Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 14236
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Sat May 26, 2018 8:09 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 12:27 pm
finagle wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 11:37 am
Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:55 pm
MrPotatoHead wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:08 pm
mpsz wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:58 pm
I recommend Fidelity and Schwab. Vanguard is "just fine" but I don't actively recommend them because I have run into IT and customer service issues here. Each broker has their issues, but most of my issues have been caused by Vanguard.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Vanguard funds or ETFs. I just don't trust the brokerage.

Exactly!!!
Same here. I’ve gone with Fidelity because my 401k is there and I like the web site very much.
What's your Fido index fund for Total International Stock? I'm in fsivx but I don't believe it's as comprehensive as Vanguard's Total International Stock in the 3-fund portfolio. Makes me want to rollover my taxable to Vanguard.
I believe it is FTIPX. It is rather new to Fidelity. It has emerging markets and small cap which is closer to Vanguard.
I believe FSIVX is large cap international.
Fidelity International Index Fund Premium Class (FSIVX) covers only stocks of larger companies, only in developed markets, excluding Canada. It omits emerging markets, stocks of Canadian companies, and stocks of smaller companies.

Fidelity Total International Stock Index Fund Premium Class (FTIPX) is more diversified. That fund includes stocks of both larger and smaller companies, in both emerging and developed markets including Canada.

You can see the scope of any fund on Morningstar, click the "portfolio" tab for each fund.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

Papajoe56
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:31 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by Papajoe56 » Sat May 26, 2018 9:04 am

I have investments with Fidelity and Vanguard and have had no problems with either.

User avatar
danielrhall
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:20 pm
Location: Raymond, NH USA

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by danielrhall » Mon May 28, 2018 11:22 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 12:27 pm
finagle wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 11:37 am
Dottie57 wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:55 pm
Same here. I’ve gone with Fidelity because my 401k is there and I like the web site very much.
What's your Fido index fund for Total International Stock? I'm in fsivx but I don't believe it's as comprehensive as Vanguard's Total International Stock in the 3-fund portfolio. Makes me want to rollover my taxable to Vanguard.
I believe it is FTIPX. It is rather new to Fidelity. It has emerging markets and small cap which is closer to Vanguard.
I believe FSIVX is large cap international.
FTIPX is indeed Fidelity's Total International Index Fund - Premium Class. It's a foreign large blend total index fund currently with 4697 holdings and an expense ratio of 0.1%.

FSIVX is Fidelity International Index Fund - Premium Class. It too is a foreign large blend fund though as mentioned, not total market. It has 945 holdings and an ER of 0.06%. If you're able to purchase in a 401k at Fidelity and that's the style of fund you want, you may be eligible to buy FSPSX which is Fidelity's International Index Fund - Institutional Premium Class. It's the same composition as FSIVX but has an ER of 0.045%.

User avatar
peterinjapan
Posts: 468
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 8:41 am
Location: Japan!

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by peterinjapan » Mon May 28, 2018 2:04 pm

I love Fidlity. Great website, outstanding iOS apps, and free iShares funds. I didn't like Vanguard due to its cult status in the world, and also their hostility to any American who dares live outside the U.S. My son's investments were with Scottrade, which got bought by TD Ameritrade, and I am very impressed with their website, at least.

bondsr4me
Posts: 935
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:08 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by bondsr4me » Mon May 28, 2018 2:16 pm

We have accounts with Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard, and TDA.

To me, Fidelity’s bond screen is the best hands down.

I like Schwab’s Street Smart Edge for stocks, but Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro is pretty good too.

VG’s website is very elementary and simple, but I don’t like trading bonds with them...too restrictive for me.

TDA’s ThinkorSwim platform is pretty good too.

If you buy and hold individual securities, Fido would be a very good choice.

Don

User avatar
DaftInvestor
Posts: 4077
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue May 29, 2018 12:56 pm

