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Making Choices: Vanguard, Fidelity or T. Rowe Price?

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    Making Choices: Vanguard, Fidelity or T. Rowe Price?

    Hello personal investors,

    I am a student at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. I'm conducting some online research about how investors choose their investment management company. I'm also specifically interested in anyone that has considered T. Rowe Price. I know that this group will have some great thoughts and opinions on personal investing choices.

    With that said, what company (or companies) did you choose for your personal investments? Did you consider T. Rowe Price? How did they market to you? What appealed or did not appeal to you about the firm's offerings?

    Thank you for your thoughts - they are immensely valuable!

    Are you sure you're not a T. Rowe Price intern as well?

    I like T. Rowe Price just fine, and I have definitely considered them. However, I did not go with them because I am looking for the following:

    1) Low cost index funds as a passive strategy.

    2) A brokerage that specializes in low cost stock/bond/options trading.

    And for those things, there are other places that are just as good but offered better rates.


      This is one of the reasons I considered T. Rowe Price only requires a $1,000 initial investment for IRAs, and $2,500 for a taxable account. They also charge a low-balance fee of $10 a year for balances less than $5,000 (also waived with high overall balances). But, if you can commit to an automatic transfer of $50 a month from your checking account, you can open an account with nothing.


        Actually, I have all 3.

        Fidelity - because Fidelity administered my old 401k. I just kept my account and rolled it to an IRA eventually. Fiedlity has some good funds - why I keep it.

        Vanguard - My spouse's and kids money is all in Vanguard. Simple and low cost (in case something happens to me).

        T. Rowe - I opened a T. Rowe account specifically because I wanted to open an IRA with very few dollars. You only need to commit $50/month to open a T Rowe account. (May even be $50/quarter?). I liked the option of low cost/diversified/managed funds. With just $50/month! I've only had the account a couple of years and the Retirement 2040 or whatever I am invested in has kicked some serious butt. Will see for the long haul. I am not 100% convinced that index investing is the only way to go, personally. I am the type to broadly diversify. I don't really want to limit myself to one fund family. I don't personally want to put all my eggs in the "passive index" basket. But I am concerned about keeping costs low, and T Rowe fits that bill pretty good.


          I have used all 3

          Vanguard for old 401k
          Fidelity for wife's current 401k

          T Rowe for original 401k and currently all IRA assets (more than 100k combined)

          T Rowe is great for an investor starting with a steady job and paycheck.

          Here are my assessments of the 3 main fund houses (Fidelity, Vanguard, T Rowe Price)

          1) Vanguard- cheapest index funds, fewest funds of the 3. Tough to find a fund in every sector, but easy to find a fund which tracks any remotely popular index. Highest fund minimums of the 3.

          2) Fidelity- most funds of the 3 (and not even close), highest expense rations of the 3. You can find 3-4-10 funds in one asset class (large cap value at Fidelity might have 10 funds to choose from, small cap growth may have another 5-10 in same asset class). The expense rations of each fund vary. Also has a large selection of sector funds. Average fund minimums (as in "in the middle" of Vanguard and T Rowe).

          3) T Rowe- lowest fund minimums of the 3, middle of the road fund selection. They have 1-2 funds in each major asset class. If you do not like that fund, you either leave that out of allocation or find it somewhere else. For example they have 2 large cap value funds, 1-2 large cap growth funds and 1-2 large cap blend funds, plus 1-2 index funds which track same sector. It you do not like the funds available, you will need to find one at another investment house. However at same time, just about every asset class has a solid fund in it. T Rowe also has an above average array of sector funds. Its not the same selection as Fidelity, but the sector fund portfolio I have could not be put together with Vanguard funds alone. The fund fees are in the middle- the index funds are the most expensive of the 3, the managed funds are either cheapest or second cheapest (some Vanguard managed funds are cheaper than T Rowe funds).


            I chose T. Rowe Price for my Roth IRA because I didn't have a lot of money to invest, and their asset builder program was perfect for me. I read about the asset builder feature either on this site or one of the discussion boards on the Suze Orman site, and it peaked my interest enough that I requested materials from T. Rowe Price to review.


              I like TRP because I once worked there and was extremely impressed with their staff, policies, service, etc. Just a top notch organization in my book.


                I have my Roth IRA with T. Rowe Price as well. I started out with only a few hundred to invest but was able to set up an asset builder with at least $50 per month. The account is open and appropriately invested in the market. I get exposure to domestic and international securities and do not have to pay an annual fee or anything. Once I build up enough of a stack of money (my guess is age 40), I will take the money out of the mutual fund mix and start spreading out through ETFs and other assets in order to diversify and have a higher level of control on my investments.

                My only issue is that T Rowe does not invest as aggressively as I like and has too much bond exposure for my tastes (especially right now with rates at a low and values at a high). I fear that the bond mixture will have too much of a buy-high sell-low element.
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                  I have a Fidelity Roth IRA. I like it because it is easy to access online, easy to access my money, and becaue I like their Freedom Funds.