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I'm looking to open a donor advised fund and was curious if anyone had experience with Vanguard Charitable and Fidelity Charitable. They seem to have similar management costs and in both I could set up a simple 3 fund portfolio cheaply - so the difference comes down to service levels, interface etc. The only difference I notice on first glance is that Vanguard has higher minimum's for initial contribution and grant levels and also charges an additional $100 fee if the account goes below $15k.
Any experiences out there?
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We have a Donor Advised Fund with Vanguard. The first grant request got hung up in their bureaucracy and was not processed quickly. That got straightened out, and there have been no problems with the subsequent grants.
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Have had one with VG for a few years now. Online access. Easy to transfer securities to them. No complaints.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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We use Fido. Perfectly happy with them. When we opened we didn't have enough for Vanguard.
I don't like that Vanguard $100 fee.
Schwab also has one.
It's not a particularly cost-effective way to house donations, since you lose out on future appreciated securities and their write off value. For example, by virtue of going 100% into the stock market on February 21, 2009 with my DAF, I lost a lot of money in potential tax deductions.
I do like them because they're prepared to handle appreciated securities better than small charities, and yet I can donate to small charities in sums as low as $50. But I don't think they're a great place to 'keep' money long-term.
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We have Fidelity and it works out well. We used appreciated stock and mutual funds many years ago and parcel it out in small/modest amounts every year.
Depending on your situation, it can be a great place to have funds for charitable donations long (or even VERY LONG) term. You get the deductions right away on the full appreciated value, and can have funds sent to the charities as you see fit without tax consequences. We picked Fidelity over Vanguard because of the smaller allowable amounts in and out. I think that may have changed in recent years. Another nice feature (although we have not used it) with Fidelity (and perhaps others) is that you can make an anonymous donation.
Many otherwise very worthy institutions are not good at getting larger lump sums and using the funds over a long period, as you might wish. You can do that with a DAF, and if the institution ever becomes "unworthy" of your support, you can change it.
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- Location: Washington DC area
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