Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

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neveragain
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Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by neveragain » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:49 am

I am moving my IRA, I want good index funds.

I had account w/Vanguard and experienced very poor customer service, this was in 2016. Although my accounts did well, (although I didn't realize it at the time). I also know they are swamped with customers as they are very popular right now.

I've also had a 529 plan with Fidelity that did poorly in a good economy; however Fidelity's customer service is a class act. They are great as far as being responsive to questions and they have local offices, which I like.

I also don't know much about Schwab but would consider them also, if they have good index funds.

stinkycat
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by stinkycat » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:58 am

I have fidelity and schwab and both are perfectly fine organizations, I have not had a problem with them. Either is perfectly good for your standard three fund portfolio. Plus they both have branches, which may be convenient, although I have never needed to use a branch. I don't have an account at Vanguard, but where I think they win hands down is the breadth of index offerings. For example, they have an index GNMA offering that is about 30 basis points lower expense ratio than fidelity's.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:02 am

If you're just wanting to do a simple three-fund portfolio, you may not need much in the way of customer support, so I wouldn't let the horror stories sway your decision. You can do such a portfolio at any of the three. I have a tIRA at Fidelity and a taxable account at Vanguard, both are doing fine. The few times I've had to call customer service at either went just fine.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ResearchMed » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:04 am

neveragain wrote:I am moving my IRA, I want good index funds.

I had account w/Vanguard and experienced very poor customer service, this was in 2016. Although my accounts did well, (although I didn't realize it at the time). I also know they are swamped with customers as they are very popular right now.

I've also had a 529 plan with Fidelity that did poorly in a good economy; however Fidelity's customer service is a class act. They are great as far as being responsive to questions and they have local offices, which I like.

I also don't know much about Schwab but would consider them also, if they have good index funds.
Schwab typically has *excellent* customer service, including 24/7 phone support.
And they have low-cost index funds.
And you can buy most other funds there, too, although there may be a fee to do so.

One possible downside is that they might try to push you to consider other "products and services".
"Just say NO!" etc.
We had to be very firm and tell our "rep" at the local office, NO, we do NOT want any other services, and if the solicitations continue, we'll just move ALL of our money...
We assume that the local reps get either some form of compensation or at least acknowledgement for total AUM ("so called management" in our case), that put a stop to it, as it would reduce the client "total" for him.
There was no blow-back.
If we need some help with something (rare, but it does happen), he or the front staff are right there to help.
Having someone "around the corner" is handy, if one needs to pick up a check.
Less handy is that they don't deal with cash, so we just take a check across the street to BoA, where we keep a small account.

Vanguard has awful customer service.
Fidelity is a bit better.
But we use them, and TIAA, because those are the firms included in our 403b plans, and for now, we can't transfer the money out.

RM
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:08 am

neveragain wrote:I am moving my IRA, I want good index funds.

I had account w/Vanguard and experienced very poor customer service, this was in 2016. Although my accounts did well, (although I didn't realize it at the time). I also know they are swamped with customers as they are very popular right now.

I've also had a 529 plan with Fidelity that did poorly in a good economy; however Fidelity's customer service is a class act. They are great as far as being responsive to questions and they have local offices, which I like.

I also don't know much about Schwab but would consider them also, if they have good index funds.
They're all probably fine. The only thing I suggest is you understand what you're paying, especially with Fidelity since they have different names of funds which you might think are the same, but are actually different...at least by expense ratio. As an example, I used to think the Fidelity Freedom funds (which are a target date retirement fund) used index funds just like Vanguard. Maybe they do, but they don't charge the same. And Fidelity offers Freedom funds and Freedom Index funds. Can you guess which is lower? Yes, index fund variety. So would you prefer to buy:

Fidelity Freedom® 2040 Fund (0.75% net expense ratio)
Fidelity Freedom® Index 2040 Fund - Investor Class (0.15% net expense ratio)

See the difference? Not in the fund, but in the fee. Why pay more? People do because Fidelity makes the first fund very visible, but you've got to dig deeper to find the other (lower class index) fund. Why do you suppose that is? Be careful out there. Know what you're paying. Don't be duped.
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:26 am

What funds at Vanguard and Fidelity yielded good results at Vanguard and poor results at Fidelity? If they were both total US stock funds, I'd be concerned. If Vanguard was total US stock and Fidelity was total US bond, and the stock market in that period did very well, then it has nothing to do with Vanguard or Fidelity.

