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Old 12-21-2021, 11:52 AM   #141
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+1. I have been calling VG a LOT this year, mostly helping DM get her finances sorted. I find that if I call first thing in the morning, I often get someone directly. Otherwise, I leave my number and wait for the return call within an hour or so. I can tolerate this system, now that I plan for it.

I am not doubting the heartburn others are experiencing, though. It seems a function of the rock-bottom prices we expect from VG in their cut-throat industry. They are clearly evolving, so I plan to have patience and let the new-normal settle.
I had to call Vanguard yesterday for the first time. I had made a mistake when I tried to do my (maybe last) backdoor Roth contribution. I called right when they opened and I waited maybe a total of 3 minutes to get to the right person who promptly fixed my problem. Not that this experience negates other peopleís complaints, just that I was pleasantly surprised by the experience.
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Old 12-22-2021, 06:14 AM   #142
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Wonder how they would handle MYGAs, PMs, I-bonds, GIFs, etc.?


I really couldnít say for sure. They seem to be all about simple index funds. My guess is, if more fancy securities are in a taxable account, they would advise leaving them alone, slowly spending them or moving them elsewhere or would just not include that account under management. Iím only guessing though. I had a small amount of the TIPS index in a tax advantaged accounts when we started the program a few years ago, which they moved into the total bond index (with my approval.)
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Old 12-22-2021, 08:48 AM   #143
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I don't recall ever voting on Vanguard's policies, even though Vanguard has a client ownership structure. In practice, I don't recall ever being able to act like an owner.

Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard all charge $0/trade for ETFs and stocks (and surprisingly, Vanguard was NOT first!). And for call options, Schwab charges 33% less, so for my purposes Schwab is cheaper than Vanguard. I'm still deciding if most of my assets will move there in 2022.

Whenever I login to Vanguard, I use 2FA. But for the past month, I get a warning that the API used (by Vanguard) is being deprecated in Feb 2022. No problems on other websites - just Vanguard. When I brought it to their attention, they said they plan to fix it by Feb 2022. That's not a great way to schedule required security changes - fixed by the very last moment.
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Old 12-22-2021, 10:11 AM   #144
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Whenever I login to Vanguard, I use 2FA. But for the past month, I get a warning that the API used (by Vanguard) is being deprecated in Feb 2022. No problems on other websites - just Vanguard. When I brought it to their attention, they said they plan to fix it by Feb 2022. That's not a great way to schedule required security changes - fixed by the very last moment.
As an IT manager, I can tell you that if they plan to fix it by 2/22, they will probably not have it working properly until at least 2 months later!
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Old 12-22-2021, 10:57 AM   #145
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Here's an interesting commentary on Vanguard's customer service issues by Clark Howard. Check out the first 10 minutes of the 12/21/21 podcast here:

https://clark.com/podcasts/

I found his comparison of fans of Vanguard with fans of SpaceX to be interesting. Both are companies that shocked the old, stuck in the mud, dinosaurs of their business with a new ways of thinking and getting things done. Both saw others jump in and copy a good chunk of what they did.
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Old 12-22-2021, 01:12 PM   #146
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Here's an interesting commentary on Vanguard's customer service issues by Clark Howard. Check out the first 10 minutes of the 12/21/21 podcast here:

https://clark.com/podcasts/

I found his comparison of fans of Vanguard with fans of SpaceX to be interesting. Both are companies that shocked the old, stuck in the mud, dinosaurs of their business with a new ways of thinking and getting things done. Both saw others jump in and copy a good chunk of what they did.
I'm not sure I'd describe myself as a "fan" but when I discovered Vanguard many years back, it was refreshing (getting away from load funds and all kinds of fees, for instance.) I probably could just as easily have gotten into Fidelity instead. So "loyalty" as such isn't a real factor - just performance and (decent - if not stellar) service. YMMV
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Old 01-07-2022, 12:07 PM   #147
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In further piling on to Vanguard, this came in my email today from Seeking Alpha.

It is lengthy and describes why if you own VTSAX you should go from the mutual fund to the ETF (VTI), but then delves into the issues with Vanguard. It certainly gives me pause regarding Vanguard.

Bob
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:13 PM   #148
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In further piling on to Vanguard, this came in my email today from Seeking Alpha.

It is lengthy and describes why if you own VTSAX you should go from the mutual fund to the ETF (VTI), but then delves into the issues with Vanguard. It certainly gives me pause regarding Vanguard.

