Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

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Croce
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Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Croce »

I have been an investor with Vanguard for 40+ years. The past year or so - trying to reach anyone by telephone is exceedingly aggravating. You must navigate the phone tree, then when you are finally put in the queue it's about a half hour wait. It seems in the past, there were various levels of service based upon asset totals and the telephone numbers were actually visible on the website without drilling down through multiple pages to find them. Possibly, this race to the bottom in fees has resulted in lack of service - like what occurred with the airlines. I can do many things related to my account using the on-line tools, but occasionally need to speak to a human.

I opened a ML Edge account a few months back but find that their support and computer interface worse. After waiting on hold for 30 minutes to tender some stock in a corporate action, I was told by the rep to call back the following day when the appropriate desk was open. So much for 24/7.

Therefore, I'm getting ready to switch the whole kitandcaboodle to Schwab. I called them and got through to a human in a couple minutes. They charge a minimal amount for OTC trades but it's well worth it to me if that means improved service.

Before making the switch, just wanted to ask if anyone has experienced the same. Maybe I'm being too picky. Total assets under Vanguard are well over 7 figures, so in my opinion they could provide a little better support. Do you know if Vanguard is trying to improve? Seems they have really dropped the ball. If anyone switched to Schwab, any regrets?

Thanks for any opinions
Croce
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Sandtrap
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Sandtrap »

What are you doing that requires "phone interaction" that using a brokerage online interface can't do?

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WhyNotUs
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by WhyNotUs »

There are several previous threads on this topic. Schwab seems like a good choice for some people. VG seems to be losing its personal touch for those under $5M.

I have not really had a reason to need personal attention from VG for over a decade so I cannot speak to this issue. If I was not getting the service that I needed, I would ask VG if they can provide it and if not I would ask Schwab or whoever if they will provide that now and in the future and see if the grass is greener.

My gripes with VG are different than yours and going to Schwab would not solve mine so I am staying.
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mhc
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by mhc »

I have never had an issue with Vanguard customer service over the phone. I can never remember waiting more than a few seconds. The one time there was a wait the automated system asked if I wanted them to call me back. I said yes, and they called back when they said they would. Very nice customer service.
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ShadowRegent
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by ShadowRegent »

I left Vanguard due to errors that they made and poor service. I'm at Fidelity now, but have also used Schwab without any issues. If you search, you'll find several threads on this forum of people who have chosen to leave Vanguard due to service issues. Many brokerages are also willing to give a bonus for a large transfer to sweeten the deal.
MadAsgardian
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by MadAsgardian »

A casual search on "Vanguard customer service" will verify that you're not alone.
Sandtrap wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:50 pm What are you doing that requires "phone interaction" that using a brokerage online interface can't do?
My account isn't remotely large or complex, but I do worry about the level of hassle my family will need to go through when the time comes.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by bsteiner »

You can respond to corporate actions online at Vanguard, and they don't charge for them.
Normchad
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Normchad »

Honestly, I’m starting to think about it as well. I’ve only ever been with Vanguard, and I love them. But…..

I have significant taxable accounts. And rather than adding more to my vanguard funds, I really am thinking about opening a fidelity account, and buying equivalent funds there. Nit changing my AA, but diversify my investing companies I guess.

It’s partly motivated by stories like yours. And it’s partly motivated by what happened with the people in the target date funds that hit massive tax bills this year. Maybe it’s just a good idea to split my assets across companies?

The reason I started with vanguard, were many. Rock bottom funds and the vision of Jack Bogle being the biggest. But everybody has low cost funds now. And Jack is gone, and VG seems in some ways to be heading in a different direction. Less focused on the little guy if you will.
little_star
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by little_star »

I think it is important for consumers to vote with their feet. If you are not happy with the service provided for the fees expended, then you should go elsewhere.

