Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

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Topic Author
ghil04
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Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

Fellow Bogleheads,

I credit this forum for teaching me everything I know about investing since I first started earning income in 2006, and return for some much-needed help/assurance.

Background: I've been a loyal Vanguard customer since I first opened my account in 2007, and nearly the entirety of my life savings (allocated 75/25 equities/bonds) is dispersed across a mixture of Vanguard Roth/IRA/brokerage accounts. I generally login to my account at least once a day just to see how my funds are performing and diligently re-balance once a year. Despite some small mistakes here and there, sticking to this strategy in the midst of a historic run in equities has allowed me to accumulate a $1MM net worth on a modest middle/upper-income salary...an achievement I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started out on this journey.

Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.

I figured I could just call Vanguard customer service to authenticate myself and replace my cell # with my Google Voice #, but it has been IMPOSSIBLE to access a support person from the general line (877-662-7447). I kidd you not, I spent almost entirety of my workday yesterday halfway across the globe on the line w/ Vanguard's customer service (took screenshots of each):

- Attempt #1: On hold for 45 minutes, line hangs up on me
- Attempt #2: Left a callback number for 90 minutes out. When I received the call, the automated message says "connecting you to an agent" and then proceeds to ring for 30 whole minutes!!!
- Attempt #3: On hold for over 85 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #4: On hold for over 60 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #5: Automated message tells me that their offices are now closed

I even called their Fraud line (877-223-6977) to see if that could help me reach someone, and same issue as above. I've lost a whole day not being able to access my account, and I fear that there's no end in sight...I'm still on hold with them as I'm writing this post, at 52 minutes and coutning....

What are my options here? Are there any options for recourse? Again, my entire life savings are sitting with Vanguard so this situation has me in a panic, esp. since this is around the time of year I re-balance my accounts. I've even tried looking up the e-mail addresses of Vanguard execs to try and light a fire on somebody's feet, but can't seem to find them.

Has anyone ever faced an issue like this? HELP!!
exodusNH
Posts: 156
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:21 pm

Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by exodusNH »

ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:20 pm Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.
Is there anyone you could trust to re-enable the phone you suspended?

Maybe the Asian IP address could be triggering the extra authentication? What about trying a US-based VPN provider?
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ResearchMed
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ResearchMed »

I just tried Google (often a source of surprising information):

I Googled "Vanguard mutual funds email"

And that took me to a webpage I hadn't seen before.
There was contact info, including an e-address for financial advisors.
(In your case, I would have used this if nothing else worked, politely explaing the previous inability to use phone, and ask them to pass the message along, with thanks, etc.)

But thete was next something Personal Investors, so I clicked that.
And I soon got to a page about being locked out, so I clicked that, and there was a place to submit various personal identifiers, including "Registered email address".
Do you still have access to that "registered" e-address?

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
Topic Author
ghil04
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

exodusNH wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:29 pm
ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:20 pm Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.
Is there anyone you could trust to re-enable the phone you suspended?

Maybe the Asian IP address could be triggering the extra authentication? What about trying a US-based VPN provider?
I didn't have an issue logging in for 10 days after first arriving in Asia, so doubt it's an IP address issue.

I have no issues that they're asking me to re-authenticate. 100% of my troubles have to do with the fact that I can't, for the life of me, reach a Vanguard personal rep to help me re-gain access to my account. Am truly at a loss here :(
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Nate79
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Nate79 »

ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:20 pm Fellow Bogleheads,

I credit this forum for teaching me everything I know about investing since I first started earning income in 2006, and return for some much-needed help/assurance.

Background: I've been a loyal Vanguard customer since I first opened my account in 2007, and nearly the entirety of my life savings (allocated 75/25 equities/bonds) is dispersed across a mixture of Vanguard Roth/IRA/brokerage accounts. I generally login to my account at least once a day just to see how my funds are performing and diligently re-balance once a year. Despite some small mistakes here and there, sticking to this strategy in the midst of a historic run in equities has allowed me to accumulate a $1MM net worth on a modest middle/upper-income salary...an achievement I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started out on this journey.

Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.

