Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

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PatrickA5
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Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:36 pm

DW and I currently have all of our retirement accounts and a brokerage account at Vanguard. We've been fairly pleased over the years with Vanguard customer service and website - at least to the point that we wouldn't change just for improvements in those areas. We're also happy with the funds and costs at VG.

One advantage that I see with Fidelity is the availability (in my city) of an actual office. Since I handle 100% of our finances (and actually enjoy it), I don't really have a need to go talk to somebody. But, once I'm gone, I'm concerned for DW and wonder if it might be better to have our money someplace where she could actually go sit down and get help, if necessary.

So, my questions:

What are the pros/cons of being able to go to a Fidelity office versus doing everything online/phone with VG?

Do the advisors try to "hard sell" products? This is one area that concerns me a little.

Is a spouse (that doesn't know much about finances) better off being able to talk to someone in person, rather than over the phone with VG?

Anybody use Fidelity (over VG) mainly because of having an office available?

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:47 pm

Not to me. I have had a Fidelity account since 2002. I have never set foot in their office which is about 20 miles from me. I don't recall ever talking with anyone from that office on the phone, but perhaps I did in the early going. YMMV.

mhalley
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by mhalley » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:57 pm

The problem with Fidelity is that in addition to having cheap ( now including zero fee funds] they also have a very expensive options. With vanguard, the worse you get is 0.3% with their PAS, but fidelity can go well north of 1%. That is why I have told my wife to go with vanguard PAS should I get hit by a bus. People can be talked into bad ideas much more easily in person.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:13 pm

That was one of the things that concerned me. Would DW be talked into some high cost investment?

But, when I pass would it be significantly easier for her (or kids when she passes) to go to an office to arrange things?

SavageAmusement
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by SavageAmusement » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:15 pm

There are lots of reasons to like Fidelity, including great customer service, a great website, great technology, a large offering of low-cost investment products, and financial stability. Their offices are just one more way they deliver first class customer service.

I use its offices regularly and find them helpful in managing our portfolio. That said, I’m not wild about their investment advice or portfolio management services. In fairness, they have never tried to force them on me. I politely decline and that’s that. In my 30+ year experience with them, I have found their people to be professional, intelligent, and well trained. They are not pushy.

You may pay slightly more in fees at Fidelity than Vanguard, but some fees are actually lower. To the extent costs are higher, the peace of mind I receive from holding my portfolio at a trustworthy, competent, high quality organization is worth it. Low cost is very important to me, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Quality matters too. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to buy the cheapest parachute you could find. The same thing applies here in my opinion.

PS: This not a rant against Vanguard. I think it’s a fine option as well.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by FIBoston » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:22 pm

It seems like you are happy with Vanguard. Perhaps a solution would be to leave instructions that in the event of your passing, all of you and your wife's assets should transfer to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. Yes there is the extra advisory fee, but it is very competitive relative to the industry and you will be able to "rest" easy knowing that she is getting good sound advice from a company you know and trust.

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HueyLD
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by HueyLD » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:30 pm

Do you have children that can be trusted with managing your assets?

If your wife is not into money management, having responsible and capable child(ren) can be the next best thing. Alternatively, you can set up VG PAS in advance and treat the annual AUM fee as an insurance against possible future money grab against her.

I agree that Fidelity is a good company, but Fidelity is also very “bottom line” oriented. They are known to steer unsuspecting widows and widowers into high cost variable annuities and high cost actively managed funds.

And I agree that it is easier to handle things in person, especially for older people. But your wife may need some outside help (such as a child, friend, etc.) in order to not being talked into high cost investments.

P.s. Leaving instructions to a wife who is not Intrested in money management doesn’t work without additional help (such as a trusted child, friend). If she is not interested in money management when he is around, she will be totally lost and be very vulnerable to smooth talking salesman who would become the long lost son she never had. I have seen enough of such situations to caution those who think that leaving instructions will suffice.
Last edited by HueyLD on Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:33 pm

FIBoston wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:22 pm
It seems like you are happy with Vanguard. Perhaps a solution would be to leave instructions that in the event of your passing, all of you and your wife's assets should transfer to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. Yes there is the extra advisory fee, but it is very competitive relative to the industry and you will be able to "rest" easy knowing that she is getting good sound advice from a company you know and trust.
Yes, I've already written about PAS in our "plan". Still, just wondering if it's significantly better to have someone to talk to in person if you don't know much about finances, IRA's, etc.

I'm familiar with both VG and Fidelity as I've had accounts with both. I've had good (and bad) service with both. Back when I had accounts at Fidelity, I never went to an office - but, I didn't have a NEED to since I keep up with this stuff.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:34 pm

I like that a brick and mortar office has a "random dude" who is at the desk when I walk in. I can hand him a confusing form from a "from" company when rolling into Fidelity. He'll go through and fill it out, notarize it and give me the proper addresses. All this while my assigned advisor is in an office in the building and doesn't even know I'm there. I've met my advisor once ever and as I introduced myself, he said "oh yah.....you're the indexing guy". Yup....I'm the indexing guy.
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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:42 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:30 pm
Do you have children that can be trusted with managing your assets?

