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Investing

Do-It-Yourself Portfolios

Make short work of investing with our recommended funds.

Investing for retirement outside an employer's plan doesn't require heavy lifting. Forget the thousands of funds for sale, and focus on the handful in the portfolios below. Not one of the funds carries a sales charge, and all boast low expenses, first-class long-term records and, in the case of the actively managed funds, top-notch managers.

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Just as important as selecting good funds is assembling them into well-diversified investment plans. All of these portfolios meet that test. Each includes funds that invest in different types of stocks that complement one another in different market environments.

We offer two types of portfolios. One uses super-simple index funds, which track a particular market benchmark, such as the broad-based Wilshire 5000. The other employs actively managed funds. Because index funds charge lower expenses, you can expect better returns than you'd get with the average actively managed fund.

But we've taken the hassle out of choosing actively managed funds by identifying those that we think have the best shot at beating the market. All of the actively managed funds below appear in the Kiplinger 25, our listing of the top no-load mutual funds

10+ years to retirement

If your retirement is ten or more years away, you shouldn't be afraid to take risks, which means sticking with all-stock mutual funds. The portfolios below are ideal for workers whose retirement is a decade or more in the future.

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We give you a choice between a portfolio of index funds and one filled with actively managed funds. Both portfolios have a healthy weighting in foreign companies, including a small allocation to an emerging-markets fund. The bulk of each portfolio is invested in large companies, both foreign and domestic.

If these portfolios seem too aggressive, place 10% to 20% of your money in a bond fund, which will tamp down the risk.

NO-HASSLE INDEX FUND PORTFOLIO75% Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index (FSTMX)20% Fidelity Spartan International Index (FSIIX)5% Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index (VEIEX)

ACTIVELY MANAGED FUND PORTFOLIO25% Bridgeway Aggressive Investors 2 (BRAIX)25% Marisco Growth (MGRIX)25% Vanguard Select Value* (VASVX)20% Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX)5% SSgA Emerging Markets (SSEMX)*If you can't afford the $25,000 minimum, substitute Fidelity Value.

5 to 10 years to retirement

If you're within five to ten years of retirement, keep most of your money in stock funds but add a bond fund to the mix. The stocks will give you opportunities for growth, while the bond fund reduces the portfolio's overall volatility so there's less risk.

The portfolios below are suitable when you're within a decade of retirement. The low-cost index funds are designed to mirror a particular domestic or foreign benchmark. If the managed funds do as well as we hope, they should outperform the index funds by about one percentage point per year.

NO-HASSLE INDEX FUND PORTFOLIO55% Fidelity Spartan Total Market Index (FSTMX)15% Fidelity Spartan International Index (FSIIX)30% Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond Index* (VBIIX)*In a taxable account, substitute Fidelity Intermediate Municipal Income.

ACTIVELY MANAGED FUND PORTFOLIO25% t. Rowe Price Growth Stock (PRGFX)15% Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX)15% Bridgeway Aggressive Investors 2 (BRAIX)15% Vanguard Select Value* (VASVX)30% Loomis Sayles Bond# (LSBRX)*If you can't afford the $25,000 minimum, substitute Fidelity Value. #In a taxable account, substitute Fidelity Intermediate Municipal Income.

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