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Old 01-08-2015, 12:52 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
Helen, there is no reason to be torn. As Steve suggests, you can hold your favorite low-cost Vanguard ETFs at Fidelity and enjoy the best of both worlds. Schwab and E-Trade would be great alternatives as well. I've been holding my mainly-Vanguard ETF portfolio at Fidelity for many years. I also hold some iShares ETFs that trade commission-free at Fidelity. The Vanguard ETFs trade for $7.95, but I trade them so infrequently that the cost is of no consequence. For smaller accounts or more frequent traders, I suppose the $7.95 might be a consideration. Seems to me, the decision of where to hold one's accounts, and what to invest in, are completely independent decisions, based on completely independent criteria.
Fidelity would charge me $7.95 to trade Vanguard ETF's and they are free with Vanguard. Since I buy some each month, paying to purchase them would be expensive. Additionally, I have 100 free stock trades with Vanguard....none with Fidelity. So, I save a few hundred dollars a year by using Vanguard.....worth the effort!!!!!
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:36 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by jerome len View Post
Fidelity would charge me $7.95 to trade Vanguard ETF's and they are free with Vanguard. Since I buy some each month, paying to purchase them would be expensive. Additionally, I have 100 free stock trades with Vanguard....none with Fidelity. So, I save a few hundred dollars a year by using Vanguard.....worth the effort!!!!!
For your situation, I agree. As I said...

Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
For smaller accounts or more frequent traders, I suppose the $7.95 might be a consideration.
For the low-frequency traders, who are unhappy with Vanguard service for whatever reason, my point is you can take your low-cost Vanguard holdings to Fidelity, Schwab, E-Trade, or wherever. For me at least, the occasional $7.95 trading commission is inconsequential, and more than offset by the advantages of Fidelity's online interface, research/analytical tools, cash management services, cash-back credit cards, and a worldclass brokerage operation. Best of both worlds, IMHO. Like everything else, YMMV.
Retired at 52 in July 2013. On to better things...
AA: 55% stock, 15% real estate, 27% bonds, 3% cash
WR: 2.7% SI: 2 pensions, some rental income, SS later
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Maybe I'm less discerning than I should be, but after 10 years as a Vanguard customer I've yet to have any issues with them.
Glad I'm not the only one who thought, "is it just me?". Never had any issues with VG at all. Far superior to TIAA-CREF website in my experience. Others may think differently.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:59 PM   #24
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Love Vanguard except when I hate them. I maybe the only person to ever rant at " my concierge" for 15 minutes straight and offer to "come down there and show you idiots how to run customer service" that last was per my husband who is not reliable. All this over moving my IRA from USAA
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Old 01-08-2015, 02:05 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by manerac View Post
I'm having trouble understanding this. Are you saying that Fidelity offers similar options for an $8 fee?

You can buy any ETF at Fido for 7.95. Fido also offers its own ETF comparable to some Vanguard ETFs (think S&P 500) at no cost along with a large group of Ishare ETFs. There is no Wellesley equivalent but Fido does have a balanced fund FBALX that outperforms Wellesley but is a Moderate Allocation vs Wellesley's Conservative.
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Old 01-08-2015, 02:14 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
Did she have different beneficiaries for different funds/accounts and Vanguard switched them to just one?
It has been awhile. As I recall it was when V was moving everyone from POD to TOD beneficiaries. They had apparently sent out a mailing but Mom either did not see or understand (she was 80ish).
At any rate, Mom had PODs on each fund to distribute to one or all siblings in other cases. V decided on its own to move all the funds to equal shares to all siblings. Far,far from what had been in place under the POD.
It three calls to talk to someone is the specific V dept who was responsible for this and then all I got was a snarky response about they just had to do it that way since no one had contacted them. Guess phones do not have outbound capability at V. Oh, Mom and I were Flagship status at the time.
Unlike Rewhoo, I have had more than one challenge from V's administrative incompetence. That is why they have less than 20% of our portfolio when they use to be close to 45%

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Old 01-08-2015, 03:39 PM   #27
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I like Vanguard funds. But moved away from them after my father passed. The ability to lose MULTIPLE copies of a certified death certificate amazed me. (My sister was executor and just kept requesting more from the county, and sending them in when Vanguard lost another.) The CSRs just kept telling my sister to fill out the same form and send in yet another certified death certificate. This went on for 3 months.

I also had issues changing over the 529's that my dad started for my sons... I was the inheritor. The 529 group is completely disconnected from the regular vanguard - so even though they could see that my dad's accounts had (finally) been converted to beneficiary accounts and that a death certificate had been received by Vanguard - they required yet another death certificate. Which they promptly lost. (In this case it only took 2 copies... the main accounts took 5 or 6 copies of the death cert.)