If your wife is not into money management, having responsible and capable child(ren) can be the next best thing. Alternatively, you can set up VG PAS in advance and treat the annual AUM fee as an insurance against possible future money grab against her.

I agree that Fidelity is a good company, but Fidelity is also very “bottom line” oriented. They are known to steer unsuspecting widows and widowers into high cost variable annuities and high cost actively managed funds.

And I agree that it is easier to handle things in person, especially for older people. But your wife may need some outside help (such as a child, friend, etc.) in order to not being talked into high cost investments.
Right now I'd say my kids aren't very financial savvy. I have hopes for my youngest son, since he's studying accounting/finance in college. My two older kids have no interest in investing - at least not yet. My DW is smart and is actually an accountant (like me), but doesn't have much interest in personal finance. When I show her our quarterly net worth and expense statements, she yawns and quickly finds something else to look at on her IPad. I'm at least making an attempt at getting her up to speed on things.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by longleaf » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:22 pm

Naturally, the higher the level of a client’s knowledge the more easily will he be able to notice false and incomplete information as well as implausible and futile arguments given by the advisor. Finally, highly knowledgeable clients can easily compare the recommended products with alternative offers since they know the relevant criteria and can more easily access alternative sources of information. The vast majority of clients, however, does not have the know-how to do this and therefore has to rely on other quality properties it can evaluate before, during or after a session. Those properties, however, such as the tangible environment (e.g., features and cleanliness of office premises) or personality traits of the advisor and the bank’s service-personnel (e.g., friendliness, cooperativeness), are not necessarily associated with the quality of the information exchange between advisor and client. With regard to this core quality, clients have to trust their advisor to not only have the necessary skills for an expert advice but also to make use of them.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 009-9099-4

If you know what you're doing and are comfortable with it, why bother changing from Vanguard? Whether or not these perks add value is completely subjective. Only you can answer that. Always beware of the sharks.
Frugality, indexing, time.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:29 pm

I wouldn't consider a move to Fidelity, or anywhere else, because of a physical office. You are just as likely to get wrong information from a person in person as over the phone. Fidelity may, or may not, have a specialist available that knows the answer to your questions when your wife visits an office.

I am moving my HSA to Fidelity, all $1,300 of it (to stop $36 a year fees). I chatted with questions several times, never got full answers, which I later found online. I did get "I'm sorry, I am in IRAs, not HSAs, here is their phone number".

I also got a nice email telling me they were ready for me to send in, via US Mail, my transfer paperwork, which I had already faxed to them...
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:30 pm

In my experience, fidelity has great customer service on phone. Website is good. My advisor is not bad-a firm no works well. The office is 3 blocks from where I live.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by sleepysurf » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:30 pm

I had a bad experience when reviewing my elderly mother's portfolio at her local Fidelity branch this past year. At the time, she was primarily in actively managed funds (left over from using an independant AUM Advisor). The local Fidelity Rep pushed for us to stick with the active funds, and to sign up for their Wealth Advisory service. We ended up keeping the portfolio at Fidelity because of a favorable (old) variable annuity she has there (with a 3% guaranteed return option), but switched everything else to the Vanguard Target Retirement Fund.

Of course, that was only one branch, and one Fidelity Rep, so YMMV.
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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:34 pm

longleaf wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:22 pm
Naturally, the higher the level of a client’s knowledge the more easily will he be able to notice false and incomplete information as well as implausible and futile arguments given by the advisor. Finally, highly knowledgeable clients can easily compare the recommended products with alternative offers since they know the relevant criteria and can more easily access alternative sources of information. The vast majority of clients, however, does not have the know-how to do this and therefore has to rely on other quality properties it can evaluate before, during or after a session. Those properties, however, such as the tangible environment (e.g., features and cleanliness of office premises) or personality traits of the advisor and the bank’s service-personnel (e.g., friendliness, cooperativeness), are not necessarily associated with the quality of the information exchange between advisor and client. With regard to this core quality, clients have to trust their advisor to not only have the necessary skills for an expert advice but also to make use of them.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.10 ... 009-9099-4

If you know what you're doing and are comfortable with it, why bother changing from Vanguard? Whether or not these perks add value is completely subjective. Only you can answer that. Always beware of the sharks.
I know what I'm doing and am comfortable with Vanguard. It's after I'm gone that I'm concerned.

So far, I haven't heard any great advantage to being able to go to a Fidelity office. Hopefully, those that do use the services will share their experiences. Thanks for all of the replies so far.

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HueyLD
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by HueyLD » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:52 pm

Having a physical office to go to is definitely an asset, but it could also be a liability as the OP understands both sides of the ledger.

I have used Fido investor center for various issues, including attending seminars. And I have nothing but good words to say about their excellent service. However, they also have a tendency to sell you their most profitable products all wrapped up in a good service package. Of course an educated investor can always say no to their suggestions, but a not so informed investor may be easily persuaded by their sales pitch, especially after receiving such good services.