troubleshooter wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:33 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:33 pm
I've got a taxable account, a rollover IRA account, and an active 401k account.
One is with Vanguard, one with Fidelity, and one with Schwab. I personally don't see much difference - similar ERs, similar website experiences, etc.
I have rarely had to use customer service for anything si can't speak much to customer service.
Personally - I like keeping the 3 things in 3 separate places - I never get confused over which statement is which tax treatment, etc. With simple index portfolios it isn't too much to manage.
DaftInvestor,
I am new here, and I am looking into investing with Vanguard index funds, but can you please answer an odd question for me?
Why would a person go thru Fidelity or Schwab to invest in a Vanguard index fund, when they can go directly to Vanguard
itself? Is it only due to the customer service issue I have read about? Or is there something so simple that I have not figured it out yet? Thank you.
Sorry for the delayed response - I got very busy and haven't stopped by in a while.
In the case of Schwab - it is who my company uses for their 401K plan so it was chosen for me. The plan has Vanguard Index Funds but if I was investing directly with Schwab I might use their (Schwab) Index funds versus Vanguard.
In the case of Fidelity I have a Rollover-IRA there - I do NOT buy Vanguard Index funds within it - I buy Fidelity Index Funds. The Fidelity Index Funds have similar (in some cases cheaper) Expense Ratios as compared to Vanguard.
In my view, an Index is an Index Fund and since all the Expense Ratios are similar you don't necessarily have to buy Vanguard Index Funds.
Links to information on Fidelity and Schwab Index Funds:
https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/i ... ndex-funds
https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/in ... funds_etfs

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 14236
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Tue May 29, 2018 3:05 pm

troubleshooter wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:33 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:33 pm
I've got a taxable account, a rollover IRA account, and an active 401k account.
One is with Vanguard, one with Fidelity, and one with Schwab. I personally don't see much difference - similar ERs, similar website experiences, etc.
I have rarely had to use customer service for anything si can't speak much to customer service.
Personally - I like keeping the 3 things in 3 separate places - I never get confused over which statement is which tax treatment, etc. With simple index portfolios it isn't too much to manage.
DaftInvestor,
I am new here, and I am looking into investing with Vanguard index funds, but can you please answer an odd question for me?
Why would a person go thru Fidelity or Schwab to invest in a Vanguard index fund, when they can go directly to Vanguard
itself? Is it only due to the customer service issue I have read about? Or is there something so simple that I have not figured it out yet? Thank you.
Buying Vanguard mutual funds thru either Schwab or Fidelity would mean paying a commission for every transaction, and the investor would be unable to buy ultra-low expense ratio Admiral Shares of Vanguard index funds.

If we had an account with Schwab we would use Schwab index funds in that account. If we had an account at Fidelity we would use Fidelity index funds in that account. I don't see a benefit to buying Vanguard funds through an account with another fund firm.

We have 4 accounts (2 Roth IRAs, my rollover IRA, and a joint taxable account), all 4 accounts are at Vanguard, and we use only Vanguard index funds.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

ClaycordJCA
Posts: 224
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:19 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by ClaycordJCA » Wed May 30, 2018 12:42 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 12:56 pm
troubleshooter wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:33 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:33 pm
I've got a taxable account, a rollover IRA account, and an active 401k account.
One is with Vanguard, one with Fidelity, and one with Schwab. I personally don't see much difference - similar ERs, similar website experiences, etc.
I have rarely had to use customer service for anything si can't speak much to customer service.
Personally - I like keeping the 3 things in 3 separate places - I never get confused over which statement is which tax treatment, etc. With simple index portfolios it isn't too much to manage.
DaftInvestor,
I am new here, and I am looking into investing with Vanguard index funds, but can you please answer an odd question for me?
Why would a person go thru Fidelity or Schwab to invest in a Vanguard index fund, when they can go directly to Vanguard
itself? Is it only due to the customer service issue I have read about? Or is there something so simple that I have not figured it out yet? Thank you.
Sorry for the delayed response - I got very busy and haven't stopped by in a while.
In the case of Schwab - it is who my company uses for their 401K plan so it was chosen for me. The plan has Vanguard Index Funds but if I was investing directly with Schwab I might use their (Schwab) Index funds versus Vanguard.
In the case of Fidelity I have a Rollover-IRA there - I do NOT buy Vanguard Index funds within it - I buy Fidelity Index Funds. The Fidelity Index Funds have similar (in some cases cheaper) Expense Ratios as compared to Vanguard.
In my view, an Index is an Index Fund and since all the Expense Ratios are similar you don't necessarily have to buy Vanguard Index Funds.
Links to information on Fidelity and Schwab Index Funds:
https://www.fidelity.com/mutual-funds/i ... ndex-funds
https://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/in ... funds_etfs
My employer’s self-directed 401k is also with Schwab. When I saw the light and began investing exclusively in index funds several years ago, Schwab did not have a Total Bond Market Index fund or ETF. I therefore purchased the Vanguard ETF. Schwab also does not have a complete Total International Stock Market Index, so I made a large one-time purchase in the Vanguard ETF rather than apportioning between multiple Schwab funds.

kaneohe
Posts: 5128
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:38 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by kaneohe » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am

One minor point in the big picture...............but perhaps a tie-breaker if things are otherwise close........
Schwab does not have a sweep account paying decent interest. Instead,under the guise of providing FDIC insurance,the sweep account pays a measly bank interest of something like 0.2%. You can purchase money market funds with higher interest rates but then it is a manual operation and errors in maintaining the proper broker cash balance can lead to margin loans w/ high rates.

