Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

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Tenesmus83
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Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Tenesmus83 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:49 pm

I'm trying to decide on an online brokerage for my taxable account. Are there any advantages to having one with
a local branch? I keep thinking there is advantage to walking in and having a face to face conversation.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by livesoft » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:54 pm

I have discount brokerage accounts that have local branches. For instance, I have a Fidelity account and I have never ever ever been into the local office. But I also have a TDAmeritrade account and I deposit a solo 401(k) contribution by check once per year and chat with the rep there which can be fun because she asks me for advice about her personal portfolio. (Sure, she is just indulging me.)

I cannot imagine that a face-to-face conversation about my investments or portfolio would be beneficial to me because I would not buying what they are selling. However, if I get them to do things for me such as transfer shares to my donor-advised fund on the last hour of Dec 31st, then that's beneficial to me.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Wiggums » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:57 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm trying to decide on an online brokerage for my taxable account. Are there any advantages to having one with
a local branch? I keep thinking there is advantage to walking in and having a face to face conversation.
Vanguard, fidelity and Schwab are often mentioned here.

By local office, do you mean a local bank that supports trading or a brokerage house that has local offices ? I have a Fidelity account and I have never been to the local office. Same for Vanguard, T Rowe Price and Schwab. Let’s say you are interested in a particular fund. In general, I think it makes more sense to get Vanguard funds that Vanguard and Fidelity funds at Fidelity.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by Wiggums on Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by vineviz » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:57 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm trying to decide on an online brokerage for my taxable account. Are there any advantages to having one with
a local branch? I keep thinking there is advantage to walking in and having a face to face conversation.
Over the past 30 years I think I have used four different brokerage firms and I'm pretty sure I never set foot in ANY of them even once.

The only reason you'd need to have a face-to-face conversation with a broker would be that you want them to sell you something you don't need.

A face-to-face meeting with a financial planner? Sure, though even that can be done remotely. But a broker? I can't see a reason for it.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by anil686 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:02 pm

Not necessary IMHO as I have virtually everything at VG and have been happy. However, I just moved an HSA to Fidelity and needed a medallion signature. Having a local office was nice for that and their customer service was really good - not pushy and to the point. I just walked in without an appt, said I needed to transfer an HSA and needed a medallion signature and somebody helped me within 10 min and finished the process. So, I guess in summary, I don't really think it is needed but it can be nice if you need some paperwork processed...

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:46 pm

I like Fidelity - they are 3 blocks from my home. I do like to talk face to face at times. The web interface is great too.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:33 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:49 pm
I'm trying to decide on an online brokerage for my taxable account. Are there any advantages to having one with
a local branch? I keep thinking there is advantage to walking in and having a face to face conversation.
Fidelity and Schwab have local customer service offices in some cities, Vanguard does not. None have offices near us.

We have all of our accounts with Vanguard, and have all contacts on-line or by phone with no issues. We have just 4 very diversified index funds, have automatic reinvestment of dividends, have automatic withdrawals set up, and don't do many other transactions. I have never felt the need for a local office.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:39 pm

I have local branches for Fidelity, Schwab and TDAmeritrade where I have money. I've had plenty of "Come in and let's talk" emails. I've thought it could be fun, but then thought about whether it's wasting time or would provide any value. So far, "waste of time" has always been the conclusion.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:42 pm

I went inside a Fidelity branch once, about two years ago, to turn in some power-of- attorney forms. Other than that, never had the need.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:48 pm

I've never used a local office for any custodian. I have occasionally talked to people at a local office.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:20 pm

The only time I've been in a Fidelity branch office was when my employer had a Fidelity-managed 401(k) plan, and offered an annual "retirement checkup" which was a face-to-face meeting with a retirement advisor at a Fidelity office. The office was fifteen miles from my work, and about the same from my home. I think the closest Schwab office is about twenty miles away. And I live in an area where Fidelity and Schwab are pretty thick on the ground.

So, hardly convenient.

I don't think a local branch is worth very much. And, I am thinking of one firm that is famous for having lots and lots and lots of convenient local branches, and I don't think that one is a good firm.

If you know a brokerage with local branch that's a lot closer than twenty miles, and you know that it is a good one, and you just feel better being able to see people face to face, and you are asking if that should weigh in your decision... maybe.

About eight years ago I decided to simplify my financial life by cutting down the number of financial institutions I used. At that time, I had accounts at both Vanguard and Fidelity, and I thought and I think they are both good firms. In fact it was darned close to a coin-flip. I ended up going with Vanguard. The presence of a Fidelity branch office fifteen miles away was barely a featherweight in the decision.

