Vanguard Removes Annual Account Fee

In case you didn’t know, Vanguard has traditionally levied a $10 annual account fee on IRAs (traditional, Roth, or SEP) and ESAs with a balance of less than $5, 000, index fund accounts with a balance of less than $10, 000, and all non-retirement accounts with a balance of less than $2, 500. Going forward, they’ve decided to levy a $20 fee for each Vanguard fund in which you have a balance of less than $10, 000. The good news here is that you avoid these fees entirely by signing up for electronic delivery of shareholder materials (statements, confirmations, and so on). Of course, you could consolidate funds to get over the minimums, or maintain $100, 000 or more in total Vanguard investments. But if that’s not your cup of tea, simply signing up for electronic delivery is your best bet. In our case, we actually signed up for this long ago to stem the flow of paperwork into our mailbox.


7 Responses to “Vanguard Removes Annual Account Fee”

  1. Nickel

    Bill: Once you decide where you’re going to take your money, the new company should be able to provide you with the necessary forms. Essentially, you will fill out the paperwork, and they will go “get” the money for you and transfer it into your new account. As for brokerage recommendation, Vanguard is my favorite. We also have some money with Fidelity and have been happy with them.

  2. Anonymous


    Dear Nickel,

    How timely that I discovered this article tonight since, when viewing my Vanguard account only an hour or so ago, I noticed that a $30 fee had been levied against my SEP IRA positions. When I inquired by phone about this charge, I discovered that it was levied on June 15, 2009. I had never been informed about waiving this maintenance fee by signing-up for email statement delivery. However, I DO receive statements via email, and have for some time?! At any rate, this $30 fee obviously does not correspond to either the $10 or $20 fee referenced in your article?! When I inquired if anything could be done about mitigating the $30 fee, I was told that it had been in place “for some time”, implying that I should have known about it. Be that as it may, the foregoing stands and, as I told the rep, it would have been considerate, at the very least, to have advised me that said fee would be levied ahead of time so that I could have taken appropriate action, whatever that might have been.

    I DO plan to pursue this matter and, given their apparent disregard for me as a customer, I shall likely move my account elsewhere. I wonder if they charge to do that? So far, I have been unable to locate the appropriate forms on their website to initiate transfer of my IRA to another institution. Unfortunately, I must liquidate most of my Vanguard holdings (all are in a SEP, but I am over 59.5 years young), but wish to avoid their $25 fee, which is what they charge to sell each stock online. On the other hand, Schwab only charges $12.95.

    If you have any ideas about where/how to obtain the necessary forms to move my account but, more importantly, if you know of a reputable brokerage house to which to transfer my IRA, and to then liquidate my holdings within a short period of time (i.e., likely less than a month), I would greatly appreciate knowing about it.

    At any rate, thank you so very much for enlightening me on this topic, and keep up the good work.


  3. Anonymous

    It would be nice if this new fee system was an option mandated only for new accounts. My spouse does not use email or computers at all. I would like to avoid the increased fees on my existing accounts but if something happened to me, my spouse would not know how to access the accounts with no paper. I wonder in twenty more years if I will remember I have the accounts without at least one paper statement a year.

  4. Anonymous

    Nice; I just opened an account with them half a year ago and am a bit under the $10k (as it is a roth and I can’t contribute that much at once).

    Time for edelivery; this will certainly save them more than the $10 that they used to get just by not having to send out all that mail.

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