Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

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MrPotatoHead
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by MrPotatoHead » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:13 am

loislane911 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:25 pm
Which firm has the best individual bond offerings and the best bond desk to deal with? I have a fixed income portfolio with mostly muncipal and corporate bonds (I'm in California). And unfortunately, many of my 5% California muni's are being called. I recently moved my portfolio from UBS to Fidelity. I've had some extremely frustrating customer service issues at Fidelity and I'm thinking of moving -- although their individual bond offerings are fairly good -- and of course, much more transparent compared to UBS. Has anyone invested via the bond desk at Schwab or Vanguard? How do they compare?
I am a bit surprised to read this, only because Fidelity has he best fixed income specialists I have ever come across. Did you actually talk to their fixed income specialists? They have a separate phone number. I found them very, very helpful and they offered a great deal of guidance before I made purchases.

I have yet to have any type of positive customer service experience from Vanguard.

chambers136
Posts: 177
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by chambers136 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:19 am

I have all three. Retirement at Fidelity, taxable at Schwab and Vanguard (much larger at Schwab). Schwab has many great index funds, and they give some free trades for the asking if you want some VG ETFs. You’re assigned an ‘advisor’ from the local branch office. Mine has been very helpful as a point of contact to get some minor issues resolved. No pressure at all yet to do anything other than what I’m doing. Fidelity has been great as well, but I wish they had a branch office closer so I would not need to be transferred so many times during a call. I’ve never contacted VG, so no complaints.

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ruralavalon
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Location: Illinois

Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:55 pm

catdude wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:06 am
loislane911 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:25 pm
Which firm has the best individual bond offerings and the best bond desk to deal with? I have a fixed income portfolio with mostly muncipal and corporate bonds (I'm in California). And unfortunately, many of my 5% California muni's are being called. I recently moved my portfolio from UBS to Fidelity. I've had some extremely frustrating customer service issues at Fidelity and I'm thinking of moving -- although their individual bond offerings are fairly good -- and of course, much more transparent compared to UBS. Has anyone invested via the bond desk at Schwab or Vanguard? How do they compare?
Hi lois, welcome to the forum. I don't have an answer for you, but I'm thinking that you may get more responses if you start a new thread. Around here discussions of Fidelity vs. Vanguard vs. Schwab are old hat, and a lot of folks aren't going to bother clicking on this thread. You'll have better luck if you start a new one.

Good luck!
Good advice, only a small minority here use individual bonds. So a separate thread about bond desks would get you more responses.

My own experience is only with Vanguard's bond desk and not with other firms' bond desks, so I can't make any comparisons. I had a few transactions buying and selling Treasury STRIPS thru Vanguard, had good service and experienced no problems at all.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

fiskalisch gesinnt
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by fiskalisch gesinnt » Fri Dec 22, 2017 4:04 pm

I use all three and don't have a strong recommendation, but if starting over I'd probably pick Vanguard or Fidelity.

Fidelity puts more resources into their systems (online, customer facing software) which is nice. Vanguard is pretty simple and seemed like they always had the lowest expenses on their funds, but not sure that is the case anymore as Fidelity reduced theirs.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of the three. I suggest browsing the websites and seeing which is the most intuitive for you to use, the actual investments choices will be pretty similar.

dantempkin
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by dantempkin » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:04 pm

Hi all.
Been reading this forum for a while but first time poster.
I am pretty new to the whole investing scene.
I am about to open a Roth IRA for myself and wife (hopefully before the 15th so that it can count towards 2017).
In regards to which company to open the account with, I see that a number of members (see quotes below) differentiate between non taxable such as Roth IRA and taxable stuff, and have accounts in different places for each of those.
Can someone please explain to me, in layman's terms, why it makes a difference and what I should be looking for specifically for Roth IRA, for other investments I am not in such a rush because I don't need to meed the April 15th deadline.

