403(b) Services

How to lower your 403(b) plan fees & fund costs

Why pay more when you can make a smart choice for your retirement savings? Consider the benefits of investing with Vanguard.

Ready to invest in a 403(b)?

Call 800-569-4903
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time

Ready to invest in a 403(b)?

Call 877-859-5756
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time

Why it’s important to understand 403(b) fees

To get the true story about fees, look at the total, all-in plan price. As the chart shows, our competitors can charge twice as many individual fees.

When you compare the total amount paid for all plan service and investment fees, Vanguard 403(b) Services ranks among the lowest-cost 403(b) plans available.

Transparent recordkeeping fees

Our fees are clear and straightforward. While some 403(b) providers may charge many types of fees—fees you may not even realize you're being charged—Vanguard has just 2:

Plan participants will never find a hidden fee or charge. That means no front-or back-end loads, commissions, surrender charges, or asset-based administration "wrap" fees.  And we don't charge you for taking a distribution from your account, as many of our competitors do.*

Plan sponsors have 2 options for paying the recordkeeping fee: as a direct plan sponsor expense, or through automated deductions from participant accounts. If applicable, a plan using a third-party administrator (TPA) may charge a TPA fee, which the plan sponsor can deduct from participant accounts.**

Compare Vanguard fees with the competition***

Fees others may charge:

  • Flat recordkeeping
  • Expense ratio
  • Asset-based administration
  • Distribution-processing
  • Miscellaneous
  • Commissions
  • Front/back-end loads
  • Surrender charges

The only fees Vanguard charges:

  • Flat recordkeeping
  • Expense ratio

Low fund costs

The Vanguard average expense ratio for mutual funds is 82% less than the industry average.††

For investors, that can mean more potential returns because every penny you save in fund costs is a penny that stays in your account, where it can grow tax-deferred.                   .

Because costs and fees can cut directly into investment returns, it's important to know what your funds cost—whether you're an employer choosing a plan or an employee who may have a choice of providers.

Target retirement funds

Vanguard Target Retirement Funds offer a complete portfolio in a single fund. With Vanguard 403(b) Services, you have access to our lowest-cost target retirement funds—Vanguard Institutional Target Retirement Funds. There are no fund minimums.

Learn more about target retirement funds

Admiral Shares

Vanguard 403(b) Services has the added benefit of offering additional cost savings through the Admiral™ Shares of our mutual funds with no minimum investment required.

See how Admiral Shares can help keep your costs under control

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What plan sponsors need to know

Vanguard 403(b) Services provides premier recordkeeping, easy plan management, and day-to-day support from an assigned client services team in partnership with Newport Group.**

What plan participants need to know

You can build for your future today with low-cost funds and dedicated support through Vanguard 403(b) Services.

Make retirement saving easy

If you don't know how to start saving for retirement, we can help you figure out how much you'll need and how to balance all your savings goals.

Get the basics about saving for retirement

Consolidate your accounts

Consider moving accounts you hold elsewhere to Vanguard. You'll enjoy more control of your portfolio now and get a clear picture of your investment strategy.

Transfer accounts to Vanguard

Use our handy tools

You're putting money away for your future, but how do you know if it will be enough?

See if you'll have enough to retire

We're here to help

Plan participants

Call 800-569-4903

Existing plan sponsors

Call 877-893-5426

Prospective plan sponsors

Call 877-859-5756

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time


Already a plan participant? Log in to access your account.

We're here to help

Plan participants

Call 800-569-4903

Existing plan sponsors

Call 877-893-5426

Prospective plan sponsors

Call 877-859-5756

Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time


Already a plan participant?
Log in to access your account.

*A participant who takes a loan from a 403(b) account (if the plan permits) will incur a one time $50 loan initiation fee and a $25 per-year loan maintenance fee.

**Plans using a third-party administrator (TPA) may authorize Vanguard to deduct the TPA's fees from participant accounts. These fees or charges will be listed as a separate line-item fee and be clearly identified on participant statements.

***Actual participant and/or plan fees may vary depending on the investments and services used. Fees not reflected in the table may include certain participant transaction fees, such as loans, and fees for other services if applicable.

†Some companies charge fees for account setup closeout, or transfer; paper statements; wires; copies of confirmations or checks; or to wire money from a participant's account.

††Vanguard average expense ratio: 0.10%. Industry average expense ratio: 0.55%. All averages are asset-weighted. Industry averages exclude Vanguard. Sources: Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of December 31, 2021.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

Investments in Target Retirement Funds are subject to the risks of their underlying funds. The year in the fund name refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the fund would retire and leave the workforce. The fund will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive investments to more conservative ones based on its target date. An investment in a Target Retirement Fund is not guaranteed at any time, including on or after the target date.

For more information about Vanguard funds or ETFs, visit vanguard.com to obtain a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information about a fund are contained in the prospectus; read and consider it carefully before investing.