Why I prefer Vanguard: An In-depth Analysis Part I

I have been investing in Vanguard a little over 1 year now and I’m happy with vanguard, I was using T.Rowe before but decided to switch to vanguard because of their low-cost fee and index funds. I wanted to do an in-depth analysis of vanguard so this might be a 2 - 3 part post. I will show some of the tools that I found are useful in vanguard. From my experience vanguard seem to be better than T.Rowe, easier to navigate, better investment tools, and detailed portfolio analyzer.

There are several different personal account services that you can open with Vanguard depending on how much asset you have invested. The more assets you have the more enhanced benefits you will get. Here is an overview of it:

You can see from the top there are several different services. My current services is the voyager services which require a minimum of $50,000. The tools that come with the voyager services are useful and I will get in more details in a bit. As you can see the “Voyager Select Services” require a minimum of $500,000 but come with additional benefits like a free consultation with a CFP of vanguard that can give you a better detail analysis of your portfolio or help you create a portfolio. Hopefully someday I will reach the voyager select services and let you know how it’s like, but for now it might take a while before I can get there. Here is a more detail information about the different type of personal services account if you’re interested.

Some of the useful tools that I mentioned before are:

Asset allocation: This tool will allow you to view your asset allocation of your stock % & bond %. This let you know if your allocation is in line or out of whack from your set target.

Personal Performance: A tool that measure your personal performance and rate of return.

Portfolio Watch: A tool that analyzes and helps you gain more in-depth information on your investment, including investments outside of Vanguard.

Asset Allocation Tool

You can see from vanguard asset allocation tool that my set allocation is 80% stock, 20% bond and I am near my target. *Note that this only include my vanguard asset not my outside investment. I do own several individual stocks but is held in my brokerage account. I will focus more on vanguard here although vanguard does factor in my outside investment when using the portfolio analyzer tool, and also you can see that you can manually add individual stock if you like.

The asset allocation tool allows me to set a target percentage for stocks and bonds depend on what your allocation is. It will calculate your entire vanguard investment portfolio and figure out if you’re in line with your allocation. I find this tool useful since it does most of the calculation and I don’t have to work with numbers too much.

Personal Performance Tool

Here you can see the tab called personal performance that measure your performance from inception or you can view year to date. Below you can see that vanguard has calculated market gain/loss and income returns from dividend. You can also change the date to 1 year, year to date, or from inception. You will also see a tab called “Performance details” which break it down further in details.

Performance Details

This is a more detailed breakdown as you can see the bottom right arrow you can select what time period range you want to view. The arrow to the mid left will show you the balance of the time period you choose. You can see my ending balance from March 1, 2013 - Jan 31, 2014. It also shows how much I purchase during that time period and my investment returns. It also calculated my “rate of return” which is 15.8% from inception. Nice a 15% return which I think is great, this include only my vanguard accounts which some is taxable and also include my Roth Ira/ Tira. Since the market have been up this year I would have to say it’s seemed like a reasonable return. At least I am not losing any money.

There is another tool that is called portfolio watch it is a detail analysis of my portfolio as a whole including my outside investment. It will be in my part II post that I will be posting soon.

Which investment company do you use, and how do you like it?

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