Target-date fund

Target-date fund

To save for a future objective, such as retirement or paying for a child’s school, target date funds (TDFs) offer a single, pre-made portfolio. They aim to compromise between investors’ aspirations for increased stability and income possibilities as they grow closer to the target date and their requirement for more return. At the same time, there is a considerable period before their objective. 

What is a target-date fund? 

A certain form of mutual fund called target date funds is designed to be a means of retirement planning. They are made to age with you by gradually rebalancing your portfolio as you get closer to retirement, shifting away from growth assets and towards more conservative ones. When the target date gets closer, the fund’s asset allocation automatically evolves to become more conservative. 

Target date funds are often used by investors who are saving for a specific goal, such as retirement. Investors who wish to diversify their portfolios but lack the time or knowledge to handle their assets may find them an effective solution. 

Investors in target date funds should know that the fund’s performance will depend on several factors, including the economy, the stock market and interest rates.  

Understanding target-date fund 

These funds aim to grow their assets per a specific investment goal. For example, a target date fund may aim to grow its assets by an average of 10% per year over 10 years. 

The glide path technique is used by target date funds to shift your investment from risky to safer investments gradually. Using this strategy, you may maximise your money’s potential for development while you’re still young and secure it as you get closer to retirement.  

You could already use a target date fund strategy in your 401(k) plan, managed with a certain retirement date in mind. They are often available as a menu choice for investments, and 401(k) plans typically employ them as their default investment. Target dates can also be used in 529 college savings schemes, where the year the investor expects his child to begin college is frequently the goal date. 

Target date funds are designed on the concept that diversifying your investments across several asset classes and securities and altering the asset class mix as an investor matures may help you grow and safeguard your resources.   

TDFs with target-dates, years in the future often maintain the majority of their assets in equities since investors may attempt to capture significant long-term growth potential to a greater extent the longer their time horizon. 

How do target date funds work? 

While you’re a long way from retirement, target date funds put your capital in higher-risk assets, and when you’re getting close to retirement, they invest it in lower-risk assets. This is done extremely slowly to minimise the effect of any market shifts. 

A portfolio manager in a managed fund handles investment options using a ” glide path ” tool to modify the underlying mixture of investments that comprise your target-date fund. A glide path resembles an investing roadmap. It aids in figuring out how much risk your money should be exposed to during your career.  

Advantages of target-date funds 

  • The main benefit of target date funds would be that they take care of the difficult job of rebalancing and adjusting your asset allocation. 
  • Target-date funds might be an excellent option for investors with a certain savings goal or retirement date but lacking the time or expertise to build a diverse portfolio. 
  • You’ll have a greater chance of earning returns above the inflation rate if you invest your money early in assets with the capacity to expand. 
  • A target date fund could be useful if you want to be certain your pension is secure by the time you plan to purchase an annuity whenever you retire. 
  • A target date fund can be modified at any time. 

Disadvantages of target-date funds 

  • Target-date funds aren’t ideal for investors who wish to manage their money effectively. 
  • In certain target-date funds, there is a charge for underlying mutual funds and another layer of fees for administering the funds. 
  • Every fund you purchase in a target-date fund originates from the same corporation. As a result, your portfolio may include some mediocre funds. 
  • Compared to index funds, target-date funds can be rather expensive. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s no easy answer regarding the best allocation for target date funds. It depends on various factors, including age, investment goals, and risk tolerance. A good starting point is to allocate 60% of your target date fund to stocks and 40% to bonds.  

This allocation will give you the potential for growth while providing some downside protection. Of course, you’ll need to adjust this allocation as you get closer to retirement and your goals change. 


Investing in target date funds has its own pros and cons. On the one hand, these funds can be a good strategy to save for your retirement, as they automatically adjust your asset allocation as you age. This can help ensure your portfolio is properly diversified, leading to better returns.  

On the other hand, target date funds can be expensive, and they may not always perform as well as other types of investments. The choice of whether or not target date funds are a good match for a portfolio ultimately rests with the individual investor. 


A 22-year-old teacher, for instance, may invest in a target date 2060 fund if she intends to retire at age 66. The target date within the fund’s name indicates an investor’s anticipated withdrawal start date. A portfolio manager will gradually rebalance the fund as the instructor approaches the goal date (2060), making it more conservative with fewer shares and more fixed income. 


A target-date fund tends to have slightly higher cost ratios than a conventional mutual fund. This is because a target-date fund, even one that invests in index funds, is just a fund-of-funds.  

Also, the fund is more effective than a typical index fund since it must frequently adjust its holdings to fit the glide path. Yet, many of the target-date index funds offered have low-cost ratios of 0.10% or less. 


Target-date funds can be a good option for investors seeking a hands-off approach to investing. The funds can also be a good option for investors who do not have the time or knowledge to manage their portfolios. 

However, target-date funds are not without risk. The funds can lose value in the years leading up to the target date and may not perform as well as other investments in the long run.  

Thus target-date funds can be a good option for some investors, but they are not right for everyone. Investors should consider their goals, risk tolerance, and investment knowledge before investing in a target-date fund. 


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