Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
Ron Scott
Posts: 1090
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:38 am

Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Ron Scott » Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:30 am

Assume a traditional Bogle approach to investing. 50-50, 2-fund, US total stocks and bonds, DIY rebalancing, mix of taxable, IRA and Roth, straightforward asset location, low cost investing required.

Where do you put your money and why?
Retirement is a game best played by those prepared for more volatility in the future than has been seen in the past. The solution is not to predict investment losses but to prepare for them.

TwstdSista
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:03 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by TwstdSista » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:01 am

Fidelity -- lower costs and no minimums (beats Vanguard and Schwab), a local office I can walk in to (beats Vanguard), plus a Total International should I eventually want one (beats Schwab).

Also I have a solo 401k, Fidelity wins there as well.

student
Posts: 2577
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by student » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:05 am

All three are fine. Customer services maybe better at Fidelity and Schwab. However, others may have different experiences. I prefer them because they have local offices near me and they have 24 hours customer service. I may call them once a year or less but I want to know if there is an emergency, I can call them.

veggivet
Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:07 pm
Location: New England

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by veggivet » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:38 am

Fido: Lowest cost structure and best customer service.

User avatar
Oak&Elm
Posts: 315
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:50 pm
Location: Undisclosed Lake, MN

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Oak&Elm » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:59 am

If you know what you're doing Fido or Schwab are fine, if not go with Vanguard. I say this because I recently was asked by a friend who has all his investments at Fidelity to review his portfolio. Funny thing, none of the low expense index funds we all like were in his mix. He could have just switched to the lower expense funds at Fidelity but instead moved it all over to Vanguard. At the end of the day all 3 are fine, I just trust Vanguard more.

2pedals
Posts: 628
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by 2pedals » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:08 am

I like Fidelity, I have been using them since 1983. They have a 2% cash back credit card that automatically deposits to your account after reaching a minimum reward amount (I think it is $50). They have a investment center locally where I or my wife can walk in and get personalized help, drop checks off for deposit, applications, etc (but rarely needed). They also have a ATM/Visa debit card that I can use when nationally traveling for ATM fee reimbursement (I never have to pay for using the ATM machine to get cash). Free iShares ETF transactions and low ER index funds. 24/7 phone help. YMMV

e5116
Posts: 405
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 11:22 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by e5116 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:17 am

I think any of the three are great and the differences are negligible. I have had accounts with all three and now use Schwab and Vanguard. I personally still like a few of Vanguard's functionalities that don't exist at Schwab that allow me to invest on "auto-pilot." That is probably largely a function of the fact that it's easier to use mutual funds to invest on auto-pilot than ETFs, but there are other small things that Vanguard lets me do that Schwab doesn't. I haven't had poor experiences with customer service like others at Vanguard, but I basically never call them. The administrative setup at Vanguard seems to be more burdensome than other places, though, but that's a one time thing.

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 14079
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:34 am

Ron Scott wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:30 am
Assume a traditional Bogle approach to investing. 50-50, 2-fund, US total stocks and bonds, DIY rebalancing, mix of taxable, IRA and Roth, straightforward asset location, low cost investing required.

Where do you put your money and why?
All of our accounts are at Vanguard, and we use only Vanguard Index funds. I initially chose Vanguard because of their very broad selection of funds, and I found their website easier to use in selecting funds.

For funds and location of accounts I usually suggest
1) Vanguard,
2) Fidelity, or
3) Schwab
in that order of preference.

Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense mutual funds offered anywhere. I also like Vanguard's mutual structure, Vanguard is owned by the Vanguard funds, has no other shareholders, and so conflicts of interest with shareholders don't exist. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense index funds than does Schwab.We still have all of our accounts at Vanguard, and use only Vanguard index funds.

Both Fidelity and Schwab have local customer service offices in some cities, but Vanguard does not. None have a local office near me, so that was not a factor in my choice. A local office is important for some, but in my opinion not at all necessary. We have had no problems with the rare phone consultations that were necessary. I call Vanguard once per year at most, some years not at all. Once a reasonable investing plan is set up, it requires almost no attention. Some people prefer the customer service at Fidelity or Schwab.

Schwab does not offer a total international stock index fund, both Vanguard and Fidelity do. Vanguard stock index funds are more tax-efficient, which is important if you are using a taxable account. Vanguard offers a larger selection of tax-exempt bond funds than either Schwab or Fidelity, which is important if you are using a taxable account and are in a high tax bracket. Vanguard offers a small-cap value index fund, but Schwab and Fidelity do not, which is important if you are interested in value investing.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

Nate79
Posts: 3583
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Nate79 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:53 am

Schwab. On top of investing they have a great no fee checking account.

badger42
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:01 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by badger42 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:55 am

Schwab does not have a total international index, but they have totally reasonable developed markets (SWISX / SCHF) and emerging markets (SCHE) offerings. Holding those in a 4:1 ratio is essentially the same as a total international index.

Due to factors such as employer stock plans and 401(k)s, I have accounts at all three.

Schwab provided the best toolkit for a sophisticated DIY-er at a low cost, plus somebody with a clue at the other end of a phone call when you need them. Vanguard provided no frills access to Vanguard funds, but a web experience from the 90s and long waits to talk with a human of questionable clue-ful-ness. Fidelity provides a nice hand-hold-y experience and a frequent attempt to upsell, along with a beginner friendly web experience with no depth.

Know yourself. If your ideal bank is a small local credit union with limited hours and offerings but you own a share, go with Vanguard. If you need handholding, go with Fidelity. If you want a full toolbox including sophisticated tools that might cut you if used incorrectly, go with Schwab.

User avatar
Alexa9
Posts: 1640
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Alexa9 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:05 am

"I prefer Vanguard because of their unique ownership structure. You see, Vanguard is owned by the mutual funds it runs. (This is in contrast with other brokerage firms and fund companies, which are owned by third-party shareholders.)

Believe it or not, this isn’t just trivia. It has important ramifications.

Low Costs
First and most obviously: It makes their funds very inexpensive. All of Vanguard’s services are provided “at cost” to investors. And why wouldn’t they be? The investors essentially own the company.

Cost Reduction (rather than Profit-Maximization)
Second, it means that Vanguard is always looking for ways to reduce costs even further. Contrast this with other brokerage firms, and you see a big difference.

For example, discount brokerage firm Zecco became known for offering commission-free trades to people with accounts of $25,000 or more. They recently announced, however, that they’re ending that program completely. Tough luck to everybody who opened accounts for exactly that reason.

With Vanguard, you don’t have to worry about bait-and-switch tactics like that. You don’t have to worry about them roping you in with a low-cost promotion, then jacking up prices to increase their profit margin (because, again, there is no profit margin).

Elimination of Conflicts of Interest
Finally, Vanguard’s unique ownership structure means that the information investors receive from them is not polluted by conflicts of interest.

As a contrasting example, with my account at Schwab, I frequently received emails (as well as their quarterly On Investing publication) that encouraged me to seek above-market returns by trading individual stocks or selecting actively managed mutual funds. I daresay it’s not a coincidence that frequently trading stocks and investing in high-cost funds happen to be strategies that are more profitable for Schwab than buying and holding index funds.

My experience was similar with other brokerage firms: They consistently encourage their clients to use investment strategies that are most profitable for the brokerage firm, regardless of how likely those strategies are to be successful for the investor.

At Vanguard, it’s different. I don’t agree with every piece of information they put out, but at least I don’t have to worry that they’re trying to get me to do something just because it’s more profitable for Vanguard."

https://obliviousinvestor.com/vanguard/

Dottie57
Posts: 4650
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:40 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:05 am
"I prefer Vanguard because of their unique ownership structure. You see, Vanguard is owned by the mutual funds it runs. (This is in contrast with other brokerage firms and fund companies, which are owned by third-party shareholders.)

Believe it or not, this isn’t just trivia. It has important ramifications.

Low Costs
First and most obviously: It makes their funds very inexpensive. All of Vanguard’s services are provided “at cost” to investors. And why wouldn’t they be? The investors essentially own the company.

Cost Reduction (rather than Profit-Maximization)
Second, it means that Vanguard is always looking for ways to reduce costs even further. Contrast this with other brokerage firms, and you see a big difference.

For example, discount brokerage firm Zecco became known for offering commission-free trades to people with accounts of $25,000 or more. They recently announced, however, that they’re ending that program completely. Tough luck to everybody who opened accounts for exactly that reason.

With Vanguard, you don’t have to worry about bait-and-switch tactics like that. You don’t have to worry about them roping you in with a low-cost promotion, then jacking up prices to increase their profit margin (because, again, there is no profit margin).

