Author Topic: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)  (Read 5998 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« on: October 15, 2016, 11:40:59 AM »
As basically everyone on this forum agrees, low cost income funds like Vanguard are the backbone of smart Mustacian investing. I keep my money mostly in Vanguard and the TSP. My girlfriend has her money in Vanguard, but has had some very frustrating ongoing experiences with thier customer service. Long story there, don't want to fully go into it, but she is generally fed up with them and would like to move her investments elsewhere.

So, what would be a good option? Similar low-fee index fund structure, just a different company. Suggestions?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2016, 11:53:54 AM »
Fidelity (mutual funds) Schwab (ETFs) both have great service. You can buy Vanguard ETF's commission free at several brokers.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2016, 12:25:34 PM »
I'm really happy with Fidelity.  We tried getting our Trust account set up with Vanguard first.  We got some opaque form asking for all kinds of information that was probably called different things in our trust documentation.  The process was to fill out the form, then send it in the mail, then find out what was wrong somehow and muddle through.  It obviously wasn't tractable, and we didn't even send it in.

We already had most of our accounts set up with Fidelity (were only considering switching in the first place because of the ownership model/purity thing,) so we decided to give it a shot with them.  We walked into a physical location, dropped the binder on the counter, and let the rep work the mess out with the back office over the next 45 minutes.  Every once in a while she'd pop her head out with a clarifying question.  We sat in the lobby watching some business news channel.

The purity thing bothers me a little, but honestly, Fidelity really does a fine job.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 12:30:32 PM by msilenus »


  • Stubble
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Re: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2016, 06:53:24 PM »
Another vote for Schwab or Fidelity.  I have accounts with both. Here's my experience:

My 401k is in a self-directed account at Schwab. Website is very easy to use. Schwab ETFs are very low cost and trade commission free. Buying or selling Vanguard ETFs are subject to an $8.95 commission.  Schwab does not have a total international ETF, so you'll need to hold several ETFs if you want the VTI equivalent. Remember that ETFs trade as whole shares so you are likely to have a little money in a money market fund unless you also use mutual funds. The Schwab index mutual funds have higher expense ratios than the Vanguard and Fidelity Index funds.

My taxable account is with Fidelity. Very easy to transfer money from my checking account to Fidelity, including a monthly transfer option. Very good website. Also like the 2% cash back credit card. Fidelity index funds are slightly cheaper than Vanguard's. You may also get a transfer bonus from Fidelity if you move an account from another brokerage, which is nice. Tax reporting has been very simple and downloads to TurboTax without any problem.

Customer service at both Schwab and Fidelity have been excellent. Having local branches is definitely a plus - Fidelity's has really helped my father take control over and transfer to Fidelity his 91 year old brother's accounts invested at other brokerages in high expense ratio funds.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2016, 08:09:58 PM »
Yeah, we've been happy at Vanguard, but Fidelity has some extremely similar low-cost index funds of their own. I think they created them to compete with Vanguard. Plus as folks have pointed out, if you really want Vanguard's index funds, you can buy those at Fidelity too. But I think the trading costs are lower with Fidelity's versions.


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Re: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2016, 09:10:27 PM »
Since Fidelity cut off my online account access, I cannot recommend them.  Stay with Vanguard.


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Re: Alternatives to Vanguard (Other Low Fee Options)
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2016, 12:45:54 PM »
I'm meeting with a rep from Merrill Edge tomorrow.  From what I have seen, their low cost self directed portfolio might be a good option for you, esp. if you are investing in excess of 100K.  I still need to delve into a it a little more and see where the hidden fees might be.  They have some great perks when you invest over $100K, like 100 free trades/mo, and on the banking side, perks like no fee out of network ATMs, great cash back % bonuses on CCs, (there's some sort of affiliation with bank of america).  I think if you search for merrill edge here there are a few other MMM fans.  I think ETFs trade free (up to 100 per month) and you can invest with Vanguard via Merrill Edge.  There might be a fee for vanguard funds, though.  Like I said, I need details still, but it looks promising.  Right now all of our investments, with the exception of my current 401K, are held by Vanguard.