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The Pros and Cons of Vanguard Review

Vanguard Review

Vanguard's low costs and extensive fund selection make it a solid choice for long-term investment. However active traders may not find the trading platform they need. Many or all of these products are supplied by our partners. This might influence the products we write on and how the product appears in a page. This doesn't affect our opinions. All opinions are 100% our own.

Pros & Cons


  • Large selection of mutual fund choices
  • Commission-free stock options, ETF and option trades
  • Leader in low costs funds


  • Only basic trading platform
  • Limited research and data

Vanguard shines

Vanguard's large mutual fund selection includes more than 3,300 zero-transaction-fee funds, plus a larger range of proprietary low-cost socially responsible mutual and ETF funds.

Leader in low costs funds: Vanguard is known for offering index funds and exchange-traded mutual funds at well below-average expenses. Vanguard has the best selection and service for long-term investment investors who are looking for a buy/hold strategy that is paired with low-cost products.

Vanguard is not as good

Trading platform. Vanguard's trading platform lacks analytical tools normally offered by stock brokers.

Minimum investment amounts: Vanguard retirement and Vanguard STAR Fund funds have investment minimums that are $1,000 and $3,000 respectively. Other Vanguard funds have minimums of $2,000. A minimum investment of $1,000 to $3,000 may be too much for beginner investors.

Vanguard is the perfect choice for:

  • Investors for long-term or retirement.
  • Those who like low-cost investments.
  • ETF and index fund investors.

Vanguard at an A-Scan

Account minimum - $0, however, the minimum fund requirement is $1,000.

Stock trading costs - $0.

Option trades
$0 + $1 per contract. Account balances above $1 million qualify for 25 free trades; accounts over $5 million are eligible for 100 trades.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)
There is no closing, withdrawal, or inactivity fee. $20 annual account service charge for all brokerage accounts. Customers who sign up for electronic statement delivery are exempt from this fee.

Number of mutual funds without transaction-fee
Vanguard charges no transaction fees for more than 3300 external providers.

Tradable securities
* Stocks.* Fixed income.* Mutual funds.* ETFs.* Choices.* CDs.

Crypto availability
Vanguard cannot offer cryptocurrency access but offers some crypto products.

Trading platform
Basic trading platform.

Mobile app
Trade mutual funds. ETFs. Stocks. Monitor account activity. Analyze performance. Follow market news.

Data and research
High quality, but no cost.

Customer support options (includes how simple it is to locate key details on the site)
Phone support Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-8. p.m. Eastern. Email support.

Vanguard ratings

Minimum account 5 stars

Vanguard's minimum account is $0. However, mutual funds might require a minimum initial purchase. Vanguard funds require a minimum investment of $1,000.

Stock trading costs: 5/5 stars

Vanguard has ended all stock trading commissions, following in the footsteps of the rest.

Options trades: 2/5 stars

Options trades are free of commission but carry a higher contract charge than many brokerages. Vanguard account holders who have $1 million to $5million in Vanguard assets get 25 annual option trades; customers with $5m or more get 100.

Account fees: 5 out of 5 stars

Vanguard has no fees for closing, transfer and inactivity. All brokerage accounts are subject to a $20 per year account service charge. For clients who sign-up for statement e–delivery, the fee is waived.

4 out of 5 stars: No-transaction-fee mutual fund

Vanguard pioneered low cost funds. Jack Bogle was the original inventor of the index funds.

Vanguard offers more that 3,300 non Vanguard and 129 Vanguard mutual funds to investors.

Vanguard's mutual and ETF funds are not just affordable; they are much less expensive than the average industry. Vanguard's expense ratio average is 0.09%. An August 2021 Morningstar research found that all mutual funds have a 0.41% average expense ratio.

Admiral shares How do you get back up when you are low? Go lower. Admiral shares, which are Vanguard mutual funds, boast extremely low expense ratios (as in 35% less than the company's standard share class). This used to be the broker’s way of passing savings along to larger account holder. Vanguard reduced the minimum investment threshold for many index funds to $3,000 instead of $10,000 in 2018.

Tradable securities: 3 out 5.

Vanguard allows investors access to stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds through Vanguard. It is a good choice for retirement investors but active traders may require more options, such as forex or futures.

Crypto availability is 2 out of 5.

Vanguard cannot offer access to crypto currencies, but they do have some products that are crypto-based.

Trading platform: 2/5 stars

Vanguard is more for active traders than long-term retirees, as shown by Vanguard’s no-frills trading platforms.

Mobile app 5 out (5) stars

Vanguard offers Android and iOS apps that enable users to trade mutual funds as well as ETFs or stocks. They also allow them to monitor account activity and analyze their performance.

Research and data: Three out of five stars

To earn five stars, brokers must offer at the very least 15 third-party providers of research at no cost, along with a large selection research tools. Vanguard offers research from Argus or Vanguard's bespoke group of analysts.

Customer support: 3.5/5 stars

Vanguard provides a wealth retirement planning resources and tools, much like other retirement-oriented brokerages. Investors can learn more about investment options. Prioritize their goals. Use high-quality calculators and tools to forecast when they will be able retire. Calculate their retirement expenses. And weigh the benefits and drawbacks of converting a traditional IRA.

Vanguard Digital Advisor, Vanguard's automated robo-advisor service will manage and control your portfolio for an annual fee 0.15%. Robo advisors are computer-based financial advisors that build and manage client investment accounts.

Is Vanguard right in your situation?

Ask yourself this question. Are you among Vanguard's retirement investors who have a substantial account balance? You won't find a better home if so. The company offers an impressive array of low-cost investments.

Investors that fall outside that group, such as those who are unable to meet the fund minimums and those who want to trade stock regularly on a powerful platform, should look for brokers that can better serve their needs. 

ChoiceTrade Broker Review on Google Site.

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