Thank you.



chambers136 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:19 am
I have all three. Retirement at Fidelity, taxable at Schwab and Vanguard (much larger at Schwab). Schwab has many great index funds, and they give some free trades for the asking if you want some VG ETFs. You’re assigned an ‘advisor’ from the local branch office. Mine has been very helpful as a point of contact to get some minor issues resolved. No pressure at all yet to do anything other than what I’m doing. Fidelity has been great as well, but I wish they had a branch office closer so I would not need to be transferred so many times during a call. I’ve never contacted VG, so no complaints.
investor997 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:42 pm
I'm probably going to Schwab. My reasoning:

- I use ETFs in the taxable space. Schwab has us covered in terms of constructing a Boglehead-friendly portfolio: SCHB, SCHF, SCHE, SCHZ. All have ERs comparable to Vanguard and all can be traded commission free with NO short term trading penalty fees. The commission-free ETF lists at TD Ameritrade and Fidelity have short term trading fees
- Schwab has super low cost index mutual funds for the tax advantaged space (Roth IRA): SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX...
- Schwab has a nearby brick and mortar branch
- Schwab is a proper bank, not just cash management. Heck, you can even get a mortgage from them. Plus they offer the usual freebies like ATM reimbursement, bill pay, etc.

I'm presently with Scottrade. If I do nothing, I'll eventually get converted to TD Ameritrade when the acquisition completes. TDA offers Vanguard ETFs commission free but gotta be careful with the short term trading fees.
Joeko wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:13 pm
I have taxable funds with Vanguard and Solo 401K with Fidelity. No issues with either firm, I don't think you can go wrong with either 3 of these firms. I wouldn't sweat it
welderwannabe wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:41 am
I am a customer of both Fidelity and Vanguard. I have my tax advantaged stuff with Fidelity and my taxable stuff with Vanguard.

It is my opinion that Vanguard offers superior muni funds and has one of the lowest cost muni money markets I have been able to find. That is why my taxable stuff is with them.

Vanguard's Solo401k is very limiting, so that is why I used Fidelity for that.


As for customer service I think they are both excellent, but Fidelity's customer service is a little bit better. Overall for most things it is 6 of 1 and a half dozen of the other.

Overall I like Vanguard a little bit better because they have more low cost funds than Fidelity has. Fidelity is low-cost only for some of their funds, so you have to spend a bunch of time researching and shopping.
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:02 am
If you're just wanting to do a simple three-fund portfolio, you may not need much in the way of customer support, so I wouldn't let the horror stories sway your decision. You can do such a portfolio at any of the three. I have a tIRA at Fidelity and a taxable account at Vanguard, both are doing fine. The few times I've had to call customer service at either went just fine.

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ruralavalon
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:43 pm

dantempkin wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:04 pm
Hi all.
Been reading this forum for a while but first time poster.
I am pretty new to the whole investing scene.
I am about to open a Roth IRA for myself and wife (hopefully before the 15th so that it can count towards 2017).
In regards to which company to open the account with, I see that a number of members (see quotes below) differentiate between non taxable such as Roth IRA and taxable stuff, and have accounts in different places for each of those.
Can someone please explain to me, in layman's terms, why it makes a difference and what I should be looking for specifically for Roth IRA, for other investments I am not in such a rush because I don't need to meed the April 15th deadline.

Thank you.



chambers136 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:19 am
I have all three. Retirement at Fidelity, taxable at Schwab and Vanguard (much larger at Schwab). Schwab has many great index funds, and they give some free trades for the asking if you want some VG ETFs. You’re assigned an ‘advisor’ from the local branch office. Mine has been very helpful as a point of contact to get some minor issues resolved. No pressure at all yet to do anything other than what I’m doing. Fidelity has been great as well, but I wish they had a branch office closer so I would not need to be transferred so many times during a call. I’ve never contacted VG, so no complaints.
investor997 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:42 pm
I'm probably going to Schwab. My reasoning:

- I use ETFs in the taxable space. Schwab has us covered in terms of constructing a Boglehead-friendly portfolio: SCHB, SCHF, SCHE, SCHZ. All have ERs comparable to Vanguard and all can be traded commission free with NO short term trading penalty fees. The commission-free ETF lists at TD Ameritrade and Fidelity have short term trading fees
- Schwab has super low cost index mutual funds for the tax advantaged space (Roth IRA): SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX...
- Schwab has a nearby brick and mortar branch
- Schwab is a proper bank, not just cash management. Heck, you can even get a mortgage from them. Plus they offer the usual freebies like ATM reimbursement, bill pay, etc.