I figured I could just call Vanguard customer service to authenticate myself and replace my cell # with my Google Voice #, but it has been IMPOSSIBLE to access a support person from the general line (877-662-7447). I kidd you not, I spent almost entirety of my workday yesterday halfway across the globe on the line w/ Vanguard's customer service (took screenshots of each):

- Attempt #1: On hold for 45 minutes, line hangs up on me
- Attempt #2: Left a callback number for 90 minutes out. When I received the call, the automated message says "connecting you to an agent" and then proceeds to ring for 30 whole minutes!!!
- Attempt #3: On hold for over 85 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #4: On hold for over 60 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #5: Automated message tells me that their offices are now closed

I even called their Fraud line (877-223-6977) to see if that could help me reach someone, and same issue as above. I've lost a whole day not being able to access my account, and I fear that there's no end in sight...I'm still on hold with them as I'm writing this post, at 52 minutes and coutning....

What are my options here? Are there any options for recourse? Again, my entire life savings are sitting with Vanguard so this situation has me in a panic, esp. since this is around the time of year I re-balance my accounts. I've even tried looking up the e-mail addresses of Vanguard execs to try and light a fire on somebody's feet, but can't seem to find them.

Has anyone ever faced an issue like this? HELP!!

First, please read this recent thread and see if it helps or not: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=336282

My understanding is Vanguard and many firms are not Google Voice friendly. Second, Vanguard is not international friendly. So you may or may not have much success here.
Topic Author
ghil04
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 6:57 am

Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

ResearchMed wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:35 pm I just tried Google (often a source of surprising information):

I Googled "Vanguard mutual funds email"

And that took me to a webpage I hadn't seen before.
There was contact info, including an e-address for financial advisors.
(In your case, I would have used this if nothing else worked, politely explaing the previous inability to use phone, and ask them to pass the message along, with thanks, etc.)

But thete was next something Personal Investors, so I clicked that.
And I soon got to a page about being locked out, so I clicked that, and there was a place to submit various personal identifiers, including "Registered email address".
Do you still have access to that "registered" e-address?

RM
Bless your soul. I found the webpage you're referring to and it includes numbers I haven't tried before, which I'll do later today. It's crazy this is happening...when did it become so difficult to reach a person at Vanguard?
Todamoon
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:40 pm

Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Todamoon »

I'm in the US and I can attest call wait times are quite long recently at Vanguard and also Charles Schwab. It's tax time and also there's a lot of churn because of recent political events. And the Schwab guy yesterday said they had a major outage due to a server crash or something. These delays and interruptions in service are probably good practice for a correction and to have your ducks in a row beforehand in anticipation of one whenever it comes. Allocate wisely and anticipate outages just when you think you'll need access most.
Topic Author
ghil04
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 6:57 am

Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

Nate79 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:42 pm
ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:20 pm Fellow Bogleheads,

I credit this forum for teaching me everything I know about investing since I first started earning income in 2006, and return for some much-needed help/assurance.

Background: I've been a loyal Vanguard customer since I first opened my account in 2007, and nearly the entirety of my life savings (allocated 75/25 equities/bonds) is dispersed across a mixture of Vanguard Roth/IRA/brokerage accounts. I generally login to my account at least once a day just to see how my funds are performing and diligently re-balance once a year. Despite some small mistakes here and there, sticking to this strategy in the midst of a historic run in equities has allowed me to accumulate a $1MM net worth on a modest middle/upper-income salary...an achievement I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started out on this journey.

Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.

I figured I could just call Vanguard customer service to authenticate myself and replace my cell # with my Google Voice #, but it has been IMPOSSIBLE to access a support person from the general line (877-662-7447). I kidd you not, I spent almost entirety of my workday yesterday halfway across the globe on the line w/ Vanguard's customer service (took screenshots of each):

- Attempt #1: On hold for 45 minutes, line hangs up on me
- Attempt #2: Left a callback number for 90 minutes out. When I received the call, the automated message says "connecting you to an agent" and then proceeds to ring for 30 whole minutes!!!
- Attempt #3: On hold for over 85 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #4: On hold for over 60 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #5: Automated message tells me that their offices are now closed

I even called their Fraud line (877-223-6977) to see if that could help me reach someone, and same issue as above. I've lost a whole day not being able to access my account, and I fear that there's no end in sight...I'm still on hold with them as I'm writing this post, at 52 minutes and coutning....

