How to Avoid Fees in your Investment Account

How to Avoid Fees in your Investment Account

One of the most commonly searched terms in personal finance is how to save money.  Many of us look for ways to save with our own financial products including our investment products and accounts.  I’m not interested in paying trading fees, financial advisor fees, account maintenance fees, or just about any other fee found in an investment account.  Plain and simple I am here to avoid fees on my investment account.  Today I’m here to show you step by step how I was able to get the annual fee waived on my U. S. Bank investment brokerage account.

How to Avoid Fees:  Investment Account

Simple Ways to Avoid Fees:

  • One of the simplest ways to avoid fees on an investment account is to invest using a low fee brokerage (Vanguard, Fidelity).  Low cost index funds with zero trading fees is a nice way to go.
  • Set up online statements.  In some cases this can save you an annual maintenance fee each month or year.
  • Don’t trade frequently.  If you buy and sell your brokerage may charge you a fee and let’s not forget you may pay taxes on your profits.
  • Before opening an account check what fees they charge.  If you don’t want an annual fee, options trading fee, etc. now is the time to compare companies to see what is the best fit for you.

My story on how I avoided paying for an annual maintenance fee on my investment account

Just recently I received a letter in the mail from my investment account provider US Bancorp Investments.  I chose them because as a former employee I have access to most of their top accounts and was happy to use the 100 free trades per year as I don’t frequently trade stocks.

Investment Mistake

I should have done more research.  I should have checked out what fees can be charged to the account each year and not just looked at the free trades and assumed my account was a “no fee” account.  Basically those don’t exist in the investment world.

The letter I received in the mail (my account is set up for paperless) was informing me that I needed to pay my annual account fee of $50.

I was surprised they assessed an annual fee and based on the letter it didn’t come across as anything that was a one time fee or something that could be waived if I had a higher account balance or different kind of account.

So I did what I should have done from the beginning and did my research on the fees associated with my USB Investment account.  Not only that but also other brokerage accounts that offered low fees and a most importantly zero annual fee.

We now live in a world where there is no reason to pay annual fees or trading costs on an investment account.

I did my research and came across a couple brokerages that offered $0 trading and fees associated with the account, at least for my type of buying and selling trade frequency.

Very similar I knew the next step was to call USB Investments and see what they could do.  I went about my line of questioning in a different manner.  

Avoid Fees Investment Conversation:

The conversation sounded something like this:

Me:  Hi I’m calling to ask a few questions about my account.  I was charged a $50 annual account fee.  Is there any way to avoid getting this fee with a different type of account?  Perhaps if I met a certain dollar amount threshold in my investment account?

USB Investments:  Hi sir, short answer is no.  We have another account that avoids a yearly fee but that type of account just charges a monthly fee instead.

Me:  I see.  Is it also correct that if I transfer or close out my account to another brokerage USB investments will charge a $95 fee?

USB Investments:  Yes sir that is correct.

Me:  Would you be able to waive the fee as a one time courtesy as a loyal customer?

USB Investments:  Yes, I can waive your fee as a courtesy but it is an annual fee and will be charged on a regular annual basis.

Me:  Understood, thank you.

Before I called I wasn’t so sure they were going to waive my fees.  In fact, I was thinking the call would be to confirm that they charge $95 to transfer my account to another brokerage.  So another important lesson here is to always call even if you think they won’t waive your fee.  Avoid fees on your investment accounts as these fees tend to slow down your investment returns over time.

Now I have a year to figure out which brokerage firm I want to transfer my account to.  I’ll make sure to my research on fees, possible credits for transferring over the funds, cash back bonuses, and a user friendly platform.  I’m leaning towards Fidelity right now.

Avoid Fees Money Saved:  $50

Time Spent:  4-6 minutes

How can I get my investment account annual fee waived?

✅Action Step:  If you have a investment account, check the fees they charge.  If your brokerage account charges an annual fee call them.  Check to see if the annual fee is something that can be waived.  Then make the ask to waive the fee if this has been charged in the past.  If not research other brokerage accounts that don’t charge an annual fee and move your money via transfer (don’t sell).  This usually is a one time fee in between $50-$100 but it’s not every year. 

Everyone is looking for ways to save money and avoid fees. 

✅Action Step:  Make the phone call.  Followed by a simple ask:  will you waive my fees?  The script works.  It’s simple but it works.  By taking less than 6 minutes of my time I saved $50!  Give it a try and let me know how you did. 

Leave a Comment:

(3) comments

Thanks for the great post! What are your thoughts on Schwab in the context of fees?

    Steven Donovan

    Great question. While I don’t use Schwab as my brokerage I did check out the fees/pricing they disclose and they appear very competitive with Vanguard and Fidelity. Since I’m a DIY investor I would shy away from Intelligent Portfolios Premium as those fees add up very quickly and really would bring down returns for smaller investors.


This article was incredibly helpful! I had no idea that investment fees could add up so quickly. Thank you for sharing these tips on how to avoid them.

Add Your Reply

Leave a Comment: