If you have more than a million, individual stocks are almost certainly a better value, since they have no expense ratio, and you can control when you pay taxes. You have both buying and selling commissions with individual stocks.You have more risk unless you have a broad diversity across industries and locations and country exposureYou have to be a lot more on top of things...the problem of 1 company in 10 or 20 affects you a lot more than 1 company in 500. You still have to diversify across value, growth, small cap, mid cap, international, large cap, and that is hard to do with less than 10 per sector. In some cases, companies may be bought out for cash, giving you unwanted income. Some of the companies going private caused this to happen. Also, you can have stock splits or spin offs that result in fractional shares. Plus, you will have at least ten times the paperwork when you do go to sell, and if you own dividend paying stock, 20 times the paperwork at tax time if in taxable accounts. If you have a million with Vanguard, you also get even lower cost expense ratios as you move into the Admiral Shares with a even better deal. t.
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