Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a robo-advisor, with unlimited access to a human financial advisor. The robo-advisor automatically rebalances your portfolio. Moreover, investors can hold individual stocks and mutual funds from this account from a rollover account.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services charges an annual fee of 0.30% of your portfolio balance. This fee is still relatively low, considering the value a financial advisor brings to the process, and comparing to what other competitors charge. This robo-advisor requires, however, a $50,000 minimum initial investment, which can be a bit high for beginner investors with little money.

If you have less than the $50,000, you should not stop pursuing wealth building or planning for retirement. There are other alternatives (see the table below).

One such alternative is to start with a robo-advisor like Acorns, which only requires $5 to start with.

Company Account Minimum Fees Key Features
Acorns -Millennial-focused; unique investment strategy via “spare change” of expenses None $3-5/month

Earn bonus investments for online shopping from 1,200+ brands

M1 Finance – Best Low Costs / Best Sophisticated Investors $100 ($500 minimum for retirement accounts) 0% Low-cost, customizable portfolios. 80 pre-built portfolios. Borrow and spend options.
Personal Capital – Best Portfolio Management $100,000 0.89% to 0.49% Free net worth tracking and retirement planning. Advisory clients can access a financial advisor. Tax-minimization strategies and tax-loss harvesting. Stocks and private equity available.

The other alternative is to work with a financial advisor using SmartAsset’s free matching tool. SmartAsset’s financial advisor can help you manage assets, plan for retirement and build wealth, so you can worry less about meeting your financial goals.

SmartAsset’s free quiz simplifies the time-consuming process of finding a financial advisor. The short questionnaire can help match you with up to three fiduciary financial advisors, each legally bound to work in your best interest. Advisors are rigorously screened through our proprietary due diligence process.

Robo-Advisor Meaning

What does “robo-advisor” mean? Before we start discussing the benefits of the Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, it is worthwhile to define the meaning of robo-advisor.

Plain and simple, Robo-Advisors are digital platforms that provide automated investment and financial planning services with little to no human supervision. A robo-advisor asks you questions, usually through a survey, about your financial goals.

It then uses your answers to advise you and automatically invests for you. There are several robo-advisors out there and they all provide some combination of investment management, retirement planning and general financial advice.

For example, Acorns, is a typical robo-advisor. It has a competitive fee and zero account minimum. It helps people save small amounts of money regularly by investing its user’s spare change from everyday purchases into stocks and bond ETFs. You get a free $10 bonus when you sign up.

Learn more about Acorns here: Is Acorns Worth It? Acorns Review: Pros & Cons

Understanding Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a robo-advisor. Like all robo-advisors, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is entirely online. That means you can check to see how your investments are doing online.

To open a Vanguard Personal Advisor Services account, you need at least $50,000 and pay an annual fee of 0.30% of assets under management for up to $5 million. If you have assets over $25 million, then the fee is 0.05%. Moreover, your portfolio rebalances automatically. In addition, portfolio customization options are available to you.

Creating an account is relatively easy. With Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, you have unlimited access to a Vanguard financial advisor. In case you have any questions about how your investments are doing, a Vanguard financial advisor is available to you.

If you’re instead looking for more of a hands-on, full-fledged financial advisor, SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool can pair you with up to three options in your area. Get started now.

Quick Overview of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Minimum

Fees 0.30% of portfolio balance
Goal Setting  Retirement, college, buying a home, saving for vacation, etc. 
Available Assets  Individual accounts, IRAs, trust accounts, eligible employer-sponsored plan accounts 
Interest Paid on Cash Balances  Not disclosed, but idle cash is placed in money market funds 
Customizable Portfolio Yes
View Portfolio before Funding  Yes
Customer Service  Phone, email, or video chat
Financial Advisor Available Yes, available daily 8am-8pm EST
Cash Management  Sweep to money market fund 

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Cost:

Minimum Investment

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is not cheap. You need at least $50,000 to get started. Thus, it is not for everyone.

Annual fee

Yet despite a higher minimum investment, you will pay a relatively low fee. The annual fee for Vanguard Personal Services is 0.30% of your assets. This fee is among the lowest in the industry. So, you will pay $150 annually for a $50,000 portfolio.

***Next Steps: Planning for Retirement can be overwhelming. We recommend speaking with a financial advisor. This tool will match you with up to three advisors.

Here’s how it works:

  • Answer these few easy questions about your current financial situation.
  • Sit back while our tool matches you with up to three advisors who can provide expertise based on your specific goals. It only takes a minute.
  • Check out the advisors’ profiles, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future.

Please enter your zip code and Find Your Advisor.

Access to Human Advisor

What makes Vanguard Personal Advisor Services appealing when compared to other robo-advisors is that you have access to financial advisors in case you have questions on how your money is being managed.

The Vanguard financial advisors will answer your questions and work closely with you to create a personalized plan and help you stick with it over the long run. Moreover, they have no outside incentives, so they will always put your interests first. In other words, 

Here’s What You Get When You Use Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

$50,000+ $500,000+ $5 million+
Access to Vanguard financial advisor A dedicated advisor When you invest at this level, you’ll work with a team of specialists who can advise you on tax-efficient investing and comprehensive wealth planning strategies.
Personalized financial plan Personalized financial plan A dedicated team of investment professionals
Investment coaching Investment coaching Advisory fees on increased assets go down
Ongoing portfolio advice Ongoing portfolio advice A financial plan tailored to meet your unique needs
Real-time goal tracking Real-time goal tracking  
Access to exclusive actively managed funds Access to exclusive actively managed funds  
  Access to trust services (available for $1 million+ clients)  

How does Vanguard Personal Advisor Services work?

When you set up an account, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services will get to to know you and your goals first. This is done through a series of questions the Advisor will ask you.

For example, some of the questions include how much will you be investing and what do you hope to get from the advisor experience. You will get the option of speaking with an advisor either online or over the phone to further get to know you. The questions will help them to see your bigger financial picture and help create a plan that is the best for you.

Second, Vanguard advisors will build a comprehensive, personalized financial plan for you. They will recommend investments that fit your risk tolerance, investing timeline, and other key factors.

Once you review and sign off on your plan, the next step will be the implementation and maintenance of the plan. Vanguard Personal Advisor Services will work with you to make adjustments as needed and keep an eye out for opportunities to increase your tax efficiency.

They will also review your portfolio on a quarterly basis and rebalance as needed to help maximize your returns.

Final Verdict

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a robo-advisor that comes with a human advisor. It takes a minimum of $50,000 investment to open an account. This amount can be out of reach for some investors. If that is the case, then you should look to Acorns which requires no minimum account.

Despite a high minimum investment, however, Vanguard Advisor Services charges a relatively low fee of 0.30% of your portfolio balance annually. This fee is competitive and makes this robo-advisor appealing to investors. As such, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is best for those who are looking for passive investment with human support and have the $50,000 to invest. They will create a financial plan and help you stick with it over the long term.

Put Your Money to Work

Managing your money effectively starts with careful planning. With SmartAsset, you can get matched up with three advisors who can empower you to make smart financial decisions. SmartAsset also helps take the mystery out of retirement planning by answering some of the most commonly asked questions in a simple, personalized way. Learn more about how SmartAsset can help you find your advisor match and get started now.

Load More By Michael Smith
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