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Two Become One: An Easier Way To Combine Accounts

Late last month I wrote about how my wife and I were going to consolidate our Vanguard accounts [3] by transferring the assets in her individual mutual fund account into my individual mutual fund account. As it turns out, there is an even better way to do this and I was surprised the original Vanguard CSR didn’t mention it (I don’t blame him as I did ask him three different questions and this was the third and least significant one).

The easiest way to do this was for me to open a Joint mutual fund account with both of our names on it, something you can do entirely online, then call up Vanguard and request that they transfer the assets from my wife’s individual account and my individual account into that joint account. By doing it on the phone, with all the verbal verification of our individual security data, we could skip a trip to a bank to get a signature guarantee. (I manage to always miss the branch managers or go to banks that don’t have a manager able to do a signature guarantee – I still haven’t changed the accounts for my TreasuryDirect account!)

This was all kicked off when I called up Vanguard to confirm I filled out their Asset Transfer form correctly. The form, while not too complicated, was a little confusing because it had two places for signature guarantees, lots of optional information, and I’m easily confused and befuddled. When I called them up, the CSR just asked if I preferred it if she did the transaction for me. Ha, of course I preferred it. 🙂

The phone conversation took fifteen minutes, which included a lot of explanation, and the conversion/consolidation process took approximately five business days; our accounts are now finally consolidated!