Weekly Update: Reconsidering Sharebuilder

If you’ve been reading The Amateur Financier for a while now, you’re probably aware that I use Sharebuilder to purchase my non-retirement investments.  Overall, I’m satisfied with the service I receive and the investment costs that I incur, but I can’t help but wonder if I should be investing via mutual funds instead.

My main worry is that, since I am paying $12 a month for Sharebuilder’s Automatic Investment plan, for a total of $144 each year, that I’m losing out the investment potential of that money.  It’s not a huge amount, but if I invest that amount each year over the next thirty-five years, I’ll have an extra $25,000 for my retirement, which is not a piddling amount.  If I stuck with index funds from Vanguard, as I do for my retirement funds, I’d be able to save that money and invest it instead.

Of course, there were reasons I invested via Sharebuilder in the first place.  The initial investment amounts were much lower than buying new mutual funds from Vanguard (which has a minimum requirement of $3000 for most of its index funds).  By buying ETFs, I was able to invest and build my portfolio with much lower initial investment, buy a larger variety of funds than I would be able to get via mutual funds with my present assets and I’m currently benefitting as the economy is starting to pick up again.

I’m still thinking of what to do, whether I should stop investing via Sharebuilder and put that money toward saving up for index mutual funds, or if I should just keep investing with Sharebuilder.  I’ve already been charged for the automatic investments this month, so I’m going to use them (this Tuesday, in fact), but after that… well, I’m still thinking.  If you have any thoughts, I’d appreciate hearing any opinions on ETFs vs. index funds.

With that off my chest, let’s look at how my accounts did this week:



I rolled over the bank CD I had in a Roth IRA into my Vanguard Roth, into the Total Foreign Market fund, and I removed the bank CD from my asset page.  That’s why my Total Savings amount dropped, even though all my (listed) accounts either stayed the same or increased.  Other than that, not too much excitement; my net worth is a little higher than I was expecting, but I have a few bills to pay this week, so we’ll see how long that lasts.  As they say, easy come, easy go.

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