What are my options here? Are there any options for recourse? Again, my entire life savings are sitting with Vanguard so this situation has me in a panic, esp. since this is around the time of year I re-balance my accounts. I've even tried looking up the e-mail addresses of Vanguard execs to try and light a fire on somebody's feet, but can't seem to find them.

Has anyone ever faced an issue like this? HELP!!

First, please read this recent thread and see if it helps or not: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=336282

My understanding is Vanguard and many firms are not Google Voice friendly. Second, Vanguard is not international friendly. So you may or may not have much success here.
Very helpful to know...it would have been friggin' better for Vanguard to have just hung up on me rather than giving me music and telling me "my call is appreciated" while leaving me on hold indefinitely.

Have never been more frustrated w/ them than I am now.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ResearchMed »

ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:44 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:35 pm I just tried Google (often a source of surprising information):

I Googled "Vanguard mutual funds email"

And that took me to a webpage I hadn't seen before.
There was contact info, including an e-address for financial advisors.
(In your case, I would have used this if nothing else worked, politely explaing the previous inability to use phone, and ask them to pass the message along, with thanks, etc.)

But thete was next something Personal Investors, so I clicked that.
And I soon got to a page about being locked out, so I clicked that, and there was a place to submit various personal identifiers, including "Registered email address".
Do you still have access to that "registered" e-address?

RM
Bless your soul. I found the webpage you're referring to and it includes numbers I haven't tried before, which I'll do later today. It's crazy this is happening...when did it become so difficult to reach a person at Vanguard?
Because of COVID, all call centers in the entire universe are swamped. :D

I'd also try that form to be submitted. What I don't know is if there is any future step there that blocks you, but you can find that out.

AND I'd consider sending an email to that "advisor" e-address, with that oh so nice request for them to pass it along. (I think I'd mention the number of digits in my account in your case, in an attempt to better get some attention.)

But sure, try the phone number!
I just fear that all reps are strung out on all incoming call lines, but... I'm just guessing.

We've used assorted Google searches to reach various "top folks" at various firms when needed.
(We usually get some executive assistant, which is fine for starters, and it's even fine if we get the assitant to the junior assistant to the... as long as we reach *someone*)

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
Topic Author
ghil04
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

ResearchMed wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:52 pm
ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:44 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:35 pm I just tried Google (often a source of surprising information):

I Googled "Vanguard mutual funds email"

And that took me to a webpage I hadn't seen before.
There was contact info, including an e-address for financial advisors.
(In your case, I would have used this if nothing else worked, politely explaing the previous inability to use phone, and ask them to pass the message along, with thanks, etc.)

But thete was next something Personal Investors, so I clicked that.
And I soon got to a page about being locked out, so I clicked that, and there was a place to submit various personal identifiers, including "Registered email address".
Do you still have access to that "registered" e-address?

RM
Bless your soul. I found the webpage you're referring to and it includes numbers I haven't tried before, which I'll do later today. It's crazy this is happening...when did it become so difficult to reach a person at Vanguard?
Because of COVID, all call centers in the entire universe are swamped. :D

I'd also try that form to be submitted. What I don't know is if there is any future step there that blocks you, but you can find that out.

AND I'd consider sending an email to that "advisor" e-address, with that oh so nice request for them to pass it along. (I think I'd mention the number of digits in my account in your case, in an attempt to better get some attention.)

But sure, try the phone number!
I just fear that all reps are strung out on all incoming call lines, but... I'm just guessing.

We've used assorted Google searches to reach various "top folks" at various firms when needed.
(We usually get some executive assistant, which is fine for starters, and it's even fine if we get the assitant to the junior assistant to the... as long as we reach *someone*)

RM
Ya I hear you...I work at a place that is consumer-facing as well, though I've never heard of our contact center leaving people on hold for more than 80 minutes :P

I'm continually amazed at how helpful folks on this forum are. Really appreciate the help.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ResearchMed »

ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:47 pm Have never been more frustrated w/ them than I am now.
When you return home, you might inquire of Schwab.
They have 24/7 phone help and also 24/7 chat.
And their chat can really "do things", not just answer questions.