I happened to know two clients, a widow and a married man. Both went to a local investor center for consultation and left with their lifetime saving in high price variable annuities.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:05 pm

PatrickA5 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:36 pm
What are the pros/cons of being able to go to a Fidelity office versus doing everything online/phone with VG?
A pro might be paperwork, witnessed signatures, maybe even a Medallian Signature????

Do the advisors try to "hard sell" products? This is one area that concerns me a little.
Some do.

A few of the absolute worst portfolios we have ever seen here have come from Fidelity AUM "advisors" and I believe they were located in the field offices. I'm talking about 30 to 50 funds per account, loads, high ERs, tax-inefficiency, the works.

I'm not trying to say this is typical. I'm saying we've seen several over the years so some of their salespeople are really terrible - predatory in my opinion -"advisors".

Is a spouse (that doesn't know much about finances) better off being able to talk to someone in person, rather than over the phone with VG?
I think this could go either way. If you think your spouse is easily influenced by a good salesperson, any local office (Fidelity or Schwab or otherwise) would worry me.



A friend of mine retired a few months ago and he went to the local Fidelity office just to ask a few questions about rolling over his 401k. The advisor he got (by 401k value) was easy going and not pushy and said he might call in a couple of weeks. The first phone call was easy - "no, just not ready yet" was accepted with no pushy sales talk. During the next phone call a few weeks later, the advisor offered my friend a lifetime discount on AUM fees - only 1.2%..... Again, not pushy, but a DISCOUNT down to only 1.2%?????

I think we can see where this is going. I can't wait to hear about the next phone call. Luckily, my friend is only interested in using target funds. Otherwise it could be ugly.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:19 pm

It seems to me that if you kick the bucket first, it would be much harder for your wife to move everything to a place with an office than to just leave it. Leaving things at VG and suggesting that she sign up for PAS makes a lot more sense in terms of the burden that will fall on her.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:22 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:05 pm

A pro might be paperwork, witnessed signatures, maybe even a Medallian Signature????
A local B&M bank can provide free notary and medallion signatures.
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by longleaf » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:27 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:19 pm
It seems to me that if you kick the bucket first, it would be much harder for your wife to move everything to a place with an office than to just leave it. Leaving things at VG and suggesting that she sign up for PAS makes a lot more sense in terms of the burden that will fall on her.
+1

Or name them as independent trustee if applicable
Frugality, indexing, time.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:28 pm

You may have better luck by searching the forums and find past threads on the topic of experiences when transferring accounts after a death. If you leave clear instructions and you educate your family why you have the funds invested the way they are I do not think they would have any issue to go into a Fidelity office and seek help in all of the account changes that will be required upon your death. Having that in person support may be critical to make the process go smoothly vs the Vanguard phone customer service. Recently I recall a thread where someone had an absolute horrible experience in this process with Vanguard.

Setting up accounts and transferring upon death is completely different than a portfolio review. I don't even think they would ask but your family should understand to give a polite no.

If you can't rely on your family to give a polite no what will happen when the Edward Jones guy goes door to door knocking looking for customers? Or an insurance salesman promoting permanent life insurance, fixed indexed annuities, etc?

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by DWesterb2iz2 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:33 pm

mhalley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:57 pm
The problem with Fidelity is that in addition to having cheap ( now including zero fee funds] they also have a very expensive options. With vanguard, the worse you get is 0.3% with their PAS, but fidelity can go well north of 1%. That is why I have told my wife to go with vanguard PAS should I get hit by a bus. People can be talked into bad ideas much more easily in person.
I suspect the price of Vanguard PAS is coming down too, and/or Flagship minimums will be lower. Seems like their natural next move.

Edit: I know financial advisors are not popular on this board, but there are good ones, fiduciaries, out there. You might make a project of researching to find one that you both like and trust, and maybe even move some assets over soon.

Yes, you’ll spend a bit more, but you are looking for security when you are incapacitated or gone, and that peace of mind worth something. You might even enjoy talking with some of them and meeting them. You can start by writing to Michael Kitces. He’s very good about recommending good people he knows in your area. And he knows lots and lots of advisors. Just a thought.
Last edited by DWesterb2iz2 on Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by retiredjg » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:42 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:22 pm
retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:05 pm

A pro might be paperwork, witnessed signatures, maybe even a Medallian Signature????
A local B&M bank can provide free notary and medallion signatures.
Tee hee....you might want to look up some of the threads that have discussed how difficult it can be. I seriously doubt I could get one at all.

You are very fortunate if it is that easy for you. :D

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HueyLD
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by HueyLD » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:52 pm

In my area, banks seem to have decided to make it virtually impossible for you to get a medallion signature guarantee.

They either don't do it, or will only do it for a very low limit (such as $1,000. Yes, one thousand lousy dollars!!), or force you to go to their private banking division so that they can try to sell you high price junk.

