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OK, you have all scared the pants off of me, and I was already jittery about this.

The thing is, I don't have the time to read up on 3-4 books immediately, but I do want to move in that direction where I am managing my own finances.

Right now I have a ton going on, so reading up will take me a little time, a night here, a night there, etc.

In the interim, what can I do and what are the risks?

If I literally call this guy, who now has my check in the mail to him, and I have already signed a Merrill Lynch client agreement form, what are the ramifications of saying "I changed my mind, I want to roll my money to Vanguard instead so I can invest in generic no load mutual funds" (I don't even know if what I just said is accurate).

At this point, the guy will obviously become hostile (even if he feigns professional courtesy). My guess is that first he will try to talk me out of it. Maybe offer me an alternative breakdown in investment options. Would he be able to counter with no-load options through Merrill? I was reading on a thread at bogleheads that you pay quarterly custodial fees to Merrill just to have an account of something like 0.25% per Q? For me, that would be something like $500 per quarter?

Plus, they could offer me Vanguard fund as an option right, but charge me a fee for the transactions?

As for Vanguard, is there a simple step-by-step for beginngers so that I could at least move my money there?

Is Vanguard only advisable?

Is it wise to just leave my money in cash in Merrill for a period, if so, how long, and is there a penalty if I don't roll in 30 days or less and so forth?

This stinks.
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