right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Merrill Lynch? Schwab? Something else? Where is the bulk of your retirement savings?

Classof2015Classof2015 4182 replies189 threads Senior Member
My husband has his money with Schwab; I have mine with Merrill Lynch; my brother says it's dumb to pay their management fee. He manages his own money via Vanguard index funds. I feel too anxiety-prone to do that. I don't have a lot to invest ($400k at last count). I plan on working forever (I'm 57 now; self-employed).

Anyone have a good solution or plan on how to invest pre-retirement?
81 replies
· Reply · Share
«1345

Replies to: Merrill Lynch? Schwab? Something else? Where is the bulk of your retirement savings?

  • esobayesobay 1336 replies19 threads Senior Member
    Check how much you spend on fees, it DOES have a strong impact on lifetime savings.
    In answer to your questions, the bulk of all our savings is split between Vanguard and Schwab. I still have my Fidelity 401K, but would move it to Schwab in a heartbeat if they charged fees.
    We believe that indexed funds are the way to go, there is much less risk than buying stocks individually. you can still invest in socially responsible funds. Risk and fees are the drivers for us. Even after the big drop in 2008, our funds are up a lot.

    You can *plan* on working forever, but you plan, gods laugh is a good mantra. Investing in long term insurance is also something to investigate.
    · Reply · Share
  • bamamom2021bamamom2021 261 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Vanguard. It is all in various products there. Investment professionals in the family - all have their $$ at Vanguard.
    · Reply · Share
  • HImomHImom 34443 replies392 threads Senior Member
    We have money at Schwab and Fidelity with a bunch at Thrift Saving Plan as well. We moved out money from Dean Witter as we kept losing money tigers, even during roaring bull markets.

    Schwab is good because they have a brick & mortar office. Fidelity is good because they have good customer service reps and allow you to execute a true durable power of attorney. They all have low fee broad index funds which is where we have stashed much of our $$.
    · Reply · Share
  • Classof2015Classof2015 4182 replies189 threads Senior Member
    @esobay --thanks -- I am pretty sure their fee is 1% and I have been getting 5% yield (have to check). I take your point (about working forever). Thank you!
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78559 replies695 threads Senior Member
    What kind of investments does your account contain? If it contains mutual funds, then 1% plus whatever expenses the mutual funds have seems quite high compared to those from low cost companies like Vanguard or those engaging in the current price war like Fidelity or Schwab.

    Are you getting any good customized financial planning advice or investment strategy for the money you are paying?
    · Reply · Share
  • Classof2015Classof2015 4182 replies189 threads Senior Member
    I have to look but I believe I am 60% in stocks and the balance in bonds or money markets. I realize you are asking the right question (am I getting any good customized financial planning for the money I'm paying) but I want to pose the alternative question -- what is the yield people are getting for investing on their own with no investment strategy? I asked my brother; he declined to answer. I would be fine with a no fee index fund as long as the return exceeds what I'm getting now.
    · Reply · Share
  • MassmommMassmomm 3977 replies82 threads Senior Member
    We use Ayco for advising. Money primarily in Goldman-Sachs vehicles.
    · Reply · Share
  • bluebayoubluebayou 26882 replies175 threads Senior Member
    edited October 9
    Vanguard (big fan of John Bogle) and Fidelity (former employer set it up and no inertia to move it to Vanguard).
    edited October 9
    · Reply · Share
  • allyphoeallyphoe 2439 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I use American Century. 0.9% fee, with any fund fees rebated quarterly. The managed account fee is less than what I was paying in fund fees, and they handle diversifying for me.
    · Reply · Share
  • GourmetmomGourmetmom 2813 replies48 threads Senior Member
    We use Janney Montgomery Scott for most of our tax-free muni bonds - another good vehicle for retirement income.
    · Reply · Share
  • esobayesobay 1336 replies19 threads Senior Member
    @Classof2015 ... a possibly different way of looking at your fees since 1% doesn't seem like "much" ... but for every $5 you are earning for your $100 invested then you are giving up a dollar or 20 % of that return) THAT seems like a big hit to me. Or was your 5% after fees?

    I am still studying our ROI vs fees because yes the funds we have do have some management fees, all less that 1% though.
    · Reply · Share
  • NJresNJres 6017 replies189 threads Senior Member
    I have most of my retirement savings (multiple IRAs) and bulk of brokerage account at Schwab. Also use Schwab Bank, but have a bank account at B of A as well. I also have an investment account at Fidelity which I funded solely because I was uncomfortable having too much in one place. It's all electronic blips, and if Schwab had a systems problem or a hacking event those blips could disappear (!) I just think it's prudent to diversify a little bit.
    · Reply · Share
  • dentmom4dentmom4 1369 replies4 threads Senior Member
    Most everything in Vanguard. Example: Index 500 admiral shares has fees of 0.04%. For every dollar you are paying (1%)I have 96 cents more to invest.