They seem to be head and shoulders above both Vanguard and Fidelity in terms of customer service.

As for TIAA, we've got an excellent WMA (wealth management advisor), but they aren't all like that.
We are quite sure we were assigned to him (or he to us) because of an unbelievable snafu some years ago, such that we needed to get NASD involved (yeah, they really do respond to those online complaints, if warranted!).
We did NOT have particularly good experiences there before this.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
mhalley
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by mhalley »

You might try gethuman. Apparently they will try to get a human for you to talk to. No personal experience.
I have had a couple times when Vanguard would not text google voice, but would do amp automated voice call.
https://gethuman.com/phone-number/Vanguard
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galawdawg
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by galawdawg »

Sorry for your troubles OP. I suspect it will be difficult, if not impossible, to have Vanguard make any security changes to your account when you are unable to authenticate yourself online and when you are contacting them from overseas. Those circumstances are going to trigger red flags regardless of how much personal information you can provide.

As another poster suggested, can you reactivate your suspended US phone service? If so, can you remotely set up call forwarding to your Google Voice number? If that is not possible, is there someone trusted who can answer your US phone and immediately call or text you with the authentication code?
JBTX
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by JBTX »

Apparently this will hold for you

https://gethuman.com/phone-number/Vanguard
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gwe67
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by gwe67 »

ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:42 pm
exodusNH wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:29 pm
ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:20 pm Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.
Is there anyone you could trust to re-enable the phone you suspended?

Maybe the Asian IP address could be triggering the extra authentication? What about trying a US-based VPN provider?
I didn't have an issue logging in for 10 days after first arriving in Asia, so doubt it's an IP address issue.

I have no issues that they're asking me to re-authenticate. 100% of my troubles have to do with the fact that I can't, for the life of me, reach a Vanguard personal rep to help me re-gain access to my account. Am truly at a loss here :(
What changed on day 11?
VTI 48%, VXUS 12%, BND 40%
Topic Author
ghil04
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

To close the loop on this, I used Vanguard's callback function and miraculously reached a person. They couldn't change the phone number on my account for security reasons but they did connect me with an investment professional that was able to execute the trades I needed, so phew.

Thanks to all for your help!
TravelGeek
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by TravelGeek »

Glad you got it resolved. I would probably (while on hold) send a direct message to their Twitter team and asked for help/advice on how to resolve the issue.

Perhaps get a couple of yubikeys for second factor authentication purposes?
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celia
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by celia »

Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
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ghil04
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ghil04 »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
I'm not sure I agree with that. Multi-factor authentication can be achieved without requiring a US phone number, and plenty of people will want the ability to access accounts while they're abroad.

FWIW, Vanguard doesn't prevent this as a policy matter - based on what I'm seeing in the other thread, if I'd switched my phone number to my google voice number, I probably wouldn't have had to spend 6 hours listening to Vanguard's wall-waiting music :oops:
TravelGeek
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by TravelGeek »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
I am sure the bad guys know how to make it look like they are logging in from somewhere in the US. Meanwhile, legitimate customers traveling abroad can’t access their accounts? That doesn’t seem like a reasonable policy to me, and as someone who has traveled abroad frequently pre-covid I am not sure it actually is the policy. I do t recall any particular instance, but I suspect I checked on my accounts from Europe, from a laptop or tablet that was “known” to Vanguard.
palanzo
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by palanzo »

Todamoon wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:47 pm I'm in the US and I can attest call wait times are quite long recently at Vanguard and also Charles Schwab. It's tax time and also there's a lot of churn because of recent political events. And the Schwab guy yesterday said they had a major outage due to a server crash or something. These delays and interruptions in service are probably good practice for a correction and to have your ducks in a row beforehand in anticipation of one whenever it comes. Allocate wisely and anticipate outages just when you think you'll need access most.
How should one anticipate outages?
palanzo
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by palanzo »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
Yes, but what should one do when traveling for an extended period of time?
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celia
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by celia »

palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:04 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
Yes, but what should one do when traveling for an extended period of time?
You could have someone else be your authorized agent. You need to fill out a form for this and if they are already a Vanguard user, they will see your accounts on their dashboard. If they currently aren’t a customer, they will get their own user ID and password.