Personally, I have not had issues with Vanguard's customer service. But I have never asked them to do anything complicated, so I have no idea if they are good or bad at the higher level stuff.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by GoldenFinch »

I’m happy with Vanguard, but I don’t need help with anything from them. I also use Schwab and they have excellent customer service. I have had questions over the years and they have always provided stellar service.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by aristotelian »

If quick access to customer service is a priority for you, by all means bail. I have been happy with Schwab. Pretty sure they really do have 24/7 service.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by UpperNwGuy »

The hold times are the most annoying aspect of using Vanguard. I called them last month to convert VFIAX mutual fund shares to VOO ETF shares. My call went to a computer that asked me if they could call me back. I said yes, and they did call me back, nearly an hour later. However, the guy who called me back was not able to do the mutual fund to ETF conversion because he was not part of the trading desk. He transferred my call to the trading desk, and this time there was no option for Vanguard to call me back, so I sat on hold for nearly an hour. This is bleeping unacceptable customer service.

And now, to my complete annoyance, every single one of my VOO ETF tax lots has partial shares, so I'm unable to sell complete tax lots using SpecID.
Last edited by UpperNwGuy on Wed Mar 30, 2022 3:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Makefile »

Croce wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:40 pm Therefore, I'm getting ready to switch the whole kitandcaboodle to Schwab. I called them and got through to a human in a couple minutes. They charge a minimal amount for OTC trades but it's well worth it to me if that means improved service.

Before making the switch, just wanted to ask if anyone has experienced the same. Maybe I'm being too picky. Total assets under Vanguard are well over 7 figures, so in my opinion they could provide a little better support. Do you know if Vanguard is trying to improve? Seems they have really dropped the ball. If anyone switched to Schwab, any regrets?
Being a 40-year Vanguard investor, I suspect you may hold Vanguard mutual funds instead of or in addition to ETFs. You might look at E*TRADE. They have commission-free access to most Vanguard mutual funds unlike Fidelity and Schwab. I can't speak to how their customer service compares, or how much a "big fish" you would be at E*TRADE to receive better service.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by McDougal »

ShadowRegent wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:53 pm I left Vanguard due to errors that they made and poor service. I'm at Fidelity now, but have also used Schwab without any issues. If you search, you'll find several threads on this forum of people who have chosen to leave Vanguard due to service issues. Many brokerages are also willing to give a bonus for a large transfer to sweeten the deal.
+1 on asking Schwab for a bonus for transferring a 7-figure total.
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goingup
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by goingup »

I’m sorry you’re having difficulties with phone service with Vanguard. To some degree it’s a big problem for many companies right now. I was on the phone with Verizon for 1.5 hours last week, much of that on hold.

Read some of the Schwab threads on the forum. Much high praise for customer service. Some drawbacks for me would be having to speak to a rep to sell specific lots of mutual funds. Can’t do that online. It will cost you $75 to purchase Vanguard mutual funds unless you obtain a waiver. Also, their bond fund lineup is not as deep as Vanguard’s.

I would research Schwab thoroughly before making the leap. Grass isn’t always greener.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Fpdesignco »

Schwab or Fidelity, both are great, and have both for different reasons. Reality is both have fantastic customer service, and great tech. I keep wondering (other thread on this) on when Vanguard will just give up retail investing and sell it off, focus on fund management and 401k only.

Also the whole "fund fee" atleast with Schwab, you can get them to waive it, or greatly reduce it. Fidelity, not so much, but can always try I guess. Regardless, use ETF's and there is no problem, or if your really onto mutual funds, use Schwab or Fidelity's own passive/active funds with no fee's.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by NancyABQ »

goingup wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 3:29 pm I’m sorry you’re having difficulties with phone service with Vanguard. To some degree it’s a big problem for many companies right now. I was on the phone with Verizon for 1.5 hours last week, much of that on hold.