This is where a Fidelity investor center can be a real lifesaver.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:58 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:19 pm
It seems to me that if you kick the bucket first, it would be much harder for your wife to move everything to a place with an office than to just leave it. Leaving things at VG and suggesting that she sign up for PAS makes a lot more sense in terms of the burden that will fall on her.
If I were going to make a change, I would do it now instead of having her try to do it after I'm gone.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Mr.BB » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:06 pm

I remember about 5-6 years ago I went to my bank to get a medallion to move money to get Fidelity's Low Price Stock fund ( I can't remember why I needed the medallion). Anyway, it really wasn't a problem getting it, aside from dealing with a banker, who when we were filling out the paperwork and I told her what it was for, she said " Don't you like our financial advisors"? I just looked at her at said "I don't like or dislike your advisors, I don't even know them." I found her statement to be a pathetic and a unprofessional attempt to get me to talk to their people. I think she got the message pretty quick to move on.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:33 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:42 pm
RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:22 pm
retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:05 pm

A pro might be paperwork, witnessed signatures, maybe even a Medallian Signature????
A local B&M bank can provide free notary and medallion signatures.
Tee hee....you might want to look up some of the threads that have discussed how difficult it can be. I seriously doubt I could get one at all.

You are very fortunate if it is that easy for you. :D
Sure. So switch to a bank where it's easy... I was at one bank, left them for another. Got great service until the private banker left, then no more great service. Then fees, so I left. New bank is in grocery store, provides notary and medallion BUT I call first to make sure they will be on duty. No big deal.
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by drzzzzz » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:57 pm

I don't use a Fidelity advisor, but have multiple accounts there now and Fidelity having a conveniently located brick and mortar building was part of the decision process. While most of our funds are at Vanguard, I find getting things done are often irritating and time consuming at Vanguard whereas I can easily walk into a Fidelity office, show them the paperwork, and get what needs to be done handled quickly. A perfect example was opening up a revocable trust account at both places - Vanguard took 6 weeks and multiple letters going back and forth before it was opened; then, when I went to open a second identical trust account at Vanguard, after 3 weeks I called to find out what was going, and they said it couldn't be opened up, but no one had an answer as to why - when I explained it was identical to what they had processed previously - they had no response as to why they wanted different paperwork this time. At Fidelity, after dropping off the paperwork, the account was opened 5 days later. When my mother had two weeks (she wasn't paying attention to required dates), to get an annuity rolled over to an IRA - you know where I went - stopped in at Fidelity, they expedited the paperwork, overnighted everything and updated me regularly on the progress.

I think Vanguard is great for their low expenses, but if I need to guarantee that something unusual will be done in a timely fashion, I find that they are often inefficient about it. Fidelity also has very knowledgeable individuals that I have consulted in their fixed income department, retirement and charitable giving groups - it is much easier to reach them than at Vanguard where I have to first talk to a Flagship rep, then they put me on hold and pass the question on or have a conference call with someone with me - also small hassles that are irritating.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by bada bing » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:59 pm

I have accounts at Fidelity by virtue of thats where my mega-corp has our pensions
and 401K. I've never been in a Fidelity B&M though. I have gotten exceptional service
from Fidelity for any issues I've had. I dropped my Vanguard account 5 years ago because
they didn't really pass muster in the service department. I still use Vanguard ETFs as the
majority of my investments, just not held at Vanguard.

Most of my investments are at Schwab, and I have been to B&M offices several times in
Seattle, Anchorage and Tucson. I have never had a less than perfect visit to a Schwab B&M.
Even the coffee is good. I also manage my mom's money and it is at Schwab as well. Part
of the benefit of having her stuff there is that she knows where the office is and has a
contact person she has met. My mom doesn't do online, at all. Her knowing where she could
go for her money is important psychologically and in case something happens to me. She has
never had an occasion to go to the office without me, but it is available to her. I really
appreciate Schwab's service, as I am not a HNW client, maybe $2M between the whole family.

And I have cautioned my mom about making investment changes or listening to representative
spiels. I love Schwab, but that doesn't mean I unconditionally trust them.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Murgatroyd » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:19 pm

None of us can answer for you. Only you know your wife. If you think she is comfortable making adjustments on a 3 fund portfolio then that is a valid approach. But you seem to indicate she may need some sort of support. Is it technical or emotional? Both?

I will simply say we have been with Fidelity for 37 years. When I had my own business my advisor walked me through using my margin account for short term cash flow. When we had inheritances our advisor helped us move funds from seemingly every bank and brokerage out there. And tracked it for us with emails and calls. We use the office regularly for notary (and medallion). Especially during the inheritance phases. He set up two inherited IRA’s easily. When I retired and moved my 401k I let him know it was coming. He said have the check sent to him personally instead of the usual location which I think is Kentucky. He called when the very large check arrived.

DW and I have an annual meeting with him. He knows exactly our objectives and sometimes makes suggestions. DW is comfortable with him and there is trust. We have appointed Fidelity as successor trustee when we pass. I had an excellent conversation just last week with advisor and a trustee representative answering a number of questions.

