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Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Review (2023): Pros, Cons, & More

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Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Who is Vanguard PAS Best For?
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a great hybrid robo advisor for investors with more than $50,000 in investable assets. Investors looking for a more human approach alongside their automated investing should take a look - Vanguard PAS could be a great solution for you, and it's very affordable.
Pros
Access to Human Financial Advisors
Personalized Financial Plan
Long-Term Goal Planning
Affordable Management Fee
Cons
High $50,000 Account Minimum
Uses Only Vanguard Funds
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Vanguard is a giant in the investment world, with millions of customers and a variety of financial services. In 2015, Vanguard added Personal Advisor Services (PAS) to its offerings.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services combines the power of robo-advising with access to a team of human financial advisors. This is called a hybrid robo advisor.

Annual Fee0.30%
AUM (Assets Under Management)$186.5 billion*
Minimum Investment$50,000
Free VersionNo
HeadquartersP.O. Box 1110
Valley Forge, PA 19482
Desktop AppYes
Mobile AppYes
Socially-Responsible InvestingYes (By Request)
Customer ServiceLive support via email and phone
Access to Human AdvisorYes
Phone800-462-5999
* The AUM for PAS (VAI) as of December 31, 2021, is 186.5 billion.

Paid non-client promotion. Rating as of 01/02/2023 based on a review of services offered in 2022.

Account and Investment Services

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers a unique combination of robo-advising and financial planning services. 

Vanguard launched this service as robo advisors started rising in popularity. Robo advisors typically involve minimal human intervention, and computer algorithms are designed to manage your investments without the hassle or costs of in-person meetings. 

The downside is that sometimes you need some advice from a real person. Vanguard PAS stands out because every investor can access human financial advisors whenever they need help. 

Vanguard PAS screens

Access to Human Advisors

Accounts with a balance between $50,000 and $500,000 have access to a team of financial advisors. Accounts over $500,000 get a dedicated financial advisor. You can access their trust advisor services if you have over $1 million in your account.

You won’t be able to meet face-to-face with your financial advisor, but you can schedule unlimited free appointments over the phone or via video. Sometimes your meeting will be scheduled a week or two in advance, and a financial advisor will respond to an email within a 48-hour time frame on business days.

Your account is reviewed quarterly and rebalanced as needed (if any asset class deviates from the target allocation by 5% or more) to keep you on track to meet your goals.

Every Vanguard advisor will offer personalized advice, and they are obligated to keep your best interests in mind. Vanguard stands out here because you will get trusted advice from a real person and the robo-advisor algorithms.

Your advisors will also take into consideration your investments outside of Vanguard. That’s important because your other 401(k)s, savings, and investments will impact your financial plan. 

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Fees and Pricing

The account minimum for Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is $50,000, and the annual advisory fee is 0.30%, charged quarterly. For a $50,000 account, it would cost about $150 per year in fees.

If you’re a high-net-worth investor, the advisory fee decreases with higher account balances:

  • Less than $5 Million: 0.30%
  • $5 – 10 Million: 0.20%
  • $10 – 25 Million: 0.10%
  • Over $25 Million: 0.05%

The $50,000 minimum balance can be distributed across all account types, such as a combination of IRAs, Mutual Funds, and Trust accounts.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Review (2023): Pros, Cons, & More 1

How do Vanguard PAS fees compare to their competitors?

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is a hybrid robo advisor; an automated investing service combined with human financial advice. 

Their closest competitor is Personal Capital, which carries a fee between 0.49% and 0.89% depending on account balance, which is a minimum of $100,000. Similarly, Betterment Premium has a $100,000 minimum and charges a 0.40% annual fee.

Schwab also offers a comparable service – Intelligent Portfolios Premium, which costs $30 per month, a fee of $300 for the initial financial planning, and a minimum balance of $25,000.

We put a handy comparison chart below to compare similar services’ pricing and minimums. Compared to other hybrid robo advisors, Vanguard PAS offers excellent services at a relatively low cost. 

