Vanguard Personal Counselor Services 2021 Review: Pros, Cons & Comparison


Vanguard is famous for using its size to reduce investor fees, and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, one of the biggest players in the hybrid robot-advisor / online planning space, continues this tradition: Advisor charges just 0. , 30% of assets under management with a minimum account of $ 50,000.

Vanguard offers both virtual planning tools and human financial advisor advice. Most of these advisors are certified financial planners and are all trustees. These advisors personalize a financial plan and ensure ongoing portfolio management for investors. Customers must transfer money to a Vanguard account and may miss the crop of tax losses (offered by competing planning services), although there are other tax strategies in place.

Reduced management fees and lower account minimum: Vanguard’s account management fees start at 0.30% but are scaled so that they decrease as assets increase. Looking through the list of NerdWallet online planner reviews, Vanguard’s low fee and relatively lower minimum sets itself apart from similar hybrid services such as and . Betterment charges 0.40% and requires a minimum balance of $ 100,000 for its Premium service, which, like Vanguard, offers access to a team of financial advisors (although in Betterment’s case they are all CFPs) .

Schwab’s hybrid robot charges $ 30 per month, plus an integration fee of $ 300, and requires a minimum balance of $ 25,000, in return for which it provides unlimited access to a team of certified financial planners. To determine if Schwab’s Premium Service or Vanguard’s PAS is a better deal for you, you’ll need to run the numbers on your account balance. If you invest $ 50,000, Schwab’s $ 30 per month fee is an annual fee of 0.72%, much higher than Vanguard’s 0.30%. But once you reach an account balance of $ 125,000, the Schwab fee translates into an annual fee of 0.29%.

Compared to , Vanguard is much cheaper. Personal Capital has a minimum account of $ 100,000 and charges 0.89% for accounts up to $ 1 million, although clients have access to one or two dedicated financial advisers, depending on their account balance. Vanguard provides a dedicated advisor only to clients with $ 500,000 or more. Customers with lower balances have access to a team of advisors.

Global management: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services directly provides individual brokerage and retirement accounts, as well as trusts. But advisors will also take into account other aspects of a client’s portfolio, such as a 401 (k), education savings plans, or even accounts held at another company, when developing a portfolio. ‘a financial plan. It is up to you to inform your advisor of these assets. They will not be managed directly by Vanguard Advisors, but the advice you get will be comprehensive.

Financial advisers: Part of the value of hiring a financial advisor is that you have someone to turn to when life gets stormy, whether it means the markets are plunging, or you are going through personal turmoil. An advisor will help you adjust your plan as needed, or be there to remind you that your plan is sound. Likewise, a counselor can help you plan and adjust to important milestones, such as marriage or the birth of a child.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services does this, offering an ongoing advisory relationship service with an increasing level of access based on net worth. Whatever your assets, you benefit from unlimited and free access to advisers. Advisors will help you adjust your investments as needed and send you quarterly progress reports. You can schedule time to speak with an advisor by phone or video conference, and advisers are also available for quick questions by email.

Investments: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services builds client-by-client portfolios, primarily using. In many ways, this benefits investors. Vanguard funds are well diversified, closely track the Underlying Index and have some of the lowest expense ratios available. In fact, many competing robo-advisors also use them as the basis of their portfolios. However, this allows Vanguard to take a cut twice; once with the management fee and again with the fund’s expense ratios.

Harvesting tax losses: Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers tax reduction strategies, but (compensation for capital gains realized on investments made through the sale of securities at a loss) is not included. Customers who want daily monitoring of tax loss harvest opportunities may not be happy with this approach.

Instead of reaping tax losses, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services reduces an investor’s tax burden by using its basic minimum tax cost method, which sells the units or quantities (called “lots”) of securities with the greatest amount. loss in every sales transaction. PAS also maximizes tax efficiency with an asset tracking strategy, placing more tax-efficient investments in taxable accounts and less tax-efficient investments in tax-sheltered retirement accounts. In addition, tax-exempt municipal bonds are often used in taxable accounts.

Custody of goods: Some competing online financial planners give clients more flexibility with the custodian of their assets. For Vanguard PAS, clients must open a Vanguard brokerage account and transfer their assets. However, clients can keep external investments if there are built-in gains or other reasons for doing so.

Client experience: Vanguard has a simple website and while there are many tools available for investors (including simulators, calculators, retirement planning guides, and educational materials), it can sometimes be difficult to find the information you need. you need.

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Access to a human advisor is a differentiator and particularly valuable for investors facing complex situations. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services combines personalized financial planning, virtual planning tools and a range of sustainable funds.

Despite the limitations of no tax loss and the obligation to transfer assets on its platform, Vanguard has an attractive offering. And those who want and can deposit large balances (over $ 500,000 or more) can receive even more personalized advice.

Anna-Louise Jackson also contributed to this review.

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