Why a Target-Date Fund Works for Me

Target-date funds are attractive for their simplicity. And while I've invested in one in the past, that doesn't mean it's the right choice for you.

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I don’t ignore my retirement accounts, but I consider myself mostly a set-it-and-forget-it investor. I prefer to pick an investment strategy, arrange automatic contributions and then sit back without tinkering much with my portfolio. For that reason, I used a target-date fund in my 401(k) when I had one (I’m self-employed now). My husband invests in a fund with a 2050 target date through his employer plan.

A target-date fund aims to create an appropriate investment mix for the investor’s age and approximate retirement date. A fund designed for someone with many years until retirement includes a high proportion of stocks for growth. Over time, the fund regularly rebalances, allocating a greater percentage of assets to less-risky, income-producing investments, such as bonds, as retirement nears.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.