Vanguard vs. Facet: what’s the difference?

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Explore how Vanguard and Facet cater to client’s different investment strategies and financial needs.


  • Vanguard focuses on low-cost, passive investing through index funds and ETFs.  

  • Facet provides personalized, holistic financial planning through dedicated CFP® professionals. 

  • Vanguard offers some of the industry's lowest expense ratios for mutual funds and ETFs.  

  • Facet charges a flat annual fee ranging from $2,400 to $8,000 for comprehensive financial planning services. 

Facet vs. Vanguard: what’s the difference? 

Vanguard is a giant in the investment world. The firm revolutionized the industry with its low-cost index funds and has grown into one of the most respected and trusted names in investment management. Vanguard financial advisors offer a range of products, including mutual funds, ETFs, and brokerage services, appealing to both individual investors and institutions. 

Facet Wealth is a relatively new player, established in 2016. Facet focuses on providing personalized financial planning services. Facet financial services offers accessible, client-centric financial planning and advice, leveraging technology to provide a modernized approach to wealth management. 

What are Vanguard and Facet’s specific investment strategies? 

Vanguard is renowned for its commitment to low-cost, passive investing. Its flagship products are index funds and ETFs, which aim to replicate the performance of a specific index like the S&P 500. Vanguard’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that minimizing costs and taking a long-term approach are the best ways to build wealth. Vanguard’s financial advice focuses on helping clients set clear goals and maintain balance and consistency in their investment strategies. 

Rather than focusing solely on low-cost products, Facet provides customized financial plans tailored to individual needs and goals. Each client works with a dedicated CFP® professional. These Facet financial advisors offer advice on a range of financial matters, from retirement planning to tax optimization. Facet financial planning and their investment strategy is ideal for those who want a holistic and hands-on approach. 

What fees can I expect from Vanguard and Facet? 

Vanguard fees offer some of the lowest expense ratios in the industry for its mutual funds and ETFs. For example, the expense ratio for the Vanguard 500 Index Fund is just 0.04%. Additionally, Vanguard does not charge trading commissions for buying and selling its own funds and ETFs. However, there may be other fees to consider, such as account service fees for smaller balances, which can be waived under certain conditions. 

Facet fees operate on a flat fee structure for its financial planning services. This fee ranges from $2,400 to $8,000 annually, depending on the complexity of the client’s needs. This fee covers comprehensive financial planning and investment management, providing a clear understanding of costs upfront without the variable costs that can arise with traditional percentage-based advisory fees. 

Is Vanguard or Facet better? 

Both Vanguard and Facet offer robust services, but each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros of Vanguard 

  • Low-cost investment options 

  • Extensive range of mutual funds and ETFs 

  • Established reputation and trust 

Cons of Vanguard 

  • High minimum investment requirements for some funds 

  • No trading platform for active traders 

  • Limited personalized financial planning 

Pros of Facet 

  • Access to a dedicated Facet financial advisor 

  • Flat fee structure 

  • No minimum investment requirements 

Cons of Facet 

  • Higher overall cost compared to Vanguard’s index funds 

  • The fee structure can be complex and opaque 

  • Not focused on ultra-low-cost investment products 

Vanguard or Facet: which should I choose? 

Choosing between Vanguard and Facet depends on your individual circumstances and preferences.  

Vanguard financial advisors can help guide you through your investment journey, offering tools and resources that are second to none. Additionally, Vanguard for advisors provides a suite of services designed to help financial professionals better serve their clients.  

Facet financial advising emphasizes comprehensive, individualized service, making it ideal for those who value a high level of personal interaction and customized advice. 

As well as fees, investment strategy, and various pros and cons, here are some other questions to consider when choosing between Facet and Vanguard. 

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

Vanguard continuously innovates by expanding its product lineup and maintaining its commitment to low costs. The firm also invests heavily in technology to enhance its customer experience, offering tools that combine automated advice with human oversight. 

Facet financial planning leverages technology to provide a modern experience. By offering virtual financial planning sessions and using sophisticated financial planning software, Facet can efficiently serve clients across the country.  

Which platform provides better customer service and support? 

Vanguard customer service has a reputation for reliability, though the experience can vary depending on the level of service you need. For basic account inquiries and transactions, Vanguard offers robust online and phone support. For more personalized advice, the Vanguard Personal Advisor Services® provides access to Vanguard advisors. However, Vanguard’s customer support is limited to phone service during business hours, with no live chat or email support. 

Facet customer service shines. Each client has a dedicated CFP® professional who provides continuous, individualized advice. This high-touch service model ensures that clients receive proactive and responsive support tailored to their unique financial situations, making it an excellent choice for those who value dedicated support. 

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

Vanguard provides a comprehensive website and mobile app where clients can manage their investments, view performance, and conduct transactions. The platform includes a range of tools and resources to help investors make informed decisions. 

Facet also offers a user-friendly online portal where clients can access their financial plans, schedule meetings with their advisors, and track their progress. Facet financial services are designed to be easily accessible, ensuring that clients can stay on top of their financial plans with minimal hassle. 

Get expert financial advice 

Whether you choose Vanguard or Facet depends on your needs, investment philosophy, and the level of personalized service you desire. Both firms offer valuable services, each catering to different types of investors.  

Let Unbiased connect you with a professional SEC-regulated financial advisor who can help you assess your financial goals so that you can make an informed decision that aligns with your investment strategy. 


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.