Money. Other than your family, your health, and your career, it doesn’t get much more personal than your finances. And as we all know, beyond how money matters intersect our daily lives, it’s the big stuff that can overwhelm us and keep us up at night. How do I save for my kids’ college? What’s the best way to invest for my retirement? Will I outlive my money?!

Investing with confidence can be a challenge, especially when your future depends on it. Over the past couple of years, I posted blogs about portfolio pitfalls and mistakes your neighbors won’t tell you about to help our clients avoid common investing errors. Successful investing comes down to getting the big things right (and avoiding some of the mistakes I’ve shared).  The big things are:


  • Setting clear goals and saving at the appropriate level to reach your own personal goals.
  • Developing a prudent allocation among stocks, bonds, and short-term investments in a mix that makes sense given your goals, how long you’re investing, and your ability to handle risk.
  • Minimizing investment costs and taxes.
  • Establishing the right types of accounts for your specific goals – whether a traditional or Roth IRA for retirement, or a 529 savings plan for a college education – and using the right funds for those accounts.
  • Monitoring your portfolio, making periodic adjustments to account for changes in your life, and rebalancing to maintain your asset allocation.
  • And perhaps the most difficult of all, having the confidence in your plan to stay the course in times of market turmoil and volatility.


You can find a number of investor education resources, calculators, and tools at to help you invest on your own. And many of our clients do exactly that – with great success. But, let’s face it, managing your own investments isn’t for everybody. In recent years, we’ve heard more and more from our clients that they need additional help. Many don’t have the willingness or ability to devote the time necessary to getting those big things right. And our clients aren’t alone. In fact, two-thirds of investors today seek the assistance of a professional*. Because, while we all have a sense of what the big things are, life can derail even those of us with the very best intentions. Yes, investors make mistakes – and that’s where good advice and a good advisor can make a meaningful difference. That’s why we’re launching our new advisory service, Vanguard Personal Advisor Services®.

Although Vanguard has been offering investment advisory services for nearly 20 years, we’re making it more broadly available and even more affordable. And we’re doing that without sacrificing the personal attention of an advisor. While we’ve built a powerful technology platform that minimizes costs and provides you with valuable financial goal and portfolio information, a Vanguard personal advisor is at the heart of our new service. Simply put, we believe in the value that an advisor brings to the equation. Based on our research, advisors can help add value over time when comparing the projected results of a portfolio that is managed using best practices for wealth management with those of portfolios that are not.

To close on a more personal note, I know as well as anyone that life doesn’t always go as planned. As I’ve shared in this blog before, I was diagnosed with breast cancer about three years ago. The experience, which I’m grateful to have behind me, brought many things into sharper focus for me – some personal and some professional. Among them, I recognized that I didn’t quite have all of my financial ducks aligned in a perfect row. Luckily, my experience at Vanguard and my personal interest in managing my own investments left me in pretty good shape when it came to the aforementioned “big things”. At the time, that was quite a comfort to me, as it allowed me to focus on the more important work of getting well. But, despite being an industry professional, I have to admit that even I had an opportunity to tighten up and fine tune my plan. In the end, it isn’t just about the algorithms, the equations, or the numbers. It’s about getting the big things right, sometimes with a lot of help along the way.

We developed Vanguard Personal Advisor with one clear objective: to help more of our clients achieve better investment outcomes. I’m confident our new service will help many investors achieve their financial goals – and I’m proud to count myself among them. No surprise, I’m a loyal and decades-long Vanguard client. As of today, I’m also a Personal Advisor client.

Have you had a past experience in which partnering with a financial advisor would’ve helped?  Do you think you may be missing out on a chance to earn more?


*Market Strategies International: Cogent™ Wealth Reports, Investor Brandscape, 2013


  • Please remember that all investments involve some risk. Be aware that fluctuations in the financial markets and other factors may cause declines in the value of your account. There is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or mix of funds will meet your investment objectives or provide you with a given level of income.
  • Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
  • Bonds are subject to the risk that an issuer will fail to make payments on time, and that bond prices will decline because of rising interest rates or negative perceptions of an issuer’s ability to make payments.
  •  Advisory services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc. (VAI), a registered investment advisor.