Life-Cycle Funds/ Age Based Funds/ Target Date Funds As Components of Individual Portfolios
While the myriad mind of us individuals is perpetually engaged in toiling for our livelihood, we would like to invest our prized green bucks in assets that will not only conserve our capital, but will cultivate it to cumulate it into a sizable corpus. Moreover, while most of us know what to do with our money, some of us are inept at financial discernment or just too hard pressed on time to invest on our own. At the same time, we are responsible for our investments that will carry us through our retirement.
Lifecycle funds/ target date mutual funds offer a solution for investors managing their retirement portfolios and are 'buy one' mutual funds that invest in a mass of underlying funds. It is a sort of fund of funds that invests in a combination of debt and equity in a particular way that the allocation turns conservative as soon as one's retirement age approaches.
These funds ensue commensurate diversification amongst choice of funds as well. They invest in a basket of mutual funds across all market capitalizations and international funds. Fundamentally, these funds are all similar in nature but vary according to the fund manager's view on the risk appetite of his clutch of investors. Some managers are of the opinion that investors must refrain from placing their retirement proceeds in high-risk portfolios, while some postulate that individuals must place their assets into riskier bets while they are younger.
One advantage of holding a close-ended fund such as this is that fund managers can, while holding long-term stable income-generating funds, wager investments towards medium-term focused riskier fund bets and gradually book profits to invest the proceeds into stable debt and inflation indexed bonds etc. Since the fund is close-ended, the fund manager can focus on the strategy without worrying about keeping money idling in cash.
The disadvantage is that these funds are targeted at the average investor in the fund. There may be investors who prefer a more conservative portfolio and some a more aggressive one. But by and large it attempts to address the commonplace desideratum of the average investor under that umbrella.
These funds don't have their own expense ratios, but they are derived from the expense ratios of their underlying funds. These expenses were not disclosed earlier, but on SEC intervention, the latest fund reports will mention the expense ratio of holding the portfolio of funds.
Albeit, relatively new, these funds have hitherto provided decent returns to their investors over the past 3 years. Although, the performance of these funds may vary from fund to fund. Therefore, before selecting your fund, it is essential to fraternize oneself regarding the investment philosophy, fund record of accomplishment, ratings, fund managers track record etc. Subsequently, let the fund managers take over the reins!