I'm presently with Scottrade. If I do nothing, I'll eventually get converted to TD Ameritrade when the acquisition completes. TDA offers Vanguard ETFs commission free but gotta be careful with the short term trading fees.
Joeko wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:13 pm
I have taxable funds with Vanguard and Solo 401K with Fidelity. No issues with either firm, I don't think you can go wrong with either 3 of these firms. I wouldn't sweat it
welderwannabe wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:41 am
I am a customer of both Fidelity and Vanguard. I have my tax advantaged stuff with Fidelity and my taxable stuff with Vanguard.

It is my opinion that Vanguard offers superior muni funds and has one of the lowest cost muni money markets I have been able to find. That is why my taxable stuff is with them.

Vanguard's Solo401k is very limiting, so that is why I used Fidelity for that.


As for customer service I think they are both excellent, but Fidelity's customer service is a little bit better. Overall for most things it is 6 of 1 and a half dozen of the other.

Overall I like Vanguard a little bit better because they have more low cost funds than Fidelity has. Fidelity is low-cost only for some of their funds, so you have to spend a bunch of time researching and shopping.
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:02 am
If you're just wanting to do a simple three-fund portfolio, you may not need much in the way of customer support, so I wouldn't let the horror stories sway your decision. You can do such a portfolio at any of the three. I have a tIRA at Fidelity and a taxable account at Vanguard, both are doing fine. The few times I've had to call customer service at either went just fine.
All three would be good for a Roth IRA.

My own personal preference would be in this
1) Vanguard, or
2) Fidelity, or
3) Schwab
in that order.

Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense mutual funds offered anywhere. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense mutual funds than does Schwab.

But all three would be good choices for your Roth IRA.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

dantempkin
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:48 am

Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by dantempkin » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:47 am

ruralavalon wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:43 pm
dantempkin wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:04 pm
Hi all.
Been reading this forum for a while but first time poster.
I am pretty new to the whole investing scene.
I am about to open a Roth IRA for myself and wife (hopefully before the 15th so that it can count towards 2017).
In regards to which company to open the account with, I see that a number of members (see quotes below) differentiate between non taxable such as Roth IRA and taxable stuff, and have accounts in different places for each of those.
Can someone please explain to me, in layman's terms, why it makes a difference and what I should be looking for specifically for Roth IRA, for other investments I am not in such a rush because I don't need to meed the April 15th deadline.

Thank you.



chambers136 wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:19 am
I have all three. Retirement at Fidelity, taxable at Schwab and Vanguard (much larger at Schwab). Schwab has many great index funds, and they give some free trades for the asking if you want some VG ETFs. You’re assigned an ‘advisor’ from the local branch office. Mine has been very helpful as a point of contact to get some minor issues resolved. No pressure at all yet to do anything other than what I’m doing. Fidelity has been great as well, but I wish they had a branch office closer so I would not need to be transferred so many times during a call. I’ve never contacted VG, so no complaints.
investor997 wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:42 pm
I'm probably going to Schwab. My reasoning:

- I use ETFs in the taxable space. Schwab has us covered in terms of constructing a Boglehead-friendly portfolio: SCHB, SCHF, SCHE, SCHZ. All have ERs comparable to Vanguard and all can be traded commission free with NO short term trading penalty fees. The commission-free ETF lists at TD Ameritrade and Fidelity have short term trading fees
- Schwab has super low cost index mutual funds for the tax advantaged space (Roth IRA): SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX...
- Schwab has a nearby brick and mortar branch
- Schwab is a proper bank, not just cash management. Heck, you can even get a mortgage from them. Plus they offer the usual freebies like ATM reimbursement, bill pay, etc.

I'm presently with Scottrade. If I do nothing, I'll eventually get converted to TD Ameritrade when the acquisition completes. TDA offers Vanguard ETFs commission free but gotta be careful with the short term trading fees.
Joeko wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:13 pm
I have taxable funds with Vanguard and Solo 401K with Fidelity. No issues with either firm, I don't think you can go wrong with either 3 of these firms. I wouldn't sweat it
welderwannabe wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:41 am
I am a customer of both Fidelity and Vanguard. I have my tax advantaged stuff with Fidelity and my taxable stuff with Vanguard.

It is my opinion that Vanguard offers superior muni funds and has one of the lowest cost muni money markets I have been able to find. That is why my taxable stuff is with them.

Vanguard's Solo401k is very limiting, so that is why I used Fidelity for that.


As for customer service I think they are both excellent, but Fidelity's customer service is a little bit better. Overall for most things it is 6 of 1 and a half dozen of the other.

