Target Date Funds: Preparing Participants for Retirement

December 19, 2018 | Julianna Paterra, CFA, CAIA, Research Analyst

A pitfall for a majority of plan participants surrounding retirement planning is a lack of familiarity with investing. Participants with little to no investment experience are expected to make allocation decisions that will greatly impact their retirement. Target date funds serve as a one-stop shop for a diversified and risk-appropriate portfolio which automatically de-risks as the participant ages. These funds are managed to a specific target retirement date; when an investor chooses his or her retirement year, the portfolio is put on “autopilot” as the fund is managed and rebalanced with risk and return characteristics appropriate for that defined investment horizon. While these funds fulfill a need for simplicity in the marketplace, there are many nuances with which plan sponsors should be educated in order to make a decision that is best for their participant pools.

This paper serves as an educational tool for plan sponsors to aid in the selection and continuing evaluation of target date funds. Topics including purpose, construction, goals, and benchmarking will be discussed.

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The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Julianna Paterra, CFA, CAIA
Research Analyst

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