Read some of the Schwab threads on the forum. Much high praise for customer service. Some drawbacks for me would be having to speak to a rep to sell specific lots of mutual funds. Can’t do that online. It will cost you $75 to purchase Vanguard mutual funds unless you obtain a waiver. Also, their bond fund lineup is not as deep as Vanguard’s.

I would research Schwab thoroughly before making the leap. Grass isn’t always greener.
I've been quite happy with Schwab for years. I don't need their Customer Service very often (maybe once or twice a year) but have always had satisfactory experiences. I also like that there is a local office where I can drop off important documents rather than using the mail.

If you want to hold Vanguard Funds at Schwab, I would recommend the ETFs that trade fee-free. Or transfer Mutual Funds in kind from Vanguard and only buy more in large amounts (to amortize the trading fee). I am not sure if all the Vanguard funds are available at Schwab, but all their ETFs are.

Based on comments here in other threads, I think both Fidelity and Schwab would be fine choices.
wander
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by wander »

I called VG customer service a few weeks ago for requesting the removal of Roth IRA contribution. It went fine without any issue. I do have account with Schwab but never actually called them for about anything.
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Croce
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Croce »

I really appreciate all the responses. I just received a call from a Schwab rep and we set up an upcoming "in person" appointment at a local office. A few months ago, I converted all my Vanguard funds that were convertible to ETFs. I still have a few that were not eligible for conversion.

The reason I called Vanguard was to inquire about a transfer from a 401k to an IRA in order to set up a qualified IRA charitable distribution. These type distributions can't be made from a 401k so there were a few questions concerning the dates and other issues that could not be handled to my satisfaction by a web interface.

The Schwab guy mentioned a $2500 bonus for bringing over the new business. I'll see how I feel about Schwab after my meeting . I'm preparing some questions. Thanks for mentioning the $75 fee for Vanguard funds transactions - I did not know about that.

Croce
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by 123 »

Croce wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:40 pm ...If anyone switched to Schwab, any regrets?...
There are (at least) two potential downsides in a move to Schwab from Vanguard. The first is that there is a hefty transaction fee for the purchase of Vanguard mutual funds (there have been posts that the fees for a single fund can be waived for a "large" account at Schwab). Of course ETF trades are free. The other issue is the default core account at Schwab is a bank account (paying very low interest) and there is no MMF option (there are MMFs you can purchase, an extra step). That said we have a couple of fully invested Schwab accounts and are happy with them. Their Vanguard mutual fund purchase fee is now $74.95 per transaction. We've paid that a couple of times for single 100% purchases in large accounts. For rare purchases in large accounts that fee is a small price to pay for holding a Vanguard investment you trust in a Schwab account.
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aristotelian
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by aristotelian »

123 wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:32 pm
Croce wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 2:40 pm ...If anyone switched to Schwab, any regrets?...
There are (at least) two potential downsides in a move to Schwab from Vanguard. The first is that there is a hefty transaction fee for the purchase of Vanguard mutual funds (there have been posts that the fees for a single fund can be waived for a "large" account at Schwab). Of course ETF trades are free. The other issue is the default core account at Schwab is a bank account (paying very low interest) and there is no MMF option (there are MMFs you can purchase, an extra step). That said we have a couple of fully invested Schwab accounts and are happy with them. Their Vanguard mutual fund purchase fee is now $74.95 per transaction. We've paid that a couple of times for single 100% purchases in large accounts. For rare purchases in large accounts that fee is a small price to pay for holding a Vanguard investment you trust in a Schwab account.
If switching taxable accounts from Vanguard to Schwab my recommendation would be to have Vanguard convert the mutual fund to ETF shares prior to the transfer. If you have a strong preference for Vanguard mutual funds it is probably better to stay at Vanguard and accept that phone calls will take a while.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by rick51 »

