Vanguard 101 – How to Invest

This content may contain affiliate links. See the Privacy Policy for more information.

Welcome to Vanguard 101: How to Invest. Before proceeding, make sure you’ve checked out my Vanguard 101: Account Setup tutorial. You’ll need a Vanguard account in order to start investing!

If you’ve made it here, you’ve probably learned about the power of investing and how compound interest is your best friend! Someone must have told you about Vanguard’s low fee structure, excellent customer service, and outstanding reputation.

Someone: “Just go buy some Vanguard index funds, it’s easy and more effective than picking stocks”

You: “Okay, great!”

*Opens up Vanguard.com* Uh, Oh. What the heck am I supposed to do now?!

Investing may be second nature to seasoned investors and financial gurus, but it can be quite overwhelming for a beginner. In this article, I am going to show you EXACTLY how to purchase Vanguard Mutual Funds and ETFs.

Vanguard Admiral Shares Mutual Funds are only available to investors with $10,000 or more in their account. Not to worry! Vanguard also has ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) available to investors who don’t meet this $10,000 minimum. These Vanguard ETFs are nearly identical to the Vanguard Admiral Shares Mutual Funds.

Let’s get started!

Click this link if you have less than $10,000 to invest.


Click this link if you have $10,000 or more to invest.


 

Buying Vanguard ETFs:

This process is for investors with less than $10,000 in their account.

Step 1:

Go to https://investor.vanguard.com/corporate-portal/

You will arrive at this page (or something similar). Select “Personal Investors” and click “Go To The Site”.

Step 2:

Once you’ve arrived at the personal investors’ page, you will be prompted to either Login or “Open an account online”. If you already have an account, login — If not, select “Open an account online” and set up your account. If you’re unsure about what type of account to set up, read here about what account type best suits your needs. For new accounts, the account verification process may take 2-5 business days. You will not be able to continue until your account is verified.

Step 3:

Once logged in, move your cursor over the “My Accounts” tab and select “Buy & Sell”.

Step 4:

After selecting “Buy and sell”, you will be directed to this page. Under Brokerage products, select “Trade Vanguard ETFs (and non-Vanguard ETFs)”.

Step 5:

Here we are. Now we get to fill in all the necessary information to complete our first purchase. In this example, I chose to purchase 1 share of VTI (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ETF).

First I clicked the drop-down menu to select the Account I’m investing with (mine is not visible for privacy purposes). For Transaction type, I selected “Buy” from the drop-down menu. Then, I typed “VTI” into the box next to Symbol and “1” into the box next to Shares. Next, I clicked the drop-down menu next to Order Type and selected “Market”.

VTI is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index ETF. Basically, this means that buying this ETF will give you exposure to the entire stock market! That’s great news for the new investor because the stock market has averaged an 8.86% annual return over the past 100 years.

Following this example is a perfect way for a new investor to get started. However, there are plenty of other ETFs to choose from and various investment strategies. To learn more about investing, click here.

After inputting all of the necessary fields, click “Continue” at the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Step 6:

Vanguard will bring you to this final screen to review your order. After verifying that everything is all set, hit the “Submit” button. Congratulations! You’ve just invested in a Vanguard ETF. If you’ve followed these instructions between 9:30 AM – 3:59 PM on Monday through Friday (holidays excluded), your order will process immediately. If not, your transaction will process at 9:30 AM the following business day.

Keep Track!

Keeping track of your investments is important. Personal Capital is a FREE website that aggregates all of your financial information to help you track your net worth. I highly recommend using Personal Capital. Their website is easy to use, there is a mobile app, and it’s completely free! If you’d like to sign up, please use THIS LINK (You’ll get $20, FREE!).


 

Buying Vanguard Mutual Funds:

This process is for investors with $10,000 or more in their account.

Step 1:

Go to https://investor.vanguard.com/corporate-portal/

You will arrive at this page (or something similar). Select “Personal Investors” and click “Go To The Site”.

Step 2:

Once you’ve arrived at the personal investors’ page, you will be prompted to either Login or “Open an account online”. If you already have an account, login — If not, select “Open an account online” and set up your account. If you’re unsure about what type of account to set up, read here about what account type best suits your needs. For new accounts, the account verification process may take 2-5 business days. You will not be able to continue until your account is verified.

Step 3:

Once logged in, move your cursor over the “My Accounts” tab and select “Buy & Sell”.

Step 4:

After selecting “Buy and sell”, you will arrive at this menu. Under Vanguard mutual funds, select “Buy Vanguard Funds”.

Step 5:

After selecting which account you are transacting in, Vanguard will bring you to this page. Click “Add another Vanguard mutual fund”. The Federal Money Market (Settlement fund) will already be there by default. A settlement fund is where Vanguard holds your money when you transfer from a bank account. If I transferred $100,000 over to Vanguard, the funds would sit in a “settlement fund” until I invested them.

You will then be prompted to “Enter name, symbol or number” of the mutual fund that you are looking to buy.

For this example, I chose to invest in VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares). As you can see, the minimum requirement for this fund is $10,000.00, so investors with less money will not have access.

Note: VTSMX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Investor Shares) is essentially the same as VTSAX, but it has a $3,000 minimum. The expense ratio is slightly higher, but this is a great option for investors with less than $10,000.

VTSAX is the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares. Basically, this means that buying this Mutual Fund will give you exposure to the entire stock market! That’s great news for the new investor because the stock market has averaged an 8.86% annual return over the past 100 years.

Following this example is a perfect way for a new investor to get started. However, there are plenty of other Mutual Funds to choose from and various investment strategies. To learn more about investing, click here.

Let’s move forward with buying VTSAX. You will be prompted to fill in the “Buy in dollars” field with your desired dollar amount (Minimum is $10,000). This can be ANY amount over $10,000. For example, you could enter “$12,137.49” if you wanted to. After you’ve selected the amount you wish to invest, click “Continue”.

Step 6:

After inputting your desired Vanguard Mutual Fund and investment amount, you will designate where the investment funds are coming from. Select “From my settlement fund” and click “Continue”.

Step 7:

Vanguard will bring you to this final screen to review your order. After verifying that everything is all set, hit the “Submit” button. Congratulations! You’ve just invested in a Vanguard Mutual Fund. If you’ve followed these instructions between 9:30 AM – 3:59 PM on Monday through Friday (holidays excluded), your order will process at the END of the current business day at 4:00 PM. If not, your transaction will process at 4:00 PM on the next business day.

Keep Track!

Keeping track of your investments is important. Personal Capital is a FREE website that aggregates all of your financial information to help you track your net worth. I highly recommend using Personal Capital. Their website is easy to use, there is a mobile app, and it’s completely free! If you’d like to sign up, please use THIS LINK (You’ll get $20, FREE!).


For Mutual Funds Only: If you’d like to automate your Vanguard investments, click here to learn about Automatic Investments.

If this content helped you, please share! Website traffic helps to keep the lights on and allows me to keep producing helpful content.

Note: I am not a financial advisor or fiduciary. All the information presented in this article reflects my opinion. I am not liable for any financial losses incurred related to this content. My content is always written with the readers’ best interests in mind. I believe that my content is helpful and well-researched, but it is not professional financial advice. For more information, read our Privacy Policy.