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who is better - schwab, fidelity or vanguard
Old 03-07-2009, 09:30 AM   #1
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who is better - schwab, fidelity or vanguard

If you want to buy individual bonds and also mutual funds, who is better,
Schwab, Fidelity or Vanguard ?
Schwab seems to have very knowledgeable advisors.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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if you're ONLY trading mutual funds I'd pick Vanguard. If I wanted to also trade individual securities I'd go with Schwab or Fidelity. I think Vanguard is the best for mutual funds hands-down, but the other two are stronger in terms of trading individual stocks and bonds.

All three, IMO, are pretty solid choices, and you could do a lot worse than any of these three.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:53 AM   #3
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I note from the Schwab site under cash solutions that they have Schwab bank and Schwab brokerage. The bank offers two FDIC insured accounts: checking and savings, offering 1% and 2%. How easy is it to move money from these accounts into the brokerage and back?
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:55 AM   #4
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I note from the Schwab site under cash solutions that they have Schwab bank and Schwab brokerage. The bank offers two FDIC insured accounts: checking and savings, offering 1% and 2%. How easy is it to move money from these accounts into the brokerage and back?
It's very easy. I'm with Schwab, and you can move money from one account to another online, and that includes the brokerage to the banking side (and back). In fact, when I deposit to my Schwab brokerages I include a check in the postpaid deposit envelopes they provide, and as soon as the money's in the bank accounts, I transfer it to the brokerage.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:08 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bobbee25 View Post
If you want to buy individual bonds and also mutual funds, who is better,
Schwab, Fidelity or Vanguard ?
Take the input from others on which company is best for trades, but....

Quote:
Schwab seems to have very knowledgeable advisors.
IMO, I would put zero weight on that statement. And I would say the same if you replace Schwab with any other name. If they were knowledgeable, they would be running a fund that beats the market under all conditions.

-ERD50
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:14 AM   #6
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is there a brokerage that has iphone access?

etrade has a blackberry app you can download, but i have my eyes set on an iphone
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Old 03-07-2009, 12:17 PM   #7
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Take the input from others on which company is best for trades, but....



IMO, I would put zero weight on that statement. And I would say the same if you replace Schwab with any other name. If they were knowledgeable, they would be running a fund that beats the market under all conditions.

-ERD50
I'm with Schwab. If "knowledgable advisors" means having folks who will give you good advise on how to invest, I agree with you. No brokerage house fills that need IMO. However, Schwab does have an excellent phone team available 24x7 for answering questions about mechanics, dealing with administrative issues, etc. that are excellent. If I can't call at 2:00 AM on a holiday and have a reasonably competent person answer a question about a transaction in my account or how to do a certain type of trade or whatever, I'm disappointed. While I'm not always satisfied with calls to Schwab, more often than not I am.

I also like having a walk-in office close-by. Don't go very often, but they're there and are pretty responsive about answering questions, resolving any issues, etc.

Of course, YMMV.
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bobbee25 View Post
If you want to buy individual bonds and also mutual funds, who is better,
Schwab, Fidelity or Vanguard ?
Schwab seems to have very knowledgeable advisors.
Vanguard -- good for low cost equity and bond mutual funds. If you go with index funds this is the place to be. Reducing expense ratios by 1% per year will save you a bundle over several years. If you don't believe this, try running FIRECalc with different ER's over a typical retirement period.

Schwab -- good and easily accessible phone support 24/7. OK for some things like CD's, maybe individual bonds, ETF's and individual stocks. But their suggestions on equity mutual funds tend to be in the ER=1% and higher category -- too high.

Depending on your situation you may want an account at both firms and eventually consolidate at one of them.
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:35 PM   #9
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I have a soft spot for Schwab because that is where my employer put my nice bennies. Hello, retirement!
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Old 03-07-2009, 05:17 PM   #10
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I note from the Schwab site under cash solutions that they have Schwab bank and Schwab brokerage. The bank offers two FDIC insured accounts: checking and savings, offering 1% and 2%. How easy is it to move money from these accounts into the brokerage and back?
A couple clicks with the mouse. Really simple. I'm with Schwab.

Stocks are easy to buy, bonds are easy to buy, the research seems ok. Call center is one of the best I have ever encountered in my life (ymmv). Can even buy vanguard funds.

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Old 03-09-2009, 02:56 PM   #11
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If you want to buy individual bonds and also mutual funds, who is better,
Schwab, Fidelity or Vanguard ?
Schwab seems to have very knowledgeable advisors.
I buy mostly open-ended index-based mutual funds, supplemented with individual treasury bonds purchased at auction, and keep it fairly simple doing almost everything possible via the WWW. I have been happy with Vanguard, and think they are an excellent selection. My only real gripe with Vanguard is they only offer specific identification lot tracking through their brokerage account, not for their own open-ended mutual funds. For their own funds you have to either use average cost which they will track, or track your share lots yourself.