I suspect Vanguard has become a victim of its own success. And the competition that scoffed at the Vanguard business model of offering low cost index funds has scrambled to copy and they have taken a chunk out of the Vanguard growth engine. Then on the other hand Vanguard has grown so fast in recent years that it seems to be having trouble providing the level of service that they did in the past. I’m not sure there are any good options. Be careful you don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Where have you gone John C. Boyle our investors turn their anxious eyes to you.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by PersonalFinanceJam »

You're in good company. To understand just how good you may want to check out the mega thread on poor Vanguard experiences:
viewtopic.php?t=351604

If you are thinking about Schwab, you should check out the Schwab Information thread and FAQ:
viewtopic.php?t=355173

If you want another option, perusing the Fidelity one stop shop thread may also be worthwhile:
viewtopic.php?t=266538

There is life post Vanguard. Good luck on your journey!
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by GAAP »

I still use Vanguard funds, but I have no money in an account with Vanguard anymore. I moved to Schwab, and they give me everything I need.

I wouldn't hesitate to encourage anyone to make the switch.
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MN Finance
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by MN Finance »

There's zero reason to have money at Vanguard. You can own Vanguard fund anywhere.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by gwe67 »

Back in the day, the only way to do business with Vanguard was by landline call (later fax) or snail mail. Now, people complain when the website is slow.
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fortunefavored
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by fortunefavored »

They have the absolute worst phone tree I've ever heard of. Could not understand a single thing I said via the voice prompts (I have no accent or anything unusual, voice prompts work fine at every other institution) along with an incredibly artificial sounding robot voice.

They also hide the phone number on the web site, which is double-enraging. And no on-line chat.

Sorry, you hit me at a bad time since I had to engage with Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab today - Vanguard is so terrible compared to them it is difficult to put it into words. I am headed to Fidelity once I finish a few more clean-ups of various accounts.
shunkman
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by shunkman »

It has been my experience that customer service overall has decreased a lot since the beginning of the pandemic. For now, I have lowered my expectations. And I have not made any drastic changes to who I do business with because I am still hoping that things will improve eventually.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

It's moderately amusing that there's a new thread like this every day or two and that the majority of them seem to start with or at least include some variant of "has anyone else noticed this. . ." like it's an original observation. If everyone is arriving at this conclusion independently, then certainly it's indicative of a problem (based on your usage pattern and apparent needs), but if you are unaware that this has been more than adequately covered already, are you even reading these boards?
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 3:22 pm The hold times are the most annoying aspect of using Vanguard. I called them last month to convert VFIAX mutual fund shares to VOO ETF shares. My call went to a computer that asked me if they could call me back. I said yes, and they did call me back, nearly an hour later. However, the guy who called me back was not able to do the mutual fund to ETF conversion because he was not part of the trading desk. He transferred my call to the trading desk, and this time there was no option for Vanguard to call me back, so I sat on hold for nearly an hour. This is bleeping unacceptable customer service.

And now, to my complete annoyance, every single one of my VOO ETF tax lots has partial shares, so I'm unable to sell complete tax lots using SpecID.
I consider you to be lucky. When I wanted to convert a Vanguard mutual fund to the cooresponding ETF, they didn't say that I had to wait for the trading desk....they said that the only way to do it was to sell the mutual fund, let it settle, then buy the ETF. They sent me 2 documents to back up what they were saying, which of course was wrong.

I came to Bogleheads who helped me with the double secret phone number where people gave me correct answers. I converted, then moved to TDAmeritrade and collected the bonus for doing so. Eventually, with Schwab buying them, I moved it to Schwab where I had a small account.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Sagefemme »

I have accounts at Fidelity and Schwab. I would say both have excellent customer service with Schwab having a slight edge--every Schwab CSR I have ever talked to (over about 20 years) has gone above and beyond. I own Vanguard ETFs because of the fees on the purchase of Vanguard MFs, but I wouldn't be surprised if they might waive the MF fees for large accounts.

