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Vanguard - Most common questions

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Most common questions

Retirement: Will I have enough money to retire?

One rule of thumb is that you'll need to replace at least 70% to 80% of your income before retirement. Of course, your situation may be different. Other factors also come into play, such as your lifestyle, your health, and the inevitable effect of inflation.

To help you determine how much to save, try our interactive tool. Remember to do a financial checkup every couple of years—or every year as you near retirement—just to be sure you’re still on track.

College: Does Vanguard offer a 529?

Only states and schools can sponsor 529 plans, but they often retain firms such as Vanguard to manage the assets in their plans and to provide administrative services.

Vanguard has teamed with Upromise Investments, Inc., and the State of Nevada to offer The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan, which gives you access to low-cost Vanguard investments, high contribution limits, and some of the best tax advantages available for college investing. With 17 individual portfolios suitable for a wide range of investing styles and three age-based investment tracks, this 529 plan can help you build your college savings. Plus, you'll get easy account management through Vanguard.com.

Also, several other states have incorporated Vanguard investments as part of their savings options. Learn more about 529 plans offering Vanguard investments, or visit the Vanguard College Savings Center to research college savings options, calculate college costs, and create a plan to help meet your goals.

For more information about The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan, download a Program Description or request one by calling 866-734-4530. The Program Description includes investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information; read and consider it carefully before investing. Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor and Underwriter. Please Note: Before investing in any 529 plan, you should consider whether your or the beneficiary's home state offers a 529 plan that provides its taxpayers with favorable state tax and other benefits that are only available through investment in the home state's 529 plan. You also should consult your financial, tax, or other adviser to learn more about how state-based benefits (or any limitations) would apply to your specific circumstances. You also may wish to contact directly your home state's 529 plan[s], or any other 529 plan, to learn more about those plans' features, benefits and limitations. Keep in mind that state-based benefits should be one of many appropriately weighted factors to be considered when making an investment decision.

The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan is a Nevada Trust administered by the Board of Trustees of the College Savings Plans of Nevada, chaired by State Treasurer Kate Marshall. 

The Vanguard Group, Inc., serves as the Investment Manager and through its affiliate, Vanguard Marketing Corporation, markets and distributes the Plan. Upromise Investments, Inc., serves as Program Manager and has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations, including effecting transactions. The Plan’s portfolios, although they invest in Vanguard mutual funds, are not mutual funds. Investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the Plan.

Mutual funds: How can I pay less income tax on my mutual fund investment?

First, contribute as much as you can to tax-favored accounts such as IRAs or employer-sponsored plans.

If you still have money to invest in a taxable account, you can further limit your tax bill in the following ways:

  • Buying and holding. If you sell fund shares you've held for one year or less, you'll have to pay tax on any capital gains at your regular income tax rate—up to 35%. If you hold shares more than a year before selling, your capital gains will be taxed at a maximum rate of 15%—typically much lower than the tax rate on ordinary income.
  • Using tax-efficient funds. Invest in funds, such as index funds, that generally have low turnover (that is, they buy and sell securities relatively infrequently). You'll be less likely to owe tax on capital gains distributions.
  • Investing in tax-managed funds. Tax-managed funds tend to buy and hold, and they also use other tactics to avoid making capital gains distributions. These funds may pay income distributions, which are taxable at ordinary income rates.
  • Investing in tax-exempt municipal bond funds. If you're in one of the top income tax brackets, you can realize higher income after taxes from a tax-exempt bond fund than you would from a taxable bond fund. This is true even though the interest rates on municipal bonds are typically lower than those paid on taxable bonds.*

Brokerage: What are the commission rates for Vanguard Brokerage Services?

We offer commission-free trading for all Vanguard ETFs® and competitive rates for stocks, bonds, CDs, options, and mutual funds and ETFs from other companies. You pay the same amount whether you're trading online or by phone. See the Vanguard Brokerage Services® Commission and Fee Schedules for full details, including limits and exclusions.

Technical: Which browsers and computer systems work best with vanguard.com?

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We recommend running Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion), or 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and using one of the following browsers:

  • Safari 5.x or higher.
  • Firefox 10.x or higher.
  • Google Chrome 17.x or higher.

To upgrade your existing browser, see How do I upgrade my browser?

Many browser-related questions are answered in the Help menu in the browser toolbar at the top of your screen.

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