Opening an account at Vanguard – A walkthrough

If you are looking to invest in passively managed Mutual Funds, look no further than Vanguard. Vanguard offers a wide range of funds with very low overheads. Thanks to Vanguard, more and more fund companies are offering low cost mutual funds. Before Vanguard, funds with 0.18 expense ratios were unheard of.

I recently opened an account with Vanguard, I thought I’ll write up a quick review.


I used Google Chrome browser on a Mac to open the account and didn’t have any problems. Works fine on Safari as well.


The application process took hardly 10 minutes and was quicker than opening an account with Fidelity (see my Fidelity review). You don’t have to complete the setup process right away. The site lets you save and application and get to it later.

What you’ll need

  • Personal information
  • Funds you’d like to invest in
  • Funding info like bank details if doing an ACH

You’ll be asked if you want to sign up for e-delivery of documents. Choose to sign up to avoid account maintenance fees. You should receive account confirmation emails once you are done.


When I chose to sign up for e-delivery as a part of the account setup process, I got an error page indicating the page couldn’t be found! Once the account was setup, I went to profiles and got this done. Got an email confirming e-delivery.

Initially I couldn’t view the site in Chrome. Turned out I had a rogue extension installed. Wasn’t Vanguard’s fault. If you are having issues with Chrome, disable extensions and try again.

Most funds in Vanguard have a $3000 minimum and some have early redemption fees. Read prospectus carefully before picking funds.

On holding ADRs, Vanguard will deduct ADR fees from your brokerage account as billed by the DTC.

Vanguard is not the best place to buy individual stocks, including Vanguard’s ETFs as their commissions are pretty high.

What I did like

The entire process was very quick. No complaints there. You don’t have to pick the funds right away, you can do it once the account is setup.

There is a wealth of information on the site. Lots of facts and statistics.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a decent discount for Turbo Tax once I signed up. Haven’t done my taxes yet, I’ll be using the discount offered by Vanguard.


Two thumbs up! Easy, quick and un-cluttered. Haven’t checked out the asset allocation tools yet as funds are still pending. Will update this post once I have that ready.

I put up a short slideshow of the account opening process. Enjoy!

Vanguard Account Opening Slideshow

If you liked this, you may also like: Vanguard’s Most Expensive Funds

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13 thoughts on “Opening an account at Vanguard – A walkthrough

  1. I actually heard only good things about them from some of my clients. One day I might open an account with them. I am not there yet… :-)

  2. Vanguard is pretty good Aloysa. Their mutual fund/ETF fees are some of the lowest and they are not a traditional MF company. They are very similar to a non-profit organization.

  3. I really do like the Vanguard model. They appear to have “done investors right” over the years.

  4. Vanguard started the low cost indexed approach and they continue to be the best.

  5. My father in law has a Vanguard account. I’m considering rolling over my 401k to them when the time come. I’m a big fan of Vanguard.

  6. @Roshawan: Totally agree!

    @DIY: Yes, one broker with least amount of hidden fees

    @RB40: Certainly. If indexing is your thing, Vanguard is hard to beat

  7. I had Vanguard for years and enjoyed it, but I decided to consolidate as I have some 401k funds in Fidelity. My parents are still there. There interface is way easier than before. :)

    • Vanguard also has this feature where you can enter your assets from other brokerages and it’ll use that to calculate your total gain or loss. I thought that was pretty nifty! But then you do have to enter the figures manually.

  8. I love Vanguard and have invested with them for years and years. I have found their expense ratio to be quite low also.

  9. I am thinking of transferring my existing Edward Jones accounts to Vanguard. I have a traditional IRA and a Roth and a “single account”. When the funds are with Vanguard, will I have to stick with the fund allocations as they are currently, or do I get to just start fresh and pick and choose from the variety of Vanguard choices?

  10. What is the account opening cost?

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