If they are having back end issues, throw everyone off to a page explaining the issue. In the rare cases where Amazon has had issues, they do this with a nice, calming web page. Not just a white line of type.

Quality code typically has 50% or more of error cases. It is hard and costly to write such good code.

It is part of my issue with a lot of consumer goods these days. They clearly don't care about that stuff.
Yeah, the oblique error message is bad form; it should fail more gracefully than that. I noticed that comment, but my remarks were more addressed to the "Vanguard site is slow" today comments.

The fact that Amazon handles these outages more gracefully indicates to me that they have more outages. I'm not sure which is worse - more outages handled gracefully or fewer outages handled somewhat poorly.

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Actually, they do load test their software for high demands - they've been doing that for at least the last 20 years. They have an entirely separate "production like" system that they load up prior to every major software release, to test that it can support high logins and the highest accessed pages and transactions.

You're 100% right, they are making minor changes all the time. And of course a developer will swear on a stack of bibles that their change will have no impact on the health of the system. Been there, done that, and have sworn on that bible lots of time (usually right, but not always .... ).

It's a constant battle to monitor this. And you're right, it's not cheap - either the separate hardware/software licenses/dedicated test team/etc.

Vanguard knows what they're doing. It is a trade off on how much money/resources to devote to this though. Everyone wants the expense ratios to be almost $0.
I think your first paragraph refers to Vanguard. I'm sure they do load tests, but probably just not to the level of what they experienced yesterday and today. When I did testing, if we even got to load testing a web site, I would imagine it would be a total SWAG or random guess as to how much load the system would have to handle well.

I'm fine if their systems are overwhelmed every once in a while, but I may not be an average Vanguard customer in that regard.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:45 PM   #135
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I think in the divorce context, it really doesn't matter whose name is on the account. The court will divide it up and issue a QDRO to handle resulting tax issues, if any. The incapacitation issue was not on my radar, so I'll have to think about that a little more.
The above is accurate in my state and in the case of my divorce. We split stuff up by each taking individual assets and liabilities to get it roughly even, and then we did a QDRO to make it exactly 50/50.

As a practical matter, in the case of incapacity, if I were still married, my wife would have my username and password and would be able to log in and spend money from my account. It would, of course, be more proper to have a POA in place, but in my state it seems like if you're married a financial POA is sort of assumed.

As an aside, I thought the "easy" solution pb4uski thought of was just moving the account somewhere else like Fidelity that does the POD or beneficiary thing on joint accounts like OP wants. Guess I was wrong.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:59 PM   #136
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As an aside, I thought the "easy" solution pb4uski thought of was just moving the account somewhere else like Fidelity that does the POD or beneficiary thing on joint accounts like OP wants. Guess I was wrong.
Would love for that to be an option, but VG appears to have locked down Admiral class funds so that you can only get them direct via VG. So, no VWIAX..VTMFX..etc available at Fido, Schwab, Merrill or elsewhere..
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:25 PM   #137
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I have been able to log into Vanguard twice today without a problem. I did not see anywhere where they mentioned the glitch in the matrix. They should own up to it.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:59 AM   #138
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I just logged onto vanguard and there is no mention of the glitch. Except for some CDs I am entirely invested in VG. I will be moving some funds to another financial institution. Is anyone else moving funds from VG?
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:21 AM   #139
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Do what you feel you have to, but that seems like an over-reaction to me. VG is a good company, with low fees and good funds.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:30 AM   #140
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I just logged onto vanguard and there is no mention of the glitch. Except for some CDs I am entirely invested in VG. I will be moving some funds to another financial institution. Is anyone else moving funds from VG?
No. But I am going to keep my 401ks at Fido. No plan to move.

So, I have a nice balance between the two big players.
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