Full disclosure, we primarily are in low cost iShares funds, have some stocks, CD ladder and do hold the tax advantaged SMA (separately managed account).

Folks have their experiences. Ours has been nothing short of outstanding. My parting comment is you have to develop a real relationship.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:58 pm

Murgatroyd wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:19 pm
None of us can answer for you. Only you know your wife. If you think she is comfortable making adjustments on a 3 fund portfolio then that is a valid approach. But you seem to indicate she may need some sort of support. Is it technical or emotional? Both?

I will simply say we have been with Fidelity for 37 years. When I had my own business my advisor walked me through using my margin account for short term cash flow. When we had inheritances our advisor helped us move funds from seemingly every bank and brokerage out there. And tracked it for us with emails and calls. We use the office regularly for notary (and medallion). Especially during the inheritance phases. He set up two inherited IRA’s easily. When I retired and moved my 401k I let him know it was coming. He said have the check sent to him personally instead of the usual location which I think is Kentucky. He called when the very large check arrived.

DW and I have an annual meeting with him. He knows exactly our objectives and sometimes makes suggestions. DW is comfortable with him and there is trust. We have appointed Fidelity as successor trustee when we pass. I had an excellent conversation just last week with advisor and a trustee representative answering a number of questions.

Full disclosure, we primarily are in low cost iShares funds, have some stocks, CD ladder and do hold the tax advantaged SMA (separately managed account).

Folks have their experiences. Ours has been nothing short of outstanding. My parting comment is you have to develop a real relationship.
I think she'd probably need help on what to do with inheriting the IRA's and taking withdrawals, etc. Obviously, these are things that VG can do over the phone, but it's just not the same as sitting face-to-face. She'd have no idea on how to rebalance a portfolio, but she could probably just do some kind of target date fund and not worry about it.

Were you paying your advisor or was this just something they do for free?

Murgatroyd
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Murgatroyd » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:36 pm

PatrickA5 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:58 pm
Murgatroyd wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:19 pm
None of us can answer for you. Only you know your wife. If you think she is comfortable making adjustments on a 3 fund portfolio then that is a valid approach. But you seem to indicate she may need some sort of support. Is it technical or emotional? Both?

I will simply say we have been with Fidelity for 37 years. When I had my own business my advisor walked me through using my margin account for short term cash flow. When we had inheritances our advisor helped us move funds from seemingly every bank and brokerage out there. And tracked it for us with emails and calls. We use the office regularly for notary (and medallion). Especially during the inheritance phases. He set up two inherited IRA’s easily. When I retired and moved my 401k I let him know it was coming. He said have the check sent to him personally instead of the usual location which I think is Kentucky. He called when the very large check arrived.

DW and I have an annual meeting with him. He knows exactly our objectives and sometimes makes suggestions. DW is comfortable with him and there is trust. We have appointed Fidelity as successor trustee when we pass. I had an excellent conversation just last week with advisor and a trustee representative answering a number of questions.

Full disclosure, we primarily are in low cost iShares funds, have some stocks, CD ladder and do hold the tax advantaged SMA (separately managed account).

Folks have their experiences. Ours has been nothing short of outstanding. My parting comment is you have to develop a real relationship.
I think she'd probably need help on what to do with inheriting the IRA's and taking withdrawals, etc. Obviously, these are things that VG can do over the phone, but it's just not the same as sitting face-to-face. She'd have no idea on how to rebalance a portfolio, but she could probably just do some kind of target date fund and not worry about it.

Were you paying your advisor or was this just something they do for free?
Included, can’t exactly say free..... We are “private client” level now but for some of what I listed we were not.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Arby » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:36 am

There was a Fidelity office about a 5 minute walk from where I used to live in New York.

It's a plus to be able to deal face to face with a rep though my interactions had to do mostly with mechanical issues. As I recall, think I could deposit checks there so that was also a plus.

I was not particularly interested in investment advice, but think I went to one free meeting where they didn't try to push anything.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by nedsaid » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:11 am

When I did the rollover of 2 workplace savings plans at Fidelity to a Fidelity Rollover IRA, the representative said that they would have the local office reach out to me. I got both a phone message and an e-mail. From the e-mail, they provided a link from which I could schedule an appointment. I will be seeing the advisor in a couple of days. So we will see how it goes. Have been a customer for 34 years and we will see how it goes. Hopefully, I will get good coffee and maybe a donut.

In preparation, I updated their retirement planning tool and input the securities that I hold in the outside retirement accounts so they can see what I have. So I think I am prepared for the meeting.

I will report back.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:07 am

nedsaid wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:11 am
When I did the rollover of 2 workplace savings plans at Fidelity to a Fidelity Rollover IRA, the representative said that they would have the local office reach out to me. I got both a phone message and an e-mail. From the e-mail, they provided a link from which I could schedule an appointment. I will be seeing the advisor in a couple of days. So we will see how it goes. Have been a customer for 34 years and we will see how it goes. Hopefully, I will get good coffee and maybe a donut.