It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.

michaeljmroger
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:54 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by michaeljmroger » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:03 am

kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
One minor point in the big picture...............but perhaps a tie-breaker if things are otherwise close........
Schwab does not have a sweep account paying decent interest. Instead,under the guise of providing FDIC insurance,the sweep account pays a measly bank interest of something like 0.2%. You can purchase money market funds with higher interest rates but then it is a manual operation and errors in maintaining the proper broker cash balance can lead to margin loans w/ high rates.

It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
Vanguard’s settlement fund is unquestionably better than Schwab’s, but I don’t think it should influence anyone’s decision as keeping funds in your sweep account for more than a few weeks is never a good idea anyway.

Mako52
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:07 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by Mako52 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:58 am

I opened accounts at Vanguard earlier this year (rollovers from other institutions) and then at Schwab. I will say that Schwab's website, ease of use and trading, and "dashboard" view are far ahead of Vanguard's. While we still have one taxable account at Vanguard, I'm happy with the decision to move to Schwab. I was underwhelmed in my initial conversation with a Vanguard advisor.

I also like the fact that if I need to get something done and speak with someone in person, there's a somewhat local office with Schwab (as with Fidelity).

User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 3528
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:05 am

kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
I don't know about Vanguard, but the sweep accounts on my Fidelity Cash Management account are only paying around 0.3%.
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.

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 14236
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:13 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:05 am
kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
I don't know about Vanguard, but the sweep accounts on my Fidelity Cash Management account are only paying around 0.3%.
The sweep fund at Vanguard is Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund (VMFXX) with a current SEC Yield = 2.20%.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

mervinj7
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by mervinj7 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:23 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:05 am
kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
I don't know about Vanguard, but the sweep accounts on my Fidelity Cash Management account are only paying around 0.3%.
If you keep any kind of cash in a Fidelity CMA, it's best to use one of their money market funds that will be automatically liquidated to pay any debits (e.g. purchases, transfers). In that case, the effective yield moves up rapidly to 2.09% for SPRXX, 1.87% for FDLXX (Treasury), or 2.21% for FZDZZ (if you temporarily swing the $100k min). It's not quite as high as VMMXX but its way better than 0.3% and it's as liquid as cash in a regular checking account without the 6 transactions/month limit of most savings accounts.

For example, in my HSA account (operates similarly to a CMA and brokerage account), I have a bi-monthly contribution of $100. That gets automatically placed into the sweep account. But since this is a periodic contribution, I also setup a periodic buy of FDLXX for $200/month. Thus, I never have any funds in the sweep account for more than 2 weeks. Any debits or Treasury bill purchases are then automatically drawn from the FDLXX fund.

Gadget
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by Gadget » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 am

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:05 am
kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
I don't know about Vanguard, but the sweep accounts on my Fidelity Cash Management account are only paying around 0.3%.
This is not quite true if you set it up correctly. I keep no balance in the cma account at fidelity. It draws from the overdraft Brokerage account that I named checking. In it, I have core options of SPAXX or FZFXX. FZFXX is a treasury fund yielding 1.87 today, plus no state taxes. That's what I do. You can also manually buy in to FZDXX or SPRXX to get closer to Vanguards sweep rate. Vanguard is certainly better on rates, but I can get close with fidelity and fidelity has no atm fees anywhere, plus does not require 500k in assets.

mervinj7
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by mervinj7 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:43 am

Gadget wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 am
This is not quite true if you set it up correctly. I keep no balance in the cma account at fidelity. It draws from the overdraft Brokerage account that I named checking. In it, I have core options of SPAXX or FZFXX. FZFXX is a treasury fund yielding 1.87 today, plus no state taxes.
Be careful about the treasury money market funds and state taxes. FZFXX is only partially state-tax free. For 2017, that number was 53.65%. FDLXX, on the other hand, is a Treasury Only Money Market Fund and thus its 100% state-tax free. However, it can't be used as a sweep fund in the overdraft brokerage account.
FUND/PORTFOLIO NAME FUND # PERCENTAGE
Fidelity® Government Money Market Fund: 60.16%
Fidelity® Treasury Money Market Fund : 53.65%
Fidelity® Treasury Only Money Market Fund 0415 100.00%
Source: https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060 ... r_2017.pdf

