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I currently use Vanguard.

I tried to move my wife's Roth to Vanguard but the process is absolutely terrible. The PDF form they generate for the rollover could not be printed (tried multiple browsers and latest version of Adobe).

Then, their "email" service does not work (at this time) and has not worked all of this week (possibly longer?).

Overall, Vanguard seems to have problems on the web but I'm otherwise happy with them.

I like their low cost mutual funds. I thought going direct to the source would be best.

However, their online service is less than stellar. For reference, I think ING Direct is a company that understands the web. Every experience I've had with them is pleasant. I've had a savings account there and a mortgage (before I paid if off). Everything, "just worked".

Edit: My main problem with Vanguard is that their site does not seem to work well consistantly. I've had problems viewing their charts (multiple browsers), there is no way to contact them except by phone. Their forms process is horrible broken. These problems have gone on for a while so it's not just something that happened one time.

Update: Site email was working for a while, now unavailable:

Thank you for contacting Vanguard. E-mail is currently unavailable, but you can call us for help with your account. We're sorry for any inconvenience.

Any recommendations for company that has the following:

  1. Online service
    • all statements and tax form available online
    • ability to easily roll over IRA's online (I understand I'll probably have to print and mail forms)
    • ability to contact company online
    • site that is easy to navigate
  2. Low cost index funds (preferrably Vanguard funds)
  3. Reasonable fees (I don't pay any fees with Vanguard currently)
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What's with the downvote? –  Chris Weber Feb 9 '11 at 19:59
    
Upvoted it. Some people just find pleasure in down voting without giving any sanguine reason. –  DumbCoder Feb 9 '11 at 20:40
3  
I must point out that I have some concerns about this question aging well. Companies' offerings vary through time, as does the quality of said offerings. –  George Marian Feb 10 '11 at 8:56
    
For what it's worth. I love Vanguard funds too, but never used them as a brokerage. You can buy their funds through pretty much any broker like Schwab or TD Ameritrade. Both of which I'd recommend. –  JohnFx Jan 20 '13 at 5:53

5 Answers 5

While I have not used Vangaurd and therefore I don't know what their site looks like, I believe Charles Schwab fits your requirements.

  • I am very happy with their website
  • I did a rollover from two accounts into theirs. The first time I had to call and get some free advice, the second time I did my own.
  • I always download my tax forms from their web before they get them in the mail. Same for my statements and the couple of other documents I tried to read.
  • I have all my investments in very low costs ETFs and a targetted lifecycle fund.
  • I pay no maintenance fees, and I don't trade often but they only want $9 for a trade.

They only have an old fashioned "email us" form, no real time chat. But then again I call and talk to a human with nearly no wait time and that is better for me.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks, I'll look into Charles Schwab. –  Chris Weber Feb 9 '11 at 23:29
    
Looks like Charles Schwab has some very low cost index funds. EX: swppx S&P 500 index has an expense ration of .09%. Looks like are out to "out Vanguard" Vanguard. –  Chris Weber Feb 15 '11 at 15:02
    
@Chris Weber - they are definitely competing, which is a good deal for us. –  MrChrister Feb 15 '11 at 16:48
    
Adding another vote for Charles Schwab - the phone support is phenomenal –  matt b Mar 15 '11 at 13:58

The answer to all your questions is here.

Actually you might find it here instead!

Oh well, just try here as well...

Here are my thoughts:

  • Scottrade offers 2500+ mutual funds with no load and no transaction fees
  • OptionsHouse let you trade stocks and ETFs at $3.95
  • TradeKing has also stocks (and I guess also ETFs) at $4.95
  • OptionsXpress has higher fees but it just merged with Charles Swab and good things might happen

I don't know much options or advanced trading stuff. If you want a fancy, sexy, good looking web interface with a pleasant user experience don't go with Scottrade. You can also probably try the platforms (not Scottrade, guess why?) with virtual trading and I suggest you to read the review carefully to get all the information that you need before opening an account.

Enjoy! Assuming it's still possible to enjoy trading given the current market....

EDIT:

And for hands down investments I like to talk about BetterMent as well!

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I have no problem with either ING or Vanguard. But, if you prefer ING's interface to such an extent, why not also use their retirement investing services or ShareBuilder (an ING company)?

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In general, Vanguards site interface is OK. The problem is that a lot of the technology, example: their site email, just doesn't work. This isn't a matter of aesthetics. This is a matter of a broken site where I can't print rollover forms and I can't contact them. –  Chris Weber Feb 10 '11 at 15:13
    
I believe you missed my point. ING provides the services you're looking for. You cite ING as "a company that understands the web." So, why not take your own advice and use ING? –  mghicks Feb 10 '11 at 22:48
    
"ShareBuilder offers a range of Vanguard mutual funds, which have no sales loads but transaction charges will apply." sharebuilder vanguard ufnds. So sharebuilder is out because of transaction fees. –  Chris Weber Feb 13 '11 at 17:06
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I've decided to stick with Vanguard, despite the technical issues.

I have everything set up now, and since there is no compelling alternative out there, Vanguard is my best bet for low cost investing.

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There is no reason you have to use Vanguard as your broken just to have their funds. You can have your cake and eat it too. Just pick a brokerage with good online tools and buy Vanguard funds through them. –  JohnFx Jan 20 '13 at 5:54

I've had experience with both Betterment (mentioned previously) and Wealthfront. These meet all your requirements (they are online, use low cost funds, and have very low fees), although they add the constraint that you are limited in flexibility. For many people, though, this is a good thing, since the complexity of investing is a huge barrier.

Note also that if you get a referral from someone, you can get a larger balance managed for free from Wealthfront.

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