Bob
Thanks for posting this. It's useful food for thought. I'm with Vanguard, and the entire stock portion of my portfolio is in VTSAX - all in a taxable account. The ability to exchange to the ETF version of the fund without triggering a taxable event is helpful information.

Two questions come to mind -

1) Will the option of performing this fund-to-ETF transfer, without triggering a taxable event, always exist, or does a "window of opportunity" apply?

2) Vanguard have to realize that allowing such a transfer could, and probably will, result in losing some customers. Why would they do this?
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Old 01-07-2022, 03:35 PM   #149
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The conversion possibility has been around for years and there is no reason for it to go away. I just don't see an advantage to converting unless you want to hold shares outside Vanguard. FWIW I have some of each.
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Old 01-07-2022, 05:30 PM   #150
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I have a lot of VTSAX non-covered shares pre 2012. I sell specID using my records. What would a conversion do to managing the basis? Sounds like more work.

Since 2013, I've been buying VTI. So I have both. I'll probably just stay the course for now.
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Old 01-07-2022, 07:08 PM   #151
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In further piling on to Vanguard, this came in my email today from Seeking Alpha.

It is lengthy and describes why if you own VTSAX you should go from the mutual fund to the ETF (VTI), but then delves into the issues with Vanguard. It certainly gives me pause regarding Vanguard.

Bob
That Seeking Alpha link was quite a read! I have read many, if not all, of the Vanguard complaint threads at BH. There are a lot of unhappy people but honestly I have never experienced any problems with phone calls re long waits, bad advice though I have seldom had a reason to call and no complicated issues, the website looks the same as it has for a long time and I find it easy to use, I never used a smart phone to access Vanguard, I'm in the Eastern time zone problems for California don't effect me, I just don't know what all the problems are cuz I sure haven't had any.

When I read these articles or threads, I wonder if I should move to Fido or Schwab or should I go into ETFs vs the mutual funds but why when things are working OK for me. The 3 equity funds I hold have an ETF but the 3 fixed income funds don't and to me that is a big problem. I check my asset allocation mid month and end of month and the mutual fund balances aren't ready until the wee hours of the next day so I just check them before 4 pm on the next day, if I had ETFs and mutual funds I would have to do this before 9:30 am otherwise the ETFs are constantly changing when the market opens.

I'm sure some people have had problems but to me it is a tempest in a teapot and I see no reason to change anything.
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Old 01-07-2022, 07:37 PM   #152
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As an IT manager, I can tell you that if they plan to fix it by 2/22, they will probably not have it working properly until at least 2 months later!
I'm not yet willing to admit you're right... but I suspect that's only a matter of time. I'm pretty sure they won't fix it before the end of January.

What does it say about security that Vanguard hasn't fixed this visible and obvious problem? Everything else they're doing is opaque. And on their security page, this is one of their top 2 ways of securing people's accounts!
https://investor.vanguard.com/security-center
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Old 01-07-2022, 07:55 PM   #153
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I was a fan of Vanguard for at least 20 years, but now they're just another brokerage to me. For a long time I mentioned their unique ownership structure to others... but that article points out the rights owners have that I don't. Do I vote for the board? No. Do I help decide objectives for the company or new funds? Also no. They keep me out of the loop from all information and decisions... that's not ownership.

Decades ago Vanguard championed and lead the way on lower expense ratios. Now they're bringing up the rear - they were last to lower stock/ETF transaction fees to $0/trade. They spun it the same way they did before, fooling me - but Schwab initiated it. Imagine that - Vanguard bringing up the rear on saving customers money. Similarly, Fidelity is trying a zero fee mutual fund - and Vanguard didn't even try. I can get low cost stock funds from Vanguard, Schwab or iShares... all for $0/trade.

I probably see the Vanguard website slowdown more than most people, because I've been closing many of my call options recently. I click "sell" on the first screen, and provide a limit price. The next screen confirms it, and finally the status page shows up. But these screens are slower now than in 2021, and much slower than 2020. Somewhere in the 5-10 second range, not something I can just ignore. And it's not my connection, either - I can watch YouTube without slowdowns in another tab, while waiting for Vanguard to load the next screen. Considering I need to make a number of offers before my options sell, it's especially slow and painful.
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Old 01-08-2022, 06:47 AM   #154
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I probably see the Vanguard website slowdown more than most people, because I've been closing many of my call options recently. I click "sell" on the first screen, and provide a limit price. The next screen confirms it, and finally the status page shows up. But these screens are slower now than in 2021, and much slower than 2020. Somewhere in the 5-10 second range, not something I can just ignore. And it's not my connection, either - I can watch YouTube without slowdowns in another tab, while waiting for Vanguard to load the next screen. Considering I need to make a number of offers before my options sell, it's especially slow and painful.
It has been my observation that Vanguard likes to just hold assets. They seem to passively try to dissatisfy customers who are traders, because they don't want the hassle. My guess is that they may be aware of your slowdown issue, but they probably put low or even negative priority on fixing that issue. For a company that wants your holding period to be years or decades, 5 or 10 seconds, even if it's on multiple screens and for multiple transactions, is nothing.

