Welcome to the forum
ubelongoutside wrote: ↑
Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:48 am
Brand new here, I've looked around a bit trying to find an answer to my quandary, but thought it best to just join and ask.
First a little background. Before being married I managed my own retirement and personal investments with a Fidelity account and did quite well, but this was back when everyone made money in the stock market (2003 - 2014). I got married, had a child, and changed jobs in 2014 and with all of this going on I was slacking on monitoring my investments. My wife was using a Raymond James (RJ) advisor, and so for the sake of making life easier I too transferred my IRA, and Roth IRA to him, and the wife and I opened a joint account with cash we had in savings accounts.
From 2015 to now we've seen the following returns:
9% my IRA
18.5% my Roth
14% wife's IRA
13% wife's Roth
These are actual returns, after fees etc. All except the joint cash account are aggressive investments. My Roth was changed over to a separately managed account in December 2016 most likely because I told the adviser I was pulling all our money as none of our accounts were performing very well at that point. He talked me into staying and showed some better performance the next year.
Now though I just feel as if my life has settled down enough that I want to take control again and I also am tired of all of the fees we pay at RJ only to keep getting invited to hosted events likely paid for with our commission, and oh by the way bring a friend so we can pitch them on RJ too...
Sorry for the long lead up to the question, but wanted to hopefully give a full picture.
My questions are as follows:
- Vanguard seems to be the go to for self managing. Is it worth it to set up an account there, or just move everything back to Fidelity and manage there?
- As far as moving everything, I feel timing is bad right now, should I try to wait and see how the market does, or just cut my losses and go now?
- Should I go this alone, or should I enlist the help of either Vanguard's or Fidelity's support team to make this transition?
I'm sure there's more info that some of you will need to help me make a good decision, but I'm not exactly sure what info to provide. Please feel free to ask if there is more information to help me make the decisions.
Moving out of Raymond James to a low cost provider like Vanguard or Fidelity is a good idea.
Now is as a good a time as any to do that. I would not delay, why pay high fees any longer?
Call the company you decide to transfer to, they will help with the transfer.
For funds and location of accounts I usually suggest
2) Fidelity, or
in that order of preference.
I prefer traditional mutual funds (rather than ETFs), and Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense traditional mutual funds offered anywhere. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense index funds than does Schwab. We have all of our investing accounts at Vanguard, and use only Vanguard index funds.
All three offer a wide array of ETFS (Exchange Traded Funds).
I prefer the convenience of having all investing accounts at one place. For banking functions (checking account, debit card, credit cards) we use a bank with a branch near our home.
I 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 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 customer service 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, and always received prompt, accurate, professional advice and service.
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 using a taxable account. Vanguard offers a larger selection of tax-exempt bond funds (including state specific funds) than either Schwab or Fidelity, which is important if using a taxable account and in a high tax bracket. Vanguard offers a small-cap value index fund, but Schwab and Fidelity do not, which is important if interested in value investing. Vanguard money market funds (including the sweep fund) pay a better return than funds at Fidelity or Schwab, which is important for investors who desire a significant cash allocation.
There is a lot of personal preference involved in selecting a firm for your accounts.