I have accounts at all those mentioned plus TDAmeritrade and they are all very good
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by retiredjg » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:30 am

If you wish to use mutual funds (instead of ETFs) I'd suggest Fidelity. They have an excellent list although it is not as broad a list as offered by Vanguard. If you do not wish to tilt to value or use tax-exempt bond funds, Fidelity is the place for you. They also have a nice list of index target funds. Customer service is reported to be excellent. Hard to go wrong with this choice.

https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/f ... ndex-funds

https://www.fidelity.com//fund-screener ... .5&idxFd=Y


If you wish to use ETFs, Schwab is a good choice as long as you stick to their no-transaction-fee list of ETFs (which is a good list) and their short list of basic index mutual funds.

Fidelity is also an excellent choice if you want ETFs as long as you stick to the no-transaction-fee list.

If you wish the largest array of index mutual funds at the lowest cost, use Vanguard. Vanguard does have the value stock index funds and the low cost tax-exempt bond funds that Fidelity is missing. I've never had any problem with customer service, but we are all aware of their current issues.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by sport » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:32 am

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:See the difference? Not in the fund, but in the fee. Why pay more? People do because Fidelity makes the first fund very visible, but you've got to dig deeper to find the other (lower class index) fund. Why do you suppose that is? Be careful out there. Know what you're paying. Don't be duped.
Vanguard will not try to "dupe" you. The others, maybe, maybe not.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by welderwannabe » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:41 am

I am a customer of both Fidelity and Vanguard. I have my tax advantaged stuff with Fidelity and my taxable stuff with Vanguard.

It is my opinion that Vanguard offers superior muni funds and has one of the lowest cost muni money markets I have been able to find. That is why my taxable stuff is with them.

Vanguard's Solo401k is very limiting, so that is why I used Fidelity for that.


As for customer service I think they are both excellent, but Fidelity's customer service is a little bit better. Overall for most things it is 6 of 1 and a half dozen of the other.

Overall I like Vanguard a little bit better because they have more low cost funds than Fidelity has. Fidelity is low-cost only for some of their funds, so you have to spend a bunch of time researching and shopping.
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lowndes
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by lowndes » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:15 pm

I use Schwab for everything but my 401k which is at Vanguard. I'm a huge fan of their customer service and since I just use three funds to create my portfolio they have everything I need.

aristotelian
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by aristotelian » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:16 pm

I have had good experience with both Schwab and Vanguard. Schwab indeed has better customer service, but Vanguard has better fund selection, especially when fees are considered. For example, Schwab does not have a fund comparable to Vanguard's tax exempt muni bond fund for my state. If you are looking at a standard 3 or 4 fund portfolio, Schwab is probably better. If you have a more complex portfolio, Vanguard may be the way to go.

We have Her IRA and joint brokerage with bond funds at Vanguard. We have His IRA and joint brokerage with stock funds at Schwab.

neveragain
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by neveragain » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:27 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:What funds at Vanguard and Fidelity yielded good results at Vanguard and poor results at Fidelity? If they were both total US stock funds, I'd be concerned. If Vanguard was total US stock and Fidelity was total US bond, and the stock market in that period did very well, then it has nothing to do with Vanguard or Fidelity.
What did poorly at Fidelity was a 529 plan. I didn't pick any funds for it. I picked an asset allocation that was moderate risk. (Not aggressive, not conservative).

I have since done research on 529 plans and found out that Fidelity doesn't make the "best 529 plan" lists, anyway. On the savingforcollege website, it ranks the performance of Fidelity 529 plans somewhat lower than many others. My 529 with Edward Jones (Blackrock) actually did better, after I did the math, even considering the fees that EJ charged. Although I am moving ALL these 529 plans to Utah Educational Savings Plan.

bondsr4me
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by bondsr4me » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:34 pm

They are all good....all 3 of them.

IMHO Schwab and Fidelity both beat VG when it comes to web tools.
If you don't trade, then you really don't need these tools anyway.

I do feel that, based on personal experience, Schwab and Fidelity customer service is better than VG.
I hope that VG will catch up with its growth by hiring and training well qualified people to improve the quality of
it's customer service.

