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Vanguard, founded by Jeff Bogle (who invented index funds), is a long-standing investment company that offers low-cost funds and robo-advising options. Its platform is intended for long-term investors who wish to buy and hold their funds. The company offers mutual funds, stocks, ETFs and options and requires no commissions on certain trades.
Pros & Cons
- Robo-advisor option
- Free educational resources
- Low-cost funds
- Lacks features on platform
- Fund minimums
Vanguard is one of the largest investment companies in the world and is known for its low-cost funds and robo-advising. It doesn’t have commission fees, but it does require certain fund minimums.
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Vanguard does not allow an added beneficiary to a joint account. For example, Dad and Mom have a joint account with right of survivorship. They do not allow you to add a beneficiary for when both mom and dad are dead. Why is this bad. You could end up with assets in probate whereas with a beneficiary it would pass to the beneficiary on death without going through probate. Vanguard is taking away your choice. All the banks, and other brokerage firms, Fidelity and Schwab allow a beneficiary in this situation. Don't get caught.... Don't go with Vanguard
My father had the upmost trust in this company and now that he has passed on, I find that they are as helpful, honest and polite as he said they were. They are happy to do a bit of hand-holding with me, as I figure out how best to manage my affairs. I could not recommend them more highly!!!
Mutual funds IRA with Vanguard my entire working life, 4+ decades. Unable to access my account online for 2 years. Supposed to send a code they don't. They're only available by phone weekdays. They need to upgrade their website at the very least.
I have been a client for 17 years. Client service has deteriorated! Their customer reps that I have spoken with recently have experiences of one year or less. That is ok except when the information given is wrong and affects your year-end tax consequences. With 4 trading days remaining in 2022, I was informed that I had until the last day to make a trade and still meet the RMD for the year. Wrong! As it takes 2 days for the funds to settle, I really had 2 days remaining. To correct their admitted misinformation, I now await their "shortfall letter" that HOPEFULLY will satisfy the IRS and avoid its penalty for not meeting the RMD. In addition, written messages left on one's account site are ignored and never responded to. There is no way that one can speak to a supervisor much less any officers of the firm. I would not recommend Vanguard to anyone!
This is another example of a formerly great company going downhill. It used to give a dedicated advisor for free who you could email or call directly. Now you get an 800 number and if you can get through, you get a representative who may or may not have experience in the industry. Instead of personal advice, you are directed to a mutual fund screener which is not intuitive nor easy to use. The algorithms behind the app may make sense to the person who developed it and it may even make sense to a extremely sophisticated investor. But the casual investor, especially if you are just starting out, should look at Schwab or other discount brokers.
I've been a Vanguard customer since the mid-1990s. I have nothing but praise for their funds. Founder Jack Bogle's devotion to the small investor, focusing on low expenses and streamlined funds has benefited small investors over many years, myself included. Customer service via phone is excellent. My chief complaint is Vanguard's horrible website, which is clunky, nonintuitive and confusing. A recent upgrade improved little, if anything. For example, I've tried in utter frustration to dig into the cost basis of various stocks and funds. And forget trying to ascertain how much income they spin off. All in all, the site seems to have been frozen in 1989. One would think that a leading multi-billion dollar investment firm like Vanguard would take a close look at competitors' sites and learn and copy. But, sadly, not.
My Roth IRA with 5 investments has no unrealized gain or loss and I have account for over 10 years and invest annually. Customer service did not know why or could not update account to show unrealized gain or loss. How can one evaluate performance by investment without this… I moved my account to another financial institution who will help me with cost basis.
I've been a Vanguard client for more than 40 years, with many millions invested with them. Trying to contact them by phone today was impossible. When I finally got through after several times trying and waiting for a call back, I was told they were unable to answer my very simple RMD question. I'm too old to be moving my Vanguard accounts elsewhere, but here's a piece of advice to you young investors. This is not the Vanguard they advertise. Their company is an operational mess. I suggest you look at other low cost mutual fund index funds for your holdings. Even if you have to pay a little more for maintenance fees, it will be worth it to get a call-back and straight answers from trained personnel. Vanguard's founder, John Bogle, must be somewhere spinning at the disaster that's become of his company.
Any time call Vanguard to get help; I get nowhere!! The people who handle the service calls are individuals who many time have ESL!! Further, they never seem to know much about the 'various products'.! Also, these folks are more often than not nice: RUDE and HANG UPS are their Things!!!
HIGHLY disappointed with Vanguard's approach to transferring accounts to its new IT system. The brokerage is charging people to do their transfer. That is ridiculous! If you don't want to be charged, they put the onus on the customer through an arduous process. This process requires customers to create an "artificial" new account stating that they are transferring from Vanguard to Vanguard re-entering all of their account and personal details that are already in the Vanguard system. I just wasted an hour on the phone trying to do this. The customer service rep did not know the process (he was not given accurate guidance by his management), nor was he able to see the workflow of the customer. Once finally through the "Open Account"/Transfer process, I received a "System Error," so the transfer never happened.