I just returned from an overseas trip where I used my Schwab debit card at ATMs. There are no fees for international transactions. In addition Schwab reimburses any and all fees charged at ATMs domestically and internationally. You don't have to do anything; the reimbursement just shows up in the account.

I also get free wire transfers, I think it's one per quarter, based on the amounts in my Schwab accounts. This saves $25 each time.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by greg24 »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 6:34 pmIt's moderately amusing that there's a new thread like this every day or two and that the majority of them seem to start with or at least include some variant of "has anyone else noticed this. . ." like it's an original observation. If everyone is arriving at this conclusion independently, then certainly it's indicative of a problem (based on your usage pattern and apparent needs), but if you are unaware that this has been more than adequately covered already, are you even reading these boards?
The OP has 7 posts on this site. You have 2443. He has not been reading the boards with nearly the frequency of you or me.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by MnD »

Vanguard IMO is a better fund creator and manager versus a home base for your financial assets.
I have ETF's by Vanguard, Schwab and Blackrock plus Dodge and Cox Funds - all held at Schwab.

I considered using Vanguard as a core brokerage and home for my financials for decades and it always came up way short.
So I'm kind of unsurprised at the latest unhappy campers.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by mongstradamus »

MN Finance wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 5:33 pm There's zero reason to have money at Vanguard. You can own Vanguard fund anywhere.
I have had this feeling as well for me fidelity is the best fit for me for the flexibility of parital shares with etfs and they have some low cost index fund options for tax deferred accounts , most are at least as cheap as vanguard or cheaper. FSKAX/FZROX being prime example of cheaper option than VTI/VTSAX.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by MrLoco »

I haven't read thru every post, but this is a particularly busy time for the large brokerage houses due to tax season. With taxes due in 18 days, I am sure all of them are inundated with calls from anxious investors requesting updated 1099's, missing 1099's, etc.
If one calls a month from now, chances are your time on hold would be less.
I have been with VAnguard for many years, and the few times I needed to contact them, have found them very helpful.
Plus, changing now would be a nightmare. Having to reestablish monthly dividend deposits as well as having to have a new Agent Authorization Form (Power of Attorney) written up and notarized and witnessed at the bank just adds to the hassle. There would have to be a major mistake to get me to switch at this point.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by HomeStretch »

Croce wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:29 pm … The Schwab guy mentioned a $2500 bonus for bringing over the new business. …
Schwab or Fidelity are great choices especially if there is a local office. Read the mega threads about each linked in another reply.

Posters in the BH mega thread about brokerage bonuses have had success in getting larger bonuses by asking Schwab to match a competitor’s offer. E*Trade has an offer for $3,500 for $1.5 million+:
https://us.etrade.com/what-we-offer/how-it-works/promo
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Think »

Valid points on both side of the pro / con for Vanguard. I do still love Vanguard; however, there are things that bother me. For example, the cost of options at $1 per contract when most other firms charge 1/2 that. The web side not auto-logging me in even though I hit Remember My Device every single time. I hate that. Vanguard makes the investor owned angle a marketing point....but, reality is they don't really. offer an all in lower cost experience.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by exodusNH »

Think wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 6:51 am Valid points on both side of the pro / con for Vanguard. I do still love Vanguard; however, there are things that bother me. For example, the cost of options at $1 per contract when most other firms charge 1/2 that. The web side not auto-logging me in even though I hit Remember My Device every single time. I hate that. Vanguard makes the investor owned angle a marketing point....but, reality is they don't really. offer an all in lower cost experience.
"Remember my device" prevents prompting of 2FA. You still need to use your password.
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by galawdawg »

Croce wrote: Wed Mar 30, 2022 4:29 pm I really appreciate all the responses. I just received a call from a Schwab rep and we set up an upcoming "in person" appointment at a local office. A few months ago, I converted all my Vanguard funds that were convertible to ETFs. I still have a few that were not eligible for conversion.

