Target Date Funds: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown

Target Date Funds, which automatically diversify, adjust and rebalance retirement saving allocations over very long periods of time, are among the most successful individual investing products of the past decade. Initially introduced in 1994, target date funds (TDFs) really took off after the U.S. Pension Protection Act of 2006 allowed defined contribution (DC) pension plans to use them as a default option for plan participants. Assets in TDFs rose from a total of $100 billion in assets in 2005 to over $700 billion in 2015, and more than 60% of new DC pension contributions are now flowing into these funds. At least 36 mutual fund companies offer TDFs to pension plans, and a growing part of the pension consulting business consists of helping pension plan sponsors to “customize” their TDFs.Read More

How Financial Ignorance Can Ruin Retirement

There are compelling reasons to be worried about retirement preparedness. My work with Olivia S. Mitchell of Wharton’s Pension Research Council has found that only a minority of individuals gives any thought to retirement, even when people are only 10 to 15 years away from it. Planning can make the difference between security versus fragility in retirement. Our research shows that those who plan end up with double or triple the wealth of those who do not.Read More

Financial Savvy Key To A Secure Retirement

Over the last 40 years, we as individuals have been given increasing responsibility for ensuring our own financial well-being in retirement. But it’s gotten quite complex, with an alphabet soup of retirement saving vehicles – from 401(k) to 403(b) plans to IRA and Roth IRAs – and our responsibilities loom large. Not only must we figure out how much to save and how to invest our retirement assets, but we also must take advantage of a variety of tax-favored assets, employer matches, payout options, and much more.Read More

How To Get More Guaranteed Retirement Income In The 401(k) Age

In the old days, many Americans had a defined benefit (DB) pension that paid them a steady guaranteed income in retirement. But the pension landscape has shifted dramatically: now more than half of all US retirement assets are in self-directed defined contribution (DC) plans, such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) – and the figures are rising. These DC plans and IRAs do offer millions the chance to build up and control their own nest eggs, but what they don’t offer is a guaranteed income in retirement. Instead, retirees must manage their nest eggs themselves and hope that their decisions – how much to save, where to invest, and how much to take out each year – and the ups and downs of the market, will permit their money to last as long as they do.Read More