Vanguard is great when your alive - but doesn't handle death of account holders in a very caring/compassionate (or competent) way.

I'm down to the 529's and one small rolled IRA at Vanguard after that experience. The rest of my money is at Schwab.
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
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Old 01-08-2015, 03:49 PM   #28
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After hearing all the raves about Vanguard, I tried rolling over a rollover IRA online just before Christmas. Before completing online, I called to talk to a Vanguard Rep to make sure all was well. The application wouldn't go through. The rep asked me to fill out the online information again. Still wouldn't go through. He tried filling in the information himself and still nothing. He spoke to their IT department and they said there was a glitch. I had to print out the information and mail it. I don't live far from the Valley Forge mailing address so mail should have taken 1-2 days. Think I did that the next day. Rep emailed me yesterday to see if I mailed it in yet. Still haven't heard anything.
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My Defensive Tactics...
Old 01-08-2015, 06:53 PM   #29
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My Defensive Tactics...

When performing reportable transactions with retirement funds, I often perform a trial transaction for a small amount first, then sit back and watch the results play out.

If everything occurs as I think it should, I will then perform the transaction for the full amount that I am interested in.

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Old 01-09-2015, 12:23 PM   #30
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Vanguard has done a great job for me, and I've never experienced any problems with their IT. In fact, I consider the site pretty straightforward and simple. Fidelity's recent site redesign left me scrambling recently when I was trying to complete a few trades before the market closed for a long weekend. I still haven't figured out how to pop out a real time quote window so I can put it on my second monitor if I'm trying to swap between two securities.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (8, 13, and 15).
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Old 01-10-2015, 11:11 AM   #31
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I recently transferred an IRA from USAA to Vanguard (represents ~10% total portfolio). The rest of my assets are with Schwab. I kind of like having my assets at two different places, but I certainly like working with Schwab better.

I have issues with Vanguard's web interface, specifically in regards to selling non-Vanguard funds via their FundAcess.

I always cringe and second guess my self when I see the confirmation for a sell order:
  • Amount: $xxx
  • Redemption fee: See prospectus
  • Redemption fee VBS: VBS NTF redemption fee: See commission and fee schedules
The VBS (Vanguard Brokerage Service) redemption fee is a fee Vanguard has on all non Vanguard NTF funds to discourage short term trading. Just looked and it is charged on shares held less than 60 days (but I'm sure it was 6 months the last time I looked). The generic message makes me nervous and I look up the rules on every trade and double check everything. The rules specifically say funds transferred in from another brokerage firm are not held to the 60 days. So the first trade I did I called to verify - everything looked good. I did the trade and everything went fine. Latter I did another trade and it went well too. Then on my third trade, I sold $500 worth of a fund and got hit with that VBS fee for $50.

At Schwab it is very clear when I make a transaction - Schwab's site either tells me there are no fees or there are. And if there are fees they tell me what they are for. Schwab also has fees to discourage short term trading - but they let me know if they apply to the transactions before I confirm them.

I will say that Vanguard did resolve the issue and refunded the fee (took a few days). When I called, the person I talked to was nice but completely confused about the rules for when the VBS fee applies. They did talk to someone else and confirmed I should not have had the fee. But after reading the current document I found, I may have actually owed the fee - but this document is different than the documents I've found before regarding that fee, I think they have changed. At any rate - it is very confusing.

I just want to know if their system thinks there is going to be a fee before I submit a transaction. I don't want the generic ... there might be a fee for this transaction, why don't you go figure it out - here is a link to the prospectus. But if you want to know if there is a VBS fee, you're going to have to work a little harder and either search the web site or call us and hope you got the right intel.

If their computer system can figure the fees when it performs the transaction, certainly it can figure it out and let me know before I confirm the transaction.
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Old 01-10-2015, 12:41 PM   #32
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I know nothing about Vanguard's systems, but after reading a few of these posts I would guess that their web applications are just front-end systems to a much older batch-like infrastructure. The web applications are just gathering input and submitting it to another system that will actually process it. That would explain why the web front-end does not precisely calculate any fees associated with the transaction. Now if Vanguard took the time to try to calculate fees in the web front-end, that calculation would be being done in two places -- the web and the real application that is processing the transaction -- and that would introduce the possibility of one of them being wrong and how happy would that make the client?

Before the web, you probably filled out a form and mailed it in, where it was entered into the system, or spoke to a call center agent who filled out the form for you and sent it to data entry.

I have never been a fan of external front-end processing done this way, but it seems to be used a lot.

This is just a wild guess, but an educated guess.
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