This is the correct way to do it. It’s the same process as if you’re an authorized agent for an elderly relative‘s accounts.
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celia
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by celia »

palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:52 pm
Todamoon wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:47 pm Allocate wisely and anticipate outages just when you think you'll need access most.
How should one anticipate outages?
Use limit orders, when possible. I put them in for stocks and ETFs before I go out of town.
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anon_investor
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by anon_investor »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:44 pm
palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:04 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
Yes, but what should one do when traveling for an extended period of time?
You could have someone else be your authorized agent. You need to fill out a form for this and if they are already a Vanguard user, they will see your accounts on their dashboard. If they currently aren’t a customer, they will get their own user ID and password.

This is the correct way to do it. It’s the same process as if you’re an authorized agent for an elderly relative‘s accounts.
This process can be done entirely online now. Vanguard does send an email and a physical letter to notify you that you have granted the authorization.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ResearchMed »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:44 pm
palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 6:04 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
Yes, but what should one do when traveling for an extended period of time?
You could have someone else be your authorized agent. You need to fill out a form for this and if they are already a Vanguard user, they will see your accounts on their dashboard. If they currently aren’t a customer, they will get their own user ID and password.

This is the correct way to do it. It’s the same process as if you’re an authorized agent for an elderly relative‘s accounts.
:confused
We've had no problem at all logging into our Vanguard account when overseas.
I've rarely made any transactions, but we do like to monitor that everything is as it should be, etc., from home or afar.

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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by asset_chaos »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times.
I don't think there is a blanket policy that Vanguard blocks logins from IP addresses outside the US. I've lived overseas for 25 years and haven't had any problem logging into or transacting from my Vanguard account, neither from my usual residence country, nor when travelling from other countries.

In May last year Vanguard did implement 2-factor authentication, said it would become mandatory, but did implement it for non-US phone numbers.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Todamoon »

palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:52 pmHow should one anticipate outages?
By outages I mean very long wait times and/or the phone call not going through because of overloaded circuits. These are common and predictable events during (1) stock market corrections and/or (2) during tax season, especially as April 15 approaches. Under these conditions, one can anticipate outages.

Otherwise, establish a firm plan for how you will handle the management of your assets BEFORE a correction happens while you're not panicked or emotional. Know what your plan is. Know what your risk level is. Know your timeline in terms of your age and time to retirement or whenever you need your invested money. Once you have a plan, write it down and include various scenarios, including one for a horrible 50% or more stock market crash. What will you do? If the answer is to hold and ride it out like Jack Bogle recommended under almost any circumstances? Than choose your allocation carefully and don't even worry about contacting Vanguard or whoever is holding your investments while everyone else is screaming into their phone trying to get their SELL order through. THAT'S how you anticipate outages.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by palanzo »

Todamoon wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:04 pm
palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:52 pmHow should one anticipate outages?
By outages I mean very long wait times and/or the phone call not going through because of overloaded circuits. These are common and predictable events during (1) stock market corrections and/or (2) during tax season, especially as April 15 approaches. Under these conditions, one can anticipate outages.

Otherwise, establish a firm plan for how you will handle the management of your assets BEFORE a correction happens while you're not panicked or emotional. Know what your plan is. Know what your risk level is. Know your timeline in terms of your age and time to retirement or whenever you need your invested money. Once you have a plan, write it down and include various scenarios, including one for a horrible 50% or more stock market crash. What will you do? If the answer is to hold and ride it out like Jack Bogle recommended under almost any circumstances? Than choose your allocation carefully and don't even worry about contacting Vanguard or whoever is holding your investments while everyone else is screaming into their phone trying to get their SELL order through. THAT'S how you anticipate outages.
If I could predict stock market corrections I would now be a billionaire.

