Listen weekdays from 1-3pm ET
(No audio? Try our help)
Recent shows | More media

Listen Live: Mon-Fri 1-3pm ET

Posted: 10:18 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010

Investment Guide: Beginning Investors

Our "Easy" guide for those with little to no investment experience



By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com

There is no easier choice than a targeted retirement fund. You select the year closest to when you want to retire and simply put all your money into it.

The money goes into a variety of things like big company stocks, little company stocks, international stocks and a bunch of different types of bonds. Bonds are where you are the bank lending someone money.

Some target retirement funds include commodities and real estate as part of the mix. As you age, the investment choices get steadily more conservative. You don't have to do a thing other than invest your money. Here are my favorite Target Retirement Fund companies.


Targeted Retirement Funds

With these funds, you pick the year you expect to retire -- let's say 2035. You buy that portfolio and over the next 30 years the company you choose picks a mix of stocks and bonds to get you the best return with the lowest overall risk. As you get closer to 2035, your investments get less risky.

Fidelity Freedom Funds
fidelity.com

Invests in a combination of stocks, bonds and cash equivalents
Years available: 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040, 2045, 2050, plus the Fidelity Freedom Income Fund for those already in retirement
Expense: between 0.71% and 0.91%
Minimum investment: $2,500 minimum to open an IRA; $2,500 minimum to open an investment account

    T. Rowe Price
    troweprice.com

    Invests in a combination of stocks, bonds and cash equivalents
    Years available: 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040, 2045, 2050, 2055
    Expense: between 0.67% and 0.84%
    Minimum investment: $1,000 minimum to open an IRA; $2,500 minimum to open an investment account

      Vanguard Target Retirement Funds
      vanguard.com

      Invests in a combination of stocks, bonds and cash equivalents
      Years available: 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040, 2045, 2050, 2055, plus the Target Retirement Income Fund for those already in retirement
      Expense: 0.21% or 0.22%
      Minimum investment: $1,000 minimum to open an IRA or general account


      Certificates of Deposit

      CDs are best for saving money that you will need again in the very near future, while investing is for money you won't need to touch for 10 years or more. While I don't want you to confuse these ideas, I know that people often do. So I felt it was important to include mention of a couple of my favorite CD strategies in this easy section of the investment guide.