Elimination of Conflicts of Interest
Finally, Vanguard’s unique ownership structure means that the information investors receive from them is not polluted by conflicts of interest.

As a contrasting example, with my account at Schwab, I frequently received emails (as well as their quarterly On Investing publication) that encouraged me to seek above-market returns by trading individual stocks or selecting actively managed mutual funds. I daresay it’s not a coincidence that frequently trading stocks and investing in high-cost funds happen to be strategies that are more profitable for Schwab than buying and holding index funds.

My experience was similar with other brokerage firms: They consistently encourage their clients to use investment strategies that are most profitable for the brokerage firm, regardless of how likely those strategies are to be successful for the investor.

At Vanguard, it’s different. I don’t agree with every piece of information they put out, but at least I don’t have to worry that they’re trying to get me to do something just because it’s more profitable for Vanguard."

https://obliviousinvestor.com/vanguard/
I agree with your points. I do want a brick and mortar building with people in it who I can talk to. When I set up my accounts at Fidelity, I received help from a young FA. HE DIDN’t know the answer to all my questions so he had phone access to an expert who knew the answers. Fast and easy. We set up the transfers and all went well.

The FA did try togetme to buy non- bogleheadish products but I politely declined.

I like the web Fidelity site very much.

Moving to Vanguard worries me. The reports On VG customer service keep me from moving there.

innominate21
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:11 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by innominate21 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:56 am

ruralavalon wrote: Vanguard offers a larger selection of tax-exempt bond funds than either Schwab or Fidelity, which is important if you are using a taxable account and are in a high tax bracket.
I don't want to derail the thread but could someone explain this? I thought bonds go in tax-advantaged spaces like a 401k?

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 14079
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:00 am

innominate21 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:56 am
ruralavalon wrote: Vanguard offers a larger selection of tax-exempt bond funds than either Schwab or Fidelity, which is important if you are using a taxable account and are in a high tax bracket.
I don't want to derail the thread but could someone explain this? I thought bonds go in tax-advantaged spaces like a 401k?
Sometimes an older investor who wants a large bond allocation does not have enough room in tax-advantaged accounts to hold the entire bond allocation, and sometimes there is no decent bond fund offered in a 401k. Sometimes the only decent fund offered in a 401k is an S&P 500 index fund.
Last edited by ruralavalon on Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

geno974
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:03 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by geno974 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:01 am

Actually all have specific advantages, so I use all three in my plan.
G

Nate79
Posts: 3583
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Nate79 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:08 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:05 am
"I prefer Vanguard because of their unique ownership structure. You see, Vanguard is owned by the mutual funds it runs. (This is in contrast with other brokerage firms and fund companies, which are owned by third-party shareholders.)

Believe it or not, this isn’t just trivia. It has important ramifications.

Low Costs
First and most obviously: It makes their funds very inexpensive. All of Vanguard’s services are provided “at cost” to investors. And why wouldn’t they be? The investors essentially own the company.

Cost Reduction (rather than Profit-Maximization)
Second, it means that Vanguard is always looking for ways to reduce costs even further. Contrast this with other brokerage firms, and you see a big difference.

For example, discount brokerage firm Zecco became known for offering commission-free trades to people with accounts of $25,000 or more. They recently announced, however, that they’re ending that program completely. Tough luck to everybody who opened accounts for exactly that reason.

With Vanguard, you don’t have to worry about bait-and-switch tactics like that. You don’t have to worry about them roping you in with a low-cost promotion, then jacking up prices to increase their profit margin (because, again, there is no profit margin).

Elimination of Conflicts of Interest
Finally, Vanguard’s unique ownership structure means that the information investors receive from them is not polluted by conflicts of interest.

As a contrasting example, with my account at Schwab, I frequently received emails (as well as their quarterly On Investing publication) that encouraged me to seek above-market returns by trading individual stocks or selecting actively managed mutual funds. I daresay it’s not a coincidence that frequently trading stocks and investing in high-cost funds happen to be strategies that are more profitable for Schwab than buying and holding index funds.

My experience was similar with other brokerage firms: They consistently encourage their clients to use investment strategies that are most profitable for the brokerage firm, regardless of how likely those strategies are to be successful for the investor.