The reason I called Vanguard was to inquire about a transfer from a 401k to an IRA in order to set up a qualified IRA charitable distribution. These type distributions can't be made from a 401k so there were a few questions concerning the dates and other issues that could not be handled to my satisfaction by a web interface.

The Schwab guy mentioned a $2500 bonus for bringing over the new business. I'll see how I feel about Schwab after my meeting . I'm preparing some questions. Thanks for mentioning the $75 fee for Vanguard funds transactions - I did not know about that.

Croce
The $75 purchase fee only applies to mutual funds, not ETFs. Even so, in some cases Schwab will waive the fees for a single "fund family", such as Vanguard, depending upon your portfolio. Be sure to ask for that fee waiver when you meet with Schwab. I was granted that fee waiver (in addition to a generous transfer bonus) when I moved to Schwab. Since then, however, I have divested of nearly all of my Vanguard holdings and will complete the divestment in January 2023. I now hold the equivalent Schwab funds (which have equal or better returns and lower expense ratios).

If you haven't seen it, you may want to take a glance at the Schwab Information Thread. Hopefully some of the information there will help you assess whether Schwab is a good fit for you. viewtopic.php?t=355173

Good luck! :sharebeer
Nowizard
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Nowizard »

If you happen to have had a T.D. Ameritrade account for several years before Schwab purchased them, don't count on getting anyone who can aid you in negotiating the transfers. It is basically non-existent, and we are very low maintenance.

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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Ramjet »

Bail. Switch to Schwab. Take advice here with a grain of salt as the site as a whole is obviously biased towards Vanguard. I think there are 3 posts on the front page at the moment referencing Vanguard customer service/log in issues :oops:. Continue to support Vanguard through the purchasing of their index funds, but find a brokerage that has a better user interface and customer support.
dbr
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by dbr »

Ramjet wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 7:43 am Bail. Switch to Schwab. Take advice here with a grain of salt as the site as a whole is obviously biased towards Vanguard. I think there are 3 posts on the front page at the moment referencing Vanguard customer service/log in issues :oops:. Continue to support Vanguard through the purchasing of their index funds, but find a brokerage that has a better user interface and customer support.
Or, do what I did and shift the entirety of my holdings in the brokerage link from Vanguard funds held in a Schwab account to Schwab funds. It didn't cost anything and the ER is lower.
MBB_Boy
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by MBB_Boy »

I recently pulled the trigger and moved primarily to Fidelity. I've had accounts at both over the years, but never could get past the inertia to consolidate. I usually dreaded doing things at Vanguard, especially once they moved to that cartoonish large icon interface. It's REALLY bad with the 401K from an old employer I was leaving there because of access to institutional funds. I almost never need anything, but when I do I very much enjoy having access to chat with Fidelity.

The precipitating event was when I finally decided to move that old Vanguard 401K into my Vanguard Roth IRA, and they tried to charge me a $20 fee. No budge on waiving it, which was especially frustrating after a really long hold time to ask.

So I bailed, and shot them a message basically complaining and letting them know how much AUM they lost over a $20 fee. The response vindicated my decision, because the fee WAS waivable - even though the phone rep said it wasn't. So someone was wrong, which doesn't raise confidence.

So now I have accounts split across Schwab, Fidelity, and Interactive Brokers. IB is more difficult to deal with than Vanguard - but at least they have cheap margin loans if I want. I can put up with that to have that capability - Vanguard doesn't give me anything at all.
Ramjet
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Ramjet »

dbr wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 8:56 am
Ramjet wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 7:43 am Bail. Switch to Schwab. Take advice here with a grain of salt as the site as a whole is obviously biased towards Vanguard. I think there are 3 posts on the front page at the moment referencing Vanguard customer service/log in issues :oops:. Continue to support Vanguard through the purchasing of their index funds, but find a brokerage that has a better user interface and customer support.
Or, do what I did and shift the entirety of my holdings in the brokerage link from Vanguard funds held in a Schwab account to Schwab funds. It didn't cost anything and the ER is lower.
Even better
lgerla
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by lgerla »

My FiL is a seasoned investor at 95. He moved to Vanguard from Merrill Lynch years ago to save on fees. As a dividend investor, he did not agree with recommendations of PAS, nor even hold VG mutual funds, but stayed for 30 years.

