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Vanguard Sells All Solo 401(k) Accounts to Ascensus

Vanguard recently announced that they are selling their individual 401(k), multiple-participant SEP, and SIMPLE IRA plan business to Ascensus (press release). They’ve already updated their small business retirement plan page. One-person SEP IRAs will stay at Vanguard.

Ascensus will provide custodial and trustee services, recordkeeping, client servicing, transaction processing, tax reporting, and other services, and plan participants will retain access to a diverse lineup of Vanguard mutual funds via the Ascensus platform.

This will affect a lot of small business owners who previously chose to open a Traditional Pre-Tax and/or Roth Solo 401k plan directly with Vanguard. The new stated fee schedule includes a $20 annual fee per Vanguard fund per account holder in the Individual(k) plan and a $20 annual fee per participant for custodial services. I believe the previous fee schedule was just the $20 annual fee per Vanguard fund per account holder, but it was waived if at least one participant had at least $50,000 in qualifying Vanguard assets.

I also find this move interesting in the context of the Vanguard company as a whole. This same week, Fidelity continued moving gradually towards being an “all-in-one” financial marketplace, recently adding a high-yield sweep option to their full-featured Cash Management Account. (I will note though, Fidelity does directly not offer a Roth Solo 401k option!) Fidelity is competing directly with the fintechs like Robinhood and SoFi that also want to be everything finance.

Meanwhile, Vanguard already shut down their own Cash Management option, VanguardAdvantage, in 2019. They made their Admiral Shares mutual funds more expensive than their ETF equivalents (they were initially the same expense ratio), which removed a major incentive to use a Vanguard brokerage account (as most other brokers won’t let you trade Vanguard Admiral mutual funds). There isn’t much reason to hold Vanguard ETFs inside a Vanguard brokerage account now that everyone has commission-free trades, and Vanguard seems perfectly fine with that. Now, they are no longer going to service their past Solo 401(k) clients, whether they wanted to stay with Vanguard or not.

Vanguard definitely seems to be narrowing their focus towards offering investment products like ETFs and mutual funds and simple investment advice. They appear happy to move away from anything that requires high-touch customer interaction like phone calls and paperwork. (I would note that my more recent customer service interactions with Vanguard have been more positive with lower hold times.) This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it leaves more resources for their other customers, but definitely a different direction than others.

Fidelity Cash Management Account To Add New Core Money Market Fund Option (SPAXX @ ~5% APY)

A flexible alternative to a traditional bank account is getting better. The Fidelity Cash Management Account (CMA) is a brokerage account that also includes traditional bank features like ACH routing and account numbers, Billpay, mobile check deposit, physical checks, and ATM/debit cards.

Perhaps a lesser-known fact is that the standard “Fidelity Account” is a brokerage account that also offers ACH routing/account numbers, Billpay, mobile check deposit, checkwriting, and an ATM/debit card. One of the major additions to the CMA (and missing from the standard Fidelity Account) is that you get unlimited ATM fee rebates, worldwide:

Your account will automatically be reimbursed for all ATM fees charged by other institutions while using a Fidelity® Debit Card linked to your Fidelity Cash Management Account at any ATM displaying the Visa®, Plus®, or Star® logos. The reimbursement will be credited to the account the same day the ATM fee is debited from the account. Please note that there may be a foreign transaction fee of 1% that is not waived, which will be included in the amount charged to your account.

One of the major drawbacks to the CMA was that the only option for the core position was their “FDIC-insured Deposit Sweep”, currently paying 2.72% APY (as of 4/21/24). While better than the 0.01% many other brokers offer on cash sweeps, this yield is much lower than that of the money market fund options available in the standard Fidelity account. To get around this, many people used the auto-draft feature that lets you set the standard Fidelity brokerage account as the backup funding source, and then kept a minimal or zero balance inside the CMA.

Perhaps Fidelity noticed this activity as well, or perhaps they noticed certain 5% APY cash offerings from competitors, because in less than two months (June 15, 2024), the CMA is adding the Fidelity Government Money Market Fund (SPAXX) an a core position option. If you have a Fidelity Cash Management Account and look at the “Additional Information and Endnotes” section of your March 2024 statement, you should find the following notice. This has also been confirmed by an official Fidelity representative on the r/Fidelity Subreddit. From my statement:

Please note that on or around June 15, 2024, you’ll have the option to elect Fidelity(R) Government Money Market Fund (SPAXX) as your core sweep investment vehicle. You will not need to take any action if you wish to retain the Bank Sweep as your core position. For additional information on your core position options, including the current yields on the Bank Sweep and money market funds, please visit and

The 7-day yield of SPAXX is 4.95% as of 4/19/24, significantly higher than the 2.72% FDIC-insured sweep. Money market mutual funds are unable to offer FDIC insurance, but they are still heavily-regulated by the SEC to hold very conservative and liquid investments. “Government” money markets have even stricter requirements, and that is why they are used as cash sweep funds. I personally lose zero sleep over holding cash in a money market fund run by a reputable firm like Fidelity, Vanguard, or Schwab.