At Vanguard, it’s different. I don’t agree with every piece of information they put out, but at least I don’t have to worry that they’re trying to get me to do something just because it’s more profitable for Vanguard."

https://obliviousinvestor.com/vanguard/
LOL. That could have been written by the marketing team at Vanguard. Mostly exaggeration and marketing fluff and I wouldn't let any of this sway anyone's decision making. There have been countless threads/posts why this just isn't reality.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7966
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:16 am

Each has strength and weakness. To me, the opaque dealings of Vanguard always have me wondering. Fidelity and Schwab have to report things like executive compensation. Vanguard.....doesn't.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Pocanutin
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:08 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Pocanutin » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:17 am

Another vote for Fidelity...in my experience of 35 years with them, excellent customer service and always attempting to improve via solicited customer feedback. I am probably not remembering this accurately, but I can't recall a single error that they have made with my account over those years. To be fair, I have never used Vanguard or Schwab, both are probably very good.

P

grokzilla
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:25 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by grokzilla » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:29 am

I've been using Fidelity for quite a while now. They were just "fine" a few decades ago, but today they are great (no idea about company health, just referring to services offered to those with a Boglehead bend). Vanguard has really pushed them into a good space competitively.

Fidelity has really good customer service, a very good web site with a robust set of online tools and the mild convenience of local investment centers -- handy when I need to hand deliver a check, etc. Also have good SEP-IRA and Solo 401K options, which I also use. The recent drop to zero fee index funds is pretty great too -- though it hasn't impacted any of my current indexes yet.

We also have a Vanguard account. By comparison, their customer service is good but a noticeable step down from Fidelity. MUCH better index fund selection, but it should be noted that you really don't need many funds with our investment style... Unfortunately, the Vanguard website is pretty bad...and it recently got worse. No idea why it's so clunky, but it is. Also possible it seems more clunky because Fidelity's site is so much better? I dunno, but from a competitive standpoint they really should address this.

I'd generally recommend Fidelity, but only because of the web experience. That said, I don't think you can go wrong with either. No experience with Schwab.

mpnret
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun May 20, 2018 9:16 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by mpnret » Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:56 am

I recently did this same evaluation for my own portfolio plus my wifes. I like the fact that Schwab has a local office I could go to if necessary. Other than that I felt Schwab was trying to sell me extra cost options too hard. I felt if something ever happend to me they would really ramp this up on my wife. I trusted Vanguard more. What really turned me off to Schwab was the hidden costs in their Smart Portfolios (cash drag and higher ER). I guess I shouldn't call them hidden because the disclaimer on the Schwab website does mention them under "how we make our money". Also I don't know that I would pick an investment firm based on the free checking account that someone mentioned. FWIW Vanguard has one too. Fidelity may also (not sure). I ended up going with Vanguard and everything is good so far. I also hear many positives about Fidelity plus they give you that local option.

RickBoglehead
Posts: 972
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:28 am

Apples, oranges, or bananas?

That's basically what you asked. Everyone's perspective is different, and this is constantly debated on the forum in multiple threads. Even if there were a scientific survey, the results would be skewed by people's needs and situation. If I'm 62, have $20 million and want to own 53 funds, my needs are different than someone with $20k that is just starting out. Likewise, the more money you have the better service you SHOULD get.

When a relative was at Schwab, I didn't care for their boilerplate reports and lack of follow-up.

I was with Fidelity since the late 80s when I worked there.

I went with Vanguard a long time ago (after the late 80s) because they kicked everyone's butt with index funds. I pulled nearly every penny from Fidelity when I couldn't get a problem resolved even after contacting the office of the CEO. I ended up having to solve the problem for them by setting up a conference call between an employer, a 3rd party service provider, and Fidelity Net Benefits because they couldn't get it done.

My vote is Vanguard. But again, that means nothing.

User avatar
topper1296
Posts: 582
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:50 pm
Location: Nashville TN

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by topper1296 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:42 am

I've been with all 3 for many years and all are good, however when it comes to customer services Schwab is one of the best I've ever dealt with.

mervinj7
Posts: 688
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by mervinj7 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:46 am

