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Best taxable brokerage account for new attending?

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  • Best taxable brokerage account for new attending?

    Hi everyone, first time poster here.


    Wanted some advice as to what everyone thinks is the best taxable brokerage account to use. I'm a fairly new attending (graduated in 2016), working EM in a large community practice (think Kaiser). I graduated with approximately 345k in student loans debt, 300k of which I refinanced 15 years @3.75 with a bank and have paid off approximately 60k since graduation. Currently pay $2100/month for loans.


    Some other numbers:

    Income: approximately 270k

    Disability insurance: 380/month

    Rent: 1000/month


    My job gives me 401k which I max out and I have 3 years of a Roth IRA which I am now using backdoor. No HSA yet, but will likely open one in the future. My Roth is through Vanguard and my 401k uses vanguard funds, so I have it all allocated to Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Trust Plus. Should I just stick with using Vanguard, and open a brokerage account and dump extra funds into another Target Retirement fund?



  • #2
    My taxable is at Vanguard.  I like having money at a limited number of places.  Lots of options at Vanguard.  The debate your post is going to start is if you should open a taxable account at all considering your loan balance.  I think it is fine to throw money at loans and retirement.  Your lifestyle seems resident-like and you are thinking about this at an early age.  I think you will do well.


    • #3
      Vanguard is fine, but if you are a belt-and-suspenders sort of person, you might want to consider opening an account with Fidelity or Charles Schwab instead.  That way any problems that might arise at one institution wouldn't affect ALL your money.


      • #4
        When I open a taxable brokerage account in the next few months I'm planning to use Vanguard. Just seems like the best option as far as number of options, low fees, etc.


        • #5
          I'm in the process of doing this now. I'm opening a taxable account at Vanguard. My backdoor Roth IRA is at Vanguard as well. I'll likely buy total stock market admiral shares initially (VTSAX). I paid of my student loans before opening a taxable account, but that was just a personal preference. I likely would have done better from a numbers perspective if I did both concurrently, but I felt most comfortable paying off the loans first. It sounds like you have a good plan overall. I didn't have quite as much student debt as you, but close. It feels good to pay it off quickly.


          • #6

            When I open a taxable brokerage account in the next few months I’m planning to use Vanguard. Just seems like the best option as far as number of options, low fees, etc.
            Click to expand...

            Vanguard ranks near the bottom in options and fees. Interactive brokers (not for those who dont know what theyre doing, zero help), Merrill, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade (really nice setup), Schwab all better and lower fees in general. Vanguard doesnt have the market cornered on low fee etfs or letting you trade/access free ones/competitors.

            Its best to look at the overall offerings and more importantly what is/isnt allowed and how user friendly it is.

            I have IBKR, Merrill, TDA and Fidelity. Have had vanguard in the past, they were by far the worst for everything except customer service which does not exist at IBKR.



            • #7
              Similar terrible experience with vanguard here. Closed almost every account I had with them. Love fidelity, fwiw


              • #8
                I use Fidelity.  Happens that our prior employer for wife and current for me (UCali system) uses them.  It's nice to have everything on single screen shot.

                Fidelity does nice job all around and has offices nearby along with fast phone service when needed.


                • #9
                  Yes, I'm aware of the dilemma between aggressively paying off loans vs opening taxable accounts. Ideally I'm going to channel whatever extra funds I have and put half towards loans and half towards taxable account. Just thought it might be better (and reap more benefits long term) if I start earlier rather than waiting to pay off all my loans. At my current rate I do hope to pay them off within 3-4 years, while simultaneously saving up for house (I put 15% of all earnings into side account as house fund).


                  I'll make sure and check out Fidelity (old moonlighting job used Fidelity for 401k) as well as Charles Schwab (which current job uses), TDA, and IBKR (which I admit I haven't heard of yet) before I commit to one.


                  Thanks everyone!




                  • #10
                    There are a lot of perks to parking 100k at Merrill Edge and getting in their preferred rewards program (though I think you can qualify at a lower level for as little as 25k).  You get 30 commission-free trades a month and a boost to the rewards earned by BOA credit cards.  They also have good customer service.


                    • #11
                      Now if you are planning on trading and writing options, shorting etc I would not go to Vanguard.  I did all that at Merrill, Payne-webber, Legg Mason etc.  When you get that out of your system then Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab.


                      • #12
                        I am at Vanguard.  But I think Fidelity has a nicer website.  I have otehr accts there.  They also have good customer service.


                        • #13
                          Wow, a lot of Vanguard haters here  I use Vanguard for my Roth's and Taxable.  I have a self directed 401k through TDAmeritrade.  My wife's 401k is at Fidelity.  I personally like Vanguard a lot.  I use it to track all of our investments.  I don't see any advantage over one or the other though.  I just buy and hold shares of Vanguard funds, so I don't really need anything fancy.


                          • #14
                            I love Vanguard.

                            I don't understand those complaining about fees.  I think I have seven or eight different accounts with them (all of my family's accounts under just one login, very convenient), and I have yet to pay any fees to Vanguard.

                            When I rolled over my roth to Vanguard my old bank charged a fee, and my firm 401k plan charges a fee which goes to our 3rd party advisor, but I have yet to make a trade or click a button that incurs some fee with Vanguard.  Perhaps like hatton mentioned above, if you're doing options, margin, etc. other brokerages are better on that, but the fact is, none of those other firms would have anything resembling low fees if it were not for brokerage firms like Vanguard, Scottrade, etc. who pioneered low-fee investing.  I'm a relative youngster, but I remember getting shafted by Merrill on huge load and fee funds, $50 commissions when buying or selling a few shares of stock, etc.  If it wasn't for Vanguard grabbing everyone's market share, all those other firms would still be bending everyone over.

                            As far as benefits go, it's pretty extensive.  And once you're a flagship client, I believe you get a free dedicated CFP and access to other professionals.  Before you're flagship you can get a dedicated CFP for a small fee.



                            • #15
                              WCICON24 EarlyBird
                              Vanguard fees are fine. It's the pain in the ****************** issues that come up with having an account with them. My account locked up for no reason, it took 6 weeks and 20 notary signatures to unlock it (because apparently we still live in 1950 and a notary is the only way to verify your identity)

                              My wife is having a similar issue with them trying to transfer a negligible amount of money into her vanguard account.