Gadget
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by Gadget » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:54 am

mervinj7 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:43 am
Gadget wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 am
This is not quite true if you set it up correctly. I keep no balance in the cma account at fidelity. It draws from the overdraft Brokerage account that I named checking. In it, I have core options of SPAXX or FZFXX. FZFXX is a treasury fund yielding 1.87 today, plus no state taxes.
Be careful about the treasury money market funds and state taxes. FZFXX is only partially state-tax free. For 2017, that number was 53.65%. FDLXX, on the other hand, is a Treasury Only Money Market Fund and thus its 100% state-tax free. However, it can't be used as a sweep fund in the overdraft brokerage account.
FUND/PORTFOLIO NAME FUND # PERCENTAGE
Fidelity® Government Money Market Fund: 60.16%
Fidelity® Treasury Money Market Fund : 53.65%
Fidelity® Treasury Only Money Market Fund 0415 100.00%
Source: https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060 ... r_2017.pdf
Thanks. I didn't know that. Only had it for a few weeks.

User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Posts: 3528
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: In the middle of five acres of woods

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:07 pm

Gadget wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:05 am
kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
I don't know about Vanguard, but the sweep accounts on my Fidelity Cash Management account are only paying around 0.3%.
This is not quite true if you set it up correctly. I keep no balance in the cma account at fidelity. It draws from the overdraft Brokerage account that I named checking. In it, I have core options of SPAXX or FZFXX. FZFXX is a treasury fund yielding 1.87 today, plus no state taxes. That's what I do. You can also manually buy in to FZDXX or SPRXX to get closer to Vanguards sweep rate. Vanguard is certainly better on rates, but I can get close with fidelity and fidelity has no atm fees anywhere, plus does not require 500k in assets.
Yes, one can do that. But that wasn't what I was posting about; I was referring simply to the Cash Management bank sweep program at Fidelity, not about any other investments, given that the post from kaneohe mentioned sweep programs specifically.
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.

pdavi21
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by pdavi21 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:16 pm

Those are the three best.

I rolled over a Vanguard 401k to Vanguard IRA for the simple reason of
1. Lower expenses (small 401k balance)
2. More fund selection, more transaction options, and simplicity (already had Vanguard IRA)
3. Creditor protection diversification (401k balance tends to grow much faster than IRA unless you Mega Backdoor or are a highly compensated employee)

Any decision you make should follow those steps (in that order) in my opinion.

acanthurus
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:02 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by acanthurus » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:16 pm

I have accounts at all of them. I like using Schwab's trading software when I need to buy/sell large amounts of ETFs simply because I can see the order book. They farm it out to Citadel or whoever like most companies, so they get their cut there in terms of PFOF, but I've had good luck with six figure ETF orders. Schwab also waived purchase fees for me for any Vanguard mutual fund (but it seems only Investor shares are available right now - how the recent changes to the Admiral class will affect that I don't know).

I'm in tech and I've seen on the job boards in Austin how much Schwab has been recruiting in the last few years in a talented market. There's a reason the website and back end stuff seems to work better IMO.

rholt
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:11 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by rholt » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:42 pm

15 year Vanguard customer with no complaints. That said - I don't have any experience with other brokerages.

I chimed in to comment that I am surprised to see all these complaints about the customer service at Vanguard. I am just wondering what people are doing that they need so much customer service. I have gone years at a time without contacting Vanguard for any kind of customer service. Almost every transaction I have ever conducted has been simple self-service through the web-site.

Furthermore, I would see it as a bad thing if Vanguard ever rolled out physical branch offices - pointless overhead.

jsmoove123
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:01 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by jsmoove123 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:13 pm

pdavi21 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:16 pm
Those are the three best.

I rolled over a Vanguard 401k to Vanguard IRA for the simple reason of
1. Lower expenses (small 401k balance)
2. More fund selection, more transaction options, and simplicity (already had Vanguard IRA)
3. Creditor protection diversification (401k balance tends to grow much faster than IRA unless you Mega Backdoor or are a highly compensated employee)

Any decision you make should follow those steps (in that order) in my opinion.
My understanding was that the typical 401k accounts have full federal ERISA protection against bankruptcy/judgments and that Rollover IRAs from 401ks only carry that protection if the assets are not commingled with non-ERISA assets. What creditor protection are you gaining by rolling over?

pdavi21
Posts: 193
Joined: Sat Jan 30, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by pdavi21 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:30 pm

jsmoove123 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:13 pm
pdavi21 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:16 pm
Those are the three best.