This is a positive development for those that use the Fidelity CMA, especially if your state doesn’t have income taxes on investment interest that create an incentive to hold money market funds with mostly interest from Treasury bonds. If you do live in such a state, you should know that in 2023 neither Fidelity Government Money Market Fund (SPAXX) nor Fidelity® Treasury Money Market Fund (FZFXX) met the minimum investment in U.S. government securities required to exempt the distribution from tax in California, Connecticut, and New York. (Despite having Treasury in the name, FZFXX only had about 20% in eligible Treasury interest.) These are the core positions available in the standard Fidelity Account.

As such, residents of California, Connecticut, and New York may want to hold the Fidelity Treasury Only Money Market Fund (FDLXX), as it did meet those requirements in 2023 with roughly 90% of interest eligible for exemption. This is not a core option so you do have to buy this mutual fund manually, although the CMA account will sell it automatically to meet any cash demands that come up later. But still, if you forget for a few days, the interest difference is much smaller between SPAXX and FDLXX.

I am definitely switching over my core position as soon as I can. June 15th, 2024 is a Saturday, so I’ll check on Friday the 14th and then Monday the 17th. You can switch over manually by logging into, going to “Accounts & Trade”,” Account Positions”, and then “Cash”. You should then see the button to “Change Core Position”.

SoFi Invest ACAT Transfer Bonus Promotion: $100 to $10,000, Both New and Existing Accounts

SoFi Invest is offering an increased ACAT transfer bonus up to $10,000 for transferring in new assets. Some of the tiers are double what they used to be, but the minimum holding period was also increased. Valid for both taxable brokerage accounts … [Read the rest]

E-Trade ACAT Transfer Bonus Promotion: $125 to $6,000 for Existing Customers

E-Trade is offering an increased transfer offer for existing E-Trade customers of up to $6,000 for transferring in new assets. This specific offer only applies to non-retirement accounts. You must enroll in the offer first after logging into your … [Read the rest]

Chase MyBonus 2024 Q2: Check For Targeted 5X Points or HBO Max Offers

New quarter, new offers. A quick 2024 Q2 reminder that you can discover targeted offers for your Chase-issued credit card at This includes both their in-house cards like Sapphire or Freedom Flex and their co-branded cards like … [Read the rest]

Capital One 360 Savings Deposit Promo ($300 to $1,500 Bonus)

Capital One has brought back a deposit promotion worth up to $1,500 for new 360 Savings accountholders. It's a good bonus, but only for "new" customers and those that are willing to keep an eye on things. Here's their definition of "new": If you … [Read the rest]

Robinhood Gold 3% Match Review: More Details on IRA Transfers and 401k Rollovers

Update: My transfer is complete after 3 business days. $7,885 bonus posted. Robinhood offers an improved 3% match on IRA contributions if you subscribe to their Gold membership, which costs either $5 or $6.99 per month. Through 4/30/24, you can … [Read the rest]

Savings I Bonds May 2024: Predicted ~1.2% Fixed Rate, 2.97% Inflation Rate

Savings I Bonds are a unique, low-risk investment backed by the US Treasury that pay out a variable interest rate linked to inflation. With a holding period from 12 months to 30 years, you could own them as an alternative to bank certificates of … [Read the rest]

$7,000 IRA Contribution Bonus Challenge: $2,428 in Bonuses (2024 YTD Edition)

Each year, I challenge myself to earn the equivalent of the maximum annual IRA contribution limit ($7,000 for 2024 if under 50) using the profits from various finance promotions alone. I earned $5,592 in 2021, $6,259 in 2022, and $5,444 in 2023 … [Read the rest]

Acorns App Results: How Much Did Folks Earn Rounding Up Spare Change?

If you don't remember, Acorns was a hot app for a little while due to their primary feature of allowing you to automatically "round up" your purchases and invest them into a portfolio of ETFs. So if you made a $10.45 purchase, it would be rounded … [Read the rest]

Walmart Weighted Groceries Class Action Settlement

There is a new class action settlement involving Walmart and weighted groceries. The pertinent details are below. My standard recommendation applies - If you are affected and choose to participate, file a claim now quickly before you forget, and … [Read the rest]

Pepper Rewards App: 10% Back on Amazon or Walmart Gift Cards ($200 off $2,000)

Update 4/8/24: A reminder to check on your bonus points and/or "Anywhere Cash" as they post quietly without any notification (at least for me) but also expire after a while if not used. The new customer referral offer (see below) is still Double … [Read the rest]