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Retirement and fund house choices

Retirement nearing. I have between the wife and I 5 retirement accounts at 5 different places. I want to consolidate all the accounts for simplicity. Thinking Schwab. For those that have done this or thinking about it please share your thoughts concerning your choice(s) and why?


  • All I can offer is that I have had excellent customer service and care, full bench of tools and a fairly large stable of investment options/funds at Fidelity for over 35 years and see no reason to change. My experience has been across a taxable brokerage account, a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. They have been totally helpful and responsive all along the way.

    FWIW - I did have accounts with Schwab but moved them to Scottrade to cut down on brokerage fees in the way back. I have to say that Schwab was excellent as well but their fee structure across the items I was using were always higher than Fidelity including mutual fund transactions. Moving away was just a matter of cost not service(s).

    Honestly I don't think that you can go wrong with either. If availability to a walk-in branch is important you might start there. Good luck.
  • I would be inclined to use Schwab or Fidelity in the decumulation phase (retirement), because they charge nothing to sell TF funds. Also, they both have excellent customer service, and FWIW both have offices that you can walk into.

    If you're looking for a particular add on service (e.g. robo advisor) you should take a closer look at what each provider offers. Also, Schwab, like most brokerages tends to be a bit skimpy on what it pays on cash. That's usually not a concern with retirement accounts, though.

    Finally, though this is probably obvious, you can move the accounts to a single provider but you're likely not going to be able to do much consolidation. Each of you must own your own IRAs, and if you have them, your own Roth IRAs. That's four accounts right there. If you have HSAs, those also have to be kept separate. I tend to think of those as retirement accounts as well. Fidelity offers retail HSAs, while Schwab does not.
  • We've had accounts at Fidelity since 1978. We echo Mark's opinion. I have had accounts at Schwab and Vanguard for 401k purposes. This allowed me to view the differences and compare. I didn't find anything wrong with either of them; but Fidelity was my benchmark. We've consolidated to Fidelity, and Schwab would be the #2 choice.....either of these for us; but have no need for other.
  • Hi @Art. One thing I considered strongly when I moved 401k money to an IRA account was whether or not the brokerage had a local brick and mortar presence. I will always feel more confident with a face to face sit down than over the phone or computer. In my area that gave me Schwab or Fidelity. I picked Schwab, but as others mentioned you can't go wrong with either. I meet with my adviser free of charge once or twice a year, really just to bounce off ideas and decisions with him or ask about different options at Schwab. In fact I was there this past week to get his take on starting SS (I'm 66 now and cutting back to part time work) or pull some from my nest egg. He was helpful in giving pros and cons to both. We also discussed the new Schwab 'Intelligent Income' option now offered which is an easy way to set up a withdrawal account.

    Good luck with your decision.
  • What everyone else says. I use ML and Fidelity, and the former is handy if you have checking/savings and mortgages at BoA, but there seems no longer any compelling reason to use them otherwise, to the contrary. And everyone likes Schwab so much that if I had it to do over I might even forsake Fidelity, where I have had accounts for over 50 years.
  • @Art, I echoed comments from Mike, catch and msf. You can't go wrong with either Scheab and Fidelity. Noted there are differences that you may or may not need and you can decide. For us we have done business with Fidelity and Vanguard who they served as our 401(k) administrators as well as other retirement accounts. We seldom use Fidelity's retail shops although they are only a short drive away. Thus we slowly consolidated towards Vanguard while still have a taxable account with Fidelity. Even though we like T. Rowe Price funds, they are now on NTF platforms in Vanguard and Fidelity. The biggest draw for us is the low cost and quality of Vanguard funds we have access to - index and active managed funds.
  • beebee
    edited March 9
    Whoever you do finally select, see if they will match the best transfer offer available at the time.