In preparation, I updated their retirement planning tool and input the securities that I hold in the outside retirement accounts so they can see what I have. So I think I am prepared for the meeting.

I will report back.
Please let us know how it goes. I'm mainly interested in if they try to sell anything.

Back when I had my work related retirement accounts with them I used to get called a couple of times a year wanting me to come in to discuss my financial plan. I always declined. As I recall, they weren't pushy then.

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Random Musings
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Random Musings » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:44 am

The risk of using a Fidelity Advisor vs. a Vanguard one generally rises if the investor is less knowledgeable. With Vanguard, clients are charged 0.3% and put into diversified low cost funds. With Fidelity, the less knowledgeable are more likely to be placed into a large clump of overlapping funds, some with high ER's and then also charged an AUM fee 1% and up.

That's why Fidelity has those nice, shiny offices. With higher costs compared to Vanguard, value is reduced if one wants to use an advisor.

Nothing wrong with using Fidelity as an institution to hold your money, but I would pass on their advisory services.

RM
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by retiredjg » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:12 pm

Random Musings wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:44 am
The risk of using a Fidelity Advisor vs. a Vanguard one generally rises if the investor is less knowledgeable. With Vanguard, clients are charged 0.3% and put into diversified low cost funds. With Fidelity, the less knowledgeable are more likely to be placed into a large clump of overlapping funds, some with high ER's and then also charged an AUM fee 1% and up.
And likely sold an expensive annuity they don't need.

This is my concern with any naive investor who uses Fidelity (and several other) management services. That's why I think you need to have your wife stay at Vanguard.

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nedsaid
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by nedsaid » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:35 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:12 pm
Random Musings wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:44 am
The risk of using a Fidelity Advisor vs. a Vanguard one generally rises if the investor is less knowledgeable. With Vanguard, clients are charged 0.3% and put into diversified low cost funds. With Fidelity, the less knowledgeable are more likely to be placed into a large clump of overlapping funds, some with high ER's and then also charged an AUM fee 1% and up.
And likely sold an expensive annuity they don't need.

This is my concern with any naive investor who uses Fidelity (and several other) management services. That's why I think you need to have your wife stay at Vanguard.
I too would vote for Vanguard over Fidelity if you are seeking portfolio management services through an advisory service. From what I have been reading from the various Fidelity threads is that Fidelity obviously wants you to buy the more expensive products but customers don't get pushy sales pressure. But they are in it to make money and it shouldn't be a shock that they want investors to buy their more expensive active funds. Vanguard charges 0.30% and Fidelity charges 1% or more for Assets Under Management.

The Fidelity Go robo advisory service looks pretty good to me. Your all-in costs are 0.35% a year and is competitive with Vanguard. Vanguard Personal Advisory Service is a hybrid, offering contact with an advisor as well as the robots working in the background as Vanguard has a proprietary formula. I prefer having the human interaction.

I would not pay a 1% or more Assets Under Management fee to anyone. The good folks at Merriman were tempting but I just couldn't pull the trigger. Costs matter and matter a great deal. I won't use the Wealth Management services at Fidelity but might at a later time consider the Fidelity Go service. Their Freedom Funds, both active and passive, are pretty good.

I also wanted access to seminars and Fidelity offers them. When I used Ameriprise for some financial planning, I went to a few of their seminars and I really enjoyed them. Learned something each time and enjoyed meeting new people.

Also wanted to make use of their planning tools. I want to see how good their advisors are. With anything else, people's experiences are uneven, mostly good and some disappointment. I would be really disappointed if I got a pitch for an expensive annuity like I got at Ameriprise.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by dcdowden » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:36 pm

We have our IRA's at Fidelity because originally our 401K's were administered there.
We have our taxable accounts at Vanguard.
We also have a Donor Advised Fund at Fidelity because of lower minimums than Vanguard.

We have a Fidelity office nearby and do go in for a visit with our adviser once a year for about 30 minutes or so.
He goes over all of our investments using Full View analysis (including Vanguard and Bank accounts, etc.) and also goes over our retirement plan. I find Fidelity's website and tools for analyzing your portfolio and retirement plans are better than Vanguards. I find it valuable to have another set of eyes take a look at everything and to review it all with my wife who is not as interested so much in the details as I am. Our adviser does not push Fidelity funds but I have now transitioned to their new Zero Expense funds to replace the Vanguard ETF's I was using.

The only downside I have seen from having things split up this way occurred at the end of last year when I tried to move some appreciated securities from my Vanguard account to the DAF at Fidelity. It seems to take quite awhile for that process to work between the two companies, and there wasn't enough time left in the year to make sure it was processed, so I wound up canceling that and just contributing cash so that I could get the tax deduction.

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SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:07 pm

For a roboadvisor, Schwab may be best in terms of cost -- their Intelligent Portfolios are free.