Hybrid Robo Advisor Comparison Chart

Robo AdvisorAnnual FeeAccount Minimum
Vanguard PAS0.30%$50,000
Personal Capital0.49%-0.89%$100,000
Betterment Premium0.40%$100,000
Schwab IPP$360$25,000
Fidelity PPA0.50%$25,000

Account Types and Services

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers advice on various IRAs and trust accounts. Vanguard won’t manage a 529 plan, but they will consider it when providing financial planning advice. 

Here are the account types Vanguard offers:

  • Taxable
  • Joint 
  • Roth IRA 
  • Traditional IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • Simple IRA
  • Trust
  • 401k

Tax Loss Harvesting is a strategy used to minimize the taxes paid on investment gains or other income. This is available with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services but on a minimal basis. You will need to discuss it further with your Vanguard financial advisor.

Unlike some of their peers like Wealthfront and M1 Finance, Vanguard is strictly an investment service and does not provide banking services like checking or savings accounts.

Sample Financial Plan

Vanguard-PAS-Goal-Analysis-Retirement
Vanguard-PAS-Goal-Analysis
Vanguard-PAS-Plan-Summary

User Experience & Mobile App

Vanguard’s website offers all the tools for investment success and a simple dashboard that provides your account overview. You will need to look around to take advantage of the available tools, savings calculators, and simulators. 

The Vanguard mobile app has received some criticism for being outdated. They’ve updated it since then to have a more modern appearance and user experience, but it seems to lack some features that the old version had. Considering it’s Vanguard, we trust that they’ll consider this feedback.

Sample Account Dashboard

Vanguard-PAS-Account-Dashboard-3
Vanguard-PAS-Account-Dashboard-2
Vanguard-PAS-Account-Dashboard-1

Onboarding Process

There is an onboarding process before investing with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services, just like any other service. Vanguard’s financial advisors want to understand your goals before creating your financial plan. This isn’t an overnight process; it will likely take a couple of weeks.

First, you will share your financial goals, expectations, timeline, risk tolerance, and financial situation with Vanguard. Then you will schedule a meeting with an advisor who will answer your questions and get to know you better. 

Within a few weeks, you will have a personalized financial plan based on your goals and risk tolerance and can decide if you want to move forward.

Who Is Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Best For?

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is an excellent choice for those with $50,000 to meet the account minimum. Vanguard recommends considering its Digital Advisor service if you’re in that boat, which has a reduced annual fee of only 0.20%. 

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is also a good choice for investors with long-term goals. Vanguard is investor-owned, which means the fund shareholders own the funds, which in turn own Vanguard. Before investing, you will discuss your financial planning goals with an advisor.

That said, day traders or those looking for a quick turnaround might want to look elsewhere. Instead, Personal Advisor Services focuses on your retirement goals, college savings, and long-term growth. 

The Bottom Line

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is one of the best options for people looking for easily-managed investments and personalized help. It is an excellent choice if you can meet the $50,000 minimum, want a human touch to your portfolio, don’t mind owning Vanguard funds, and want to be more involved than traditional robo-advising. 

If you also want banking features included in your investment service, however, you might be better off investing in one of the other good hybrid robo advisors listed below.

Or Call: 800-462-5999

Our Favorite Hybrid Robo Advisors

Best Overall
Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
  • $50,000 account minimum
  • 0.30% Annual Fee
  • Personalized financial plan
  • Access to Human Advisors
  • Best Hybrid Robo Advisor
Best Financial
Betterment Premium
  • $100,000 Account Minimum
  • 0.40% Annual Fee
  • Human Financial Advice
  • Excellent Banking Features
  • Socially Responsible & Crypto Investing
Most Comprehensive
Personal Capital
  • $100,000 Minimum
  • 0.49% - 0.89% Annual Fee
  • Dedicated Advisor
  • Personalized Portfolio
  • Excellent Financial Tools
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Disclosure: BestRoboAdvisors.org has entered into a referral and advertising arrangement with Vanguard and may receive compensation when you open an account or for certain qualifying activities. You will not be charged a fee for this referral, and Vanguard and BestRoboAdvisors.org are not related entities. All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of your investment money. Advice services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or by Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited-purpose trust company. The services provided to clients who elect to receive ongoing advice will vary based on the amount of assets in a portfolio. Please review the Vanguard Personal Advisor Services Brochure (PDF) for important details about the service, including its asset-based service levels and fee breakpoints.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services

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