So how does one rebalance during a correct when Vanguard has chosen not to provide the capacity on the front end for web transaction? Let alone calling a representative?
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Prokofiev »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
I've logged in from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe. I am using a VPN right now linked to Brazil. I have never had a problem getting into
my account from outside the US
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by FlyingMoose »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
I’ve been living overseas for several years and literally never had a problem. I kept my phone number with MagicJack and also use Yubikeys. I don’t even use a proxy so I have a foreign IP.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Todamoon »

palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:23 pmIf I could predict stock market corrections I would now be a billionaire.
So how does one rebalance during a correct when Vanguard has chosen not to provide the capacity on the front end for web transaction? Let alone calling a representative?
You don't have to be a billionaire or a genius to know that another correction will eventually come. One WILL come. Bank on it. The thing you have to put effort into predicting is how will you react to it? My suggestion is to figure that out ahead of time. Make a firm plan of what you will do or not do. Allocate your holdings while you're not panicked and are rational according to your risk tolerance and well thought out needs and objectives. i.e. The basics.

Otherwise, Vanguard is for value oriented buy and holders. They tend to be believers in the tenets of Jack Bogle (the founder of Vanguard). And the last thing Jack Bogle would do is log onto his account or excitedly call his broker during the heat of a crash and sell his stocks. If you want to day trade, the Vanguard site is not optimized for that and does not cater to those types of customers. I would suggest Schwab, or many of the others for that level of functionality.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by JohnFiscal »

Concurring with a few others here, I am able to log into my Vanguard account by using my vpn service to appear to be located in Canada, not the US. This did not present a problem.

I then screwed up my courage and changed to a vpn server in Croatia. Logged into Vanguard again without a hitch. They didn't even question how I transported myself from the US to Canada, and then to Croatia in only three minutes.

The log-in screen was the same in all cases. And I used one of my registered Yubi keys for authentication.

I suppose I could try this for some time and see if I get locked out.

(note: I once read an interesting article about setting up an individual vpn server at one's home using a Raspberry pi computer, the point being to dial in from outside (article written by US journalist stationed in a foreign bureau) then dialing out from there. I want to pursue that myself some time)

EDIT: I'll add that in the past I have accessed my Vanguard accounts numerous times over a number of years while traveling in Canada and several SE Asian countries. While traveling I always used a vpn service for the security provided. If I recall correctly, I generally selected a US-based server.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ArtsyProf »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
wow really? So if I use Vanguard and plan on retiring abroad, then I will not be able to access my Vanguard funds?
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by palanzo »

Todamoon wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:20 pm
palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:23 pmIf I could predict stock market corrections I would now be a billionaire.
So how does one rebalance during a correct when Vanguard has chosen not to provide the capacity on the front end for web transaction? Let alone calling a representative?
You don't have to be a billionaire or a genius to know that another correction will eventually come. One WILL come. Bank on it. The thing you have to put effort into predicting is how will you react to it? My suggestion is to figure that out ahead of time. Make a firm plan of what you will do or not do. Allocate your holdings while you're not panicked and are rational according to your risk tolerance and well thought out needs and objectives. i.e. The basics.

Otherwise, Vanguard is for value oriented buy and holders. They tend to be believers in the tenets of Jack Bogle (the founder of Vanguard). And the last thing Jack Bogle would do is log onto his account or excitedly call his broker during the heat of a crash and sell his stocks. If you want to day trade, the Vanguard site is not optimized for that and does not cater to those types of customers. I would suggest Schwab, or many of the others for that level of functionality.
I’m talking about rebalancing and you talk about day trading. I have no idea how you made these leaps.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by 7eight9 »

When I was in Thailand in early 2019 I tried to access my Vanguard accounts. I was using a Chromebook that had accessed Vanguard right before leaving the United States. I didn't clear the history. At three different resorts I tried to access my account and was not able to log in.

When I got back home I contacted Vanguard to find out if I could access my accounts while in Thailand as I've considering moving there.