More than 52% of our current investments are in Vanguard funds. That said, all of our accounts including our 401k's with Vanguard funds are managed by Fidelity. Service has been great and it was nice to able to walk in to a local office when we needed to rollover multiple old 401ks and Rollover IRAs into our current employers' 401k. The young guy at the office handled all the paperwork and signatures. Here's a list of the accounts we have at Fidelity:
  • His 401k (Vanguard Funds)
  • Her 403b (Vanguard Funds)
  • His Roth IRA
  • Her Roth IRA
  • His HSA
  • DS's 529
  • Joint Cash Management Account --> free banking, Worldwide ATM reimbursement, "cash" is kept in Money Market Fund that is automatically liquidated for any checks written
  • Joint Taxable
  • Her Solo 401k (setup in progress)--> allows incoming rollovers!
I believe the only common account we are missing the Fidelity Visa with 2% Cash Back. As an added bonus, Fidelity funds have lower expenses and no minimums. For a complete list of their index funds, new share class structures, and comparisons against both Schwab and Vanguard equivalents, see below.
https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060 ... f_FAQs.pdf

chw
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by chw » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:47 am

I'm at Schwab. Stayed with them after I fired my advisor several years ago. They assigned a "financial consultant" when the advisor was fired. This consultant has done a nice job for me offering free trades when needed, as well as deposit bonuses when I've brought additional funds to Schwab. The consultant also arranged for a free in house financial plan by one of their CFPs when my wife and I were considering early retirement. It was very comprehensive for our needs, and was not a sales pitch to use one of their other services.

I actually looked into shifting our asserts with Schwab to Vanguard about 7-8 years ago, but couldn't do so, as I have several DFA funds in taxable accounts Vanguard would have required to be liquidated in order to complete the transfer- the liquidation of the DFA funds would have created a large taxable event for us, so we stayed put.

In general, if you're in a 3 fund portfolio, you can easily build it with Schwab funds, or if preferred use Vanguard ETFs.

I have found customer service to be outstanding at Schwab- which for me to say is something, having worked my entire career in the financial services industry.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of these 3 companies. Every responder here will have their reasons why they use a particular brokerage, and none of them will be wrong.

User avatar
snackdog
Posts: 344
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by snackdog » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:51 am

Schwab charges $76 per trade on mutual funds, which is outrageous. E-trade is $19.95.

chw
Posts: 478
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by chw » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:55 am

snackdog wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:51 am
Schwab charges $76 per trade on mutual funds, which is outrageous. E-trade is $19.95.
I assume you refer to Vanguard funds. If you ask your assigned consultant, they will waive the fee (mine does). I believe the fee is simply passed on by Schwab from Vanguard.

User avatar
snackdog
Posts: 344
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:57 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by snackdog » Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:57 am

chw wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:55 am
snackdog wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:51 am
Schwab charges $76 per trade on mutual funds, which is outrageous. E-trade is $19.95.
I assume you refer to Vanguard funds. If you ask your assigned consultant, they will waive the fee (mine does). I believe the fee is simply passed on by Schwab from Vanguard.
I have no doubt Vanguard funds are included as a subset, but the fee applies to all mutual funds.

StealthRabbit
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:25 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by StealthRabbit » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:50 pm

Vanguard just disabled me with the sole 'additional security' of a cell phone code REQUIRED to access account.

1) I live in an area in USA without cell coverage
2) I am international ~ 30 - 50% of the time and my USA cell number stays in USA (I use an international multi SIM phone while traveling, can't get USA cell calls just to log into my Vg acct.)

What is the risk of all my eggs at Fidelity? (They have ~ 5 of my 12 accounts (401K, IRA, (Trad & Roth) + Asset holding self directed IRA's - Spousal same on IRAs / 401ks... LLC, Trusts, + Business accts...)

Probably NOT a great plan to fill one basket... but any simplification / nested allocations would help!
Any advice on monetary limit caps at one source?

Seems there is not a lot of additional unique investment options among the 3, but consolidating would bring "Private Client" or "Voyager" Services, at least for my 'qualified' accounts.

Is that a worthwhile perk for BHs? (I'm sure that varies with investment profile / engagement.

I like to manage it, BUT I have a lot of other things I like too! and time is getting very short!

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7966
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:00 pm

StealthRabbit wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:50 pm
Vanguard just disabled me with the sole 'additional security' of a cell phone code REQUIRED to access account.

They disabled your account?!

I just checked and I get the annoying page to get 2 factor ID and I click "remind me later" and am taken to the main page. Boy.....if I were locked out, my next move would be to decide which bonus I was going to accept to move my account.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

User avatar
peterinjapan
Posts: 466
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 8:41 am
Location: Japan!

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by peterinjapan » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:06 pm

Vanguard is incredibly difficult to work with. I am a filthy American who dares to live most of the year in a foreign country, and Vanguard was so hostile to me, I could not believe it (the implication was they would be sued if any of their actions caused negative tax consequences for me). Much happier to be with Fidelity.

