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Buying Bonds on Vanguard
Old 11-23-2022, 03:40 PM   #1
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Buying Bonds on Vanguard

Anybody have experience buying individual bonds on Vanguard? Do they have a decent platform for that with good evaluation tools? Other things I should be aware of, good and bad?

I'm very comfortable with their MF/ETF platform and although I know many don't like their website and customer help I've never had a problem.
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Old 11-23-2022, 03:48 PM   #2
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I bought bonds, treasuries and cds on their site.
It works better than some other sites.

It's simple enough, just a few tricks like when buying remember ordering 2 means $2,000
And the thing that bugs me the most is, when I buy $5K in T-bills, $10K in bonds, and $5K CD, then I look, my available cash remains the same.... The available cash only goes down when the bond/CD/Treasury settles...
This bugs me as I could easily overspend.
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Old 11-23-2022, 04:24 PM   #3
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I've noticed some improvements in the website recently, I have bought and sold bonds through Vanguard for years. I think it works fine. I will be buying 10 year TIPS for my ladder in January at auction.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:53 PM   #4
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Vanguard will not allow you to place limit orders either online or over the phone. A big drawback. Fidelity allows limit orders. I have been a customer of Vanguard for many years but am considering moving a large portion of my funds to Fidelity just for this reason.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I bought bonds, treasuries and cds on their site.
It works better than some other sites.


And the thing that bugs me the most is, when I buy $5K in T-bills, $10K in bonds, and $5K CD, then I look, my available cash remains the same.... The available cash only goes down when the bond/CD/Treasury settles...
This bugs me as I could easily overspend.
I don't understand this comment. If you place an order for a bond the Vanguard system always alerts you if you have pending orders to determine if you have sufficient available funds to make the purchase.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelb View Post
I don't understand this comment. If you place an order for a bond the Vanguard system always alerts you if you have pending orders to determine if you have sufficient available funds to make the purchase.
+1
Right, the settlement drives the deduction from the cash available, not having an open order. Logical because "he" doesn't know when the trade closes or the price it's at(at least for market orders). Systems like that don't generally allow you to overspend your assets.
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Old 11-23-2022, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I bought bonds, treasuries and cds on their site.
It works better than some other sites.

It's simple enough, just a few tricks like when buying remember ordering 2 means $2,000
And the thing that bugs me the most is, when I buy $5K in T-bills, $10K in bonds, and $5K CD, then I look, my available cash remains the same.... The available cash only goes down when the bond/CD/Treasury settles...
This bugs me as I could easily overspend.
I agree that it can be confusing. Sometimes the "funds available to trade" in your settlement account takes into account what is listed in your outstanding orders and sometimes it doesn't. When I checked this morning, some of my pending orders were reflected in what they said was my "total available balance" and "funds available to trade" and some were not. You do have to be very careful to keep track of what your actual balance is. And, yes, at Vanguard, you really can outspend the assets that you have in a settlement account.

You also have to be very careful when choosing which account you click on when going to order. They don't list a lot of information and they are listed closely to each other. (I have multiple accounts and accidentally clicked on the wrong one once without realizing it. That's how I ended up outspending the settlement funds in that account, which were zero. I eventually got an e-mail notice from Vanguard, but by then it was too late.)

And, yes, I find that the web site has glitches. Also, Vanguard doesn't seem to carry as many bonds as other places.
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Old 11-23-2022, 11:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by stevelb View Post
I don't understand this comment. If you place an order for a bond the Vanguard system always alerts you if you have pending orders to determine if you have sufficient available funds to make the purchase.
I have traded stocks on many other sites, there when I log in, to the brokerage, it says I have $X available. When I buy some stocks and look at my main page, it now says I have $X-$y remaining. Even though stocks take 2 days to settle.

Vanguard doesn't do that, it pretends like my orders for the bonds won't happen, and their warning box about having pending orders is a kludgy fix for poor logic (IMHO).
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Old 11-24-2022, 12:41 AM   #9
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Buying Treasuries is easy enough **. I only wish there was a better way to predict the price, so I could deploy as cash much as possible without going over. But that’s a function of not knowing what the interest rate will be as much as anything.

However Vanguard does not provide a redeem/reinvest option, you have to do so manually. I’ve read Fidelity, Treasury Direct and others do offer redeem/reinvest.

** However if you’re on a Mac, you have to (temporarily) disable third party cross tracking to search bonds. Safari > Settings > Privacy > Prevent cross-site tracking
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Old 11-24-2022, 10:18 AM   #10
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We've been laddering since April when we sold our bond funds. And will continue buying, super easy after the bond desk explained how to do it, what to look for in terms of premium vs discount and how that affects the coupon and overall YTM. I'm new to all of this. The bond desk CS was helpful and friendly. I keep saying, this is a dumb question but...what does this or that mean? They explained in detail, we actually laughed a few times b/c I want a nice coupon for 5 years and a good YTM, and a discount on the purchase. Well, in a perfiect workd, here's what you look for.
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Old 11-24-2022, 07:26 PM   #11
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I was searching for CDs at Vanguard. I canít figure out how to view details for non callable CDs. The callable CDs have a link to click that displays details of the issue. Iíd like to view details for the non callable issues also.
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