I received multiple conflicting answers (both by phone and email) and am not sure what is correct. I've been told that I can access my accounts as I normally do (which I know is not correct). That I can access my accounts but not trade. That I can access my accounts (and trade) if I call first. One of my friends suggested that I login with a VPN but I'm not really that computer savvy and don't want to complicate things.

I left for Charles Schwab. They appear to be more accomodating to expats.

Link to Charles Schwab U.S. Expat Essentials --- https://international.schwab.com/expatriate-essentials
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by celia »

ArtsyProf wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:27 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
wow really? So if I use Vanguard and plan on retiring abroad, then I will not be able to access my Vanguard funds?
Apparently my knowledge from reading others' posts is now outdated. Read the rest of the posts here for current status.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Todamoon »

palanzo wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:41 pmI’m talking about rebalancing and you talk about day trading. I have no idea how you made these leaps.
You said "rebalancing" during a correction. Rebalancing means either buying or selling stocks, bonds etc. And waiting to "rebalance" during a correction almost always means selling stocks in a panic (i.e. what day traders do).

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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by Pacific »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
This is incorrect.

I login all the time from overseas.

So does my daughter who lives is another country.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by placeholder »

Todamoon wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:34 am You said "rebalancing" during a correction. Rebalancing means either buying or selling stocks, bonds etc. And waiting to "rebalance" during a correction almost always means selling stocks in a panic (i.e. what day traders do).
Rebalancing would be selling fixed income to buy stocks during a downturn.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by rossington »

Moral of the post:
If you are going to live outside of the U.S. notify Vanguard and let them know beforehand so that you are aware of any changes required on their part for you to be able to access your accounts.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by FlyingMoose »

rossington wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:00 am Moral of the post:
If you are going to live outside of the U.S. notify Vanguard and let them know beforehand so that you are aware of any changes required on their part for you to be able to access your accounts.
NO!!!

If you do this, they will freeze all your accounts and make you move to a different brokerage.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed some off-topic comments. As a reminder, see: General Etiquette
At all times we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to other posters. Attacks on individuals, insults, name calling, trolling, baiting or other attempts to sow dissension are not acceptable.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by AlohaJoe »

rossington wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:00 am Moral of the post:
If you are going to live outside of the U.S. notify Vanguard and let them know beforehand so that you are aware of any changes required on their part for you to be able to access your accounts.
Isn't the moral of the story don't cancel your phone when it is required to login somewhere?

That's what caused the problem, not leaving the country. They'd have the same problem if they had stayed in the US.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ResearchMed »

ArtsyProf wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:27 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
wow really? So if I use Vanguard and plan on retiring abroad, then I will not be able to access my Vanguard funds?
As noted above, many of us have had absolutely no trouble logging in from overseas.
(For us, this included quite a few countries/several continents, in the air, and "at sea". Some were for a very short time, but others were for a couple of weeks. None of these were using any special software such as a VPN, although I'll be setting that up soon. DH has occasionally used a VPN, but usually from home, to log into various overseas websites.)

My understanding (which could be incorrect/outdated) is that it's not the logging in from abroad in general, but more likely "moving overseas" and -> changing one's contact information at Vanguard, such as mailing address and phone #, that's more likely to cause trouble.
Other brokerage firms are apparently more friendly to those who relocate overseas, and they've been recommended elsewhere on BH.

And yes, cancelling contact information that might be needed for identification verification is likely to cause difficulties in a variety of situations, not just at Vanguard. Try to change that contact info to be something where someone else will be able to monitor and at the least, pass along to you any information or ID requests, etc. And perhaps make a point of actually using that new contact information as a test, prior to leaving the country, when <whatever> can still be fixed. Point here is that using that 'new' contact information won't look to be "brand new" when being used from overseas. That combo, "from overseas and from newly changed contact information", is almost asking for some sort of challenge or (temporary?) shut down.

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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by scubavol »

Good luck getting anywhere with it today- the app and website are both malfunctioning for me this morning. They've probably got phone calls out the yingyang.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by gwe67 »

USAA allows a code to be sent to two different phones, two different emails, or the USAA app. Not going to get locked out of USAA!
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ArtsyProf »

ghil04 wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 12:20 pm Fellow Bogleheads,

I credit this forum for teaching me everything I know about investing since I first started earning income in 2006, and return for some much-needed help/assurance.

