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My brother wants me to open account with Vanguard so he can buy and sell funds. I think he knows a lot about it. But I am responsible for his money. Not him. I called the special needs trust line at the bank the trust is in. They said I'm not going to get someone to tell me yes or no to individual purchases my brother wants to make. That a financial advisor makes the investment plan for the trust themselves. My brother won't want that he wants to pick the investments. Not sure what to do.

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Vanguard is nice if he can stay within their mutuals & ETFs. Entry is low. But if he goes outside their mutuals & etfs system - like you mentioned he wants to trade stocks - it's going to get pricey. That's (stocks) not what Vanguard is primarily about.

To me, I'd try to figure out first if he understands what Vanguard is & how it's not what a brokerage house does. Barb is spot-on about wondering if he understands risk....

? Has he had a brokerage account before? Or ever met with a FA?
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Barbara, has your brother managed money in any meaningful way in his life before? Does your brother understand, for instance, the difference between a no-load fund and one that is not no-load? Does he understand managed vs. index funds? Vanguard is a reputable company, and they offer fairly low cost investment advisement for folks with a certain amount of money in their funds.

Does the lawyer who set up the trust say that it's okay (legally, doesn't violate the statute under which the trust was set up) to allow your brother access to the money?

Vanguard has funds that have "target retirement dates"; meaning that if one is expecting to retire in 2025, they have a fund balanced between stocks and bonds, all in one fund. Would that satisfy your brother's yen to be in the market?
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Yes, you can set up a small trading account with a portion of the money. Seek advice from a professional financial planner as what to do to grow the rest. Keep in mind that although traditional bank savings accounts are paying next to nothing by way of interest, it's still a good idea to set aside an amount in a no to low risk traditionally way.
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Barbara what you CAN do is a question for your lawyer and the bank. What you SHOULD do is up to your judgement.
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He doesn't want to Day Trade, just buy stocks, mutual funds or stuff like that. He is 53. And I am 63. But he is very overweight and has Diabetes type two. So I don't think he will live a normal life span. But since mom wasn't rich it is good to try to maximize the money. Can I put a certain amount of money in the account he wants. He likes Vanguard. So he won't have access to all the money in the trust?
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How old is your brother, Barbara? In part, that determines the amount of risk he should be taking with these monies. It doesn't sound like that's something he understands.

Look, your brother doesn't work and is being maintained at taxpayer expense. Your mom left him money in a trust so that YOU wouldn't be burdened with his care.
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Today both the Dow and Nasdaq traded in record territory. It's times like this people get over confident and think they are missing financial opportunities - and want to jump in whole  hog. But one has to remember that the market is a cyclical thing and what goes up eventually comes down...but then back up etc.

I'm assuming your brother wants to do some day trading. For people knowledgeable of the market, and have the time, energy and money to do it - it can be very profitable. But it's not for the nervous or the faint of heart. People need to be cautious when investing money they may not be able to afford to loose. That said - much to my surprise- Wall Street seems to love The Donald and since his election the market has been very positive. But I would caution any investing at this time as our President is a wild card and things could go downhill very quickly.

So - to finally get to the point and your question: It doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. In fact diversification is the smartest route to go. Set up an account with a reputable on line brokerage - start with a reasonable but conservative amount of money. Let your brother manage his account - setting a six month review for you to determine how successful he is. With the rest of the money, seek an experienced financial planner from a reputable brokerage or bank and ask for a balance portfolio aimed towards future income growth potential.
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