Start with this step-by-step guide to opening a personal investment account, such as a general investing brokerage account or an IRA.
Investing strategies

Ready to invest? See how to open an account

Start with this step-by-step guide to opening a personal investment account, such as a general investing brokerage account or an IRA.
3:17 minutes
April 24, 2023
Investing strategies
How to invest
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Open an account

Whether you’re opening an account to start investing for the first time, or to refine your current investing strategy, we’re here to make it easier for you with this step-by-step guide. This 3-minute walkthrough of the online application will help you get ready to open a personal investment account for your general investing or retirement goals.

Not sure which account type you’ll need? See account types that fit your goals.


Visual: The words “Opening a new account at Vanguard” appear on a white background

Welcome! We’re excited to be your investing partner as you take charge of your financial future. Through this short video you’ll get a sense of what to expect when opening a Vanguard account. We'll cover the process for IRAs, individual and joint nonretirement accounts, and SEP-IRAs for one person. There’s no cost to open an account, so let’s get started.

Visual: A woman walking through town reads how to open a Vanguard brokerage account on her cell phone. A grandfather helps his grandson with his homework. Another woman, in her kitchen, learns about the account opening process on her tablet.

First, select Open an account on Vanguard's Personal Investor homepage.

Visual: Screen transitions to Vanguard’s Personal Investor homepage page and zooms in on the “Open an account” button. The button is selected and transitions to the sign-up page.

We’ll assume you’re using your bank to make your initial investment. You can also rollover or transfer investments from another company.

Visual: The words “How can we get you started?” appear on a white background. The “Open a new account with money from my bank” option is selected.

If you’re not already a Vanguard client, select I’m new to Vanguard.

Visual: On the account opening page, the “I’m new to Vanguard” account opening option is highlighted and selected.

Here’s a look at the process and the things you’ll need to get started. The process will take about 5 to 10 minutes, and steps will vary based on the account type you select.

Visual: Screen transitions to the Vanguard “Open an account” overview page.

Once your money reaches your new account, you can start investing. You’ll begin by selecting your goal and a related account type.

Visual: Screen navigates to the Vanguard account selection page and shows all the account types you can choose from.

You can always reference the frequently asked questions on each page.

Visual: Screen zooms in on the frequently asked questions bar on the right side of the account selection page.

Your account will act as a container for the investments you’ll choose later—such as index funds, stocks, CDs, or ETFs.

Visual: Screen zooms out to show the entire account selection page and selects the “general investing” option.

For this example, let’s select a general investing brokerage account for one person.

Next, you’ll provide your personal information. You can be confident that Vanguard uses a number of security measures to keep your data safe.

Visual: Screen navigates through the personal information pages where new clients input their name, email, birthday, citizenship, social security number, address, and phone number.

Review your details for accuracy. You’ll then create a username and password. In addition, you’ll agree to web terms and paperless documents. You’ll also set up your security questions.

Visual: Screen transitions to the review page where clients review and verify their personal information. It then transitions to the next page where clients select a username and password, sign the terms of use consent form, and set up security questions.

Next, you’ll add the bank account you’ll use for transactions. All new accounts require a bank on file. Select your bank from a list of popular banks, or search for it manually by name. You may see other banks with similar names, so be sure to select the correct one. If you’re unable to log into your bank, you can add your bank manually.

Visual: Screens transitions to the “add bank-on-file” page where clients connect their bank account. A brief demonstration shows how to select your bank, search for your bank, or enter your bank information manually.

Next, choose if you want to fund your account now or later. As a reminder, there’s no cost to open an account; however, some financial products require a minimum amount.

Visual: Demonstration of how to choose to fund your account later.

To fund your account now, enter the dollar amount of your initial one-time bank transfer. You can set up recurring transactions later.

Visual: Demonstration of how to fund your account now with an initial one-time bank transfer.

In the next step, you’ll enter your employment information. Certain occupations may have additional rules and regulations.

Visual: Screen navigates through the employment information page where clients input their employer address and select applicable requirements.

On the next few pages, you’ll answer some final questions, which are required for all new brokerage accounts. Your answers won’t affect what products you can buy, and you can update them at any time.

Visual: Brief navigation of the final account opening pages that are required to be completed for all new Vanguard brokerage accounts.

Once you review your information and accept our agreements, you’ll receive a confirmation.

Visual: Screen scrolls through the account review, e-signature, and confirmation pages, confirming that your new Vanguard brokerage account is now open.

Congratulations! Your first investment will go into the settlement fund that comes with your account. You’ll then use this money to purchase investment products. It could take 3-7 days based on the products you select.

We look forward to helping you to achieve your financial goals!

Visual: Vanguard logo appears on a white background.

Ready to start?

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Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

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