Oh, and I once visited the little "Funds-Я-US" office at our brick-and-mortar bank, where the completely independent advisory service, with the office in the bank, run by a man who also happened to be a bank VP, sold American funds with sales loads. Not terrible, but I was not really impressed and wouldn't recommend that kind of local branch.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Thu Mar 28, 2019 7:57 pm

I am at Vanguard (who has no local branches) and Schwab (who has three branches in my city). I have never visited a Schwab branch. My dealings with Schwab are done entirely online, the same as my dealings with Vanguard.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by pshonore » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:07 pm

It sure makes a Medallion Signature guarantee much easier.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:14 pm

pshonore wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:07 pm
It sure makes a Medallion Signature guarantee much easier.
I have never needed one. I've done transfers between most of the majors and it was never requested by either party.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by whodidntante » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:23 pm

Do they have tootsie rolls? Then it might be useful.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by 123 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:45 pm

The last time i visited my local Schwab office (to deposit a large check) I noticed that they had a coffee pot, cups, and a plate of cookies over in their group meeting area. Sort of like the way the Savings and Loans used to be when I was a kid and went in with my grandparents.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by camillus » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:47 pm

For what it's worth, Schwab and Fidelity are purported to have better online/phone customer service than Vanguard. So if you wanted a better online experience, you might consider them first. It's a bonus that they also have local branches. I'm in the process of switching things to Fidelity from VG.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Bobby206 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:59 pm

I only use it a couple times a year but when I have a bigger check I like to drive over and make the deposit. That is when larger than I can do electronically. So I vote for local office.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Turbo29 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:01 pm

E*trade has an office in Scottsdale. They are always sending me invitations to events (sales events I am sure). I have never set foot in the office.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by WildBill » Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:09 pm

Howdy

Local Fidelity office has cookies and pretty good coffee. Also the WSJ that I can browse while enjoying the coffee.

Having the office handy was useful when I had to settle estates a few years ago. Otherwise, just a coffee stop if I happen to pass by and have a coffee deficit.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:57 am

pshonore wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:07 pm
It sure makes a Medallion Signature guarantee much easier.
A Medallion Signiture guarantee is very easy. I get that free in under 5 minutes, at the branch bank we use near our home.

It could not possibly be easier at a customer service office of any brokerage.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Elric » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:16 am

We went with Schwab when we left our advisor. Their local office was not a factor in choosing them over Vanguard, but I did like being able to sit down with someone to walk through some of the paperwork on transferring alts, and I could speed things up by dropping off some things that needed notarized signatures (we have an office about 5 minutes from our house). So I think there's a small "nice to have" benefit. It's small, though, and certainly not necessary.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:24 am

If you are referring to an investment advisor at a local bank, the answer is no.

It will likely be a high fee/assets under management arrangement. I can't ever recommend those scenarios.

Especially to someone who found Bogleheads and shows interest in a low cost, total market, few fund, tax efficient approach.

$0 advisors here. Lots of them. :wink:
Last edited by bloom2708 on Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by rts58 » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:29 am

I wish my local office was a little closer. I'm investing through Schwab and get invited occasionally to small seminars they offer on different investment topics. Also, like being able to see my advisor face to face and have someone to provide feedback.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by ohai » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:33 am

I think if you are the sort of person who has complex accounts and always spends a lot of time talking to all sorts of customer representatives (you know who you are), then maybe it might be beneficial to have a local branch where you can go and bug the employees with your questions.

For most people, there is close to zero benefit.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by cherijoh » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:34 am

ruralavalon wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:57 am
pshonore wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:07 pm
It sure makes a Medallion Signature guarantee much easier.
A Medallion Signiture guarantee is very easy. I get that free in under 5 minutes, at the branch bank we use near our home.

It could not possibly be easier at a customer service office of any brokerage.
I agree. But a broker with a local branch could be helpful if you didn't have an account with a bricks & mortar bank - or live where your bank has no branch offices.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:46 am

cherijoh wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:34 am
ruralavalon wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:57 am
pshonore wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:07 pm
It sure makes a Medallion Signature guarantee much easier.
A Medallion Signiture guarantee is very easy. I get that free in under 5 minutes, at the branch bank we use near our home.