I rolled over a Vanguard 401k to Vanguard IRA for the simple reason of
1. Lower expenses (small 401k balance)
2. More fund selection, more transaction options, and simplicity (already had Vanguard IRA)
3. Creditor protection diversification (401k balance tends to grow much faster than IRA unless you Mega Backdoor or are a highly compensated employee)

Any decision you make should follow those steps (in that order) in my opinion.
My understanding was that the typical 401k accounts have full federal ERISA protection against bankruptcy/judgments and that Rollover IRAs from 401ks only carry that protection if the assets are not commingled with non-ERISA assets. What creditor protection are you gaining by rolling over?
Diversity. 401k protection and IRA protection differ. Therefore, by having 50% in each, you have half of your wealth protected if the law changes for one and not the other. Maybe that's stupid though and better just to max whichever's safer in your state.

EDIT: But not stupid, the real reason is, for when you exceed the protected threshold in either account.

OnLevel
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:14 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by OnLevel » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:58 pm

I have now had accounts at all 3, and my pick is Fidelity for the following reasons in order of importance

1. Ability to deposit mega backdoor rollover checks using App (Vanguard and Schwab don't offer this)
2. No need to wait 1 business day for ach deposits to settle before I can invest them ( I think this is true of Vanguard too, but not Schwab)
3. No minimums on index funds (Vanguard has minimums)
4. Local branch in case I need to talk to someone

MisterMister
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:50 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by MisterMister » Tue Dec 04, 2018 5:31 pm

I have experience only with Fidelity and Vanguard.

As a customer and career technologist, I can only say I hope that Vanguard is spending tons of money to update its technology infrastructure.

Fidelity's web site functionality, customer service, and selection of investment vehicles are, in my mind, second to none.

Vanguard's Web site, while usable, is clunky and on some occasions has been down when I wanted to use it. That's what I see. What I can't see is the extent to which Vanguard's IT staff is successfully protecting its infrastructure through the use of proper security protocols, technology update, redundancy, and so forth.

I have NO reason to doubt they are doing what's necessary. But where there's smoke there's sometimes fire. The smoke could be a Web site that is right out of the 90's. The fire could be insufficient attention to more important infrastructure issues.

No doubt this comes from the culture of keeping costs low for the benefit of customers. But Vanguard has seen an enormous inflow of assets. While maintaining low cost is admirable there is no excuse for them not to have the best and most reliable infrastructure in the business. Providing such would help avoid speculation like this about what's being done or not done in technology under the hood there. In some corners, it's past time for them to be cheap.

lisaneedsbraces
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:23 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by lisaneedsbraces » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:01 pm

A couple pros for Vanguard:

1. Viewing balances by date for money market and bond funds. You can view the accrued dividends for these funds before they are paid out.

2. Viewing up to 10 years of transaction history one one page for a fund. It looks like I can only see a month or quarter at a time at Fidelity. The same data is available, but it has proven handy to see 10 years at once.

Gadget
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:38 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by Gadget » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:08 pm

oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:07 pm
Gadget wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:29 am
oldcomputerguy wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:05 am
kaneohe wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:31 am
It is my understanding that Vanguard, and perhaps Fidelity as well, have sweep accts w/ decent interest rates.
I don't know about Vanguard, but the sweep accounts on my Fidelity Cash Management account are only paying around 0.3%.
This is not quite true if you set it up correctly. I keep no balance in the cma account at fidelity. It draws from the overdraft Brokerage account that I named checking. In it, I have core options of SPAXX or FZFXX. FZFXX is a treasury fund yielding 1.87 today, plus no state taxes. That's what I do. You can also manually buy in to FZDXX or SPRXX to get closer to Vanguards sweep rate. Vanguard is certainly better on rates, but I can get close with fidelity and fidelity has no atm fees anywhere, plus does not require 500k in assets.
Yes, one can do that. But that wasn't what I was posting about; I was referring simply to the Cash Management bank sweep program at Fidelity, not about any other investments, given that the post from kaneohe mentioned sweep programs specifically.
I chatted with Fidelity and they verified to me that at least SPRXX, SPAXX, FZDXX, and FZFXX can all be used to sweep to the CMA account automatically. In other words, those money market funds, and likely some additional money market funds will auto liquidate to cover overdrafts in the CMA account. Isn't that what you were wanting? There is no reason to have money in the actual CMA account at .3%.

