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Open a joint account or an individual account

Saving for something other than retirement or college? You can set up an account with shared ownership or create one in your name alone.

Saving for a big event or your rainy day fund?

Take advantage of opportunities to grow that money until you need it.

Things you should know before you get started

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Minimum investment amounts

You'll need $3,000 to buy most Vanguard mutual funds, though there are some with lower or higher minimums.*

And you can invest in any ETF (exchange-traded fund) for the price of 1 share, which will vary throughout the day.

Other companies' funds may have different minimums, so be sure to check their prospectuses. And like ETFs, minimums for individual stocks, certificates of deposit (CDs), and bonds are based on their current market prices.


Your investment earnings—the money your money makes—will likely be taxed at the federal, state, and sometimes local levels. The tax rate depends largely on your income and how long you hold the investment.

You could shrink that tax bill by choosing tax-efficient investments.

Expectations for investment returns

Trying to find the fastest road to riches could put your hard-earned savings at risk just as quickly.

Particularly when making a shorter-term investment—less than 7–10 years, for example—you'll want to choose the combination of bonds and stocks that strikes the right balance between risk and reward.

Other investment costs

Some investments have obvious costs—like trading commissions and service fees. But keep a keen eye on expense ratios too. While they don't show up on your statement as a debit, they can take a serious bite out of your savings.

At Vanguard, you'll enjoy no commission to trade ETFs, stocks, and Vanguard mutual funds online. Our account service fees are easily avoidable,** and our expense ratios are 83% less than the industry average.† Put it all together, and you keep more of your money in your account, where it belongs.

Get it done in 4 easy steps

It's easy to open joint accounts and individual accounts online, and it takes just a few minutes.

Step 1

Choose your account type & tell us about yourself

You can choose an individual account (in your name only) or a joint account (with multiple equal owners), or you can open other types of taxable accounts.

You'll also be asked to provide your name, the name of any joint account owners, or the name of your organization, along with:

  • Social Security or other tax identification numbers.
  • Birth or incorporation dates.
  • U.S. mail and email addresses and other contact information.
  • Employer names and addresses, as applicable.

Step 2

Select your investments

Choose from more than 150 Vanguard mutual funds and 70 Vanguard ETFs®.

You can also complement your portfolio with funds and ETFs from hundreds of other companies, as well as individual stocks, CDs, and bonds.

Step 3

Tell us where the money's coming from

If it's coming from your bank, provide your bank account and routing numbers for an electronic transfer or your bank name and wire date for a wire transfer.

If it's coming from another investment company …

Step 4

Review & sign your application

You can either electronically sign your application or print, sign, and mail the form to us.

Then what?

Once your account is set up, there are a few things you can do to control your costs and make your investments easier to manage.


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Expense ratio

The annual operating expenses of a mutual fund or ETF (exchange-traded fund), expressed as a percentage of the fund's average net assets. It's calculated annually and removed from the fund's earnings before they're distributed to investors, directly reducing investors' returns.

An expense ratio includes management, administrative, marketing, and distribution fees. It doesn't include trading or sales commissions, loads, or purchase or redemption fees.

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Other types of taxable accounts

Uniform Gifts/Transfers to Minors Act (UGMA/UTMA) accounts, which are administered by an adult on behalf of a minor until the child reaches the age of majority (typically 18 years old).

Guardian accounts, which are administered by a court-appointed guardian or conservator.

Trust accounts, which hold assets held in a personal or retirement trust. This includes trusts created by a will.

Estate and other organization accounts, which are owned by an entity versus an individual person. This includes accounts held by corporations, partnerships, professional associations, endowments, foundations, and other organizations.