Is Vanguard Good? An Overview and the Pros/Cons

FT Contributor  | 

Investing is important because it helps your money grow, making it easier to meet your financial and retirement goals on time. While investments should be a large part of your financial strategy, they also come with risks. Peter Lynch once said, “All you need for a lifetime of successful investing is a few big winners, and the pluses from those will overwhelm the minuses from the stocks that don’t work out.”

Even the smallest “minuses” can be enough to intimidate beginner investors. An investment solution company with extensive resources and an easy platform is a helpful way to execute an effective investment strategy and minimize the minuses.

Vanguard provides services to help you build a robust investment portfolio, including retirement savings accounts and investment products. However, as with all investment platforms, the company comes with benefits and drawbacks. Review the information below to learn more about Vanguard so you can determine if it’s the right investment platform for you.

Vanguard Services and Features

The Vanguard investing platform focuses on investment products and accounts to help you with wealth management. The company offers users several features designed to make investing easy, including the following:

  • Comprehensive account dashboard: When you create an investment account with Vanguard, you can import information from outside accounts, such as other retirement savings plans or bank accounts. This makes it easy to see an overview of your financial situation on one dashboard with one simple login.
  • Two types of investing approaches: If you prefer to receive advice on your investments digitally, sign up for a Vanguard Digital Advisor account. You must invest at least $3,000 and you’ll pay about $1.50 for each $1,000. For advice from a human financial advisor, choose the Personal Advisor Services option. You must invest at least $50,000 and you’ll pay about $3 per $1,000.
  • Variety of investment products: As a Vanguard investor, you have access to mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), index funds, bonds, and other investment options. With so many ways to invest, you can make your strategy as complex or simple as you want. Trade Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs with no commission fees.
  • Retirement accounts: If you’re focused on your retirement savings goals, Vanguard offers several different accounts that can help you make progress. These include Roth, SEP, and traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs), as well as 401(k) savings plans.
  • Easy transfers: You can transfer other account balances into Vanguard accounts. You can also roll over your 401(k) or other eligible retirement savings plan balances into accounts with the investment platform.
  • Educational resources: The Vanguard site is designed to help investors pinpoint the financial strategy that works best for them. Updated resources are available that provide information about the market and investing tips.
  • Mobile and online access: View your investments and accounts from the mobile app or website with a simple account dashboard. Look at market summaries and other research through these updated portals.

Who Is Vanguard for?

The Vanguard platform is best for users who want to buy and hold their investments. While you can use the platform to trade stocks, as an active investor, you won’t find streaming market data that allows you to plan out strategic trades. If you plan to actively trade stocks, you may also find the platform too basic to complete these trades efficiently.

Vanguard is designed for long-term investors who want to check in on their investments using a digital platform. Users with future goals, such as saving for college or retirement, will get the most out of the platform. Investors who only want to focus on rebalancing their portfolios periodically and aren’t inclined to engage in other trading activities may find Vanguard to be an ideal platform that helps manage their investments.

Pros and Cons of Vanguard

Vanguard investors have reported both benefits and drawbacks to using the investment platform.

Pros

Mutual Fund Selection

Vanguard offers a wide variety of mutual funds to choose from and helps you decide which funds are right for you. You can choose an “all in one” fund or select individual funds to add to your portfolio, which are grouped by category.

Trade Without Paying Commission

The company offers commission-free trades on Vanguard ETFs and mutual funds. Trading Vanguard stock online is also free but you’ll pay $20 to $25 if you trade by phone.

Responsive Customer Service

Vanguard customers find it easy to contact the customer service department when needed. You can view tutorials or FAQs online to potentially have your questions answered without the help of a representative. Alternatively, call, email, or chat with customer support through the website.

Cons

Little Emphasis on Stocks

While Vanguard does offer stock trading, it emphasizes trading mutual funds and ETFs. If you’re focusing on buying and selling stocks, it may not be the best investment solutions company for you because the platform isn’t ideal for active trading.

Minimum Balance for Mutual Funds

There’s no minimum account balance for stock trading but to begin trading mutual funds through Vanguard, you must have at least $1,000 in your account.

Is Vanguard Right for You?

The Vanguard investment platform provides you with several investment vehicles and accounts to choose from to help grow your money and reach long-term financial goals. If you plan to focus on mutual funds and ETFs in a long-term investment strategy, this platform may be right for you. However, if you plan to actively trade stocks and aren’t focused on long-term goals, such as saving for college or retirement, you may not find that Vanguard is your best option.

When deciding if this investment platform will meet your needs, review the minimum account balances, fees, and features associated with the accounts and products you’re interested in. Discovering the features Vanguard offers on its platform will help you figure out if it’s the right company to help you develop and execute an investment strategy.


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