Author Topic: Buying VTSAX  (Read 15328 times)

iwanttoretire

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Buying VTSAX
« on: May 22, 2014, 10:57:29 AM »
I have money saved to invest in VTSAX.  Should I open a Vanguard account or simply invest using my current brokerage (Merrill).   I get certain number of free trades to cover the cost of buying, but I'm not sure if there are any hidden fees that I would incur if I don't buy directly from a  Vanguard account.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10821
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2014, 12:48:37 PM »
I have money saved to invest in VTSAX.  Should I open a Vanguard account or simply invest using my current brokerage (Merrill).   I get certain number of free trades to cover the cost of buying, but I'm not sure if there are any hidden fees that I would incur if I don't buy directly from a  Vanguard account.
DON'T USE MERRILL (my own personal opinion from experience).  You might get a few free trades but why use a middle-man?  Also, later on you might not have these free trades when you want to sell, and as I recently learned they can charge you if you want to do an account-to-account transfer (i moved everything from ML to Vanguard).
Also, anytime you do make a trade it will involve you talking to ML talking to Vanguard.... it's just silly.  I honestly cannot think of one reasonable advantage of using ML to buy a vanguard index fund like the VTSAX.

Vanguard is very easy to deal with, has great services and a straightforward (and in my opinion better) website. 

beltim

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2842
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2014, 01:01:14 PM »
I haven't used Merrill Lynch, but I can say that if you're using another broker you're almost always better off buying the ETF instead of the mutual fund when the same thing exists in both forms.  In this case, VTI is the symbol for the ETF version of VTSAX and has the same expense ratio.

Personally, I think the Vanguard web site is terrible compared to the other 4 I've used recently.

hodedofome

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1211
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Texas
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2014, 01:33:02 PM »
Personally, I think the Vanguard web site is terrible compared to the other 4 I've used recently.

Agreed, all that cost saving has kept Vanguard from having a decent website. Fidelity and TDAmeritrade are significantly better as far as the website is concerned.

Will

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Location: Vancouver, WA
  • What the deuce?!?!?
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2014, 01:37:52 PM »
Personally, I think the Vanguard web site is terrible compared to the other 4 I've used recently.

Agreed, all that cost saving has kept Vanguard from having a decent website. Fidelity and TDAmeritrade are significantly better as far as the website is concerned.

I see this all the time and don't really get it.  What isn't "decent" about it?  Granted, it isn't flashy or anything, but it gets the job done.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10821
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 01:46:23 PM »
Personally, I think the Vanguard web site is terrible compared to the other 4 I've used recently.

Agreed, all that cost saving has kept Vanguard from having a decent website. Fidelity and TDAmeritrade are significantly better as far as the website is concerned.
For the record I was comparing the ML investors website (which I find hella-annoying) to the vanguard site.
And I have the same question as Will - what's not 'decent' about it?  I can find all my investing information easily.  Vanguard does a decent job listing the returns I have gotten on each investment, something ML seems to hide.  It's easy and straightforward to set up automatic deposits/payments, etc.
It isn't flashy but I can't think of anything I want it to do that it can't do.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3405
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 10:47:18 PM »
Personally, I think the Vanguard web site is terrible compared to the other 4 I've used recently.

Agreed, all that cost saving has kept Vanguard from having a decent website. Fidelity and TDAmeritrade are significantly better as far as the website is concerned.

I see this all the time and don't really get it.  What isn't "decent" about it?  Granted, it isn't flashy or anything, but it gets the job done.

I agree.  It lets me log in, and it lets me purchase or sell any shares I want.  What else is it supposed to do?

SDREMNGR

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 324
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 11:32:23 PM »
Having come from Fidelity, I agree that the Vanguard site sucks as well as the organization of two separate accounts for each type of account.  It's like 1995 over there at Vanguard.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 11:23:17 PM by SDREMNGR »

Ambition89

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 07:28:04 AM »
It's pretty easy to create a Vanguard account, that's what I did.

Will

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Location: Vancouver, WA
  • What the deuce?!?!?
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 10:11:38 AM »
I believe that you'll need to deposit at least $3,000 or $5,000 (?) with Vanguard to open your account.

I have Schwab, Vanguard, & Stifel Nicolaus accounts and I really like Schwab.  Good luck!

VTSAX is Admiral Shares, so it is at least $10k.

FIPurpose

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1052
  • Location: WA
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 10:21:02 AM »
Personally, I think the Vanguard web site is terrible compared to the other 4 I've used recently.

Agreed, all that cost saving has kept Vanguard from having a decent website. Fidelity and TDAmeritrade are significantly better as far as the website is concerned.
For the record I was comparing the ML investors website (which I find hella-annoying) to the vanguard site.
And I have the same question as Will - what's not 'decent' about it?  I can find all my investing information easily.  Vanguard does a decent job listing the returns I have gotten on each investment, something ML seems to hide.  It's easy and straightforward to set up automatic deposits/payments, etc.
It isn't flashy but I can't think of anything I want it to do that it can't do.

Having recently moved from USAA to Vanguard, I can say that USAA is a much better site than Vanguard. I'm used to Vanguard's site now, but I remember a few things that bothered me.

1. The font of every link at the top is too small.
2. Why do I have to say I'm a personal investor just to login? They should have a separate site for executive/busness accounts. (Just checked, looks like they fixed this)
3. I ran into a few bugs where certain links in the main menu were dead; I had to go to another page just to get to the real page that I wanted.  Something like the 'overview' page can have a dead link depending on what page I'm on.
4. Separate page for username and password? The security image is silly.

Obviously not big things, but it wasn't easy moving from a website I understood through and throguh to a brand new one. There's always going to be a feeling of 'I don't know what I'm doing', because of the complexity required in an investing website.

RapmasterD

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 589
  • Location: SF Peninsula
Re: Buying VTSAX
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 09:13:16 PM »
The website thing is fairly subjective. As for me, I don't see Vanguard's site as being much better than the Fidelity site -- if it is at all.

I used to have money with TD Ameritrade and found that site to be glossy at a surface level, but annoying.

I have RSUs at eTrade and that site really sucks.

Oh...I notice that more folks are using...what do you call those things? SMARTPHONES? Have you checked out Vanguard's iPhone and iPad apps? They've come a long way and are not too shabby at all!