It could not possibly be easier at a customer service office of any brokerage.
I agree. But a broker with a local branch could be helpful if you didn't have an account with a bricks & mortar bank - or live where your bank has no branch offices.
Fidelity and Schwab don't have any local offices within a three hour drive from here. The broker with the most local offices around here is Edward Jones :( . There are loads of bank branches in town.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by neilpilot » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:51 am

When I retired in 2015 and decided to consolidate my accounts, I only considered 4 discount brokers with local offices: Schwab, Fidelity, Scottrade (now TDA) and Merrill Edge. I decided to go with the best bonus, Scottrade. I've since tested ME, but due to poor customer service that relationship only lasted 6 months.

I have essentially been with Scottrade/TDA those 4 years, and have found it very convenient to have a local office. I prefer delivering the occasional large check or paperwork to the local office over mailing it in, and find the face-to-face support preferable to a call center.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by cherijoh » Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:56 am

ruralavalon wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:46 am
cherijoh wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:34 am
ruralavalon wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:57 am
pshonore wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:07 pm
It sure makes a Medallion Signature guarantee much easier.
A Medallion Signiture guarantee is very easy. I get that free in under 5 minutes, at the branch bank we use near our home.

It could not possibly be easier at a customer service office of any brokerage.
I agree. But a broker with a local branch could be helpful if you didn't have an account with a bricks & mortar bank - or live where your bank has no branch offices.
Fidelity and Schwab don't have any local offices within a three hour drive from here. The broker with the most local offices around here is Edward Jones :( . There are loads of bank branches in town.
Then you are definitely better off with a bank!

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Tenesmus83
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Tenesmus83 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:59 pm

I'm trying to decide between TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity. I'm a novice investor and I hear TD has a lot education videos geared
toward people like me. Any personal experiences with these platforms?

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Bobby Lupo » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:25 pm

I live 3 blocks from a Fidelity branch. I pop in once a year, have a free coffee and grab a pen. I have a Vanguard account too, but no coffee or pens.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by neilpilot » Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:29 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:59 pm
I'm trying to decide between TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity. I'm a novice investor and I hear TD has a lot education videos geared
toward people like me. Any personal experiences with these platforms?
It’s likely you can access those videos even without a TDA account. Last time I looked TDA was still offering a decent signing bonus, and Fidelity nothing. In the last 4 years we’ve collected about $5k in TDA bonus $, much of it tax deferred or tax free. That’s exceeded my annual cost of commissions, coffee and pens.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:03 pm

I would not recommend investing videos on brokerage web sites, especially for novices. Start here. Read the recommended books. Ask for portfolio advice.

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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:10 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:59 pm
I'm trying to decide between TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity. I'm a novice investor and I hear TD has a lot education videos geared
toward people like me.
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:03 pm
I would not recommend investing videos on brokerage web sites, especially for novices. Start here. Read the recommended books. Ask for portfolio advice.
I agree. Unless you really have a mental block against self-education, there's nothing about investing you can't easily learn for yourself. "Education" from a brokerage, even the most honest, is going to have some "spin" to it. For example, no broker is going to mention Series I savings bonds at all, because they can't make money out of them. No broker is going to tell you the pros and cons of bank CDs versus short-term bond funds, for the same reason.

I once was at a business meeting in Reno, that had various evening activities planned. One of them was billed as educational. It was going to teach you how to play at a casino. The session was to be presented at the Cal-Neva Casino. And the high point was the opportunity, at the end, to put what you'd learned into practice... at the Cal-Neva Casino. You don't want your education from a casino, and you don't really want it from a brokerage, either.
Any personal experiences with these platforms?
I was a Fidelity customer for about ten years. I liked Fidelity, I thought and think they were good. I don't know TD Ameritrade.
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Re: Should I sign up with a brokerage with a local branch?

Post by Murgatroyd » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:46 pm

Tenesmus83 wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 4:59 pm
I'm trying to decide between TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity. I'm a novice investor and I hear TD has a lot education videos geared
toward people like me. Any personal experiences with these platforms?
First of all, the Boglehead 3 fund approach really is the best way to invest. You came to the right place. That said..... humans have different ways of learning, some are ok with “tell me how” while others want in depth knowledge (the why). We’re talking about your hard earned money, you certainly might want to know more.

The wiki here is a great resource and if you are the type that wants to learn via video, etc you can access the Fidelity learning center without an account: https://www.fidelity.com/learning-center/overview
Maybe Ameritrade does the same.

I have two adult children and taught them both the 3 fund strategy. One said “ok dad” the other wanted videos, etc like you. Nothing wrong with knowledge as long as you don’t start experimenting with other alternative investments. Because it gets costly in many ways, risk being an important knowledge topic.

Good luck

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