In Target-Date Funds, a Hodgepodge of Styles

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CHOOSING among the often-confusing lineup of mutual fundsoffered in 401(k) retirement accounts can be an unwelcome chore. Increasingly, employees have been embracing a simpler choice: all-in-one mutual funds known as target-date retirement funds, or T.D.F.’s.

Assets in these funds have more than quadrupled since 2007. For employees, the funds appear very straightforward, requiring only the choice of an expected retirement date. Once a fund with an appropriate target date is chosen, investment professionals take charge. They decide on a mix of assets that gradually becomes more conservative as the employee nears retirement.

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