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onthecusp
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by onthecusp » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:36 pm

My Fidelity advisor was useful for helping to roll my accounts together and explain what is going on. I thought having an office would be nice but now that I know what I am doing I never stop in. My advisor never calls and I consider myself lucky since not all Fidelity advisors seem so hands off. Maybe he recognized that there are easier fish to catch. :D

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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by celia » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:36 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:22 pm
retiredjg wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:05 pm
A pro might be paperwork, witnessed signatures, maybe even a Medallian Signature????
A local B&M bank can provide free notary and medallion signatures.
In California, you are required to pay $10 for each notary signature as the state wants its fee, which can really add up if you are talking about 2 people on multiple documents. However, I've found lawyers who don't charge if you're doing business with them and the AAA may be cheaper. Having an account with Fidelity may get you those free notary stamps on their documents at least.

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nedsaid
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by nedsaid » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:32 pm

Well, I saw the Fidelity advisor today in the downtown office. Got a nice cup of coffee from the Keurig machine and waited sitting in a nice chair. Folks were friendly and helpful.

I would say that the exercise was well worth my time. The advisor went over the retirement calculator and concluded that I was in good shape for retirement. I had entered in all of my retirement accounts and all my individual investments at home. So he could see everything that I had in retirement accounts. He concluded that I didn't need much help on asset allocation or choice of investments.

We had a good discussion over the yield curve and credit quality. Good old Certificates of Deposit were competitive with most all other fixed income investments. You had to go to lower quality but still investment grade bonds to get significantly higher yields. It seemed that not only that the yield curve but what I might call the "credit quality curve" looked fairly flat. He did say he recommended CDs to many Fidelity clients.

This particular advisor had a lot of knowledge about bonds and we discussed that as well. I did ask him if I should keep my Fidelity GNMA fund and he said it was okay. He did say that the fund managers shortened up on maturities and that confirmed my suspicions.

He gently brought up having a Fidelity Advisor manage my assets for a 1% fee but said it looked like I was pretty self directed. I countered that I might consider the robo Fidelity Go advisory service. Oddly enough, he did bring up the Zero Funds. Kind of surprising. He did mention the rise on indexing and the fall in fees. He wondered if fees would drop to zero and they did.

Edit: In the discussion about CDs, the advisor mentioned that clients who had to sell CDs early would get about 97 cents on the dollar.

We did talk about annuities, he gently suggested that they were appropriate for some clients. We had a 15 minute discussion on them because I showed interest. Otherwise we would have moved on.

We discussed a Variable Annuity that I had transferred from another provider to Fidelity. My all-in costs here are about 0.40% a year compared to about 1.4% at the other provider.

We discussed a Deferred Fixed Annuity, pretty much you lock in future payments now. If I was 65 right now, I could lock in about $1,135 a month with a Single Premium Immediate Annuity with $200,000. At age 59, I could lock in lifetime payments of $1,348 starting at age 65. These were life only options. He gently suggested this, I showed interest, so he went into more detail. We discussed the all-in costs of the annuity, told him that I saw such Variable products with internal costs of 3%-4% perhaps more. This product is a Fixed product and the underlying investments are in bonds. He seemed to say that the internal cost of this annuity was about 0.75%. (Edit: This particular product has no cash value but you are locking in future income. On a life only option, there is no death benefit if you die before the payments start. You need to pay extra if you want something to go to beneficiaries. Looks like you need a Cash Refund option here and to designate a beneficiary. You can also designate a period certain option). I will do some research on this. The exact name of the Product was New York Life Guaranteed Future Income Annuity II.

Edit: There was a bit of confusion here in the discussion because I brought up income base and portfolio value that are in other products, these concepts are not part of this product. I might have confused the advisor a bit here too.

https://www.nylinvestments.com/annuitie ... Annuity-II

https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/ret ... nuity-fees

The Fidelity shoppers guide to annuity fees did show that deferred fixed annuities had surrender fees and reductions in the interest rate for expenses and profits.

So pretty much, Fidelity is in the annuity business. It was gently suggested but we discussed in detail because of my interest. Not so bad when you consider many folks do not have a pension. I would have to research more but the idea was very interesting.

Edit: I did find this in the fine print on the New York Life website:
This contract is irrevocable, has no cash value and no withdrawals are permitted prior to the income start date. Income payments are guaranteed at least as long as the annuitant is living, provided the annuitant is alive on the designated income start date. Contracts in which a Life Only payout option is selected do not provide a death benefit either prior to, or after, the designated start date. Available in jurisdictions where approved.
Last edited by nedsaid on Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nedsaid
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by nedsaid » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:02 pm

After having looked at the suggested annuity, the concept was interesting but I will pass. For one thing there is a lot of uncertainty right now with different things in my life now, not a good time to make such a decision. I did tell the advisor that I might buy a Single Premium Immediate Annuity in retirement.