Overall I like Vanguard a little bit better because they have more low cost funds than Fidelity has. Fidelity is low-cost only for some of their funds, so you have to spend a bunch of time researching and shopping.
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:02 am
If you're just wanting to do a simple three-fund portfolio, you may not need much in the way of customer support, so I wouldn't let the horror stories sway your decision. You can do such a portfolio at any of the three. I have a tIRA at Fidelity and a taxable account at Vanguard, both are doing fine. The few times I've had to call customer service at either went just fine.
All three would be good for a Roth IRA.

My own personal preference would be in this
1) Vanguard, or
2) Fidelity, or
3) Schwab
in that order.

Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense mutual funds offered anywhere. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense mutual funds than does Schwab.

But all three would be good choices for your Roth IRA.
My question is what makes it good for Roth IRA as opposed to other investments?

What's the reason that people split their non-taxable investments from their taxable ones in different places?

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ruralavalon
Posts: 14090
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:43 am

dantempkin wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:47 am
ruralavalon wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:43 pm
dantempkin wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:04 pm
Hi all.
Been reading this forum for a while but first time poster.
I am pretty new to the whole investing scene.
I am about to open a Roth IRA for myself and wife (hopefully before the 15th so that it can count towards 2017).
In regards to which company to open the account with, I see that a number of members (see quotes below) differentiate between non taxable such as Roth IRA and taxable stuff, and have accounts in different places for each of those.
Can someone please explain to me, in layman's terms, why it makes a difference and what I should be looking for specifically for Roth IRA, for other investments I am not in such a rush because I don't need to meed the April 15th deadline.

Thank you.

. . . . .
All three would be good for a Roth IRA.

My own personal preference would be in this
1) Vanguard, or
2) Fidelity, or
3) Schwab
in that order.

Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense mutual funds offered anywhere. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense mutual funds than does Schwab.

But all three would be good choices for your Roth IRA.
My question is what makes it good for Roth IRA as opposed to other investments?

What's the reason that people split their non-taxable investments from their taxable ones in different places?
If you are asking about which fund firm to use for your new Roth IRA, then I suggest Vanguard for the reason I previously stated.

Are you asking what funds to use in the different types of accounts?

In general any type of fund is suitable in a Roth IRA, and stock index funds expected to have a higher rate of return are better.

In the taxable account I suggest using Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTSAX) ER 0.04% and Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares (VTIAX) ER 0.11%. Both are very tax-efficient. Wiki article "Tax-efficient fund placement". Those funds are also well suited to any type of account. Both are very diversified with very low expense ratios.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

blackhawkfan
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:59 pm

Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by blackhawkfan » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:12 am

New to the site but long time Vanguard brokerage and mutual fund customer. I have 60% of our money with Vanguard and invested in Vanguard funds, with the other 40% at Fidelity through company 401K, and a little with Dodge and Cox. In the approx., 20 years that I have been a Vanguard customer I have used their CS approx., 30-40 times. Never had an issue, BUT I would consider myself a do-it-yourself investor so I rarely have requested actual investment advice. Most of my inquiries have been of the administrative type.

With my 401K at Fidelity, I have had to call with questions several times and was not impressed with Fidelity. Many people did not know the answers, could not find the answers and did not seem to want to find the answers. Just my experience. Zero experience with Schwab.

Liked Vanguard enough to recently move my mothers trust $$ to Vanguard in a Vanguard managed account. Hooked up with a Vanguard investment adviser who has provided great service for what we need and what we pay in fee's for her trust money.

My overall impression of Vanguard service is that if you need a lot of hand holding or want the latest stock tip, they might not be the right place unless you pay the extra fee's for them to be actively involved. If you do your own research and are a buy and hold investor, they are the best based on my experience.

I will also say Vanguard funds are second to none as far as I am concerned. Between all of our accounts (brokerage, 529, trust, kids) my family holds approx., 10 different Vanguard funds. I find no other company offers what Vanguard offers in mutual funds.

Nate79
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Nate79 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:28 am

I really like Schwab and am slowly consolidating all of our accounts there. The customer service is top notch, especially to answer little questions here and there, just jump on the chat. They have plenty of excellent mutual funds and ETF's. They also have a lot of other ETF's that trade free many with low ER. Sure Vanguard has more mutual funds/ETF options but I find this a minor difference. I also really like the checking account and having all my accounts under one roof will be very simple.

