Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

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burt
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Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by burt » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm

I think I've been successful advising a relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard, however....
their computer/internet skills are poor at best. Computer security... forget it.
This person is mid-age and has full cognitive abilities... however computer usage is limited to email and facebook which they check every 2 weeks.

Would you recommend this person to open an account with Vanguard using only phone calls and US postal service ?
(FYI, location is in the sticks with the closest Schwab or Fidelity office 50 miles away.)

burt

lyrictulip
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by lyrictulip » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:06 pm

My recommendation would be to get the person a Chromebook and show them how to use two factor authentication. My 80 year old grandmother was able to use Vanguard.com -- I have trouble believing anyone in middle age couldn't do it :sharebeer

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CAsage
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by CAsage » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:16 pm

You can do a very respectable Bogle investment plan with Fidelity or Schwab (index funds only!) and they have walk in offices. Just a thought.
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Ron
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by Ron » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:16 pm

My grandmother opened her Wellington account in the mid-50's, before Vanguard came to be. She had no communications other than mail. In those days, a lot of folks (including her) had "party lines", where your phone line was shared with others in the neighborhood. There was no discussion of finances on the phone (something like the risk on a public wi-fi today :mrgreen: ).

I opened my own Vanguard account in 1982, well before common use of the PC (primarily due to cost) and much more before the internet (TCP/IP) became a household "product" in the early 70's. I also primarily used the mail for communications but I did have a "private line" (no party line) so I could talk to them on the phone, if need be.

Today's method of communications are faster, more efficient (or so they say) but in reality, they just mimic what was done decades ago, assuming you are not doing day trading.

Of course you can use any investment firm without a computer (even Vanguard) by just phone/mail. However, it's a bit like driving a 50 year old car. It may not have all the whiz bang features of today's model, but it still (if running) will get you there, just at a slower speed.

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123
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by 123 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:22 pm

Vanguard works just as well without a computer. Phone and snail mail are still valid options.
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rkhusky
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by rkhusky » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:24 pm

Perhaps slower is better. Less likely to trade on current events. Just set your AA and mail in the checks.

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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by whomever » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:49 pm

"Perhaps slower is better. Less likely to trade on current events. Just set your AA and mail in the checks."

I expect there is something to that.

I spent a career as a software developer, and have been a Vanguard customer since the early 90's, and never set up online access. For years my only actions were me sending in checks a couple times a year and them sending statements. For the last couple of years I've been doing Roth conversions, so that's a couple of phone calls a year.

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celia
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by celia » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:04 pm

I wouldn't encourage anyone who isn't already computer literate to open up a financial account with online access. It's just too risky.

With the closest brokerage being 50 miles away, that may be the reason they hesitate to change. I'll bet EJ is a lot closer than that, so, naturally, it feels more comfortable. But giving this person an example of how much actual DOLLARS they take indirectly from the account, would be a good way to address it, rather that a tiny percentage ER. The percentage makes the fees seem so small, but not the dollar amount.

livesoft
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by livesoft » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:09 pm

We used Vanguard before computers were invented (say before 1984). We did everything by mail and a few phone calls. We would call and have prospectuses sent before we invested. Vanguard mailed us statements.

So one would have to pay extra to have statements mailed to them if they didn't want to use a computer.

And I did banking by mail in the early 1970s while I was still in high school. I would just mail in my passbook, get it updated, and it would be mailed back to me. When my passbook was in the mail, I had no record of having an account at the out-of-state savings-and-loan bank. There were no photocopiers in those days. School handouts were mimeographs. Come to think of it, I didn't even have a drivers license and my parents were not on my account at all.
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by JBTX » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:32 pm

My parents are in their 80s and have significant retirement savings in places like vanguard and fidelity and they do NONE of their transactions online. Never logged in at all.

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Watty
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by Watty » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:44 pm

celia wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:04 pm
I wouldn't encourage anyone who isn't already computer literate to open up a financial account with online access. It's just too risky.
+1000

In fact you should have them set up the account so that nobody can set up online access.

Mail and phone will work just fine at any of the major companies.

Fidelity might be better that person though because Fidelity has offices in most major cities and Fidelity probably has better customer service.

I have accounts at both Vanguard and Fidelity and Fidelity has plenty of good choices but you need to look for them.

If they will be using target date funds Fidelity have what they call "Freedom" fines like Freedom 2040, but it has moderately high expenses because it uses actively traded funds. They also have index fund based target date fund call "Freedom Index" but you would need to make sure that you get that type of fund.

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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by TropikThunder » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:26 pm

Watty wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:44 pm
celia wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:04 pm
I wouldn't encourage anyone who isn't already computer literate to open up a financial account with online access. It's just too risky.
+1000

In fact you should have them set up the account so that nobody can set up online access.

Mail and phone will work just fine at any of the major companies.

Fidelity might be better that person though because Fidelity has offices in most major cities and Fidelity probably has better customer service.

I have accounts at both Vanguard and Fidelity and Fidelity has plenty of good choices but you need to look for them.

If they will be using target date funds Fidelity have what they call "Freedom" fines like Freedom 2040, but it has moderately high expenses because it uses actively traded funds. They also have index fund based target date fund call "Freedom Index" but you would need to make sure that you get that type of fund.
I'm surprised no one has brought up the recent identity theft thread (IRA drained by a thief who set up online access, account owner had never set it up, had no email address, received all his statements by snail mail). By the time the account owner received notice of the withdrawal, it was far to late to do anything about it. How would one even deny online access? It's not like Vanguard can add a note saying "don't let anyone create a log-in."
viewtopic.php?t=228799

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burt
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by burt » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:36 pm

Thank-you to all those who responded.