Not saying right or wrong or good or bad, just that's how they appear to behave.
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Old 01-08-2022, 11:38 AM   #155
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I'm 6 weesk into pulling money out of my Vangaurd employer 401K and putting into a Vanguard IRA.

6 freakin' weeks and I can't tell you how many phone calls and reps spoken to, along with almost $100 in fax and overnight fees of documents. I can attest to everything in the Seeking Alpha article. One of the biggest problems has been a Dodge and Cox stock fund that can't just land in the new IRA account that Vanguard is supposed to create for me. It has to go into a brokerage, as mentioned in the article. (aaahhh!!!)

I have $100K in money in transit, -- its out of my employer account and hasn't landed anywhere new yet -- like the IRA where it is supposed to go. I'll be on the phone again Monday morning.

One time last year I did get a magically trained rep who managed to get a $100k over to Fideilty. That was after several phone calls and having a rep (previous to her)... read to me the section of my employer plan that said I couldn't roll money out?? Except he never could find the section. And I read to him over the phone that section that covered how I COULD roll money out.

Thank god for the one lady who was trained and made it happen in literally 5 minutes.

This time I only capitulated and rolled money out of my Employer plan into a Vangaurd IRA because the phone reps kept telling me -- "You are rolling into a Vanguard IRA, right? Otherwise, I don't know.....it could take a while..."

As soon as the current roll lands somewhere at Vangaurd I can see online, I'm initiating a trustee-to-trustee roll into Fidelity because Fidelity reps literally get on the phone with the Vanguard reps and help make the rollovers happen.
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:04 PM   #156
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I have a lot of VTSAX non-covered shares pre 2012. I sell specID using my records. What would a conversion do to managing the basis? Sounds like more work.

Since 2013, I've been buying VTI. So I have both. I'll probably just stay the course for now.
The conversion would complicate things. I have fractional shares in my mutual fund account and the share prices differ. It seems like a headache.
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:18 PM   #157
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The conversion would complicate things. I have fractional shares in my mutual fund account and the share prices differ. It seems like a headache.
Yeah, thanks. I'm gonna let those VTSAX ride as is. I don't need more headaches.
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:22 PM   #158
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I have a lot of VTSAX non-covered shares pre 2012. I sell specID using my records. What would a conversion do to managing the basis? Sounds like more work.

Since 2013, I've been buying VTI. So I have both. I'll probably just stay the course for now.
Good for you! I wasn't wise enough to track my own holdings and I had a 2009 sale using avg cost so I'm stuck with it for those shares. Most were in the 30s anyway, but I did buy a chunk at $23.36 in 2008 which would be nice to treat separately. Oh well.

Yeah, I wouldn't convert those non-covered shares, but if you decided to leave VG and had to convert them I don't think the math would be too hard.
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:23 PM   #159
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This time I only capitulated and rolled money out of my Employer plan into a Vangaurd IRA because the phone reps kept telling me -- "You are rolling into a Vanguard IRA, right? Otherwise, I don't know.....it could take a while..."
so before you capitulated were you trying to transfer from the employer plan to a non-IRA.I think I must be missing something
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:52 PM   #160
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Good for you! I wasn't wise enough to track my own holdings and I had a 2009 sale using avg cost so I'm stuck with it for those shares. Most were in the 30s anyway, but I did buy a chunk at $23.36 in 2008 which would be nice to treat separately. Oh well.

Yeah, I wouldn't convert those non-covered shares, but if you decided to leave VG and had to convert them I don't think the math would be too hard.
Yeah, if I felt compelled to leave VG, I would just modify my spreadsheet. It is all in a spreadsheet already, so theoretically it shouldn't be too difficult.

I don't feel compelled to leave yet. I've xferred some retirement to Fidelity, and we're partly living on distributions, so my "not-quite-last" straw is that no new money is going into VG and we're actually slowly drawing it down via charitable xfers out and sweeping away distributions.
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