Vanguard rates and fees on ROTH IRA, Sep/Simple, 401K roolover and traditional IRA accounts. Vanguard retirement account annual, maintenance, inactivity, and termination charges schedule.

Vanguard IRA Fees

Fee Amount
Vanguard IRA setup fee $0
Vanguard annual IRA fee $20
Vanguard annual SIMPLE IRA fee $25 for each mutual fund
Vanguard IRA termination fee $0
Vanguard account maintenance fee $0
Vanguard account inactivity fee $0
Vanguard outbound full account transfer (ACAT) fee $0
Vanguard outbound partial account transfer fee $0

Vanguard IRA Commissions

A Vanguard IRA can be opened with any balance, including a zero balance. There is no setup fee for a retirement account, and the broker does not charge anything for inactivity. There is also no fee to close an IRA.

Vanguard does have a $20 annual IRA fee. The broker also imposes another $20 fee if a Vanguard mutual fund's balance is below $10,000. Both of these charges can be avoided simply by enrolling in electronic delivery of statements. If an IRA has at least $50,000 invested in Vanguard mutual and exchange-traded funds, these fees are waived automatically.

Another fee is levied on SIMPLE IRA's that have Vanguard funds in them. For every Vanguard fund in a SIMPLE IRA, the broker charges $25. So for example, if one SIMPLE account had 4 Vanguard funds, the broker would charge the account $100 per year. This fee can also be avoided by investing at least $50,000 of an IRA's balance in Vanguard mutual funds and ETF's.

Vanguard IRA Fees Comparison

The lack of a closeout fee for an IRA is pretty unusual in the brokerage world. WellsTrade, for example, charges $95. Ally Invest is at $50, while Merrill Edge customers must pay $49.95.

On the other hand, imposing an annual IRA fee is increasingly unpopular. Firstrade, Ally Invest, and TD Ameritrade have eliminated yearly retirement account fees.

While many of Vanguard's fees can be avoided by enrolling in e-delivery of account documents, investors who prefer paper statements might be disappointed here. Fidelity clients can receive paper statement with no penalties.

Vanguard obviously caters to large accounts. For investors who have at least $50,000 to invest in Vanguard funds, the broker's prices look pretty attractive. But small retirement savers may find better deals with Firstrade, where both large and small accounts trade using the same commission schedule.

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 + $0 per contract $0 $0
Ally Invest $0 $9.95 $0 + $0.50 per contract $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0

The Price of Trading

Vanguard's commission schedule applies to both IRA's and regular brokerage accounts. It is a variable system, where large accounts receive lower prices. An account below $50,000 pays $7 for the first 25 trades placed in a calendar quarter. After that, stocks and non-Vanguard ETF's cost $20.

Vanguard IRAs

There are 55 Vanguard ETF's, and all of them can be traded free of charge on the broker's website. There is no short-term redemption policy on the company's exchange-traded funds, and many of them have expense ratios below 0.10%.

Vanguard also provides over 16,000 mutual funds, many of which have no transaction fee and no load. The NTF funds do have a $50 redemption fee if they are sold in less than 2 months after purchase.

Target-date funds are available at Vanguard. These securities are intended for retirement savers. T. Rowe Price, Vanguard, and Fidelity are some of the fund families that sponsor these retirement products. A number of these investments will carry a transaction fee of $8, $20, or $35, depending on account size. Others have no load and no transaction fee.

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