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Real-life investing advice for your goals

We can help you reach your financial goals with professional planning and coaching, and by investing your portfolio on an ongoing basis.

Partner with a Vanguard advisor to help you reach your goals

At the center of our advice service is a partnership with a Vanguard advisor. We'll develop a customized, goals-based financial plan according to your unique situation. After that, we'll invest your portfolio to help you reach your goals. Whether you're saving for retirement, a college education, a home, or you're about to retire or already retired, an advisor can help.

Here's how an advisor adds value

Recent Vanguard research shows that an advisor who provides the below investment strategies and guidance can add meaningful value compared to the average investor experience.*

According to our research, a financial advisor adds value by:

Serving as your investing coach

During times when the market rises or falls, it's easy to be tempted to abandon a well-thought-out plan. An advisor acts as an investing coach during these times to help an investor stick to the plan and stay on course.

Minimizing your taxes

The less you pay in taxes, the more money you keep. According to our research, an advisor can help minimize an investor's tax burden in two ways: first, by efficiently allocating assets between taxable and tax-advantaged accounts; and second, when the time comes to withdraw money, such as for retirement, by developing a tax-smart distribution plan.

Building your portfolio with low-cost funds

Our research suggests that lower-cost investments have tended to outperform higher-cost alternatives. That's why an advisor will build a portfolio with our low-cost funds.

Vanguard advisors follow these same practices

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services is specifically designed to leverage these disciplined investing principles. And all of our financial advisors are trained to follow these practices to help you reach your goals.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services®

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Serve as your investing coach

Based on a Vanguard study of actual client behavior, we found that investors who deviated from their initial retirement fund investment trailed the target-date fund benchmark by 1.50%. This suggests that the discipline and guidance that an advisor provides through coaching could be the largest potential value-add to the average investor. In addition, Vanguard research and other academic studies have concluded that this type of coaching can add up to 2% in net return.

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Minimize your taxes

Our research has shown that constructing a portfolio to hold tax-efficient broad-market stock investments in taxable accounts and taxable bonds in tax-advantaged accounts can minimize taxes and add up to 0.75% of additional net return in the first year, without increasing risk.

In addition, advisors can help minimize the total taxes paid over the course of retirement by advising an investor to follow tax-smart withdrawal strategies using this order: required minimum distributions (mandated by law for retired investors age 70½ or older who own assets in tax-deferred accounts), followed by dividends and interest on assets held in taxable accounts, taxable assets, and finally tax-advantaged assets.

Once the order of withdrawals among taxable and tax-advantaged accounts is determined and its tax impact fully considered, the next step is to specifically identify which assets to sell to meet spending needs.

Our research has shown that strategic spending from an investor's portfolio can add up to 0.70% of average annualized value without any additional risk.

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Build your portfolio with low-cost funds

Cost-effective implementation of an investment portfolio is based on simple math. Every dollar paid for management fees, trading costs, and taxes is a dollar less of potential return for you. Based on measuring the asset-weighted expense ratio of the entire mutual fund and ETF industry, our research found that an investor could save from 0.35% to 0.46% annually by moving to low-cost funds.

It's important to note, too, that the potential increase in net returns has nothing to do with market performance. When you pay less, you keep more, regardless of whether the markets move up or down. In fact, in a low-return environment, costs are even more important because the lower the returns, the higher the proportion that's consumed by fund expenses.

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Review and rebalance your portfolio

Our research has shown an advisor can help an investor add about 0.35% in net portfolio returns in a 60% stock/40% bond portfolio when it's rebalanced annually versus the same portfolio when it's not rebalanced.

Historically, rebalancing opportunities have occurred when there's been a large difference between the returns of stocks and bonds. Whether in bull or bear markets, reallocating assets from the better-performing asset classes to the worse-performing ones feels counterintuitive to the average investor. We found that an advisor can provide the necessary discipline to rebalance when it's needed most.