Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

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zammy55
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:33 pm

Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by zammy55 »

Hi everyone,

This is my first post so I apologize in advance if I am breaking any rules - I read the post regarding portfolio questions, but I believe my current question is slightly more theoretical so I'm not posting the various suggested details (also couldn't find previous posts directly on point). I am a brand new investor looking to start saving for retirement and doing a lot of reading/research and am currently deciding how I want to structure my portfolio. I am tentatively planning on following a general three-fund portfolio.

My question is as follows - is there anything wrong, foolish, or disadvantageous about building a traditional vanguard 3-fund portfolio with ETFs(VTI, VXUS, BND) using Schwab as my brokerage?

To summarize my reasoning:
1) I feel most comfortable building a 3-fund portfolio with Vanguard funds (history, size, availability of advice/information on the internet)
2) I would like to use Schwab as my brokerage (customer service, website, banking services)

My understanding is that ETF trading is now free at Schwab, and I believe I understand the pros/cons of choosing ETFs over mutual funds - definitely happy to learn more if relevant.

Thank you in advance.
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LiveSimple
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by LiveSimple »

Why not stay with Schwab index funds and do the same.

The differences should be minimal to none.

https://www.schwab.com/schwab-index-funds-etfs
stan1
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by stan1 »

LiveSimple wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:31 am Why not stay with Schwab index funds and do the same.

The differences should be minimal to none.

https://www.schwab.com/schwab-index-funds-etfs
I would use the Schwab Funds in a tax advantaged account (e.g. IRA).

In a taxable account I would use ETFs because they currently get a tax preference that mutual funds do not (with Vanguard mutual funds having an ETF share class as an exception). As would be expected the Schwab Index funds have thrown off small capital gains distributions in the past and likely will do so in the future.
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investor.saver1
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by investor.saver1 »

"My question is as follows - is there anything wrong, foolish, or disadvantageous about building a traditional vanguard 3-fund portfolio with ETFs(VTI, VXUS, BND) using Schwab as my brokerage?"

It's perfectly fine. I like ETFs and trading them is indeed free at schwab. It would be fine as well to use Schwab's Index funds. Some folk here like mutual funds better ... mostly I think because they like familiar
Investor.Saver1 | | Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
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ruralavalon
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by ruralavalon »

Welcome to the forum :D .

What type of account(s) will you use at Schwab?

zammy55 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:57 pm Hi everyone,

This is my first post so I apologize in advance if I am breaking any rules - I read the post regarding portfolio questions, but I believe my current question is slightly more theoretical so I'm not posting the various suggested details (also couldn't find previous posts directly on point). I am a brand new investor looking to start saving for retirement and doing a lot of reading/research and am currently deciding how I want to structure my portfolio. I am tentatively planning on following a general three-fund portfolio.

My question is as follows - is there anything wrong, foolish, or disadvantageous about building a traditional vanguard 3-fund portfolio with ETFs(VTI, VXUS, BND) using Schwab as my brokerage?

To summarize my reasoning:
1) I feel most comfortable building a 3-fund portfolio with Vanguard funds (history, size, availability of advice/information on the internet)
2) I would like to use Schwab as my brokerage (customer service, website, banking services)

My understanding is that ETF trading is now free at Schwab, and I believe I understand the pros/cons of choosing ETFs over mutual funds - definitely happy to learn more if relevant.

Thank you in advance.
There is nothing wrong with using those Vanguard ETFs at Schwab.

You could also use Schwab mutual funds. Wiki article "Charles Schwab" .
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started
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cchrissyy
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by cchrissyy »

"My question is as follows - is there anything wrong, foolish, or disadvantageous about building a traditional vanguard 3-fund portfolio with ETFs(VTI, VXUS, BND) using Schwab as my brokerage?"

nope, it's a good plan!
Lazareth
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by Lazareth »

Agreed, no problem using Vanguard funds at Schwab. But, let me take the liberty of offering my first-hand endorsement of using three Schwab funds at Schwab. In 2018, emboldened by this forum, I terminated my AUM manager Portfolio Solutions (.375% fee). Since the funds were already in our Schwab accounts I converted the fourteen or so mutual funds that the manager had selected for me, and I consolidated our retirement accounts and joint-taxable account into just three Schwab index mutual funds. I chose mutual funds rather than comparable Schwab ETF's, but either would have been fine. I use 1. Schwab Total Stock Fund - SWTSX .03% expense ratio, 2. Schwab International Stock Fund - SWISX .06% ER, and 3. Schwab Aggregate Bond Fund - SWAGX .04% ER.

