Target Retirement Funds: A one-fund investing approach

Vanguard Target Retirement Funds are a way to invest throughout your career and into retirement. A single Target Retirement Fund can serve as a complete, diversified retirement portfolio. 

A fund of funds

Each Target Retirement Fund invests in several other Vanguard funds to create a broadly diversified mix of stocks, bonds, and, in some cases, short-term reserves. The year in a Target Retirement Fund’s name is its target date, the year in which Vanguard expects an investor in the fund will retire and leave the workforce. 

A self-adjusting mix

Vanguard’s investment professionals manage each fund, gradually adjusting its investment mix to become more conservative as the target date approaches. Move the slider below to see how a Target Retirement Fund’s investment mix changes as its target date approaches. 

Target Retirement Fund Glide Path

Choosing a Target Retirement Fund

Consider the Target Retirement Fund with the target date closest to the year you plan to retire. If you haven’t planned that far ahead, you can use the year you’ll reach your full Social Security retirement age (65 to 67, depending on when you were born). 

You’re not required to choose the fund that matches your projected retirement year. Once you review that fund’s mix of stocks and bonds, you could choose a fund with a later target date if you’d prefer a more aggressive investment mix. On the other hand, if you’d prefer a more conservative mix, you could choose a fund with an earlier target date. 

Because your personal situation could change over time, consider reviewing your asset mix from time to time to make sure your portfolio matches your goals and risk tolerance. 

The target date is not the end

Nothing special happens with a Target Retirement Fund when it reaches its target date. The fund doesn’t stop investing, and you don’t need to take your money out of the fund. The gradual move from stocks to bonds simply continues. Target Retirement Funds are designed to keep your money invested appropriately throughout your retirement years. 

About seven years after a fund reaches its target date, its investment mix is expected to match that of Vanguard Target Retirement Income Fund. That fund is designed to provide income to retirees while seeking to preserve the original investment. 

How to invest in a Target Retirement Fund

Think a Target Retirement Fund might be right for you? For more information, visit our Target Retirement Funds website. To find out if your retirement plan offers Target Retirement Funds and to change your investments, log on to your account at

All investing is subject to risk. Investments in Target Retirement Funds are subject to the risks of their underlying funds. The year in the fund name refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the fund would retire and leave the workforce. The fund will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive investments (stocks) to more conservative ones (bonds and short-term reserves) based on its target date. An investment in a Target Retirement Fund is not guaranteed at any time, including on or after the target date. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Investments in bond funds are subject to interest rate, credit, and inflation risk. 

For more information about any fund, including investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses, call Vanguard at 800-523-1188 to obtain a prospectus. The prospectus contains this and other important information about the fund. Read and consider the prospectus information carefully before you invest. You can also download Vanguard fund prospectuses at   


Investing for retirement

Contact Vanguard


Roll retirement money to Vanguard

Know your options

Learn about Vanguard IRAs

Subscribe to news from Vanguard

E-mail newsletters

RSS news feeds Subscribe  to RSS news feeds

Podcasts Subscribe to podcasts

E-mail this page

Send a link Email