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Which banks, brokerage firms and other financial companies would you recommend to friends?

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Mark Caspary
Mark Caspary
17 days ago

At one time I would have said Vanguard was the best place for you investments. Sadly I can’t recommend them anymore, I still have an account with them but I am most likely going to move my investments to Fidelity where I already have an HSA account. John Bogle’s Vanguard has changed and not for the better in my opinion. They use to offer a cash mangement account that was taken away, they use to give you free Turbo Tax filing that was taken away, they use to give you a dedicated advisor if you reached a certain account balance that was also taken away. But you can pay for one if you desire otherwise it’s an average hold time of 1 hour to speak to a representative. They have lost their way maybe they are a victim of there own low cost philosophy Schwab and Fidelity have cut their cost on funds and ETFs in some cases lower than Vanguard but the customer service is much better than Vanguard. So my solution is to keep my Vanguard ETFs but let another company hold my accounts. This I feel I am forced to do regrettable after 30 years as a Vanguard client. On the bright side though if you need a great bank or should I say credit union look no further than Alliant.

Edwin Belen
Edwin Belen
2 months ago

I recommend Personal Capital for tracking all of my financial accounts. It’s very easy to open the app and see all my account balances and net worth. One extra benefit is it helps me with fraud in that I know if something looks wrong fairly quickly. Game changer for me.

Cammer Michael
Cammer Michael
2 months ago

One thing that really bothers me is when websites get too designy, especially when buttons are hidden or mysterious, you have to maneuver through multiple menus to get to the function you want, or text is surrounded by a lot of white space so a lot of scrolling is required. Examples are CapitalOne 360 and TIAA retirement services. The latter is painful to use.
Examples of better web services: Amex banking may not look flashy, but all accounts are in a simple list. Schwab has options to compress the info or expand it, but all info is clearly shown on one page that can be scanned at a glance and most functions are always available in simple pull down menus.

Cammer Michael
Cammer Michael
2 months ago

We soured on Vaguard because last year they sent a small IRA (less than $5k) to a company in Texas that charges high fees. When Vanguard sent notice before doing this, we confirmed by secure email that it wasn’t necessary and they would keep the account. Why secure email? Because it was impossible to get someone on the phone. Regardless, the representative gave incorrect info and the account was moved. It cost a $35 annual fee and $25 acct closing fee to roll the money over to an IRA at Schwab, which we would have done in the first place if Vanguard had given us the proper info.
Moving out accounts less than $5k is an abrogation of a promise in ads to champion the small investor.
Also, whereas I was happy with the index funds in education IRAs (all spent down by 2018), I was unhappy with customer service only available by secure email.
Schwab and Merrill have real people in USA who answer the phone and find the correct answers.

Last edited 2 months ago by Cammer Michael
Purple Rain
Purple Rain
1 year ago

Vanguard, followed by Fidelity and M1 Finance. My local credit union for savings accounts. To ensure that all my investment accounts have SPIC coverage, I have multiple accounts and open a new one when any one of them hits $500k.

Purple Rain
Purple Rain
1 year ago
Reply to  Purple Rain

Sorry, SIPC, not SPIC.

Harold Tynes
Harold Tynes
1 year ago

I’ve used Fidelity for 30+ years. Got away from brick and mortar banks and consolidated all with Fidelity about 20 years ago. I can get all the Vanguard funds via ETF. I use Synchrony for high yield savings. I maintain an account with a local credit union for cash deposits

David Powell
David Powell
1 year ago

Vanguard for mutual funds or brokerage services. Bogle had investors interests at heart.

Mike Zaccardi
Mike Zaccardi
1 year ago

Banks – Fidelity Investments is great and Marcus for a high-yield savings account suffices. I see no need to have a brick & mortar bank these days.

Brokerage Firms – Fidelity again & Vanguard. Great index fund options with no or little cost. Schwab also solid. TD, Etrade not so much – the best index funds have fees.

Others – Novo for small business banking, Fidelity 2% cash back credit card, Chase/Amex/Discover have great credit card and service.

Anika Hedstrom
Anika Hedstrom
1 year ago

I’ve always liked NerdWallet for their well-researched articles, online calculators and helpful comparisons.

Carl Book
Carl Book
1 year ago

I’ve been an E-Trade client for a number of years They are my only broker, so I don’t have anything to compare with. But I’m very happy with their service. I can always talk to someone if I need help, they are knowledgeable, and their fees are very reasonable. I like their trading platform. It is easy to use and it always works.

Last edited 2 months ago by Carl Book
Ram Suntha
Ram Suntha
1 year ago

I was with M1 (Easy one-click rebalancing, Good incentive to move in with large portfolio and left when they grew too large to offer straight forward run of the mill customer service. Checked again lately by asking a question. Still sucks. Moved to Vanguard and experienced a sudden drop in customer service. (Try to find their help phone line number) Decided to move again to Fidelity or Schwab. HELP!

Joe Daly
Joe Daly
1 year ago

Vanguard has been my principle custodian over the years for their low fees, index funds and corporate structure that Bogel set up. ( benefit the individual investor, not the Schwab or Johnson family @ Fidelity) Competition and more transparency has brought many companies, especially new ones into the fold with some great offerings. I’ve aggregated my assets into two platforms for ease of record keeping (Vanguard-Taxable holdings and Schwab-Retirement accounts)

SCao
SCao
1 year ago

I have used Mint for years to aggregate many different accounts (e.g., credit cards, banks, etc.). I like Vanguard and Schwab, and am getting used to Fidelity due to the new company 401K is there.

Thomas
Thomas
1 year ago

I’ve been enjoying using the online bank Ally and the investing platform M1 Finance. I use Personal Capital to keep track of my financial life. The one thing all of these services have in common? They are totally free to use.

Sanjib Saha
Sanjib Saha
1 year ago

I like the research and planning tools for Fidelity. It also has a good online investor community with a few very knowledgeable and helpful members.

I have a small account in Schwas as their stock research offers several qualitative reports (CFRA, Argus, Credit Suisse, Morningstar).

The Morningstar XRay tool (premium) is available for free at TRowePrice. I find it handy for portfolio inspection.

Last edited 1 year ago by Sanjib Saha
Andrew F.
Andrew F.
1 year ago

For many years now I’ve roughly split our investments between Vanguard and Charles Schwab. I love Vanguard for its history and values, its ownership structure (the company is owned by its funds, so the fund shareholders actually own the company), and especially its Portfolio Watch feature (by Yodlee) wherein you can list all your investments, whether held at Vanguard or elsewhere, and automatically have an up-to-date analysis of your total portfolio (stock/bonds/cash; domestic/foreign; growth/value; large cap/small cap; etc., etc.).

I love Schwab for its history of helping the DIY investor, its low fees, and above all, its customer service. You can typically reach someone on the phone quickly, and it’s a knowledgeable person who actually wants to help you, even if your issue is a little complicated.

It might simplify my life a bit to consolidate but I like having access to the features of both, and psychologically there may be a small comfort in not having all my eggs in one basket!

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew F.
James McGlynn CFA RICP®
James McGlynn CFA RICP®
1 year ago

I have used many different brokerage firms over the years and within the last 2 years have consolidated to Charles Schwab. I left them years ago when they didn’t lower their commissions to match the discount brokers. Now that their trading commissions are “zero” I am fully onboard with their service.

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