Despite the controversial cash component of the bond fund, my performance has been without significant, if any, variation from the comparable Vanguard 3-fund portfolio. There are no transaction fees at all. Total annual cost of a $1.5 million total portfolio is $540 or an overall fund expense ratio of .037% .

Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.

I built an Excel spreadsheet that totals the three funds across all five Schwab accounts, it updates shares prices each day and provides a current snapshot of my total asset allocation, it calculates the deviation from target of each fund so that I can easily make adjusting trades in the big t-IRA.
a/66, retired, married, enjoy p/t employment.
stan1
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by stan1 »

Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. and to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.
Agree, that's a great outcome especially for someone with a $1.5M account not $15M.
Topic Author
zammy55
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by zammy55 »

LiveSimple wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:31 am Why not stay with Schwab index funds and do the same.

The differences should be minimal to none.

https://www.schwab.com/schwab-index-funds-etfs
Thank you for the responses everyone - I'm not sure if I should reply to every person individually in fear of spamming, but I can explain the reason for my question. Otherwise it's good to confirm from others that I am not off base with this plan.

I was originally planning on using the recommended Schwab 3-fund mutual fund portfolio (SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX), but I learned that SWISX does not include emerging markets and a few other sectors. Now realistically speaking I don't know how important that actually is, but seeing how it is a significant portion (25%) of VTIAX I felt more comfortable building a portfolio including it. I decided to replace SWISX with VXUS (the Schwab accessible version of VTIAX).

It was at that moment I realized it should technically be possible to recreate the Vanguard fund through Schwab. I am leaning toward doing this for simplicity and personal peace of mind. If I am going to be buying ETFs for one of my funds(and handling the increased complexity relative to mutual funds), I don't necessarily mind just doing it for all of my funds. For me, it seems easier to mentally compartmentalize and track a fund that is all ETF/all Vanguard than to juggle ETF/MF and Vanguard/Schwab. My understanding is that the various comparable funds perform similarly and are basically a wash, so why not go with the uniformity that I like.
Last edited by zammy55 on Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Topic Author
zammy55
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by zammy55 »

ruralavalon wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:59 pm Welcome to the forum :D .

What type of account(s) will you use at Schwab?

There is nothing wrong with using those Vanguard ETFs at Schwab.

You could also use Schwab mutual funds. Wiki article "Charles Schwab" .
Thank you for the welcome! I am not certain of the specifics, but my investments will be in retirement accounts for the foreseeable future.

(I'm assuming your question will touch on the relative tax implications of ETF vs MF, but please correct me if not) My understanding is that if I am investing in a tax advantaged account, the MF/ETF difference is negligible so it shouldn't really matter but there will be an ETF tax benefit with a taxable account.
Topic Author
zammy55
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by zammy55 »

Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm
Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.
Posts and comments like yours are indeed why I am favoring using Schwab as my brokerage. I've discussed above why I am interested in Vanguard funds (specifically VXUS).
Lazareth
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by Lazareth »

stan1 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:55 pm
Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. and to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.
Agree, that's a great outcome especially for someone with a $1.5M account not $15M.
Why is that not a good outcome for someone with $15 million?
a/66, retired, married, enjoy p/t employment.
stan1
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by stan1 »

Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:17 pm
stan1 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:55 pm
Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. and to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.
Agree, that's a great outcome especially for someone with a $1.5M account not $15M.
Why is that not a good outcome for someone with $15 million?
You said you had a $1.5M account, right? My point is that's good service for someone with "only" a $1.5M account. I'm agreeing with you.
lifeisinmirrors
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by lifeisinmirrors »

In my opinion, the OP has a solid plan and good reasons for it. Any given portfolio of Vanguard ETFs will perform exactly the same, assuming one chooses a reputable zero-fee brokerage house.

Personally I choose the big brokers because on the miniscule chance that anything did go wrong which resulted in a loss of customer funds, they will have plenty of wealthy customers who would fight the ensuing legal battle for me. I think that during the Great Recession, a smaller house run by a former New Jersey Governor mismanaged funds to a point where some customers couldn't access their money for at least a year.
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LiveSimple
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by LiveSimple »

zammy55, yes you can build your portfolio with ETFs, only additional work is that you have to manually click to purchase.
Mutual funds you can automate, if you can do that then fine.