SagaciousTraveler
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 6:05 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:27 pm

I would like to add a different perspective.

I personally am more cautious about Schwab because its a publicly traded company. Does that mean its rampant with corruption, no. However it does mean that turning and growing profits for its many 'investors' is among its top goals. I like being part of 'mutual organizations' where profits are meant to be re-invested.

Its one of many factors I look at when choosing investment/banking products. Perhaps its why I bank with a Credit Union and invest with Vanguard.

Nate79
Posts: 3583
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Nate79 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:45 pm

SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:27 pm
I would like to add a different perspective.

I personally am more cautious about Schwab because its a publicly traded company. Does that mean its rampant with corruption, no. However it does mean that turning and growing profits for its many 'investors' is among its top goals. I like being part of 'mutual organizations' where profits are meant to be re-invested.

Its one of many factors I look at when choosing investment/banking products. Perhaps its why I bank with a Credit Union and invest with Vanguard.
Do you also buy Whole life and other crappy permanent insurance? Because they use the same argument.

SagaciousTraveler
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 6:05 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:55 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:45 pm
SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:27 pm
I would like to add a different perspective.

I personally am more cautious about Schwab because its a publicly traded company. Does that mean its rampant with corruption, no. However it does mean that turning and growing profits for its many 'investors' is among its top goals. I like being part of 'mutual organizations' where profits are meant to be re-invested.

Its one of many factors I look at when choosing investment/banking products. Perhaps its why I bank with a Credit Union and invest with Vanguard.
Do you also buy Whole life and other crappy permanent insurance? Because they use the same argument.
I'm not a salesmen.

I'm simply offering a different perspective and quite frankly see nothing wrong with it being part of the discussion. If you are going to invest money with an institution, don't you as a customer want to be their first priority? If a mutual organization raises a fee, there is an optimal chance its for a administrative costs (not to say those can't get inflated). A publicly traded company could be doing it for their investors.

Nate79
Posts: 3583
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Nate79 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:58 pm

SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:55 pm
Nate79 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:45 pm
SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:27 pm
I would like to add a different perspective.

I personally am more cautious about Schwab because its a publicly traded company. Does that mean its rampant with corruption, no. However it does mean that turning and growing profits for its many 'investors' is among its top goals. I like being part of 'mutual organizations' where profits are meant to be re-invested.

Its one of many factors I look at when choosing investment/banking products. Perhaps its why I bank with a Credit Union and invest with Vanguard.
Do you also buy Whole life and other crappy permanent insurance? Because they use the same argument.
I'm not a salesmen.

I'm simply offering a different perspective and quite frankly see nothing wrong with it being part of the discussion. If you are going to invest money with an institution, don't you as a customer want to be their first priority?
I didn't ask if you sell whole life, I asked if you buy whole life because whole life companies also tout that they are mutual companies. Being a mutual company has nothing to do with being low cost. It has nothing to do with putting their customers first. Vanguard as a company may have a company mission to be low cost and customer first but it is most definitely not because they have a specific company structure. That along with the negatives of Vanguard's structure, especially the fact that they are very opaque about their internal finances and executive pay leaves a VERY bad taste in my mouth about Vanguard.

SagaciousTraveler
Posts: 123
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 6:05 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by SagaciousTraveler » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:03 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:58 pm
SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:55 pm
Nate79 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:45 pm
SagaciousTraveler wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:27 pm
I would like to add a different perspective.

I personally am more cautious about Schwab because its a publicly traded company. Does that mean its rampant with corruption, no. However it does mean that turning and growing profits for its many 'investors' is among its top goals. I like being part of 'mutual organizations' where profits are meant to be re-invested.

Its one of many factors I look at when choosing investment/banking products. Perhaps its why I bank with a Credit Union and invest with Vanguard.
Do you also buy Whole life and other crappy permanent insurance? Because they use the same argument.
I'm not a salesmen.

I'm simply offering a different perspective and quite frankly see nothing wrong with it being part of the discussion. If you are going to invest money with an institution, don't you as a customer want to be their first priority?
I didn't ask if you sell whole life, I asked if you buy whole life because whole life companies also tout that they are mutual companies. Being a mutual company has nothing to do with being low cost. It has nothing to do with putting their customers first. Vanguard as a company may have a company mission to be low cost and customer first but it is most definitely not because they have a specific company structure. That along with the negatives of Vanguard's structure, especially the fact that they are very opaque about their internal finances and executive pay leaves a VERY bad taste in my mouth about Vanguard.
And that's ok if you aren't a fan of Vanguard for that reason. In fact your reason now gives the OP another thing to think about when deciding between the three.

