Investors in Target-Date Funds Feel More Secure About Retirement

February 21, 2012 ( – Workplace retirement plan investors who use target-date funds feel more secure about reaching their retirement goals and managing their portfolios than those who do not. 

According to a study from ING U.S., 71% of target-date investors indicated that target-date funds made them feel more confident that they were making sound investment decisions.

When asked about various features available in target-date funds, all respondents showed a strong preference for those that are managed by multiple investment managers and are able to provide a guaranteed income stream at retirement. More than nine-in-10 (93%) target-date investors and nearly three-quarters (71%) of those who do not use them would want a target-date fund that provides stronger protection against market losses in the years leading up to and including retirement. Additionally, eight-in-10 (80%) respondents using target-date funds and two-thirds (66%) of those not using them would prefer less market risk at that stage of the investment cycle.

“These findings suggest that diversified, age-adjusted target-date funds, when effectively designed, may work better than traditional offerings in bridging the gap between investor knowledge and long-term retirement objectives,” said Paul Zemsky, chief investment officer of multi-asset strategies for ING Investment Management.

Other key findings of the study include:

•  Eighty-eight percent of target-date investors have interest in a target-date fund that offers guaranteed income at retirement;

•  Eighty-six percent of target-date investors feel confident they know the definition of “diversification” compared to a smaller number (71%) of those who do not use target-date funds; and

•  Sixty-one percent of target-date investors prefer multi-manager strategies while a much smaller number (14%) prefer a single-manager.


The survey findings are from an online survey conducted by Synovate, during the period of September 19-20, 2011. Respondents were 540 active defined contribution plan participants (212 invested in target-date funds while 328 did not) between the ages of 25 and 69 and were the primary/joint financial decision maker for their account. 

To view a report containing detailed findings of this study, visit the ING Retirement Research Institute.