If you want to give more of your 4% withdrawal rate to your money manager, other companies will offer you more services like walk-in branches, and international phone banks allowing you to talk to a "real person" 24 hours a day. It just depends on how much of your money you want to keep.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:57 PM   #12
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If you want to give more of your 4% withdrawal rate...
Does anyone still believe in that?
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:17 PM   #13
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Schwab -- good and easily accessible phone support 24/7. OK for some things like CD's, maybe individual bonds, ETF's and individual stocks. But their suggestions on equity mutual funds tend to be in the ER=1% and higher category -- too high.
Just because you're using Schwab as your borkerage, why would you listen to or follow their suggestions regarding equity mutual funds? Fund selection should be made on the basis of diverse research. My largest holding in my Schwab account is VTI, a Vanguard ETF!
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:26 PM   #14
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If you want to give more of your 4% withdrawal rate to your money manager, other companies will offer you more services like walk-in branches, and international phone banks allowing you to talk to a "real person" 24 hours a day. It just depends on how much of your money you want to keep.
The only extra expenses I found dealing with Schwab instead of Vanguard is that when purchasing Vanguard funds, Schwab charges me a commission. I'm not a frequent trader so that was minimal. Also, I've been moving to ETF's in lieu on MF's and Schwab does a good job there.

Other than buying Vanguard funds, can you think of any expenses at Schwab that are higher than Vanguard? Maybe I'm missing something.
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Old 03-09-2009, 03:45 PM   #15
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Just because you're using Schwab as your borkerage, why would you listen to or follow their suggestions regarding equity mutual funds? Fund selection should be made on the basis of diverse research. My largest holding in my Schwab account is VTI, a Vanguard ETF!
The OP mentioned Schwab advisors so I was partly responding to this. ETF's are fine but not everyone should be investing in them as opposed to the open end fund counterparts. It depends on how much you are investing each time, spreads, intraday pricing, etc.

If you want to go with Schwab instead of Vanguard that should work OK. It really depends a lot on how you will structure your portfolio and how you choose to use the services. You can do well or go down in flames with any of these firms.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:33 PM   #16
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[Regarding 4% withdrawl rate.]
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Does anyone still believe in that?
Yep. I still expect to use 4% of my portfolio value when I retire as a rough starting point for a safe withdrawal rate. I certainly don't expect to take more than 4%! Alas, some volatility in my portfolio's total value when marked-to-market recently has postponed what I thought was an imminent retirement. I try to console myself that it is probably better to be w@rking than RE when not FI. Though if I was single, I might just move to Detroit and become a slum-lord instead or w@rking.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:36 PM   #17
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Other than buying Vanguard funds, can you think of any expenses at Schwab that are higher than Vanguard? Maybe I'm missing something.
Given that I buy mostly index funds and treasuries at auction, what other expenses would I care about?
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:27 PM   #18
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Given that I buy mostly index funds and treasuries at auction, what other expenses would I care about?
OK. I thought that perhaps you had actually compared expenses but obviously not.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:44 PM   #19
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If you want to go with Schwab instead of Vanguard that should work OK. It really depends a lot on how you will structure your portfolio and how you choose to use the services. You can do well or go down in flames with any of these firms.
I did a Schwab vs Vanguard fee comparison a while back and the only thing I could find that would be cheaper for me at Vanguard would be buying Vanguard MF's. I like several Vanguard MF's and hold them in various Schwab accounts. I'm already RE'd so my purchases are lump sum and therefore commissions aren't an issue. Div and CG reinvestments are free.

I haven't been able to get DW interested in active participation in handling our investments. So, I use Schwab and should I croak unexpectedly or become incapacitated, she could get some in person help with the mechanics.

I haven't heard anything about Vanguard or Fidelity brokerages that makes them any more compelling.
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Old 03-10-2009, 02:20 AM   #20
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I did a Schwab vs Vanguard fee comparison a while back and the only thing I could find that would be cheaper for me at Vanguard would be buying Vanguard MF's. I like several Vanguard MF's and hold them in various Schwab accounts. I'm already RE'd so my purchases are lump sum and therefore commissions aren't an issue. Div and CG reinvestments are free.

I haven't been able to get DW interested in active participation in handling our investments. So, I use Schwab and should I croak unexpectedly or become incapacitated, she could get some in person help with the mechanics.

I haven't heard anything about Vanguard or Fidelity brokerages that makes them any more compelling.
I think Fidelity and Schwab are very similar and both IMO very good. Vanguard occupies a different and more specialized niche.

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