I am a huge fan of Jack Boyle and the Vanguard he founded.
I would like to see VG do better.

Anyway, any of the 3 you choose will do a good job.

Have a great weekend,

Don

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:42 pm

Sorry to hijack, which one is best for back door Roth? My head wants to do that at Vanguard, but my heart wants to do it at Fidelity with their better customer service.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

neveragain
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by neveragain » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:47 pm

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:
neveragain wrote:I am moving my IRA, I want good index funds.

I had account w/Vanguard and experienced very poor customer service, this was in 2016. Although my accounts did well, (although I didn't realize it at the time). I also know they are swamped with customers as they are very popular right now.

I've also had a 529 plan with Fidelity that did poorly in a good economy; however Fidelity's customer service is a class act. They are great as far as being responsive to questions and they have local offices, which I like.

I also don't know much about Schwab but would consider them also, if they have good index funds.
They're all probably fine. The only thing I suggest is you understand what you're paying, especially with Fidelity since they have different names of funds which you might think are the same, but are actually different...at least by expense ratio. As an example, I used to think the Fidelity Freedom funds (which are a target date retirement fund) used index funds just like Vanguard. Maybe they do, but they don't charge the same. And Fidelity offers Freedom funds and Freedom Index funds. Can you guess which is lower? Yes, index fund variety. So would you prefer to buy:

Fidelity Freedom® 2040 Fund (0.75% net expense ratio)
Fidelity Freedom® Index 2040 Fund - Investor Class (0.15% net expense ratio)

See the difference? Not in the fund, but in the fee. Why pay more? People do because Fidelity makes the first fund very visible, but you've got to dig deeper to find the other (lower class index) fund. Why do you suppose that is? Be careful out there. Know what you're paying. Don't be duped.
Thanks. That is helpful information!

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Kenster1
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Kenster1 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:48 pm

neveragain wrote:What did poorly at Fidelity was a 529 plan. I didn't pick any funds for it. I picked an asset allocation that was moderate risk. (Not aggressive, not conservative).

I have since done research on 529 plans and found out that Fidelity doesn't make the "best 529 plan" lists, anyway. On the savingforcollege website, it ranks the performance of Fidelity 529 plans somewhat lower than many others. My 529 with Edward Jones (Blackrock) actually did better, after I did the math, even considering the fees that EJ charged. Although I am moving ALL these 529 plans to Utah Educational Savings Plan.
That's because of the mix of the overall actively managed funds in the Fidelity 529 plans from various fund families - so they are assessing the overall plan/investments and may be mediocre. However, the Indexing track in the Fidelity 529 plans are pretty good with extremely low-cost - and recently discussed in another thread in this forum. It's better than the Schwab 529 plan and comparable or even lower cost than most or all of the Vanguard 529 (Indexing) plans.

If someone wanted a simple plain-jane indexing track (age-based or static options) as found in most 529 plans - then the Fidelity 529 is perfectly fine and extremely low cost when you choose the INDEXING track (....not the absolute lowest cost out there but very close). So this option could appeal to those who already use Fidelity for investing.

The Utah 529 is great too - but depends if you want a more customized asset allocation which the Utah 529 plan offers that flexibility which makes it unique to just about any other 529 plans.
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neveragain
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by neveragain » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:00 pm

Kenster1 wrote:
If someone wanted a simple plain-jane indexing track (age-based or static options) as found in most 529 plans - then the Fidelity 529 is perfectly fine and extremely low cost when you choose the INDEXING track (....not the absolute lowest cost out there but very close). So this option could appeal to those who already use Fidelity for investing.

The Utah 529 is great too - but depends if you want a more customized asset allocation which the Utah 529 plan offers that flexibility which makes it unique to just about any other 529 plans.
Thanks, I am going with Utah 529 as I've had personal recommendations from people I know, who liked it. I chose the age-based options instead of the static. UESP uses Vanguard funds for their aged-based options. I could choose between aggressive domestic and aggressive global. I chose aggressive global.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by truenorth418 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:33 pm

Vanguard is great, most of my investment are Vanguard ETFs. But when I recently consolidated my accounts, I decided Schwab and Fidelity were simply better at customer care and service options - and I closed my Vanguard account.

I maintained my IRA and Roth IRA at Fidelity because I have had my retirement accounts there since before I was retired and they have been just fine. For a while I also had a self-employed 401k there and it was great. They administer my company pension which is awaiting me a few years down the road.

I consolidated my taxable accounts into Schwab - closed my Vanguard brokerage account - because, while I don't trade much and try to keep my portfolio simple, Schwab offers better customer care and higher quality service and they have been excellent at delivering more complicated services those rare times I have needed them. An example of this is when my father died and I needed to transfer money through his estate in Canada to the US - the exchange rates offered by Schwab were far better than anyplace else and the process was seamless. There is a Schwab office nearby and I have relied on that a few times recently. You never know when you will need a higher level of service and Schwab has delivered that when I needed it.

Also, I closed my Citibank account and opened a Schwab Bank account because the interest rates were higher and it was faster to transfer money to and from the brokerage account at Schwab. There are online banking options that pay higher rates, but I do not keep much in cash and this was more of a convenience move.

It is possible I could consolidate back to Vanguard in the future. I have nothing against them and their investment products are outstanding. I just think for for now in terms of customer care and services their brokerage is a little weaker than the two others.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:39 pm

neveragain wrote:I am moving my IRA, I want good index funds.

I had account w/Vanguard and experienced very poor customer service, this was in 2016. Although my accounts did well, (although I didn't realize it at the time). I also know they are swamped with customers as they are very popular right now.

I've also had a 529 plan with Fidelity that did poorly in a good economy; however Fidelity's customer service is a class act. They are great as far as being responsive to questions and they have local offices, which I like.

I also don't know much about Schwab but would consider them also, if they have good index funds.
Vanguard has given me a pretty good percentage of the returns that the market provides. My experience has been great customer service.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:02 pm

I have accounts with all three. No complaints with any of them.

IMO, you should be fine with any of them unless you have unusual needs or expectations.

Joeko
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Joeko » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:13 pm

I have taxable funds with Vanguard and Solo 401K with Fidelity. No issues with either firm, I don't think you can go wrong with either 3 of these firms. I wouldn't sweat it

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by FIREchief » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:07 pm

It is very convenient to have both a brokerage account and a DAF at Fidelity. Donations of appreciated shares are extremely simple. I also benefit from having our HSAs at Fidelity, but that is not an option for the general public at this time.
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by investor997 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:42 pm

I'm probably going to Schwab. My reasoning:

- I use ETFs in the taxable space. Schwab has us covered in terms of constructing a Boglehead-friendly portfolio: SCHB, SCHF, SCHE, SCHZ. All have ERs comparable to Vanguard and all can be traded commission free with NO short term trading penalty fees. The commission-free ETF lists at TD Ameritrade and Fidelity have short term trading fees
- Schwab has super low cost index mutual funds for the tax advantaged space (Roth IRA): SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX...
- Schwab has a nearby brick and mortar branch
- Schwab is a proper bank, not just cash management. Heck, you can even get a mortgage from them. Plus they offer the usual freebies like ATM reimbursement, bill pay, etc.

I'm presently with Scottrade. If I do nothing, I'll eventually get converted to TD Ameritrade when the acquisition completes. TDA offers Vanguard ETFs commission free but gotta be careful with the short term trading fees.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Toons » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:16 pm

" I want good index funds."

Vanguard
http://www.kiplinger.com/article/invest ... o-own.html

:happy
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by nervouscorps » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:27 pm

VG has better funds for the most part, but worse customer service. I am with Fidelity and am happy there.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Danielvalerio506 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:33 pm

Hi!!

I´ve heard Vanguard is a great company, I´ve heard they have low fee index funds which are way to better than usual mutual funds people use.

Besides mutual funds have lots of hidden fees, at the end you don´t get the full potencial of compounding with all those fees accumulating and taking part of your profits.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by peterinjapan » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:41 pm

Vanguard is nigh unto a religion with some folks here. I personally found a) their "you don't buy funds, you move them from the money market fund into other funds" paradigm to be very hard to understand, and b) they are downright hostile to anyone who has a passport and lives/travels abroad. I went with Fidelity and couldn't be happier. Especially their mobile apps, which are heaven to use. The main downside to Fidelity is, you need to be all ETF, as most mutual funds (including all from Vanguard) cost $75 to buy or sell.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Index Fan » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:45 pm

I'm a big Vanguard fan. Then again I've never needed to talk to customer service ;)