123
Posts: 3886
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by 123 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:20 pm

troubleshooter wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 8:33 pm
DaftInvestor,
I am new here, and I am looking into investing with Vanguard index funds, but can you please answer an odd question for me?
Why would a person go thru Fidelity or Schwab to invest in a Vanguard index fund, when they can go directly to Vanguard
itself? Is it only due to the customer service issue I have read about? Or is there something so simple that I have not figured it out yet? Thank you.
The reason for using Fidelity or Schwab over Vanguard are likey primarily due to customer service and availability of investments. Fidelity and Schwab will have everything you could want, Vanguard less so. Some individuals may have workplace accounts (401K etc) held at Fidelity or Schwab and may prefer to keep other accounts at the same place. Brick and mortar branches are good if you need to deposit or withdraw funds quickly without delays of ACH, wires, and often waiting for "good funds". Brick and mortar branches are also helpful in the event of a death where POD and beneficiary issues often arise. Of course virtually all business can be done by computer or mail, it just may take a lot longer. Depending on the investor's occupation and employer somtimes there are regulatory compliance issues about where an employee's investments can be held, if an employer limits choices they are more likely to include Fidelity and Schwab than Vanguard.

There are been additional threads in the past that discussed how account beneficiary designations were much more flexible at Fidelity and Schwab than they were at Vanguard. IIRC these had to do with establishing beneficiaries on joint taxable accounts, easy at Fidelity and Schwab, not possible at Vanguard.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

ahnathan
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:10 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by ahnathan » Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:05 pm

The customer service issue is interesting when it comes up. It must be with account rollovers etc?

For a typical Boglehead running a 3-fund portfolio or something similar, even across multiple accounts, I can't see how it would be an issue. I have opened several accounts with Vanguard (IRAs, have 401k, and taxable brokerage) and done it all simply online in minutes with no issues.

Some people here admittedly have much more complex finances than me, perhaps that is where the customer service issue comes in?

User avatar
AAA
Posts: 1070
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:56 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by AAA » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:09 pm

ahnathan wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:05 pm
The customer service issue is interesting when it comes up. It must be with account rollovers etc?
Yes, but at least in my case with Vanguard it's more usually something to do with the website, emails, e-delivery, etc.

I've often read in this forum about Fidelity's excellent customer service and my experience so far has confirmed that. That they are available 24/7 is an added bonus.

dachshunddad
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:22 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by dachshunddad » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:59 pm

ahnathan wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:05 pm
The customer service issue is interesting when it comes up. It must be with account rollovers etc?

For a typical Boglehead running a 3-fund portfolio or something similar, even across multiple accounts, I can't see how it would be an issue. I have opened several accounts with Vanguard (IRAs, have 401k, and taxable brokerage) and done it all simply online in minutes with no issues.

Some people here admittedly have much more complex finances than me, perhaps that is where the customer service issue comes in?
I've had great experiences with Fidelity. They have knowledgeable folks when you call and the app/website is excellent. Physical branch is helpful for ease of medallion signatures for things like trust documents, etc. I'd recommend for what it is worth.

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 14236
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:37 pm

pdavi21 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:16 pm
Those are the three best.

I rolled over a Vanguard 401k to Vanguard IRA for the simple reason of
1. Lower expenses (small 401k balance)
2. More fund selection, more transaction options, and simplicity (already had Vanguard IRA)
3. Creditor protection diversification (401k balance tends to grow much faster than IRA unless you Mega Backdoor or are a highly compensated employee)

Any decision you make should follow those steps (in that order) in my opinion.
rholt wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:42 pm
15 year Vanguard customer with no complaints. That said - I don't have any experience with other brokerages.

I chimed in to comment that I am surprised to see all these complaints about the customer service at Vanguard. I am just wondering what people are doing that they need so much customer service. I have gone years at a time without contacting Vanguard for any kind of customer service. Almost every transaction I have ever conducted has been simple self-service through the web-site.

Furthermore, I would see it as a bad thing if Vanguard ever rolled out physical branch offices - pointless overhead.
dachshunddad wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:59 pm
ahnathan wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 7:05 pm
The customer service issue is interesting when it comes up. It must be with account rollovers etc?

For a typical Boglehead running a 3-fund portfolio or something similar, even across multiple accounts, I can't see how it would be an issue. I have opened several accounts with Vanguard (IRAs, have 401k, and taxable brokerage) and done it all simply online in minutes with no issues.

Some people here admittedly have much more complex finances than me, perhaps that is where the customer service issue comes in?
I've had great experiences with Fidelity. They have knowledgeable folks when you call and the app/website is excellent. Physical branch is helpful for ease of medallion signatures for things like trust documents, etc. I'd recommend for what it is worth.
For funds and location of accounts I usually suggest
1) Vanguard,
2) Fidelity, or
3) Schwab
in that order of preference.

All three offer a wide array of ETFS (Exchange Traded Funds). Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense traditional mutual funds offered anywhere. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense index funds than does Schwab. We have all of our accounts at Vanguard, and use only Vanguard index funds.

I like Vanguard's mutual structure, Vanguard is owned by the Vanguard funds, has no other shareholders, and so conflicts of interest with shareholders don't exist.

