How many brokerage firms are you using?

General Discussion on the Permanent Portfolio Strategy

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vnatale
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How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by vnatale » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:53 pm

I am about to become a level 4 Permanent Portfolio investor.

The book advises you to have all your investments in at least two brokerages.

Presently I have all my investments with Vanguard. Last Friday I opened an account with Fidelity in anticipation of it taking half of my present Vanguard investments.

How many brokerages are you using:

1
2
More than 2

And, could you please identify which ones you are using and why?

Thanks

Vinny
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by boglerdude » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:10 pm

Just vanguard. Too big to fail
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by vnatale » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:25 pm

To just get started, I am thinking of fulfilling as much of the Permanent Portfolio investing through my present Vanguard accounts. Then later I may transfer some of the investments to Fidelity. But to just immediately become a full fledged Level 4 Permanent Portfolio investor seems too consuming.
Seems that I can fully transition to it over time.

Vinny
boglerdude wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:10 pm
Just vanguard. Too big to fail
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by Smith1776 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:02 pm

Just one: Wealthsimple Trade.

Literally zero fees of any kind. I’ll take that over brokerage diversification any day.
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by Tortoise » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:14 pm

vnatale wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:25 pm
To just get started, I am thinking of fulfilling as much of the Permanent Portfolio investing through my present Vanguard accounts. Then later I may transfer some of the investments to Fidelity. But to just immediately become a full fledged Level 4 Permanent Portfolio investor seems too consuming.
Seems that I can fully transition to it over time.
Absolutely. That’s the way to do it.

Within the PP investing strategy, I think simplicity and safety sometimes have to be balanced. Sometimes you can get both (e.g., by investing in a broadly diversified index fund), but sometimes extra/advanced safety comes at the cost of simplicity (e.g., dividing assets between accounts at multiple brokerages).

I tend to err on the side of simplicity since I think that will be most likely to help me stay the course long-term. And staying the course is probably the most important element of long-term financial safety.

So mostly I invest through Vanguard, with smaller amounts at a couple of other brokerages where my employer 401(k)s are. Ideally it would all be at Vanguard for simplicity.
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by mathjak107 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:31 am

i use fidelity and chase . fidelity 90% and chase 10% ... i pulled my money out of vanguard .. not only was their customer service the worst i ever experienced but they are quite self serving in their company policies .. it seems whatever they get in to theire is a new study that promotes it or else they do stupid things o try to force you in to some of these things .

like they were promoting their trust dept heavily ...next thing we know they deleted beneficiaries off of joint accounts ... they tell you you are better served with a trust or else take your joint accounts and split them in to 2 single accounts and you can add a beneficiary...nonsense , i don't a trust for that .
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by dualstow » Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:12 am

Two.

I only meant to have Vanguard, but they weren’t doing solo 401k’s when I set mine up, so I used Fidelity for that. I had a rough beginning with Fidelity, but then it smoothed out. Friendly service at their physical branches. There was one guy one year who took my annual contribution out of my hand, processed it and tossed the receipt to me without a word, but that was one guy.

Vanguard certainly has growing pains. I had good service over the phone and online for the most part.
+ I had some directly held shares of this and that from when I was a kid, and Vanguard made it easy to transfer those over.
+ I got out of a smaller brokerage that I should have never been in. That was also from when I was young and didn’t have control over my investments. Vanguard got that done with no problems.

- I was disappointed in the beneficiary thing detailed by mathjak above. My dad and I had a joint account from my childhood, and for me it had never mattered that his name was attached. One day, I noticed that my wife’s name was no longer mentioned as my beneficiary. Or, I may have learned it when mathjak mentioned it in the past.

Vanguard had never told me about it. I had to ask them. And, almost my entire savings was in this joint account. We had to jump through some hoops to get the account in my name only so i could restore my wife as the named beneficiary. Not the end of the world, but...they should have told me.
- A few other headaches. No one’s perfect.

I do like that Vanguard is like a co-op where every shareholder is kind of a co-owner. I think about that when I buy shares of a corporate bond fund with a purchase fee. Fidelity, as good as they are, are not like that. I remember asking them how much money I had to have in my account to get free trades like I do at Vanguard (US$2 if I run out of free trades each year). The answer: they don’t have different levels. Everyone has to pay for trading.

I like both firms and would not want to diversify any further. Even one firm would be enough for me, plus a checking account elsewhere.
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by Kbg » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:52 am

I've been with Interactive Brokers for years. For the most part it has been a very good experience. It is more of a high end know what you are doing kind of brokerage but if you are more advanced it is an excellent choice. Doing backdoor ROTH conversions this year was my one very negative experience with them. However, it was fixed and doing so again next year will be extremely easy (as was my first year).

I have a very small account with M1 and nudged my kids and mom to go that route as it is the opposite of IB once everything is set up with them. Very good for buy/hold/rebalance infrequently types. No commissions, rebalance with a single button, auto allocation of reinvestments/dividends to the assets most needing a top off. The account I have with them is taxable with auto deposit/investment and the only thing I'll be paying taxes on is the dividends being thrown off. The one big caveat is they do stocks and ETFs only. See bolded text.
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by mathjak107 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:32 pm

dualstow wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:12 am
Two.

I only meant to have Vanguard, but they weren’t doing solo 401k’s when I set mine up, so I used Fidelity for that. I had a rough beginning with Fidelity, but then it smoothed out. Friendly service at their physical branches. There was one guy one year who took my annual contribution out of my hand, processed it and tossed the receipt to me without a word, but that was one guy.

Vanguard certainly has growing pains. I had good service over the phone and online for the most part.
+ I had some directly held shares of this and that from when I was a kid, and Vanguard made it easy to transfer those over.
+ I got out of a smaller brokerage that I should have never been in. That was also from when I was young and didn’t have control over my investments. Vanguard got that done with no problems.

- I was disappointed in the beneficiary thing detailed by mathjak above. My dad and I had a joint account from my childhood, and for me it had never mattered that his name was attached. One day, I noticed that my wife’s name was no longer mentioned as my beneficiary. Or, I may have learned it when mathjak mentioned it in the past.

Vanguard had never told me about it. I had to ask them. And, almost my entire savings was in this joint account. We had to jump through some hoops to get the account in my name only so i could restore my wife as the named beneficiary. Not the end of the world, but...they should have told me.
- A few other headaches. No one’s perfect.

I do like that Vanguard is like a co-op where every shareholder is kind of a co-owner. I think about that when I buy shares of a corporate bond fund with a purchase fee. Fidelity, as good as they are, are not like that. I remember asking them how much money I had to have in my account to get free trades like I do at Vanguard (US$2 if I run out of free trades each year). The answer: they don’t have different levels. Everyone has to pay for trading.

I like both firms and would not want to diversify any further. Even one firm would be enough for me, plus a checking account elsewhere.
it irks me that vanguard never sent out notification and just terminated beneficiaries . something so important ...then they tell us we would be better served via a trust. which it so happens they can administer... that is just a self serving move ....like all the other stuff they get in to and then give you studies that contradict what they led you to believe
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by Tyler » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:40 pm

I started with Fidelity back when they were the 401k provider for my original employer and eventually opened a brokerage account with them. I have always been very happy with their fund options and service, and have never really felt the need to open an investing account elsewhere.

To address any short-term risk of unforeseen account issues, I have a separate checking account with USAA (who also manages my insurance) where I pay all of the bills and keep a sizable cash buffer. I could live off that for a while if necessary.
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by ochotona » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:04 pm

Schwab and Fidelity. If Schwab had an HSA, then I'd only use Schwab. I don't worry about that kind of diversification. I download my account statements every month, I can prove what my positions were if it all were to go poof in a cyber-attack.
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Re: How many brokerage firms are you using?

Post by vnatale » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:49 pm

Thanks for the excellent response.

I have no problem with staying the course as I've been with the same allocation plan I established with Vanguard in January 2003, not making a single change to it. It has served me well but I don't need to experience another Summer 2008 to Winter 2009 with it. EVERY single one of my funds in the current allocation plan will be liquidated and converted to the Permanent Portfolio.

While I do not have a problem with staying the course, I do have the curse of perfectionism (hence the initial desire to immediately go Level 4) which then causes some paralysis and inertia to actually do something.

Thanks for reassuring my solution to overcome that perfectionism / inertia.

Vinny
Tortoise wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:14 pm
vnatale wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:25 pm
To just get started, I am thinking of fulfilling as much of the Permanent Portfolio investing through my present Vanguard accounts. Then later I may transfer some of the investments to Fidelity. But to just immediately become a full fledged Level 4 Permanent Portfolio investor seems too consuming.
Seems that I can fully transition to it over time.
Absolutely. That’s the way to do it.

Within the PP investing strategy, I think simplicity and safety sometimes have to be balanced. Sometimes you can get both (e.g., by investing in a broadly diversified index fund), but sometimes extra/advanced safety comes at the cost of simplicity (e.g., dividing assets between accounts at multiple brokerages).

I tend to err on the side of simplicity since I think that will be most likely to help me stay the course long-term. And staying the course is probably the most important element of long-term financial safety.

So mostly I invest through Vanguard, with smaller amounts at a couple of other brokerages where my employer 401(k)s are. Ideally it would all be at Vanguard for simplicity.
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