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28 Best Funds for Your Retirement Savings

Saving for retirement in a company 401(k) plan is a smart choice. Not only can you put away thousands of dollars of your own pre-tax earnings every year, but many employers will match a portion of your contributions. Plus, if you change jobs, it's possible to transfer your saving into your new company's 401(k) plan or shift the money into a rollover IRA. The benefits of 401(k)s haven't gone unnoticed. Americans have $4.4 trillion invested in these tax-deferred savings accounts, according to the Investment Company Institute, making them a centerpiece of retirement planning for many workers.

Once you make the important decision to invest in a 401(k), the next step is choosing between the investment options within your plan. There will no doubt be some index funds from which to choose. Selecting the right one depends largely on what index you want to match and how much the fund charges (the lower the fee, the better). Assessing actively managed funds is more subjective. So we analyzed the management and performance of the actively managed mutual funds that rank among the 101 most popular actively managed mutual funds in 401(k) plans. The list was compiled by BrightScope, a financial-information company that rates retirement savings plans, based on the funds' 401(k) assets under management. Of the 101 most popular mutual funds, we identified the 28 best funds for you to invest in. If your 401(k) plan offers any or all of these 28 top-performing funds, they deserve strong consideration for your retirement savings.

Funds are listed in order of their retirement-plan assets, starting with the fund with the most assets, based on data from BrightScope. Although your plan may offer funds’ institutional share classes, whenever possible all data, including fund symbols, listed here refer to the share class that’s most accessible to the average investor. All returns are as of July 31; 5- and 10-year returns are annualized.

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