He handles most transactions online, but the past two years, wait times on hold were untenable for him, in the few instances he needed phone support.

He moved multiple 7 figures to Fidelity a few months ago with Fidelity initiating the transfers in kind for two brokerage accounts in trusts and an IRA, learned the new interface, and has gone to the local office when he needed support.

It's never too late to get the service you want.
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jason2459
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by jason2459 »

I may have missed a mention for ETrade as an option. Since you mentioned you have some vanguard funds that couldn't be converted to ETFs and I assume they are in a taxable account? If so ETrade does have support for many of the vanguard mutual funds with no commissions.

Otherwise for the support you were looking for I have had no problems with Fidelity. I call into them every couple weeks to do roll overs for quite a while now. I just call in before market opens and I'm on with someone in like 5 minutes most of the time.
"In the short run, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long run, it is a weighing machine" ~Benjamin Graham
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Ramjet wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 7:43 am . . . the site as a whole is obviously biased towards Vanguard. . . .
Not based on my reading.
desiderium
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by desiderium »

I work for a healthcare delivery megacorp. The poor to outright agonizing customer service my company inflicts on the most vulnerable is hard to watch.

By comparison, the inconvenience with Vanguard has been moderate in my experience. However, I worry about being stranded as the sick are in my area, and as I and others are with the IRS.

I am retiring soon. Fidelity has my current workplace assets and I recently had a nice meeting with someone in the local office, and they have helped find some obscure rules about my 457 plan (information that my company benefits people couldn't/wouldn't provide).
I want to split my assets with Schwab and just opened a brokerage account. Someone from the local office called me the next day, helped me set up my brokerage transfer bonus and described local services.
I may never use them, but having local offices and real local people to talk to is very reassuring to me. I am consolidating all my assets with these two houses.
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mrspock
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by mrspock »

+1 for Schwab. But keep in mind they won’t offer most (all?) Admiral funds. Their customer service and apps are fantastic. If I call I get a person instantly, you can also goto my local Schwab office to schmooze with their *salaried* reps (no pressure tactics, ok tax advice).

They can also code your account so you can buy Vanguard funds without fees if you have sufficient assets (1-2m I think).

Fidelity would be my next pick, but their UI isn’t as nice IMO, I have them for my 401k, so I use both regularly.
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starboi
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Re: Stay the Course? I'm ready to Bail on Vanguard

Post by starboi »

MBB_Boy wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:25 am I recently pulled the trigger and moved primarily to Fidelity. I've had accounts at both over the years, but never could get past the inertia to consolidate. I usually dreaded doing things at Vanguard, especially once they moved to that cartoonish large icon interface. It's REALLY bad with the 401K from an old employer I was leaving there because of access to institutional funds. I almost never need anything, but when I do I very much enjoy having access to chat with Fidelity.

The precipitating event was when I finally decided to move that old Vanguard 401K into my Vanguard Roth IRA, and they tried to charge me a $20 fee. No budge on waiving it, which was especially frustrating after a really long hold time to ask.

So I bailed, and shot them a message basically complaining and letting them know how much AUM they lost over a $20 fee. The response vindicated my decision, because the fee WAS waivable - even though the phone rep said it wasn't. So someone was wrong, which doesn't raise confidence.

So now I have accounts split across Schwab, Fidelity, and Interactive Brokers. IB is more difficult to deal with than Vanguard - but at least they have cheap margin loans if I want. I can put up with that to have that capability - Vanguard doesn't give me anything at all.
Can you please elaborate on IBKR customer service? I was thinking of moving there.
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