    H’s 403b is with a broker, 5% of our retirement $$.

    Fees make a huge difference over time.
    · Reply · Share
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy 18572 replies325 threads Senior Member
    edited October 9
    DH and I have everything at Schwab. Everything. Well, except for a little BofA account that we use for our ATM cash.

    We've been with them since 1998. Because we have assets over a certain amount (I think it might be $500,000 but I'm not sure) we're handled by their Private Client group. We pay about 1/2% of our assets per year for their investment management. So there is some purported incentive for them to manage us well, since if our investments go up, so do their fees.

    We've been very happy.
    edited October 9
    · Reply · Share
  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy 2542 replies22 threads Senior Member
    This is a very timely thread! Thank you for starting it.

    Most of our personal IRA and investment accounts are with Vanguard. We have a Thrift Savings Plan, and my husband has 28 years on active duty. We are hoping to make it another two years to mandatory retirement at 30 years / age 62. There will be a military pension.

    I have an inherited Trust - investments and an IRA with Merrill Lynch. My portion has grown well but not spectacularly over the years, and has been handled by one particular financial advisor and now by his son since my parents originally set it up in the 1980’s.

    Our present Merrill Lynch financial advisor just this week notified me that he has left Merrill Lynch and has moved to RBC. He would like to take my (pretty large but not not enormous) accounts with him. Meanwhile Merrill Lynch has assigned a new financial advisor to my accounts. I haven’t done anything yet. I haven’t even returned the phone calls from either financial advisor. My accounts have fees at ML, and would also have fees at RBC. I haven’t compared the fee structures yet.

    Anyone know anything about RBC? In comparison to Merrill Lynch? I’d need some compelling reasons change the trust from one to the other financial institution.

    Any advice?
    · Reply · Share
  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 1355 replies50 threads Senior Member
    Vanguard target retirement (2030!) for me and Fidelity for my husband.
    · Reply · Share
  • Data10Data10 3039 replies8 threads Senior Member
    My husband has his money with Schwab; I have mine with Merrill Lynch; my brother says it's dumb to pay their management fee. He manages his own money via Vanguard index funds.
    I agree with your brother about self management and favoring index funds. I have a variety of different investments. One of my largest has been in the Schwab S&P 500 index, which has only a 0.02% expense ratio and no transaction charge. I believe Fidelity has one with a slightly lower expense ratio. Vanguard has many great options as well, including their target retirement funds, which have expense ratios on the order of 0.12%
    · Reply · Share
  • doschicosdoschicos 21395 replies223 threads Senior Member
    edited October 9
    JEM wrote: »

    We still live in the suburban Philly area near Vanguard's corporate offices and can meet with Vanguard advisors in person easily.

    ... with the low fees -- what's not to like?




    We're a Fidelity family and one feature I do like is the brick and mortar branches where I can walk in if needed (very rare). Vanguard lacks that branch network unless you live near their headquarters. I'm sure I'd be just as easily pleased with Vanguard or Schwab, though.

    My kids have accounts w/Fidelity as well. It makes it very easy to move money among accounts, especially when they were still in college for rent/food, etc.


    "One of my largest has been in the Schwab S&P 500 index, which has only a 0.02% expense ratio and no transaction charge. I believe Fidelity has one with a slightly lower expense ratio."

    Yes, completely free. All these companies are racing to retain assets by lowing or dropping trading fees, expense ratios, etc. Good for us consumers.

    Unless you want and need some form of hand holding, I'd recommend sticking to one of the big 3 "discount" brokers - Fidelity, Vanguard or Schwab. But, even then, they offer advisory/account management services as well at competitive rates. They all offer excellent service as well.



    edited October 9
    · Reply · Share
  • techmom99techmom99 3473 replies6 threads Senior Member
    I have a 401(k), rollover IRA and a pre-1986 IRA, all at Fidelity. My rollover used to be managed by my former employer but when I was downsized, I moved the money and since my current employer uses Fidelity, I put it there. I totally lucked out because I moved my money into savings at Fidelity and had it in savings when the 2008 crash occurred, so I didn't lose anything. I have a managed account for my rollover but I manage the other 2 myself. I'd rather pay less fees, but I toted it up and the time I would spend on managing the account and the transaction fees I would pay are balanced out by the personal attention. Fidelity has brick and mortar buildings and I have quarterly phone conferences and a yearly update with my advisor, with whom I have worked for 10 years now.

    H has his money at Merrill and manages it himself, but he has less than 20% of what I have.

    I have 2 defined benefit pensions and we will both get SS.

    The rest of our retirement is in the three houses we own and the one we will inherit when MIL passes.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity