CHICAGO — The growing number of options for the right approach to retirement planning is making the right choice quite difficult. Among the choices is a relatively new kind of mutual fund that has enjoyed strong growth over the past few years. Known as target date retirement funds, their assets have jumped from $183 billion in 2007 to $436 billion as of mid-2012, according to the Investment Company Institute. The allure of these funds is easy to understand.
A target date retirement fund is simply a mutual fund designed to alter its investment strategy as the holder nears retirement. For example, the Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 Fund is designed to appeal to someone who plans to retire in 2025 or around that time.
Following conventional wisdom, these funds generally alter their portfolios to include increasingly conservative investments as the target retirement date approaches, thus relieving the owners from rebalancing portfolios on their own. The objective is to reduce risk as retirement approaches, generally by decreasing the proportion of securities and increasing the proportion of bonds.