I never said anything about mutual companies being low cost. I stated that profits are re-invested instead of going to investors. I personally like that.

Listen each of us have their own reasons for investing with X. I'm simply sharing one of my reason that wasn't mentioned prior to see if it helps the OP or anyone else with their decision.

WhiteMaxima
Posts: 1455
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:04 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:30 pm

All are good. Vanguard has no office. But their Index fund has the lowest fee
Schwab has office, they have a few low cost index funds
Fidelity is similar to Schawb, But I like they have reward credit card.

So I have them all.

billthecat
Posts: 284
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:50 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by billthecat » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:46 pm

WhiteMaxima wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:30 pm
All are good. Vanguard has no office. But their Index fund has the lowest fee
Schwab has office, they have a few low cost index funds
Fidelity is similar to Schawb, But I like they have reward credit card.

So I have them all.
I thought Schwab's were slightly cheaper than Vanguard. SCHB has an ER of .03, while VTSAX (admiral) is .04. It's not a significant difference of course.

And now Fidelity has two zero ER funds though (presumably) they're slightly less tax efficient that an ETF (and the funds don't follow established indexes to avoid licensing fees but they may be comparable).

Schwab and Fidelity reimburse ATM fees but there are some limitations on Fidelity's reimbursement (limited to certain accounts, there's a 1% foreign transaction fee it seems, etc.).

A reward credit card can be had elsewhere so I don't see that as a plus.

In the end, I've been with Schwab for a very long time and I stay with them because of inertia, seemingly lower ERs compared with Vanguard (at least on the equity side), the ATM fee reimbursement, physical locations, and customer service (not that I've had trouble at Vanguard or Fidelity). Pair that up with a Citi Double Cash Mastercard and you're good to go (in the US - don't use that card internationally).
Last edited by billthecat on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
goodenyou
Posts: 1382
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:57 pm
Location: Skating to Where the Puck is Going to Be..or on the golf course

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by goodenyou » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:08 pm

I have all 3 for different reasons. Like all of them for different reasons too.
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" | "The best years you have left are the ones you have right now"

trueblueky
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by trueblueky » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:14 pm

DW had a tIRA with Schwab from her days with MegaCorp. Never any pressure. When I wanted to convert some TSP into Roth IRA (a two-step process: first TSP to tIRA, then tIRA to Roth), Schwab was helpful. They understood what I was doing, why, and that I wanted the accounts self-directed. No pressure. We subsequently added a taxable account with them. I like that DW has been to their office and could get there if needed. I especially like the interface on their website.

We have had none of the issues I hear about VG (inability to name contingent beneficiaries, for instance) or Fidelity (pushing higher-cost products with names similar to their less costly index funds).

I think it comes down to what you want and need.

User avatar
Earl Lemongrab
Posts: 5663
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:14 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:15 pm

None of those three for me. Merrill Edge all the way.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

GuineaPig
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:50 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by GuineaPig » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:29 pm

We have accounts with both Fidelity and Vanguard -- I like Fidelity more for the local office and the website, but appreciate Vanguard's vision and investments. Also, it's mutual funds are more tax efficient in taxable accounts.

I'm sure Schwab is comparable to Fidelity now, but 15 years ago, they treated me badly. Back then, I didn't have much money and all I had was a very small amount of stock that I had inherited from my grandmother. Because the value was below $20,000, they charged me quarterly fees, and when I moved the money to Fidelity, where they weren't charging me fees, Schwab charged me an additional account-closing fee. And even though this was long ago and surely under much different management, I've never gotten over how Schwab treated me like crap.

Anyway, the issue here is not whether one of the three is especially better overall. It really is: what matters for you? If you want a local office, I'd say to pick Fidelity or Schwab, whichever has an office that's closer to you. If you don't care about a local office, any of the three will work and the differences overall are slight.

SoAnyway
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:49 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by SoAnyway » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:50 pm

GuineaPig wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:29 pm
Anyway, the issue here is not whether one of the three is especially better overall. It really is: what matters for you? If you want a local office, I'd say to pick Fidelity or Schwab, whichever has an office that's closer to you. If you don't care about a local office, any of the three will work and the differences overall are slight.
+1. I have (and have had) accounts at all three for decades; all are fine. I'll be closing out the Schwab account in the next few months solely for "simplicity/consolidation", not because there's anything wrong with them. Among the three, I don't care about b&m offices, and I trust Vanguard the most due to personal experience (I've had GREAT customer service - YMMV), their org. structure (already discussed upthread), and their WAY less "in my face" marketing approach than what I see from Fidelity or Schwab.

Edit: I also find Vanguard's website way easier to navigate than the other two, but that's just personal preference and "what I'm used to". Also, to GuineaPig's point, I'll never forget that Vanguard treated me like a millionnaire the first time I called (a thousand years ago - before the internet existed), with my newbie inquiry about how to open an account with the $5,000 I had managed to save up in my checking account and was ready to take the plunge into investing. I recognize now that my little $5k was a nothing compared to many if not most of their investors, but it was a lot of money to me at the time. You'd never know from how they treated me that they saw any difference. They were solely focused on helping me reach my goals.
Last edited by SoAnyway on Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:13 am, edited 3 times in total.

Thesaints
Posts: 1619
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:25 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Thesaints » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:51 pm

If they go ahead with mandatory security code authentication for logging in the answer is "not Vanguard".

User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 2291
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:38 pm

I've had accounts at all three for quite a while. If no advantages of one over another jump out at you, it probably doesn't make much difference.

I have followed the "customer service" arguments on BH with interest as I'm pretty low maintenance and had never had an issue with any of the three. Recently I did have a minor issue with both Vanguard and Fidelity. Both issues were resolved expeditiously and satisfactorily.

I'm not crazy about any of the websites, but I can eventually find my way around all three.

bltn
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:32 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by bltn » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:05 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:00 pm
StealthRabbit wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:50 pm
Vanguard just disabled me with the sole 'additional security' of a cell phone code REQUIRED to access account.

They disabled your account?!

I just checked and I get the annoying page to get 2 factor ID and I click "remind me later" and am taken to the main page. Boy.....if I were locked out, my next move would be to decide which bonus I was going to accept to move my account.
I simply registered my computer and my iPad with Vanguard , and the phone security has been waived on these devices.
While I would prefer not to have the phone security feature, if I m at another computer, I always carry my phone with me ,so I won t be too inconvenienced by the additional phone security.

bltn
Posts: 211
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:32 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by bltn » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:09 pm

And I always thought the username, password and security question features at Vanguard provided good security. I guess I m not keeping up with the sophisticated computer hacks.

User avatar
GoldStar
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 10:59 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by GoldStar » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:18 pm

Vanguard for taxable and Fidelity for tax advantaged.

FunnelCakeBob
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:44 pm

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by FunnelCakeBob » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:10 am

GuineaPig wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:29 pm
I'm sure Schwab is comparable to Fidelity now, but 15 years ago, they treated me badly. Back then, I didn't have much money and all I had was a very small amount of stock that I had inherited from my grandmother. Because the value was below $20,000, they charged me quarterly fees, and when I moved the money to Fidelity, where they weren't charging me fees, Schwab charged me an additional account-closing fee. And even though this was long ago and surely under much different management, I've never gotten over how Schwab treated me like crap.
I've had similar experience at Schwab, both years ago and recently, where certain reps and financial consultants did not treat me well bc I was looked upon as small fries. Today, i keep minimal amount in my Schwab checking and brokerage accounts. Every time I go to the ATM for a $20 withdrawal and let Schwab reimburse me the $3-5 ATM fee, I get a warm fuzzy feeling and know that the credit union or small bank is getting the profit from the ATM fee. :twisted:

Otherwise, I do like Schwab and many of it's hardworking employees. :D

tj
Posts: 2191
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by tj » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:35 am

GoldStar wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:18 pm
Vanguard for taxable and Fidelity for tax advantaged.
Why Fidelity for tax-advantaged?

User avatar
GoldStar
Posts: 601
Joined: Wed May 23, 2018 10:59 am

Re: Fidelity, Schwab, or Vanguard

Post by GoldStar » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:14 am

tj wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:35 am
GoldStar wrote:
Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:18 pm
Vanguard for taxable and Fidelity for tax advantaged.
Why Fidelity for tax-advantaged?
The expense ratios of 2 funds is 0 - doesnt get any lower than that.

Post Reply