Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

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Topic Author
retiringtype
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Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 11:00 am

Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by retiringtype » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:56 am

Earlier this year, I freelanced for three short weeks at an advertising agency — a division of a large, multinational marketing conglomerate. Shortly after, two of their retirement plan accounts appeared on my personal Vanguard website. Each shows a zero balance.

Having freelanced there for only three weeks, this was a surprise to say the least. I contacted Vanguard twice to remove the accounts. Each time, they told me that the company uses Vanguard as their reporting service, and there's nothing that can be done. They had contacted the ad agency and were told that because I had worked there — albeit for only three weeks — I had become eligible to participate in their retirement plans and the process was automatic.

Frankly, I find this completely bizarre. Why can't I remove accounts from my own website? And why can't Vanguard do anything about it? I wouldn't know where to begin to try and find someone at the ad agency to help me.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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CalculatedRisk
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by CalculatedRisk » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:17 am

Sounds like an annoying problem.

1. Can you rollover the (empty) accounts? Maybe that would close them.
2. Isn’t there an option to “hide” accounts on VG? Maybe try that and forget about the accounts.

michaeljc70
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:40 am

retiringtype wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:56 am
Why can't I remove accounts from my own website? And why can't Vanguard do anything about it?
Well, it isn't your website. It is Vanguards.

Though I can see how this can be slightly annoying, it is hardly a big deal. Ignore them. They have zero balances so it is unlikely to confuse anything. My guess is they will be closed out sooner or later for having no balance or activity ever. You used the term "freelancer" but it sounds like you were really a temporary employee or you wouldn't be eligible for their retirement plan.

It has been discussed in many threads that Vanguard's website isn't the best.

retiringwhen
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by retiringwhen » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:18 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:40 am
retiringtype wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:56 am
Why can't I remove accounts from my own website? And why can't Vanguard do anything about it?
Well, it isn't your website. It is Vanguards.

Though I can see how this can be slightly annoying, it is hardly a big deal. Ignore them. They have zero balances so it is unlikely to confuse anything. My guess is they will be closed out sooner or later for having no balance or activity ever. You used the term "freelancer" but it sounds like you were really a temporary employee or you wouldn't be eligible for their retirement plan.

It has been discussed in many threads that Vanguard's website isn't the best.
I will point out that the account is open and it is the employer's account (not the OP's). The employer has control of its status. Vanguard is just the recordkeeper. OP needs to take it up the employer. I have one of these accounts created by an employer and has zero balance, but I am eligble by the employer's policy for the account, so it sits there. This is not vanguard's issue.

michaeljc70
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:11 pm

retiringwhen wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:18 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:40 am
retiringtype wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:56 am
Why can't I remove accounts from my own website? And why can't Vanguard do anything about it?
Well, it isn't your website. It is Vanguards.

Though I can see how this can be slightly annoying, it is hardly a big deal. Ignore them. They have zero balances so it is unlikely to confuse anything. My guess is they will be closed out sooner or later for having no balance or activity ever. You used the term "freelancer" but it sounds like you were really a temporary employee or you wouldn't be eligible for their retirement plan.

It has been discussed in many threads that Vanguard's website isn't the best.
I will point out that the account is open and it is the employer's account (not the OP's). The employer has control of its status. Vanguard is just the recordkeeper. OP needs to take it up the employer. I have one of these accounts created by an employer and has zero balance, but I am eligble by the employer's policy for the account, so it sits there. This is not vanguard's issue.
That would be worth giving it a shot. What surprises me is most employers have a waiting period before you are even eligible for a retirement plan. I believe it was 90 days for my last employer.

Topic Author
retiringtype
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by retiringtype » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:29 pm

Thanks everyone for your answers. I've been trying to get a satisfactory answer from the employer. Still waiting.
Frankly, I'm surprised they were able to get access (for lack of a better word) to "my" site or even know that I was a Vanguard investor.

Sagefemme
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by Sagefemme » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:52 pm

I have the same problem at Fidelity. Two accounts with zero balances from an employer I haven't worked for since 2008. I gave up trying to get Fidelity to delete the accounts and just opted in my settings to hide them. They are still there, but they don't bother me any more.

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gtownsend
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by gtownsend » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:24 pm

retiringtype wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:29 pm
Frankly, I'm surprised they were able to get access (for lack of a better word) to "my" site or even know that I was a Vanguard investor.
They probably didn't. I imagine that your employer sees only "their" part of the picture (the empty accounts), and that Vanguard shows it under your login based on a matching SSN.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:37 pm

CalculatedRisk wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:17 am
Sounds like an annoying problem.

1. Can you rollover the (empty) accounts? Maybe that would close them.
2. Isn’t there an option to “hide” accounts on VG? Maybe try that and forget about the accounts.
OP should be able to exclude displaying the accounts by accounts , or even using the zero balance option.

I add in my BILs accounts for display when we are conducting activities, then remove them from my normal display when finished. Same for the 529 accounts for the grandchildren. Otherwise I have to needlessly scroll thru all the accounts.

Seems the employer could get them removed.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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GerryL
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by GerryL » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:20 pm

Near the top of your Account Overview page -- just above the tabbed section -- there should be a link titled "Customize your account view." You can use this to select which accounts show up on that view.
There may be other options to modify other Views. My Flagship rep created a portfolio view excludes my company stock holdings when I want to see my Asset Mix. Can't remember where she did that.

EDIT: Try the Portfolio Watch link and look for the drop down of which portfolios to examine. You get an option of creating a portfolio that includes only certain accounts. Since the unwanted accounts are empty, you probably don't need to bother with this.

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JamesSFO
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by JamesSFO » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:49 pm

Sagefemme wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:52 pm
I have the same problem at Fidelity. Two accounts with zero balances from an employer I haven't worked for since 2008. I gave up trying to get Fidelity to delete the accounts and just opted in my settings to hide them. They are still there, but they don't bother me any more.
Ditto, I have 3 old 401Ks with 0 balance that show up at Fido some from ~2000, all $0, still there. ~shrug~

michaeljc70
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:58 am

GerryL wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:20 pm
Near the top of your Account Overview page -- just above the tabbed section -- there should be a link titled "Customize your account view." You can use this to select which accounts show up on that view.
There may be other options to modify other Views. My Flagship rep created a portfolio view excludes my company stock holdings when I want to see my Asset Mix. Can't remember where she did that.

EDIT: Try the Portfolio Watch link and look for the drop down of which portfolios to examine. You get an option of creating a portfolio that includes only certain accounts. Since the unwanted accounts are empty, you probably don't need to bother with this.
I tried this (I have an employer sponsored Vanguard account) and the employer account doesn't show in the list.

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JoMoney
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Re: Frustrating issue with VG website. Need advice.

Post by JoMoney » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:05 am

JamesSFO wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:49 pm
Sagefemme wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:52 pm
I have the same problem at Fidelity. Two accounts with zero balances from an employer I haven't worked for since 2008. I gave up trying to get Fidelity to delete the accounts and just opted in my settings to hide them. They are still there, but they don't bother me any more.
Ditto, I have 3 old 401Ks with 0 balance that show up at Fido some from ~2000, all $0, still there. ~shrug~
Beats me.. I only have 2 old zero balance 401k accounts (and 1 active) on Fidelity's platform... Easy enough to 'hide' them though.
"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks." - Benjamin Graham

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