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tuningfork
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by tuningfork » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:34 am

dantempkin wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:47 am
What's the reason that people split their non-taxable investments from their taxable ones in different places?
In my case it was chance. I had accounts at lots of financial institutions due to historical reasons, and began an effort about 5 years ago to consolidate to one or two. I no longer wanted to keep track of so many accounts.

I ended up consolidating some to Vanguard (because I inherited an IRA there and liked the low cost index fund choices) and some to Fidelity (because my company's 401k was there, I rolled it over to an IRA and decided I liked the personal service I received from a dedicated adviser at their local office). I now have the majority of my IRA assets at Fidelity and the majority of my taxable accounts at Vanguard, but that's just chance. I have taxable and regular IRAs and Roth IRAs at both.

I have a slight preference of Fidelity over Vanguard, but only because of the local office and better (IMHO) web site. If I were starting from scratch with what I know now I would probably put everything at Fidelity.

You would be fine choosing Fidelity or Vanguard for your Roth IRA. No need to over-think it. If you decide later you made the wrong choice, you can move it to another place with no tax consequences.

I never used Schwab so no opinion.

Looking4Answers
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:48 pm

Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Looking4Answers » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:37 am

blackhawkfan wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:12 am
New to the site but long time Vanguard brokerage and mutual fund customer. I have 60% of our money with Vanguard and invested in Vanguard funds, with the other 40% at Fidelity through company 401K, and a little with Dodge and Cox. In the approx., 20 years that I have been a Vanguard customer I have used their CS approx., 30-40 times. Never had an issue, BUT I would consider myself a do-it-yourself investor so I rarely have requested actual investment advice. Most of my inquiries have been of the administrative type.

With my 401K at Fidelity, I have had to call with questions several times and was not impressed with Fidelity. Many people did not know the answers, could not find the answers and did not seem to want to find the answers. Just my experience. Zero experience with Schwab.

Liked Vanguard enough to recently move my mothers trust $$ to Vanguard in a Vanguard managed account. Hooked up with a Vanguard investment adviser who has provided great service for what we need and what we pay in fee's for her trust money.

My overall impression of Vanguard service is that if you need a lot of hand holding or want the latest stock tip, they might not be the right place unless you pay the extra fee's for them to be actively involved. If you do your own research and are a buy and hold investor, they are the best based on my experience.

I will also say Vanguard funds are second to none as far as I am concerned. Between all of our accounts (brokerage, 529, trust, kids) my family holds approx., 10 different Vanguard funds. I find no other company offers what Vanguard offers in mutual funds.
Just read your comment and thought it very interesting in light of some of my recent experiences. I have had experiences with Vanguard and Fidelity over the years, both for myself and a family member who has accounts with Fidelity. Overall, Fidelity's website is much superior than Vanguard's. Customer service as well. However, when it comes to 401k's experience, totally different. When DH had Vanguard 401k, it's website was simple and easy to use. Fidelity's has been convoluted and hard to navigate. Every time we have had to call, (which is necessary because that is the only way to communicate with them)the CSR has had to put us on hold and then get back to us, and even then we're not sure of what they are telling us. I made the comment that Fidelity's CSRs must start in the 401k department.

ksualum
Posts: 79
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ksualum » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:47 am

welderwannabe wrote:
Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:41 am
I am a customer of both Fidelity and Vanguard. I have my tax advantaged stuff with Fidelity and my taxable stuff with Vanguard.

It is my opinion that Vanguard offers superior muni funds and has one of the lowest cost muni money markets I have been able to find. That is why my taxable stuff is with them.

Vanguard's Solo401k is very limiting, so that is why I used Fidelity for that.


As for customer service I think they are both excellent, but Fidelity's customer service is a little bit better. Overall for most things it is 6 of 1 and a half dozen of the other.

Overall I like Vanguard a little bit better because they have more low cost funds than Fidelity has. Fidelity is low-cost only for some of their funds, so you have to spend a bunch of time researching and shopping.
I use Schwab for taxable and Fidelity for 401k (I have no choice). I would say the one drawback about Schwab is the municipal bond funds withlow expense ratios and no commission selection is quite low. I have been very happy with Schwab i.e. customer service, other good low cost indexing options etc, but as I am starting to increase my municipal bond holdings in taxable, I would say that is a drawback with Schwab for taxable as welderwannabe points out above.

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