Bank Deal: Earn 1.00% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.
We recently received a packet of information from Vanguard welcoming us to their “Voyager Services.” Vanguard Voyager is a service for customers with a minimum of $100k in assets held with Vanguard. It used to be that this minimum was $250k, and I always had that in the back of my mind as an intermediate term goal.
As of right now, we’ve made very good progress toward that $250k mark, and we’d be even further along if my employer allowed Vanguard as an option for my regular retirement plan or my 457(b). They don’t, so we chose Fidelity for the former and TIAA-CREF for the latter.
Given that they dropped the required minimum by 60%, it’s certainly less gratifying to join the club. Note that there’s nothing particularly magical about Vanguard Voyager Services, but $250k in assets with them seemed like a nice round number to shoot for. The benefits include exemptions from brokerage maintenance and mutual fund account service fees (I think this mean I’ll get out of the annual fee on my 403(b) account), lower brokerage costs (although you can sign up for a Zecco account and get free trades), and a discounted financial plan ($250 instead of their regular $1000 price).
The next stop is Voyager Select Services, which kicks in at $500k. This level brings even cheaper brokerage costs (again, still not as cheap as free trades at Zecco) and a free financial plan. Once you reach $1M in total assets at Vanguard, you qualify for Vanguard Flagship Services which offer access to otherwise unavailable funds, an assigned company representative, and further reduced brokerage costs (including a limited number of commission-free transactions).
The thing I’m really looking forward to is gaining access to Admiral shares of various Vanguard mutual funds. To be eligible for these shares, you need to have a minimum of $100k invested in a particular fund (in a single account) or to have owned the account for 10 years and have $50k or more. The huge upside of Admiral shares is that they reduce your investment expenses by 18-50%.
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