Fidelity has a better reputation customer-service wise, but Vanguard's funds are much better.
"Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis." | -Seneca

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:56 am

investor997 wrote:I'm probably going to Schwab. My reasoning:

- I use ETFs in the taxable space. Schwab has us covered in terms of constructing a Boglehead-friendly portfolio: SCHB, SCHF, SCHE, SCHZ. All have ERs comparable to Vanguard and all can be traded commission free with NO short term trading penalty fees. The commission-free ETF lists at TD Ameritrade and Fidelity have short term trading fees
- Schwab has super low cost index mutual funds for the tax advantaged space (Roth IRA): SWTSX, SWISX, SWAGX...
- Schwab has a nearby brick and mortar branch
- Schwab is a proper bank, not just cash management. Heck, you can even get a mortgage from them. Plus they offer the usual freebies like ATM reimbursement, bill pay, etc.

I'm presently with Scottrade. If I do nothing, I'll eventually get converted to TD Ameritrade when the acquisition completes. TDA offers Vanguard ETFs commission free but gotta be careful with the short term trading fees.
It does sound like you can get a great deal at Schwab. Enjoy!! Some talk of the "Vanguard Effect" of causing other companies to lower their fees to compete. I am glad you are spending time on the forum that gets its inspiration from Jack Bogle. I think it will help your investing prowess.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Kenster1 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:41 am

Index Fan wrote:I'm a big Vanguard fan. Then again I've never needed to talk to customer service ;)

Fidelity has a better reputation customer-service wise, but Vanguard's funds are much better.
If we're talking about Index funds - then you can do just as good at Fidelity and Schwab.

Fidelity Total Market Index Fund isn't small either - it has $42B in assets and the Investor Class shares has an ER of 0.09% .... this compares favorably with the Vanguard equivalent TSM fund @ 0.15% ER.

For ETFs at Fidelity - you can use Vanguard ETFs if you wish for a low $4.95 transaction fee or numerous iShares ETFs for no-transaction fee.

Example - iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market (no transaction fee at Fidelity) has a super razor thin ER of 0.03%

Over the years - I have seen Larry Swedroe and Rick Ferri seem somewhat neutral in that it's ok to use either either Index funds but then there are times when I have seen slight favoritism from them for the S&P value tilted indexes. Rick Ferri also has to run a platform for his business and cited Fidelity and Schwab being much better for his needs - that was more important than the funds itself. Indexing fan, Paul Merriman, also seems to slightly favor a couple of the other indexes (value and small) over the Vanguard indexes. And besides, even if you wanted the Vanguard index products, with low cost ETFs and low-cost transaction fees these days it's easy and super-low cost to use the best platform to buy the ETFs you want.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Index Fan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:42 am

Kenster1 wrote:
Index Fan wrote:I'm a big Vanguard fan. Then again I've never needed to talk to customer service ;)

Fidelity has a better reputation customer-service wise, but Vanguard's funds are much better.
If we're talking about Index funds - then you can do just as good at Fidelity and Schwab.

I was thinking of the fund selection overall. I have accounts at both Vanguard and Fidelity, and I struggled to find funds at Fidelity that weren't overpriced or odd in some way whereas Vanguard's funds were awesome. You can certainly get index funds at all of the places you mentioned. But Vanguard's fund selection is superior.
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Index Fan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:43 am

Kenster1 wrote:
Index Fan wrote:I'm a big Vanguard fan. Then again I've never needed to talk to customer service ;)

Fidelity has a better reputation customer-service wise, but Vanguard's funds are much better.
If we're talking about Index funds - then you can do just as good at Fidelity and Schwab.

I was thinking of the fund selection overall. I have accounts at both Vanguard and Fidelity, and I struggled to find funds at Fidelity that weren't overpriced or odd in some way whereas Vanguard's funds overall were awesome. You can certainly get inexpensive index funds at all of the places you mentioned. But Vanguard's fund selection is superior and you rarely if ever have to worry about their price- unlike Fido.

One more plus for Fidelity- their articles they post are quite practical and useful (outside of active fund boosting).
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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ruralavalon » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:57 am

neveragain wrote:I am moving my IRA, I want good index funds.

I had account w/Vanguard and experienced very poor customer service, this was in 2016. Although my accounts did well, (although I didn't realize it at the time). I also know they are swamped with customers as they are very popular right now.

I've also had a 529 plan with Fidelity that did poorly in a good economy; however Fidelity's customer service is a class act. They are great as far as being responsive to questions and they have local offices, which I like.

I also don't know much about Schwab but would consider them also, if they have good index funds.
My personal preference is Vanguard, they have by far the largest selection of low expense mutual funds offered anywhere.

All of our accounts are with Vanguard, and all of our funds are Vanguard funds. I have had no problems with their customer service, but have little need for customer service.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by ruralavalon » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:11 am

Kenster1 wrote:
Index Fan wrote:I'm a big Vanguard fan. Then again I've never needed to talk to customer service ;)

Fidelity has a better reputation customer-service wise, but Vanguard's funds are much better.
If we're talking about Index funds - then you can do just as good at Fidelity and Schwab.
. . . . .
Schwab still doesn't have a total international stock index fund

Schwab International Index Fund (SWISX) covers only larger companies in developed markets except Canada. It omits emerging markets, Canada and stocks of smaller companies.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by neveragain » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:17 am

Thanks, I didn't know that about Schwab so that will be taken into consideration.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by retiredjg » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:44 am

This is one of the reasons that Schwab is only sort of OK (not great) for mutual funds. Their list lacks luster and is incomplete.

They have only recently (less than a year I think) added a total bond index fund to their stable of funds. Prior to that, they had a "total bond" that was not an index fund, but many people were fooled by the name. It performed poorly in the 2007-08-09 crash.

I think Schwab decided to concentrate on building up an arsenal of ETFs and sort of dropped the ball with mutual funds. Maybe that is changing finally (with the addition of the decent bond fund).

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Pranav » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:31 pm

Vanguard
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by chinto » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:04 pm

If you are going to stay in place for a while (not move), I would decided between Fidelity and Schwab based on which one has an office closer to me. Both are excellent. I think Fidelity has great product offerings and a fantastic fixed income support desk(IMO, the best in the industry)..but I think Schwab has a slight edge in overall customer service. Vanguard is not in the same tier as these two. In fact I do not believe they are in the next tier either.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by Wricha » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:36 pm

Personally over the course of 30 years I have been with all three, Schwab's service is heads above Fidelity and heads and shoulders above Vanguard (this is capital offense on this site)

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by bondsr4me » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:04 pm

Wricha wrote:Personally over the course of 30 years I have been with all three, Schwab's service is heads above Fidelity and heads and shoulders above Vanguard (this is capital offense on this site)
+1

I tend to agree with it all.

Don

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:26 pm

sport wrote:
arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:See the difference? Not in the fund, but in the fee. Why pay more? People do because Fidelity makes the first fund very visible, but you've got to dig deeper to find the other (lower class index) fund. Why do you suppose that is? Be careful out there. Know what you're paying. Don't be duped.
Vanguard will not try to "dupe" you. The others, maybe, maybe not.
And you know this how?

We have both Vanguard and Fidelity accounts. Fido is Private Client and our guy has never tried to sell us anything.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:32 pm

bondsr4me wrote:
Wricha wrote:Personally over the course of 30 years I have been with all three, Schwab's service is heads above Fidelity and heads and shoulders above Vanguard (this is capital offense on this site)
+1

I tend to agree with it all.

Don
Haha, make that a +2.

In my world this is an example of experimenter bias.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by CenTexan » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:57 pm

I have Schwab and (mostly) Vanguard.

I recently rolled an IRA from USAA to Schwab. It went well although I had to re-contact Schwab to tell them what info to send to USAA - ie, Schwab was not pro-active on getting my funds). A couple other things:
1). No one could tell me (or notify me) when my rolled over funds actually arrived at Schwab - I had to keep checking online to see when they appeared so I could begin divesting into funds.
2). Its either all paper or all electronic - statements, trade confirmations, etc. Vanguard will do both.
3). I received two "courtesy" calls from a Schwab financial advisor offering his services for a fee. After I declined the second time, he stopped calling.
4). To purchase a Vanguard fund in a Schwab IRA incurs a fee ($75!)
5) As mentioned in an above post, Schwab has only one index bond fund - and it just started February of this year. So it has little history.

AS with all institutions, Vanguard has shortcomings, too. Just this month Vanguard mysteriously"dropped" my account preferences for several of my funds' dividend/cg deposits. I have had these set to auto-deposit to a bank checking account for years, but last month, the deposit never happened. I had to call and the rep (very good and helpful) could not understand why it happened either. He apologized several times (even after I expressed my severe concern with the deteriorating customer service from Vanguard). He made the changes to my account and initiated the deposits. Thank goodness I was still able to pay my bills on time and without penalty. This rattled me a bit, but I haven't decided to pull out of Vanguard. Not yet anyway.

Also, Vanguard will not allow POD on joint accounts.

Just my thoughts/experiences

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by sport » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:00 pm

AllieTB1323 wrote:
sport wrote:
arcticpineapplecorp. wrote:See the difference? Not in the fund, but in the fee. Why pay more? People do because Fidelity makes the first fund very visible, but you've got to dig deeper to find the other (lower class index) fund. Why do you suppose that is? Be careful out there. Know what you're paying. Don't be duped.
Vanguard will not try to "dupe" you. The others, maybe, maybe not.
And you know this how?

We have both Vanguard and Fidelity accounts. Fido is Private Client and our guy has never tried to sell us anything.
I know that Vanguard will not take advantage of their clients because they have no expensive funds to sell. Their employees do not work on commission. Therefore, there is neither a mechanism nor incentive for Vanguard to "dupe" you.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:21 pm

Since my Fido index funds have an insignificant lowered cost than the comparable Vanguard fund then they are inferior. Thanks for setting me straight.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by chinto » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:04 pm

bondsr4me wrote:
Wricha wrote:Personally over the course of 30 years I have been with all three, Schwab's service is heads above Fidelity and heads and shoulders above Vanguard (this is capital offense on this site)
+1

I tend to agree with it all.

Don
I agree too.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by AllieTB1323 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:25 pm

chinto wrote:
bondsr4me wrote:
Wricha wrote:Personally over the course of 30 years I have been with all three, Schwab's service is heads above Fidelity and heads and shoulders above Vanguard (this is capital offense on this site)
+1

I tend to agree with it all.

Don
I agree too.
Yup, never cross the third rail of Vanguardism.

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by kiddoc » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:31 pm

Fidelity works best for me as I have a donor-advised fund there and Vanguard keeps messing up transfers. Fidelity credit card has 2% cash back on everything. Schwab credit cards don't have foreign transaction fees. Fidelity seems to have better mutual fund options and tax-loss harvesting partners for the asset classes I use.

Vanguard seems to have the best array of funds/ ETFs but is the absolute worst brokerage with shoddy customer service and numerous errors. I speak after experiencing 6 errors over 2 years.

All of these may not apply to your situation but played a role in my decision making.
"The four most dangerous words in investing are: 'this time it's different.'" - Sir John Templeton

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by loislane911 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:25 pm

Which firm has the best individual bond offerings and the best bond desk to deal with? I have a fixed income portfolio with mostly muncipal and corporate bonds (I'm in California). And unfortunately, many of my 5% California muni's are being called. I recently moved my portfolio from UBS to Fidelity. I've had some extremely frustrating customer service issues at Fidelity and I'm thinking of moving -- although their individual bond offerings are fairly good -- and of course, much more transparent compared to UBS. Has anyone invested via the bond desk at Schwab or Vanguard? How do they compare?

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Re: Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab? I need to choose.

Post by catdude » Fri Dec 22, 2017 2:06 am

loislane911 wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:25 pm
Which firm has the best individual bond offerings and the best bond desk to deal with? I have a fixed income portfolio with mostly muncipal and corporate bonds (I'm in California). And unfortunately, many of my 5% California muni's are being called. I recently moved my portfolio from UBS to Fidelity. I've had some extremely frustrating customer service issues at Fidelity and I'm thinking of moving -- although their individual bond offerings are fairly good -- and of course, much more transparent compared to UBS. Has anyone invested via the bond desk at Schwab or Vanguard? How do they compare?
Hi lois, welcome to the forum. I don't have an answer for you, but I'm thinking that you may get more responses if you start a new thread. Around here discussions of Fidelity vs. Vanguard vs. Schwab are old hat, and a lot of folks aren't going to bother clicking on this thread. You'll have better luck if you start a new one.

Good luck!
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