Target-Date ETFs: Are They On Target?

Tom Lydon
updated | Author's Website

Life-cycle funds or target-date exchange traded funds (ETFs) are a unique balance of fund in that they automatically adjust their allocation of equities and bonds.

The closer you get toward your retirement date, the higher the ratio of bonds in your portfolio, earning their name of a retirement plan on autopilot. Simon Maierhofer for ETF Guide reports that XShares and TD Ameritrade teamed up and created five TDAX Independence Funds, which he explores in light of the recent market turmoil. Do they follow their objectives?

Combined, they boast $150 million in assets.

  • TDX Independence In-Target (TDX): The most conservative fund; 3% of the fund’s assets are allocated to international equities, 8% to domestic equities and 89% to fixed income.
  • TDX Independence 2010 (TDD): This fund is designed for investors who plan to retire around 2010. 8% of the fund’s assets are allocated to international equities, 24% to domestic equities and 68% to fixed income. The allocation to equities is adjusted downward to 11% in the year 2010.
  • TDX Independence 2020 (TDH): This fund is designed for investors who plan to retire around 2020. 17% of the fund’s assets are allocated to international equities, 49% to domestic equities and 34% to fixed income. After 2020, 11% is allocated to equities.
  • TDX Independence 2030 (TDN): This fund is designed for investors who plan to retire around 2030. 22% of the fund’s assets are allocated to international equities, 65% to domestic equities and 13% to fixed income. After 2030, 11% toward equities is adjusted.
  • TDX Independence 2040 (TDV): 24% of the fund’s assets are allocated to international equities, 72% to domestic equities and 4% to fixed income. The allocation to equities is adjusted downward to 11% in the year 2040.

The In-Target ETF has certainly provided a place to have parked your money. TDX is down 4.6% year-to-date. The 2010 portfolio is down about 15.3%, which, given the market condition, is acceptable. The 2020 portfolio dropped by 25.5%, the 2030 and 2040 portfolios have lost about 32.3% and 34.2%, respectively.

It’s up to investors to ultimately decide if that performance works for them, and whether these kinds of funds are a fit in their portfolios.

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