I asked to speak with a manager, and the customer service is so poor that they say they will contact you within 24-48 hours. Whoever is in charge of the IT and account transfer migration should be fired. I have already wasted 2 hours of my time with no resolution. I am seeking to get reimbursed the $40 they charged me to "transfer" without my authorization. I have no choice but to close my long-standing account and transfer my funds from Vanguard, due to this lack of professionalism and customer service. I suggest other customers do the same!
There is something seriously wrong happening at Vanguard. I have been a long-time customer and have had to call several times in the past two weeks on account issues. Each time, on-hold waits have been between 30 to 60 minutes. One call was because I was sent a prompt to open a certain account and when I had to call as it wouldn't let me open online, I was told "That's a pilot, you missed the account opening window." Then why did I get the prompt? I had to call again as for a week I was met with "We are having technical difficulties" when I tried to log on to my account online. I am starting to get really frustrated with issues such as these. So, if you're planning to move money over there, be prepared for LONG WAITS.
Their Customer Service is terrible - they don't answer the phone regularly and they do not answer emails except maybe once a day. They were not clear about the costs to my parents, who thought everything was taken care of. They then overcharged me (I had two other free consultations and was told I was being ripped off). When they told me the cost, they said they were giving me a "deal". When I balked at the cost, they told me they would lower my "deal" even more. I decided against their services so they told me I needed to pay for the lawyer consultation. They charged me the day I called them. When I asked for a refund they refused to refund my credit card and instead said they would mail a check. Is this 1990? I think you are better served finding a company that doesn't see you as a number but a valued customer.
Just ordered checks to access my accounts and received one book of checks, no check register, no cover. Vanguard unwilling to provide any solution. When combined with poor, slow customer service would suggest using a different financial company.
I phoned to get a statement not provided and was transferred 9 times until I gave up. The old saying. "couldn't find their ass with a flashlight and a roadmap", surely applies!! I spoke to so many people who kept transferring me and then would go into a twenty to thirty minute wait!
1. Wait times to speak with someone, could be excruciatingly long.
3. They don't answer your emails in a timely manner.
4. If you transfer funds to a different institution, it can take weeks.
5. Some of the customer service associates, don't seem very knowledgeable.
6. I've gotten wrong information from the website, and from the customer service associates.
I'm currently, transitioning my money out of Vanguard. I'm done with them.
I have been audited twice in 4 years because of Vanguard Roth distributions being submitted incorrectly to the IRS. These were Roth distributions which I am over 59 1/2 fully vested and contributed to Roth. Both time the 1099-R have been misreported and have to contact them. (Which is incredibly hard) to research and correct their mistakes.
The worst customer service I have ever experienced. People are rude, put on hold and eventually cut off. Call in and the wait time is totally unreasonable 50-75 minutes. When you finally get thru you get put on hold again and never get reconnected. I have been for some time thinking about closing my account with Vanguard in favor of my significantly higher value account with Fidelity and Schwab. Time to do it. Also the nasty written communications from Vanguard that often sound like threats. Do this or you will be charged, etc.
Do not invest any of your money with Vanguard Group. They are impossible to contact and cost me over $ 13,000 in delayed request and when I finally discussed it with someone, they refused to correct it. Horrible to deal with.
I want 'All Vanguard mutual funds by asset class info' in the old format. I do not like such unnecessary innovations? Why Vanguard does not ask its customers' opinions? Who is responsible for such "wise" decisions?
They basically froze my account over a computer error on their end. When I called to resolved they pushed me off and promised someone in "management" would call. No one called. I would be skeptical of putting money with Vanguard. Awful representation. Awful service.
Okay, I made 10 significant investments in Vanguard. They discuss how these funds are managed. I have been very disappointed in their "management" of these various funds and have overall lost over 20% of my investment in the first 6 months of the year. Yes, I understand the market is down but I don't understand how "managing" a fund is just standing by and letting the investment lose value. I highly recommend that you NOT invest with Vanguard as I find the touting of how well they perform as completely false. Like the movie, Run Forrest Run...
A former employer sold my 401K to Vanguard. When they got my money it took an extreme amount of effort to get my address correct on my account (simply the address of the home I own and also live in). Later my correct address showed up as an incorrect address on my account. The account linked to a job that I had for a couple of months about 15 years prior to where this money came from (no help on that from customer service on this after an hour hold to speak with someone). Fortunately, I was able to use the artificial intelligence feature of their online system to get my money transferred out of there. The good thing that came of this is that if I have the opportunity to use this company in the future maybe I'll have the opportunity to respectfully decline.