Good to hear there are Bogleheads who still use telephone and US Postal. I am going to recommend the same to my relative who is moving from Edward Jones to Vanguard.

Yes, computer security was a big concern for people who are not computer savy.

This is a small town of 10,000 where there are 3 Edward Jones offices, 1 Raymond James, and 2 independant Financial Advisors. Not to mention 4 banks. From my experience there is a fairly large portion of the population who are still computer illiterate... and prefer to remain that way.

burt

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flamesabers
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by flamesabers » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:15 pm

OP,

How does your relative manage other financial accounts like bank accounts and credit cards? If it's by telephone and USPS, I don't see why the same couldn't be done with Vanguard.

Something to bear in mind is depending on the amount invested, your relative might have to pay an annual fee for not getting all correspondence electronically.

https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/account-fees

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Abe
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by Abe » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:24 pm

I don't know why anyone could not have a Vanguard account without a computer. I had mutual fund accounts before the internet.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:35 pm

burt wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm
I think I've been successful advising a relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard, however....
their computer/internet skills are poor at best. Computer security... forget it.
This person is mid-age and has full cognitive abilities... however computer usage is limited to email and facebook which they check every 2 weeks.

Would you recommend this person to open an account with Vanguard using only phone calls and US postal service ?
(FYI, location is in the sticks with the closest Schwab or Fidelity office 50 miles away.)

burt
It's easy to do it all by phone. It doesn't sound like Schwab/Fidelity is going to be any easier and all are a huge step up over EJ. Sounds like the bigger issue is making sure this relative is getting any needed advice/services as you're not making him/her sound like someone who is a diehard do it yourselfer.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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burt
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by burt » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:02 pm

White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:35 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm
I think I've been successful advising a relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard, however....
their computer/internet skills are poor at best. Computer security... forget it.
This person is mid-age and has full cognitive abilities... however computer usage is limited to email and facebook which they check every 2 weeks.

Would you recommend this person to open an account with Vanguard using only phone calls and US postal service ?
(FYI, location is in the sticks with the closest Schwab or Fidelity office 50 miles away.)

burt
It's easy to do it all by phone. It doesn't sound like Schwab/Fidelity is going to be any easier and all are a huge step up over EJ. Sounds like the bigger issue is making sure this relative is getting any needed advice/services as you're not making him/her sound like someone who is a diehard do it yourselfer.
So right you are.
This person wants to make no decisions and spend no time regarding investments. He is quite content having "his guy" look out for him.
The concept of expenses compounded over time, puts him in a fog. Kind of like a dog... live in the moment.
I will advise him to place funds in a Balanced or Target Fund.
Set it and forget it ....forever.

burt
(If this wasn't a close relative who I care about, I normally wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot pole.)

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badbreath
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by badbreath » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:32 pm

Unread post by 123 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:22 pm

Vanguard works just as well without a computer. Phone and snail mail are still valid options.
+1 I did this for many years before I got a computer at home.
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by rick0 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:56 pm

My Dad's 90 and does everything with Vanguard over the phone/mail.
He's only marginally computer literate, and he likes it this way - call someone, and they do it for you.
He probably only touches his account 2-3 times/year.

He was impressed when the Vanguard rep was able to setup electronic transfer recently,
so his RMD was directly deposited into his checking account!! Wow!

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White Coat Investor
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by White Coat Investor » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:59 pm

burt wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:02 pm
White Coat Investor wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:35 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm
I think I've been successful advising a relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard, however....
their computer/internet skills are poor at best. Computer security... forget it.
This person is mid-age and has full cognitive abilities... however computer usage is limited to email and facebook which they check every 2 weeks.

Would you recommend this person to open an account with Vanguard using only phone calls and US postal service ?
(FYI, location is in the sticks with the closest Schwab or Fidelity office 50 miles away.)

burt
It's easy to do it all by phone. It doesn't sound like Schwab/Fidelity is going to be any easier and all are a huge step up over EJ. Sounds like the bigger issue is making sure this relative is getting any needed advice/services as you're not making him/her sound like someone who is a diehard do it yourselfer.
So right you are.
This person wants to make no decisions and spend no time regarding investments. He is quite content having "his guy" look out for him.
The concept of expenses compounded over time, puts him in a fog. Kind of like a dog... live in the moment.
I will advise him to place funds in a Balanced or Target Fund.
Set it and forget it ....forever.

burt
(If this wasn't a close relative who I care about, I normally wouldn't touch this with a 10 foot pole.)
Be very careful not to talk someone who needs an advisor into being a do it yourselfer. You may be doing more of a favor by finding the relative a competent but fairly priced fee-only advisor.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

VaR
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by VaR » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:26 pm

What about Vanguard PAS or Schwab Intelligent Advisory? The 30 basis points will buy them decent professional advice at low cost.

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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Oct 14, 2017 6:28 am

burt wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm
I think I've been successful advising a relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard, however....
their computer/internet skills are poor at best. Computer security... forget it.
This person is mid-age and has full cognitive abilities... however computer usage is limited to email and facebook which they check every 2 weeks.

Would you recommend this person to open an account with Vanguard using only phone calls and US postal service ?
(FYI, location is in the sticks with the closest Schwab or Fidelity office 50 miles away.)

burt
Yes, when I started with Vanguard it was all done by telephone and regular email.
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burt
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Re: Does Vanguard make sense without a computer ?

Post by burt » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:22 pm

VaR wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:26 pm
What about Vanguard PAS or Schwab Intelligent Advisory? The 30 basis points will buy them decent professional advice at low cost.
Thank-you.
I will most definitely advise them of the Vanguard PAS service.
Schwab and Fidelity offices (for that face to face experience) are 1.5 hours away and I will also advise them of this option.

burt

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