Both Fidelity and Schwab have local customer service offices in some cities, but Vanguard does not. None have a local office near me, so that was not a factor in my choice.

A local customer service office is important for some, but in my opinion not at all necessary. We have had no problems with the rare phone consultations that were necessary. I call Vanguard once per year at most, some years not at all, and always received prompt, accurate, professional advice and service.

Once a reasonable investing plan is set up, it requires almost no attention. Some people prefer the customer service at Fidelity or Schwab.

Schwab does not offer a total international stock index fund, both Vanguard and Fidelity do. Vanguard stock index funds are more tax-efficient, which is important if using a taxable account. Vanguard offers a larger selection of tax-exempt bond funds (including state specific funds) than either Schwab or Fidelity, which is important if using a taxable account and in a high tax bracket. Vanguard offers a small-cap value index fund, but Schwab and Fidelity do not, which is important if interested in value investing. Vanguard money market funds (including the sweep fund) pay a better return than funds at Fidelity or Schwab, which is important for investors who desire asignificant cash allocation.

There is a lot of personal preference involved.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

michaeljmroger
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:54 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by michaeljmroger » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:14 pm

ruralavalon wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:37 pm
For funds and location of accounts I usually suggest
1) Vanguard,
2) Fidelity, or
3) Schwab
in that order of preference.

All three offer a wide array of ETFS (Exchange Traded Funds). Vanguard has by far the largest selection of low expense traditional mutual funds offered anywhere. Both Vanguard and Fidelity have a larger selection of low expense index funds than does Schwab. We have all of our accounts at Vanguard, and use only Vanguard index funds.

I like Vanguard's mutual structure, Vanguard is owned by the Vanguard funds, has no other shareholders, and so conflicts of interest with shareholders don't exist.

Both Fidelity and Schwab have local customer service offices in some cities, but Vanguard does not. None have a local office near me, so that was not a factor in my choice.

A local customer service office is important for some, but in my opinion not at all necessary. We have had no problems with the rare phone consultations that were necessary. I call Vanguard once per year at most, some years not at all, and always received prompt, accurate, professional advice and service.

Once a reasonable investing plan is set up, it requires almost no attention. Some people prefer the customer service at Fidelity or Schwab.

Schwab does not offer a total international stock index fund, both Vanguard and Fidelity do. Vanguard stock index funds are more tax-efficient, which is important if using a taxable account. Vanguard offers a larger selection of tax-exempt bond funds (including state specific funds) than either Schwab or Fidelity, which is important if using a taxable account and in a high tax bracket. Vanguard offers a small-cap value index fund, but Schwab and Fidelity do not, which is important if interested in value investing. Vanguard money market funds (including the sweep fund) pay a better return than funds at Fidelity or Schwab, which is important for investors who desire asignificant cash allocation.

There is a lot of personal preference involved.
What a great summary! I use both Vanguard and Schwab (mostly because I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket) and I’m equally satisfied with them. I know that some people like having both their checking and brokerage accounts in the same place though, so Schwab would be a better choice there. Also, probably not even worth mentioning since the difference is insignificant but Schwab’s ETFs tend to be a tad cheaper.

radiowave
Posts: 1868
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by radiowave » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:24 pm

Bashing VG customer service seems to be somewhat of a sport here on BH :)

Two recent CSR examples:
I made a mistake setting up a new Vanguard Roth IRA online, called the VG help line and got an immediate response to a CSR agent. He fixed the matter in a few seconds, was professional and personable. We chatted briefly about other potential transfers that I've been considering and offered to personally help with those when I was ready. He even sent a follow up email.

Second example is the Fidelity Full View upgrade debacle this past September (see previous discussion https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewt ... &t=255062 ). I made several calls to the Fid phone support and email in Sept and October. I kept getting sent to different people and groups. There didn't seem to be any guidance to frontline CSR and a lot of confusion who was responsible to helping customers. I got canned emails saying Fidelity was working on the problem and promising even more Full View features. I had used the product for the last two years diligently tracking expenses and Fido lost all of my historical data prior to the upgrade and had a problem for over a month with duplicate transactions even lost all of the remaining custom categories I produced. From my vantage point, I lost a lot of confidence in both the vaunted Fidelity customer support as well as their overall IT infrastructure. See my comment above about transferring funds to VG (an a side note, Fidelity no longer charges fees for moving funds and closing accounts).
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

UpperNwGuy
Posts: 1233
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by UpperNwGuy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:49 pm

michaeljmroger wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:14 pm
I use both Vanguard and Schwab (mostly because I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket) and I’m equally satisfied with them.
Me too.

geno974
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:03 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by geno974 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:59 pm