ETF tend to add behaviorally issues such as too much buy / sell as you in the account, if you can resist that then good.
ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash »

Nothing wrong at all. Also, Schwab allows you to purchase fractional shares so you can invest all your $s like in a mutual fund.
Topic Author
zammy55
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by zammy55 »

Thank you to the recent posters for your input.
ChinchillaWhiplash wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:42 pm Nothing wrong at all. Also, Schwab allows you to purchase fractional shares so you can invest all your $s like in a mutual fund.
I was not aware that Schwab allowed fractional shares for ETFs. Could you direct me to a link or something on their website where I can confirm?
BogleFan510
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by BogleFan510 »

zammy55 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:08 pm
LiveSimple wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:31 am Why not stay with Schwab index funds and do the same.

The differences should be minimal to none.

https://www.schwab.com/schwab-index-funds-etfs
Thank you for the responses everyone - I'm not sure if I should reply to every person individually in fear of spamming, but I can explain the reason for my question. Otherwise it's good to confirm from others that I am not off base with this plan.

I was originally planning on using the recommended Schwab 3-fund mutual fund portfolio (SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX), but I learned that SWISX does not include emerging markets and a few other sectors. Now realistically speaking I don't know how important that actually is, but seeing how it is a significant portion (25%) of VTIAX I felt more comfortable building a portfolio including it. I decided to replace SWISX with VXUS (the Schwab accessible version of VTIAX).

It was at that moment I realized it should technically be possible to recreate the Vanguard fund through Schwab. I am leaning toward doing this for simplicity and personal peace of mind. If I am going to be buying ETFs for one of my funds(and handling the increased complexity relative to mutual funds), I don't necessarily mind just doing it for all of my funds. For me, it seems easier to mentally compartmentalize and track a fund that is all ETF/all Vanguard than to juggle ETF/MF and Vanguard/Schwab. My understanding is that the various comparable funds perform similarly and are basically a wash, so why not go with the uniformity that I like.
I actually have both Vanguard, iShares and Schwab funds/ETFs at Schwab. They made excellent pairs when I wanted to take some gains/losses and immediately reinvest in a comparable fund.
Lazareth
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by Lazareth »

zammy55 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:14 pm
Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm
Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.
Posts and comments like yours are indeed why I am favoring using Schwab as my brokerage. I've discussed above why I am interested in Vanguard funds (specifically VXUS).
Glad my post added to your perspective. As for the concern that an emerging markets component is lacking in Schwab's international stock fund offerings, I am still carrying forward my losses from 2010 when my AUM-fee manager had me heavy into one or two of the more popular emerging market funds at the time, they had been hot for a while. The damage was horrific as I'm sure others here might attest to. So I lost that appetite completely. It may be simply an emotional and irrational position but I'm happy to forego the erratic emerging markets and to have a small interest in some of the world's largest companies by holding SWISX Schwab Int'l Stock market fund. I aim for 15% of my equity in International, and 50% in equity overall.
a/66, retired, married, enjoy p/t employment.
Lazareth
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by Lazareth »

stan1 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:19 pm
Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:17 pm
stan1 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:55 pm Agree, that's a great outcome especially for someone with a $1.5M account not $15M.
Why is that not a good outcome for someone with $15 million?
You said you had a $1.5M account, right? My point is that's good service for someone with "only" a $1.5M account. I'm agreeing with you.
:thumbsup
a/66, retired, married, enjoy p/t employment.
ChinchillaWhiplash
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash »

zammy55 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:52 pm Thank you to the recent posters for your input.
ChinchillaWhiplash wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:42 pm Nothing wrong at all. Also, Schwab allows you to purchase fractional shares so you can invest all your $s like in a mutual fund.
I was not aware that Schwab allowed fractional shares for ETFs. Could you direct me to a link or something on their website where I can confirm?
Sorry, I miss informed you. They do allow fractional shares but only on individual stocks in the S&P 500 index. Here is a link. https://www.schwab.com/fractional-share ... -138358173
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by UpperNwGuy »

If you really like emerging markets, then go with VXUS. As for me, my future ex-US investing will be confined to developed markets, so if I were to use a Vanguard ETF, I would chose VEA over VXUS. But then, or course, I might as well go with Schwab funds or ETFs....
skyghost
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by skyghost »

Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm Agreed, no problem using Vanguard funds at Schwab. But, let me take the liberty of offering my first-hand endorsement of using three Schwab funds at Schwab. In 2018, emboldened by this forum, I terminated my AUM manager Portfolio Solutions (.375% fee). Since the funds were already in our Schwab accounts I converted the fourteen or so mutual funds that the manager had selected for me, and I consolidated our retirement accounts and joint-taxable account into just three Schwab index mutual funds. I chose mutual funds rather than comparable Schwab ETF's, but either would have been fine. I use 1. Schwab Total Stock Fund - SWTSX .03% expense ratio, 2. Schwab International Stock Fund - SWISX .06% ER, and 3. Schwab Aggregate Bond Fund - SWAGX .04% ER.