Background: I've been a loyal Vanguard customer since I first opened my account in 2007, and nearly the entirety of my life savings (allocated 75/25 equities/bonds) is dispersed across a mixture of Vanguard Roth/IRA/brokerage accounts. I generally login to my account at least once a day just to see how my funds are performing and diligently re-balance once a year. Despite some small mistakes here and there, sticking to this strategy in the midst of a historic run in equities has allowed me to accumulate a $1MM net worth on a modest middle/upper-income salary...an achievement I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started out on this journey.

Here's the quandary I face. I recently moved to Asia and will be here for the next three months (wife and I are expecting our second child any moment now), and suspended my US phone # while I'm abroad. I've been using a Google Voice number while I'm out here, but stupidly didn't think to change my phone # before I left the states.

I hadn't had an issue until yesterday morning accessing my accounts, and was about to make a large cash purchase of mutual funds following a bonus payout from earlier this year. As of yesterday, however, the Vanguard website is asking me to authenticate my account via my phone # to access my account.

I figured I could just call Vanguard customer service to authenticate myself and replace my cell # with my Google Voice #, but it has been IMPOSSIBLE to access a support person from the general line (877-662-7447). I kidd you not, I spent almost entirety of my workday yesterday halfway across the globe on the line w/ Vanguard's customer service (took screenshots of each):

- Attempt #1: On hold for 45 minutes, line hangs up on me
- Attempt #2: Left a callback number for 90 minutes out. When I received the call, the automated message says "connecting you to an agent" and then proceeds to ring for 30 whole minutes!!!
- Attempt #3: On hold for over 85 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #4: On hold for over 60 minutes, I gave up
- Attempt #5: Automated message tells me that their offices are now closed

I even called their Fraud line (877-223-6977) to see if that could help me reach someone, and same issue as above. I've lost a whole day not being able to access my account, and I fear that there's no end in sight...I'm still on hold with them as I'm writing this post, at 52 minutes and coutning....

What are my options here? Are there any options for recourse? Again, my entire life savings are sitting with Vanguard so this situation has me in a panic, esp. since this is around the time of year I re-balance my accounts. I've even tried looking up the e-mail addresses of Vanguard execs to try and light a fire on somebody's feet, but can't seem to find them.

Has anyone ever faced an issue like this? HELP!!

Just want to share that I have not been able to reach a VG rep on the phone after 3 tries over past 2 weeks. I tried to open IRA online, filled out all the info, it told me to get paperwork in myaccount, and to do that I have to register for online access, and woudl not let me register, that I have to call the 800#, can not get through, repeated this x2, got nowhere. Have I created an IRA account? Can I transfer funds to it? I do now know and VG cannot tell me because they don't pick up their phone.
I want to use VG again (used to have an employer account 8 years ago, which got moved to TIAA) but fearful that I will NEVER be able to reach them if I have any questions, or if I am ever locked out of my account like right now.
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ArtsyProf »

In contrast, I tried calling Schwab and Fidelity and TIAA 800 numbers just to try out, and they all at least answered the phone eventually. The best is my Deferred Comp account -- reps in state, answering phones until 11pm at night on weekdays, always there, always helpful. I buy VG funds but can't actually set up or confirm a VG IRA account! #worried
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Re: Help! Locked out of Vanguard account and impossible to reach a contact center rep

Post by ArtsyProf »

celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 11:52 pm
ArtsyProf wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:27 pm
celia wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:38 pm Vanguard doesn’t let you log on from outside the US. I’m surprised you were able to sign in for the first few times. You would want them to keep your account secure from someone trying to access it from overseas, wouldn’t you?
wow really? So if I use Vanguard and plan on retiring abroad, then I will not be able to access my Vanguard funds?
Apparently my knowledge from reading others' posts is now outdated. Read the rest of the posts here for current status.

Oh OK thanks. Meanwhile, I can't even get through to VG to confirm a new VG IRA I (tried?) to set up online..
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