They’ve greatly simplified investing in many ways, but are they always the right choice?This is an especially important question given that they’re often the default investment option in company retirement plans, meaning that unless you specifically choose to do something else there’s a good chance you will automatically be invested in a target date retirement fund.

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In this post you’ll learn how these funds work, and the biggest pros and cons of using them, so you can make the right choice for your specific needs.

Target-date retirement funds are a kind of all-in-one mutual fund.

You could see this problem in action during the 2008 market crash, when target-date retirement funds got a bad rap because many people didn’t understand how aggressively they were invested and lost a lot more money than they were expecting.

Asset allocation is a decision that should take many factors into account, including but not limited to your expected retirement date.

Here’s the current breakdown of the other funds it invests in: At a basic level this is incredibly helpful because instead of having to choose your own set of mutual funds, set up contributions to each, and manage them as they rise and fall in value, you get access to essentially the entire world of investments with just a single fund.

Not only that, but target date retirement funds automatically get more conservative as you get closer to retirement, and even once you’re in retirement.

This isn’t really a downside of target-date funds as much as it’s a reality of investing in the stock market.

It’s just important to understand that these funds are no different.

Rather than having to analyze the entire lineup of mutual funds, ETFs, and other investments available to you, decide on the subset in which you want to invest, and then set it all up and manage it over time, you get to pick a single mutual fund that does it for you.