Despite the controversial cash component of the bond fund, my performance has been without significant, if any, variation from the comparable Vanguard 3-fund portfolio. There are no transaction fees at all. Total annual cost of a $1.5 million total portfolio is $540 or an overall fund expense ratio of .037% .

Schwab customer service is outstanding. For example in 2019 at stock market highs I liquidated enough to pay off the house mortgage and at the same time adjust my AA from 60/40 to 50/50 all per my age 65 plan. The cooperation I received from Schwab was outstanding, the person was apparently familiar with typical mortgage-payoff problems, he not only oversaw the liquidating/re-balancing transactions, at no commission/fee even though a human was involved, he also contact KeyBank mortgage dept. to coordinate the payoff amount with his counterpart there make sure the payment was accurate and completed, and he waived any wire fees.

I built an Excel spreadsheet that totals the three funds across all five Schwab accounts, it updates shares prices each day and provides a current snapshot of my total asset allocation, it calculates the deviation from target of each fund so that I can easily make adjusting trades in the big t-IRA.
I'd be interested in seeing that excel file.
whereskyle
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by whereskyle »

zammy55 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:57 pm Hi everyone,

This is my first post so I apologize in advance if I am breaking any rules - I read the post regarding portfolio questions, but I believe my current question is slightly more theoretical so I'm not posting the various suggested details (also couldn't find previous posts directly on point). I am a brand new investor looking to start saving for retirement and doing a lot of reading/research and am currently deciding how I want to structure my portfolio. I am tentatively planning on following a general three-fund portfolio.

My question is as follows - is there anything wrong, foolish, or disadvantageous about building a traditional vanguard 3-fund portfolio with ETFs(VTI, VXUS, BND) using Schwab as my brokerage?

To summarize my reasoning:
1) I feel most comfortable building a 3-fund portfolio with Vanguard funds (history, size, availability of advice/information on the internet)
2) I would like to use Schwab as my brokerage (customer service, website, banking services)

My understanding is that ETF trading is now free at Schwab, and I believe I understand the pros/cons of choosing ETFs over mutual funds - definitely happy to learn more if relevant.

Thank you in advance.
Make sure Schwab allows you to buy fractional shares of Vangusrd ETFs so you can contribute the same amount every time. Otherwise, you'll have to buy according to the price of the ETF as it changes. Fidelity allows it and I believe Schwab should now too, but just double check that fractional trading is available for the ETFs you want.
"I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know." - Socrates. "Nobody knows nothing." - Jack Bogle
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by UpperNwGuy »

whereskyle wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:15 pm Make sure Schwab allows you to buy fractional shares of Vangusrd ETFs so you can contribute the same amount every time. Otherwise, you'll have to buy according to the price of the ETF as it changes. Fidelity allows it and I believe Schwab should now too, but just double check that fractional trading is available for the ETFs you want.
Schwab does not allow you to buy fractional shares of ETFs but they do allow you to buy fractional shares of individual stocks. Only Fidelity allows you to buy fractional shares of ETFs.
Lazareth
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by Lazareth »

skyghost wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:17 am
Lazareth wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:50 pm
I built an Excel spreadsheet that totals the three funds across all five Schwab accounts, it updates shares prices each day and provides a current snapshot of my total asset allocation, it calculates the deviation from target of each fund so that I can easily make adjusting trades in the big t-IRA.
I'd be interested in seeing that excel file.
I'd be happy to share it. I don't see where I can attach a file to a private message, you could PM your email address to me and I'll email the file. If you have another upload/share option for me I can try that.
a/66, retired, married, enjoy p/t employment.
epictetus
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Re: Vanguard ETF 3-fund Portfolio through Schwab

Post by epictetus »

Fidelity only allows you to purchase fractional shares of ETFs:
1. through their mobile app
2. when the market is open
Focus on what you can control
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