    Free money to transfer:
  • Great point bee. A little story, I referred a friend to meet with the Schwab adviser I use. My friend wanted to roll over his 401k and decided to go with Schwab. As they talked the adviser told him, You know, I can't just come out with this, but if you were to ask me if we could match Fidelity's roll-over incentive I would have to say yes. So, the next words out of my friends mouth were, can you match Fidelitys offer, whatever that is. A bonus for my friend he didnt expect.
  • Edward Jones is all over the place here. Gotta go "into town" (Honolulu) to find brick-and mortar for most or all of the others. I dunno why, but something tells me simply to just not use EJ.
  • I don't know anything about EJ, but going into town once or twice a year to talk about investments and money matters with Schwab or Fidelity wouldn't be that bad.
  • edited March 7
    I figured most here did their own investments online. I have used TRP online for years and think it works out great. What do you like most about going to the office?
  • I felt a bit cheated a few years back. I had qualified for some preferred perks because of the total $ I had with TRP. Then they bumped-up the threshold. So, because I had not already been using "perk X," I could not be grandfathered-in. I'm talking about the good discount on transactions with their own TRP brokerage.
  • I've been with Schwab for about 15 years now, and am pleased with fund selection, interaction with the local team and overall research available on the website. It might boil down to what you're looking for. Do you want to make your own decisions? Aside from what I described, they also have a private client offering for more customized service, as do others. Their robo-offerings are also well thought of.
  • Same here re Schwab. They have an office one block away but we very seldom need to walk over there because you can do just about anything that you might need to on line. One example of the convenience of having a local office: a week ago we noticed that we had received all of our tax info from all income sources other than Schwab. Must have gotten "lost" in the mail. I'm sure that we could have gotten a copy on-line, but it was just simpler to walk over there and have them print up a copy.

    Schwab's a pretty good outfit, and competitive in most areas. A bit skimpy on what they pay on cash, though, as msf mentioned above. Then again, these days, who isn't?
  • fido not so much, depending on your definition of skimp
  • Art
    edited March 7
    Thanks for the replies. While I will do most things online I was thinking of my wife if I were to pass away first for the reason for a local office.
  • exactly

    one other reason for my sticking w ML is that my wife if widowed can go into any BoA office and ask for help, or at least good instructions of what to do / where to call for next steps

    same, partly, farther away, for Fido
  • @Art- re wife and local office- exactly the same here. That could turn out to be very important.

  • Most folks at mfo use fidelity, and schwab
    Mana portfolio at fidelity
    We have vanguard, schwab, and Merrill lynch

    I cant see any wrong w these retired accounts
    Only caveats are fidelity and schwab are available in large cities/suburbs towns. Vanguard online
  • fido not so much, depending on your definition of skimp

    I had debated about mentioning that Fidelity's MMFs pay more, but since their top rate for sub $1M min MMFs is just 8 basis points above Schwab's, I didn't feel it was worth going into the numbers. Still, here we go ...

    Fidelity's retail-ish MMFs
    Schwab's position MMFs (ignore the Ultra class shares with their $1M min)

    In contrast, Vanguard Prime MMF is paying 23 basis points above Schwab's, just 3 basis points below Ally Bank's online account that yields 1.60%. VMMXX's min is just $3K.
    Vanguard MMFs

    For better yields on cash one needs to look to bank accounts. But it may not be so easy to move IRA cash back and forth between a bank and a brokerage. OTOH, I've been able to move IRA cash between Merrill Edge and Fidelity within a couple of days, so maybe if you've got significant cash in an IRA it's worth looking into how easy IRA bank transfers are.

    A number of the "major" online banks are currently yielding 1.70% (Synchrony, Marcus, Amex, ...), and others are higher. Brokerage rates 15% - 20% below this do seem somewhat skimpy to me.
    Online bank rates

  • My advice is going to be different. Because personal life experiences have made me paranoid.

    The saying "don't put all your eggs in one basket" universally applies. Never think ONE, think at least TWO. Based on current form I would be comfortable with any 2-3 of Vanguard, Fidelity, TRP and Schwab.
  • With respect to Schwab MMF, we are currently using Schwab California Municipal Money Fund – Investor shares (SWKXX), currently yielding 0.8%, (1.74% taxable equivalent).
  • One more vote for Schwab. Consolidated all my accounts there years back and not regretted it at all. Good service, good choice of funds, good research available on stocks/funds. They assign a personal agent to you (not sure if there is an account minimum for that) and mine is very helpful to answer requests over email/phone/in person. He helped my daughters and wife, for account openings/transfers. Their checking account offers a debit card without transaction fees, no ATM fees, no additional charges even internationally. This was very useful in my travels. I do have an IRA at Fidelity and they are top class as well.
  • I use Schwab & Vanguard. I find Schwab easier to use.
    Enjoy your retirement !
  • Howdy,

    Wife and I have our rollover IRAs at Price - for over 20 years. We have her ROTH at Fido and we have a taxable account at TD. I've been pleased with all of them.

    good luck,

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