Vanguard Review

Company Overview

The Vanguard group is an investment management company that was founded in 1975. This company offers mutual funds and other investment products for both institutional and retail investors. Vanguard is owned by the mutual funds and therefore is owned by investors. Vanguard has become known for its low cost index funds as well as its low cost ETFs and mutual funds which are actively managed. Vanguard also offers inexpensive IRA and retirement accounts, brokerage services, educational services, planning services, fixed and variable annuities, trust services and asset management.

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Account Options

 Minimum ContributionMaximum Contribution
Roth IRANo Minimum$5,500/year
Traditional IRANo Minimum$5,500/year
SEP IRANo Minimum25% of compensation
(up to $52,000)
SIMPLE IRANo Minimum$12,000 (if under age of 50) or
$14,500 (if older than 50)
Self-Directed IRA----
Rollover IRANo MinimumNo Limit
Inherited IRANo MinimumNo Limit

 

There is a good selection of IRA account types available at Vanguard including Roth, SIMPLE, SEP, traditional, rollover and inherited IRAs. ‘Catch-up’ contributions are available up to a maximum of $2,500 per year.

Investment Options

Associated IRA Investment Fees
Stocks$7.50/trade (for first 25 trades, then $20.00/trade)
Mutual FundsNot Available
Options$20.00 (plus $1.00/contract)
Exchange-Traded FundsNot Available
Annuities--

 

Vanguard offers a selection of standard investment options that are available at other brokerage firms. The difference at Vanguard is that these investments tend to be more expensive but investors also have access to professional investment management services. For more information regarding investment fees, contact a Vanguard Financial Advisor.

Fees and Commissions

Account Related Fees for Roth IRA
Minimum Account Balance Required$1,000
Account Maintenance Fee$20.00 - $25.00 (depending on the type of IRA)
Termination FeeNone
Transfer FeeNone

 

While there is an account maintenance fee for IRA accounts, there are no termination or transfer fees. The absence of these fees does cut the cost of IRAs at this broker. As an IRA account holder at Vanguard, you will have access to a wide range of services that can enhance your retirement planning and your investment portfolio.

Retirement Planning

Vanguard offers many powerful retirement planning tools and strategies. First, there are multiple retirement-related articles written by expert financial managers that discuss the differences between various IRAs, how to start saving for retirement and even how to live on retirement savings. Vanguard also features exclusive Webcasts featuring professional financial advisors that discuss a variety of retirement-related topics. In addition to the retirement planning tools, Vanguard also offers many different investment guides and articles that will educate and provide investors with tips on successful investing.

Account Features

The only requirement to open a Roth IRA at Vanguard is that investors must have made taxable income in the past year – there is no age restriction as there is with a traditional IRA. Investors will also need to meet several eligibility and filing requirements set by the IRS to open a Roth IRA. In addition, investors will need to provide their SSN and other personal information to open an IRA at Vanguard.

Accessibility

Multi-Device Functionality
Mobile Sitecheck
iOS Accessiblecheck
Android Accessiblecheck

 

There are a variety of functions available with the Vanguard mobile app. Investors can view their account information, deposit checks, analyze their portfolio with charts and graphs, research investment options and market trends and view investment returns. However, investors cannot open or manage their investment positions with this app.

Safety and Security

Vanguard works diligently to protect clients against online fraud. This broker uses multiple layers of protection to ensure the safety and security of all accounts. Some of these security features include advanced web browser encryption, password and username protection, a time-out feature and a security image during login.

Customer Support

Investors can contact customer service at Vanguard via email or telephone. Customer service hours are Monday through Friday from 8AM to 10PM ET and Saturday from 9AM to 4PM ET. The customer support team at Vanguard is one of the most professional support teams available. Vanguard customer support caters to clients who want to be heavily involved in their investments. Customer service is highly responsive and all calls are immediately answered during customer service hours.

Bottom Line

The investment services are more expensive at Vanguard than other brokers but with the extra expense investors will get professional financial advice that is simply not available at discount brokers. In addition, there are no transfer or termination fees for IRA accounts at Vanguard.

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