I have been trying to resolve an issue with Vanguard since June 7th, 2022. Vanguard made a mistake and put my deposit in the wrong account. It was totally a Vanguard error. Subsequently I have made 5 phone calls to speak to a representative to get this Vanguard error corrected. Each time I was told it would be corrected and as of 6/23/2022 the mistake that Vanguard made has not been corrected so in essence I've been lied to. Their representatives at the lower levels are not competent and will throw ** at you to delay resolution. My next step is a complaint to the SEC. As soon as this situation is corrected, I will be searching for a new brokage firm. Sad as I have been with Vanguard for 20 years, but their customer service has become horrible unless you're giving them money. Read reviews on FB to decide for yourself if Vanguard is a company you want to invest with.
Entered a simple market order in the morning at market open. Vanguard did not execute orders by closing bell. Unacceptable. Do yourself a favor, go with a different broker. If you have an IRA, you cannot even execute a trade using their app, you have to use the website. I won't even bother calling customer service as that will be a multi hour ordeal. Will be transferring all accounts to a more responsive broker, even if I have to book a 20& loss.
Scenario: As a customer, I wanted to make a withdrawal:
- When you call 800-523-1188 expect a wait time of 2 hours or MORE!
- Failure to execute a withdrawal properly
- When I made a withdrawal request, a "glitch" in their system occurred as "Termination request initiated", basically they were saying I requested to close my account! I only found out after looking at my customer service portal and saw it there! When I in inquired they said "oops" and then found out they also terminated the initial withdrawal request without telling me!
- Failure to disclose bank information "6 day validation" before funds are sent
- Failure to disclose "checking account cant be used" to receive funds (which was actually a lie it turns out)
- After waiting 2 hours, I was hung up on by "Ricardo" and there was no call back. When I called back the wait time increased to 3 hours!
A simple withdrawal request turned out to be one of the most frustrating and concerning experiences of my life! Will be moving my money very VERY soon!
My company used Vanguard as 401K manager. I have accounts on ETrade, Fidelity, Ameritrade and Schwab. By far Vanguard is the worst of the bunch. Their site is horrible - can't even compare performance of funds - need to select each individually. I dare you to try calling support. Wait time today was 1:50 (yes - one hour and 50 minutes). Then they screwed up and I had to call back - another hour+. They don't have online real person chat, so that's your only option. I transferred it all out and so happy to be done with Vanguard. It was the worse eCom experience ever - and that's saying a lot.
Manages retirement account, slow, not helpful, customer service is a joke, ridiculous wait times, lies to customer, and customer service outsourced out of United States. Do not waste time, find another company.
Wow well over 2 1/2 hours on hold just to get a simple answer!!! Just needed to know how and if I can withdraw money from my 401K to pay for my wife classes she wanted to take. Closing my account with them and finding a place that hires people to answer questions..
I contacted Vanguard to roll over my old employer's retirement plan into my new employer's account. This has been an extremely long and painful experience that I would have never had with a competent company. Each time I tried calling the Vanguard Retirement Plan Participants phone line, I was placed on hold for over 2 hours and sometimes 3 hours. The first time a representative finally came to the phone, he was incompetent and gave me a long laundry list of instructions to follow in order to conduct my rollover. It was obvious from his attitude that he didn't give a **.
I followed all of his instruction, dotting all of my I's and crossing all of my T's. The next day I received a voice mail message on my cell phone from Vanguard saying there were additional details that they needed for the rollover that apparently the representative had failed to ask me. So I called back and waited on hold for 3 hours for someone to answer. When I finally spoke to someone, he sends me through another 20 minute laundry list of instructions that he needs me to include in a letter that I have to write and mail to Vanguard.
I have completed several rollovers from former employer retirement plans and have never had one even remotely this complex and time consuming. So I write the letter that he requests and mail it. He tells me that there is nothing else to be done on my end. So I wait. Several days later I receive messages on my Vanguard account saying that I failed to complete several documents that he never told me about. So I go online and have to complete and upload these documents. Then the online account balance of my old retirement plan goes from tens of thousands of dollars to zero. I assume this is because the rollover is in progress.
Two weeks later I receive a distribution check of $419 in the mail, one of two checks that I was supposed to have received through the rollover. But the other check of tens of thousands of dollars does not arrive. So I call Vanguard back and wait on hold for 2 hours for someone to answer. The guy who answers is completely incompetent and says he can't help me because I don't have an account with Vanguard. I try to explain that I am in the process of rolling over a retirement plan and never received the second check. He refuses to listen and insists on transferring me to someone else. I have now been on hold for an hour and a half waiting to talk to someone. It really should not be this difficult to speak to professional, knowledgeable staff in a retirement company. DO NOT USE VANGUARD!!!
Just look at VGENX, VGPMX and all the others over the past 20 years. They are stealing Billions from everyone's IRA, 401K and other retirement accounts. The SEC should have shut them down and made them return all the money they have and will continue stealing from all of us...
Vanguard Company Information
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- Vanguard P.O. Box 1110
- Valley Forge
- Postal Code:
- United States
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