Recently, while waiting for my car to get washed an elderly woman struck up a conversation with a well dressed man sitting next to me, chatting on a bit and finally inquiring about what he did for living.
It was no surprise that he was a broker with TD Ameritrade as he had started the soft sell, seconds into the conversation with questions about her job, retirement and goals. Standard stuff.
But what was surprising is how plainly she spoke about her past employers involvement with Vanguard and how after retiring she found it cheaper to go with Ameriprise instead of continuing on.
Without looking I could feel his eyes bulging and I even had to stop pretending not to notice them talking through me and watch the blood drain from his face for a moment – this was simply the craziest thing he’s heard all day.
Vanguard is probably as cheap as is possible for above board, commercial investing. There are some startups and online services that are awesome, but older people remember the tech bubble, the stock market crashes and their president telling them he is not a crook, before resigning. An app run by machines overseen by hipsters is just not in their purview when it comes to a dependable future in many cases.
So where did this come from?
Well either one of the largest companies in America is gouging their employees retirements with massive fees for managing Vanguard ETF’s or Ameriprise operating at break even, or