Edward Jones vs. Vanguard: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated June 18, 2024by Unbiased team

Explore the contrasting approaches to personalized advising and low-cost investing offered by Vanguard and Edward Jones.


  • Both titans of the investment world, Vanguard and Edward Jones, offer distinct approaches to wealth management. 

  • Edward Jones focuses on personalized advising, while Vanguard prioritizes low-cost investing. 

  • Edward Jones typically requires a more substantial minimum investment than Vanguard. 

  • Edward Jones charges variable commissions, and Vanguard offers transparent fixed costs. 

Vanguard vs. Edward Jones: what’s the difference? 

In the investment brokerage world, Vanguard and Edward Jones stand out as leading players, having evolved into investing industry giants. 

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Edward Jones targets a broad market, placing significant emphasis on personalized financial advising and comprehensive wealth management services offered through a network of local advisors. Edward Jones financial advisors foster strong client-advisor relationships, providing tailored investment plans, retirement strategies, and financial guidance based on individual needs and goals. 

Vanguard focuses on low-cost investing and accessibility, providing a wide range of investment products and educational resources through online and mobile trading platforms. While Vanguard offers personalized financial advising services, the depth of Vanguard financial planning advisory services may vary compared to the hands-on approach of Edward Jones' local advisors. 

What are Edward Jones and Vanguard’s specific investment strategies? 

Edward Jones' financial planning focuses on personalized long-term wealth management and building strong client-advisor relationships. The firm’s investment strategy emphasizes diversification and risk management, offering a range of investment options such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. 

Vanguard financial advisors prioritize simplicity, accessibility, and low-cost investing. Their strategy revolves around passive investing through index funds and ETFs, aiming to provide a broad range of investment products at competitive prices.  

The primary difference lies in their approaches: Edward Jones offers personalized financial advising, while Vanguard emphasizes low-cost, passive investing. Edward Jones focuses on client-advisor relationships and customized plans, while Vanguard provides a wide range of low-cost investment options for independent investors. 

What fees can I expect from Vanguard and Edward Jones? 

Edward Jones fees are charged as variable commissions for buying and selling investments, typically around 2% for most securities, excluding mutual funds, along with processing charges. Additionally, they have advising fees for programs like Advisory Solutions, which charges an annual program fee of 1.35% plus additional commissions on certain transactions. 

Vanguard fees are structured with fixed costs. While most investment accounts have minimal annual fees, Vanguard offers zero commission fees for online trading of stocks and ETFs, enhancing cost-effectiveness for investors. The firm requires a minimum of $50,000 in assets in eligible Accounts to access a Vanguard financial advisor. They then charge an approximate 0.3% advisory fee. 

When working with investment firms like Vanguard and Edward Jones, investors should anticipate various fees, including trading fees, trading commissions, and potential inactivity or non-trading fees. These fees can impact investment returns and should be considered alongside other factors when evaluating investment options. 

Is Edward Jones or Vanguard better? 

Both Edward Jones and Vanguard are reputable investment firms, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. 

Pros of Vanguard 

  • Transparent fee structure. 

  • Low-cost investing options. 

  • Wide range of investment products. 

  • Commission-free ETF, stock, and options trades.   

Cons of Vanguard 

  • Limited personalized advising. 

  • Less local presence. 

  • Limited research, data, and educational resources. 

Pros of Edward Jones 

  • Personalized financial advising. 

  • Strong client-advisor relationships. 

  • Local presence through advisors. 

  • Diverse investment options. 

Cons of Edward Jones  

  • Higher fees. 

  • Substantial minimum investments. 

  • Investment approach is conservative. 

Vanguard or Edward Jones: which should I choose? 

When considering whether to choose Vanguard or Edward Jones, it is essential to evaluate your individual circumstances and investment preferences. Both firms offer distinct advantages that may better suit specific investor needs.  

Edward Jones may be the better choice if you prefer a hands-on approach with personalized financial advising and comprehensive wealth management services. On the other hand, if you prioritize low-cost investing options, transparent fee structures, and accessibility to a wide range of investment products, Vanguard could be the ideal option.  

In addition to the fees, investment strategy, and various pros and cons, here are some other questions you should ask yourself when choosing between Vanguard and Edward Jones: 

How do Vanguard and Edward Jones remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions? 

Both Vanguard and Edward Jones remain competitive by staying abreast of changing market conditions and adapting their strategies accordingly.  

A Vanguard financial advisor will focus on offering low-cost investment options and leveraging technology to provide accessible investment solutions. The firm continuously innovates to meet investors' evolving needs while maintaining its client-owned structure.  

On the other hand, an Edward Jones financial advisor prioritizes personalized and strong client-advisor relationships. The firm adapts to market changes by providing tailored investment plans and comprehensive wealth management services to address individual client needs.  

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Support is a key focus in Edward Jones customer service. With a network of local advisors, they offer personalized assistance and guidance to clients, fostering strong client-advisor relationships. Clients have access to face-to-face interactions and comprehensive wealth management services.  

Vanguard customer service, while offering extensive educational resources and online platforms, may be less personalized than Edward Jones' local advisor network. However, Vanguard's digital tools and resources provide convenient access to investment information and support for independent investors.  

Can I access my Edward Jones or Vanguard accounts through their websites and mobile apps? 

Both Edward Jones and Vanguard offer websites and mobile apps for convenient access to accounts and investment information.  

Edward Jones' website and mobile app provide clients with access to account information, investment tools, and resources, complementing the personalized support provided by their local advisors.  

Similarly, Vanguard's financial planning online platforms offer comprehensive account management tools, educational resources, and investment research, empowering investors to manage their portfolios independently.  

Whether you prefer the personalized Edward Jones customer service or the digital accessibility of Vanguard, both firms provide convenient access to account information through their websites and mobile apps. 

Get expert financial advice 

When choosing between Vanguard and Edward Jones financial planning offerings, it's crucial to weigh factors like fees, investment strategies, and customer service to align with your financial goals. Vanguard offers low-cost investing with transparent fees, while Edward Jones provides personalized advising and comprehensive wealth management services. Whether you prefer hands-on guidance or digital accessibility, both firms offer reputable solutions tailored to diverse investor needs. 

For personalized financial advice and guidance, you can find a trusted professional SEC-regulated financial advisor through Unbiased. 


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.

Looking for a financial advisor?

We can connect you with an SEC-regulated financial advisor suited to meet your needs.