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Unraveling the Pitfalls of Target Date Funds Thumbnail

Unraveling the Pitfalls of Target Date Funds

By Jeffrey Meenes, CFP® (Published Date November 30, 2023)

Target Date Funds (TDFs) have surged in popularity as a hassle-free investment option, especially for retirement planning. However, beneath the surface lies a set of significant drawbacks that investors should scrutinize. Here are four key pitfalls you should seriously consider:

1. Simplistic Approach

TDFs provide a convenient one-size-fits-all strategy based on an investor's expected retirement date. However, this simplicity overlooks the individual's unique financial situation, risk tolerance, and investment preferences, making it potentially unsuitable for many.

2. High Fees and Expenses

TDFs often come with hefty fees, eroding returns over time. In a landscape where cost-conscious investing is paramount, these expenses can be a substantial deterrent, especially when compared to more economical alternatives like index funds or ETFs.

3. Limited Customization

TDFs pride themselves on a hands-off approach, offering limited customization. This convenience may become a constraint, as it restricts investors from adjusting their portfolios based on changing market conditions, individual goals, or risk preferences.

4. Risk of Misaligned Asset Allocation

The automatic asset allocation adjustment in TDFs, as the target retirement date approaches, may not align with an investor's true risk tolerance or prevailing market conditions. This mismatch can lead to dissatisfaction or unnecessary exposure to risk.


While TDFs may seem like a straightforward solution, investors must weigh these pitfalls carefully. The simplistic nature, high fees, limited customization, and the risk of misaligned asset allocation highlight the importance of exploring alternative investment strategies that provide more flexibility and better align with individual financial needs.

From my standpoint as a Fiduciary, it would be unethical to advise anyone to invest in funds that automatically allocate assets without regard to an individual’s financial situation. That is precisely what these target-date funds do.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Meenes Wealth Partners. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.