My recommendation to investors would be to examine everything very carefully and to ask a lot of questions. The considerations are pretty complex. My conclusion is that the benefits to me of locking in income now rather than locking it in later are pretty marginal. All this is a moving target as I am comparing future income that I could buy now at age 59 for payments starting at age 65 vs. what I could buy were I 65 right now. It appears they are locking in about a 3% increase each year. The thing is, I am not 65 right now, I am 59. Don't know what the market conditions will be when I am 65 years old, for example, interest rates could be higher or lower than they are today. Also, one has to factor in the growth of the $200,000 had I invested it myself for those 6 years.

If I bought such a policy, I would want either a return of premium or a period certain payments to beneficiaries. Otherwise, if I met my maker before the payments started, I would have handed the $200,000 over to the insurance company for nothing. There was no death benefit to the policy. But in fairness, my comparison between buying now at age 59 for income starting at 65 and buying income if I were 65 right now were both life only options.

So as with many things insurance, it looked great before I started checking the fine print. That said, there are logical reasons why someone would want to buy such a product. Many of us do not have pensions.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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nedsaid
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by nedsaid » Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:51 pm

PatrickA5 wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:07 am

Please let us know how it goes. I'm mainly interested in if they try to sell anything.

Back when I had my work related retirement accounts with them I used to get called a couple of times a year wanting me to come in to discuss my financial plan. I always declined. As I recall, they weren't pushy then.
It definitely was the soft sell. The advisor gently suggested portfolio advisory services at 1% Assets Under Management fee then he said that I was self directed and didn't need help.

He also mentioned annuity products. We talked about 15 minutes on this topic but it was because I showed interest. I go into detail above.

So it was a soft sell.

You have to consider that everyone, and I mean everyone, is doing the upsell now. Even when you order burgers they ask you if you want fries with that. Restaurants most often ask if you are interested in dessert. That is just the way things go nowadays.

This particular advisor knew a lot about bonds and being closer to retirement, I was interested.
A fool and his money are good for business.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:13 pm

Just an update:

A few weeks ago we met with a very nice Fidelity consultant to set up a CMA. The initial visit couldn't have gone better. As I've mentioned before, I'm thinking having some place that my DW (and kids) could go to in person might be better when I'm gone. We even discussed with the advisor maybe moving our retirement accounts from Vanguard (at a later date). And perhaps moving our 529 plan.

Well, several emails and phone calls later, I can't even get a response. Ugh. I was really hoping that we found someone locally that would be able to answer questions, etc. Obviously, I realize that I can call the main number and get an immediate response and get questions answered, but maybe I was expecting too much from having a local advisor? Phone calls to the local branch number have been met with a lot of music.

So, does anybody else have problems contacting their local advisor, or was I just too small potatoes to matter?

I suppose it's possible he's been out of the office, etc, which is why I was trying to contact the local branch manager to find out. I might just have to go back in person. Not happy!

Ferdinand2014
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by Ferdinand2014 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:26 pm

PatrickA5 wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:36 pm
DW and I currently have all of our retirement accounts and a brokerage account at Vanguard. We've been fairly pleased over the years with Vanguard customer service and website - at least to the point that we wouldn't change just for improvements in those areas. We're also happy with the funds and costs at VG.

One advantage that I see with Fidelity is the availability (in my city) of an actual office. Since I handle 100% of our finances (and actually enjoy it), I don't really have a need to go talk to somebody. But, once I'm gone, I'm concerned for DW and wonder if it might be better to have our money someplace where she could actually go sit down and get help, if necessary.

So, my questions:

What are the pros/cons of being able to go to a Fidelity office versus doing everything online/phone with VG?

Do the advisors try to "hard sell" products? This is one area that concerns me a little.

Is a spouse (that doesn't know much about finances) better off being able to talk to someone in person, rather than over the phone with VG?

Anybody use Fidelity (over VG) mainly because of having an office available?
I have had Fidelity for 22 years. Nothing but positive interactions. I have only used the brick and mortar office once. I feel very comfortable if I died tomorrow, my simple clear investment instructions in my will, along with both phone and branch office capabilities, my DW will be taken care of. I also worry of these issues because I am significantly older then her and she has zero interest in our investments. My interactions have been with knowledgeable, reasoned individuals who are not pushy and forceful.
“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.“ — Warren Buffett

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FelixTheCat
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by FelixTheCat » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:29 pm

Have you researched Vanguard Personal Advisor Services?
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

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PatrickA5
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by PatrickA5 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:49 pm

FelixTheCat wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:29 pm
Have you researched Vanguard Personal Advisor Services?
Yes. I have also written instructions for DW to look into PAS if she thinks she needs help.

But, I was trying out Fidelity for an "in person" type of arrangement, which she would be more comfortable with.

retiredjg
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Re: Do Fidelity Offices/Advisors Add Value?

Post by retiredjg » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:17 pm

PatrickA5 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:13 pm
Well, several emails and phone calls later, I can't even get a response. Ugh.
I think that is surprising. You should be getting responses. I suspect he may have move to another employer. He may have not be allowed to tell you before he left and probably not allowed to contact you after he left.

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