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

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.
3:27 minutes
February 10, 2022
How to invest
Start investing
Vanguard news

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.


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. There’s no cost to open an account, so let’s get started.

First, click Open an Account at the top of the page. From here you’ll select Start your new account.

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

If you’re not already a Vanguard client, select No, I’m new here.

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. Once your money reaches your new account, you can start investing.

You’ll begin by selecting your goal and a related account type.

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

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

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.

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. 

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 in to your bank, you can add your bank manually. 

After logging into your bank, select which checking or savings account you’d like to use. You can add more accounts later. 

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

To fund your account now, enter the dollar amount of your initial transfer.

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

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 invest in, and you can update them at any time.

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

Congratulations! Your first investment will go into a money market settlement fund that comes with your account. You’ll then use this money to purchase investments.

We look forward to helping you achieve your financial goals!

Ready to start?

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

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

Brokerage assets are held by Vanguard Brokerage Services, a division of Vanguard Marketing Corporation, member FINRA and SIPC.

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