I use all 3. Each has specific features I enjoy.
Again I don't want all my investments at one house.
G

User avatar
Taylor Larimore
Advisory Board
Posts: 27604
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:09 pm
Location: Miami FL

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:10 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:49 pm
michaeljmroger wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:14 pm
I use both Vanguard and Schwab (mostly because I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket) and I’m equally satisfied with them.
Me too.
I have all my securities in one good company -- Vanguard. Here's why:

1. One familiar statement.
2. Less paperwork.
3. Easier tax preparation.
4. Avoidance of low-balance and other small fees.
5. It's much easier to learn only one company's policies, fees, regulations, etc.
6. With larger holdings it may be possible to qualify for lower costs and premium services (Voyager, Admiral,
Flagship).
7. Rebalancing and exchanges are easier.
8. Eliminates 3rd party brokerage.
9. A loyal customer is appreciated and usually treated better.
10. Less chance of errors.
11. Knowledge that Vanguard's fine reputation and low-costs are always working for us.
12. More free time for ourselves.
13. In event of death or disability, it will be much easier for others.

Putting "all our eggs in one basket" can be safer than putting all our eggs in several weaker baskets. This is what Mel wrote:
What if Vanguard went broke?
The following explanation was posted by Mel Lindauer:[1]

"This is a very serious and timely issue, so I'll address it to hopefully set everyone at ease.

First, The Vanguard Group Inc. (VGI) is actually a subsidiary of the various mutual funds, each of which is a separate legal entity. The best way to describe Vanguard's unique structure would be to think of General Motors turned upside down, with Chevrolet, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, etc. as the corporate parents, and General Motors as a subsidiary. If you think of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and the other GM divisions as mutual funds, and General Motors (the subsidiary, in this situation) as Vanguard Group Inc., you'll get the picture.

Since VGI is actually owned and funded by the various mutual funds,[notes 1] for all practical purposes, it won't go bankrupt unless all of the various mutual funds that support it went bankrupt. The only way that could happen would be for the value of all of the stocks and/or bonds held by each and every individual Vanguard mutual fund to go to zero. So, forget about Vanguard going bankrupt -- it just isn't going to happen.

It's also important to point out that even if VGI were to somehow go broke, VGI has no recourse to the assets of the funds. Rather, each fund's custodian holds that fund's assets. Even the fund managers do not have custody of their fund's holdings. They simply decide which stocks/bonds to sell, and the custodian actually delivers (in the case of a sale) or takes delivery (in the case of a purchase) of the actual asset.

Another huge and very important difference between Vanguard's mutual funds and the Enrons and WorldComs of the world is that Vanguard is required to "mark to market" (value each fund share based on the value of all of the fund's holdings) each day the market is open. That keeps the fund's books current. This "marking to market" pricing is subject to both routine and spot audits by both the SEC and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking.

One major reason for the lack of problems with mutual funds comes from the fact that they're regulated by the Investment Company Act of 1940, which spells out the legal responsibilities of the mutual funds to their investors. In addition to the provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940, the SEC also directly regulates mutual funds. While the SEC can investigate fraud allegations against investors at public companies like Enron and WorldCom, where the accounting is much more complex than at mutual funds, it has no authority to set corporate governance rules for these public companies. These are huge differences.

Keep in mind, too, that, despite all of this, if something were to happen to the Vanguard Group (the entity that provides the fund with the administrative services they need to exist), the funds would continue to operate and would simply replace VGI with another entity to provide these same services.

Some have expressed concerns about putting "all their eggs in one basket" by consolidating their investments at Vanguard. There's simply no need to worry about that. Each fund is a separate investment company (and part owner of the Vanguard Group, rather than the other way around). Thus, having all of your investments in several Vanguard funds is tantamount to having your investments spread among a variety of baskets, each independent of the other. So, put your fears to rest; your investments are safe at Vanguard."
We have had all our securities with Vanguard since 1986. I sleep like a baby and enjoy all the benefits of dealing with one good company.

Think about it.

Best wishes
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

stlutz
Posts: 4835
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by stlutz » Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:45 pm

Only thing I would add is a note that the fact that we can even have this discussion shows that Bogle won. It's one thing for his company to offer ultra-low-cost investing; when everybody is copying you, that's when you've conquered. :moneybag

michaeljmroger
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:54 am

Re: Schwab Vs Fidelity Vs Vanguard

Post by michaeljmroger » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:46 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:10 pm
What if Vanguard went broke?
This is not what I worry about. My worry is that Vanguard’s tech infrastructure isn’t bulletproof, and having their platform hacked would obviously be devastating.

Post Reply