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How to invest

Buying and selling mutual funds—ours and theirs

Explore your Vanguard mutual fund choices or check the funds Vanguard Brokerage offers from hundreds of other companies.
8 minute read

Points to know

  • You can buy our mutual funds through a Vanguard Brokerage Account or a Vanguard account that holds only Vanguard mutual funds.
  • You must have a Vanguard Brokerage Account to buy funds from other companies.
  • To avoid buying the dividend and getting a tax surprise, you should check the capital gains and dividend distribution dates before buying mutual funds.

Investing in Vanguard mutual funds

Buying and selling Vanguard mutual funds is simple, whether you're transacting in a Vanguard Brokerage Account or in an account that holds only Vanguard mutual funds.

Here are details on fund prices, investment costs, and how to buy and sell.

Each business day, by law, mutual funds determine the price of their shares.

They do this by taking the current value of all a fund's assets, subtracting the liabilities, and dividing the result by the total number of outstanding shares.

A fund's share price is known as the net asset value (NAV).

If we receive your request to buy or sell a fund before the close of regular trading hours on the New York Stock Exchange (usually 4 p.m., Eastern time), your transaction will receive that day's closing price.

If we receive your request after the market closes, your transaction will receive the next business day's closing price.

Vanguard mutual funds strive to hold down your investing costs so you keep more of your returns. The funds offer:

  • Expense ratios below the industry average.*
  • An option for electronic delivery of account documents so you pay no account service fees.
  • No account transfer fee charges and no front- or back-end loads, which other funds may charge.

View Vanguard mutual fund fees & minimums at a glance

See how you can avoid account service fees

You can buy or sell our mutual funds through your Vanguard Brokerage Account or your Vanguard mutual fund-only account.

Find out what you can expect from Vanguard mutual funds

Browse Vanguard mutual funds

If you buy or sell via a bank transfer, your bank account should be debited or credited within 2 business days.

See how to add money to your accounts

Investing in mutual funds from other companies

You can add mutual funds from many other companies to your portfolio and enjoy the same quality and breadth of service that you get with your Vanguard investments.

Here are details on fund prices, investment costs, and how to buy and sell.

Like Vanguard mutual funds, orders for other companies' mutual funds execute at that business day's closing price as long as they're received before the cutoff time.

Unlike Vanguard mutual funds, the cutoff for other companies' funds varies by fund. You can find the cutoff time by clicking the fund's name as you place a trade. Orders received after this deadline will execute at the following business day's closing.

Vanguard Brokerage offers a variety of funds from other companies with no transaction fees (NTFs). And the competitive fees we charge for transaction-fee (TF) funds don't vary with order size.

Get to know your investment costs

Don't let high costs eat away your returns

View our commission & fee schedules

All funds bought and sold from other companies settle through your settlement fund. Before you transact, find out how the settlement fund works.

Learn about the role of your settlement fund

See how other companies' funds can work for you

Generally, investing in other companies' funds is similar to investing in Vanguard mutual funds except that you must have a Vanguard Brokerage Account.

If you need to open a brokerage account, it's easy to do so online.

Open a brokerage account online

If you already have an account, you can start trading now

Other considerations

Here are some best practices for investing in mutual funds.

Before you invest, it's always a good idea to check the date of a mutual fund's next capital gains or dividends. If the payout is near, you may want to hold off investing to avoid "buying the dividend."

Find out why you should avoid buying the dividend

Some investors try to profit from strategies involving frequent trading of mutual fund shares, such as market-timing.

They buy in and out of a fund excessively, which can disrupt the fund's management and result in higher costs borne by all of a fund's shareholders.

We look for one of these behaviors:

  • Excessive purchase and redemption activity within the same fund.
  • Excessive exchange activity between 2 or more funds within a short time frame.

Vanguard Brokerage and the fund families whose funds can be traded through Vanguard Brokerage place certain limits on frequent transactions and reserve the right to decline a transaction if it appears you're engaging in frequent trading or market-timing.

Vanguard funds may also impose purchase and redemption fees to help manage the flow of investment money.

What's next?

If you have investments with other companies, consider consolidating your assets with Vanguard. You'll make one phone call, receive one comprehensive statement, and log in to one website to manage and transact on your accounts.

Turn to Vanguard for all your investment needs

See what you can gain with an account transfer

GOOD TO KNOW!

All brokerage trades settle through your settlement fund.

Open or transfer accounts

Open or transfer accounts

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

*Vanguard average mutual fund expense ratio: 0.10%. Industry average mutual fund expense ratio: 0.55%. All averages are asset-weighted. Industry average excludes 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.

Vanguard ETF Shares are not redeemable with the issuing Fund other than in very large aggregations worth millions of dollars. Instead, investors must buy and sell Vanguard ETF Shares in the secondary market and hold those shares in a brokerage account. In doing so, the investor may incur brokerage commissions and may pay more than net asset value when buying and receive less than net asset value when selling.