What Mutual Fund Type Is Taking Over 401(k) Plans?
Their name: Target Date funds.
Their share of 401(k) contributions in 2015: More than half expected in 2015.
Their appeal: Simplicity (“the only fund that you will need”) and low fees.
Selection process: Choose target-date fund close to your retirement. If you are starting to work now and expect to retire in 40 years, then choose Target Date Fund 2055.
Composition: Mix of Stock/Bond funds (index funds preferred) that adjusts; as investor gets closer to retirement, moves more into bonds.
Fees: Average of 0.78%. Vanguard as low as 0.17%
- Fees (aka Expense Ratio)
- Performance (1 and 3 years)
- Allocation between stocks/bonds in these categories (Composition Tab): Domestic equity (stock), International equity (stock), Bond Funds (combine Domestic and International), Short-term Funds (cash). Also, calculate how much stocks are as %age of overall portfolio.
- Number of funds held: How many funds make up each of the target date funds? Are Vanguard and Fidelity pursuing active or passive strategies? Does this give you a better sense of why fees might differ with Target Date funds?
Based on this information, which fund would students choose and why?
Bonus question: What would be the composition of funds in 2055 (at retirement)?
About the Author
Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.