Target date funds, also called lifecycle funds, are designed to offer a
convenient investment for a person expecting to retire around a specific
date. A target date fund pursues a long-term investment strategy by
investing in a mix of asset classes (or asset allocation) according to an
investment model that becomes more conservative over time. Research
shows that asset allocation has been one of the most important factors in
long-term portfolio performance.
Three share classes of the First Trust Target Date Fund are currently offered depending on the desired level of services the advisor is providing to the plan and the way the advisor is being paid.
For more information on any of these funds, click on the desired fund link below.
Target date funds are designed to help investors avoid some of the most common investment mistakes.Their features include:
The glide path is the asset allocation model that a target date fund follows to become more conservative over time. Since discussions of asset
allocation usually focus on the percentage of the portfolio invested in equities, the glide path reflects the declining percentage of equities in the
portfolio as it approaches and passes the target date.While glide paths differ based on the assumptions and calculations providers use in
designing their funds, all target date fund glide paths provide for more exposure to equities for younger investors and more exposure to fixed income
and cash for investors near retirement. Many target date funds' glide paths continue to adjust the funds' equity exposure after the target date is reached. Some target date funds also actively manage asset
allocations along the glide path within preset limits to respond to prevailing market conditions. The First Trust Target Date funds move along the glide path with adjustments being made annually.
Since transparency is a hallmark of First Trust investments, this Glide Path Anchor Point Table illustrates the required allocation for the 2013 calendar year for each Target Date Fund. Each fund is quarterly rebalanced to these percentages.
What are the Risks of Investing in the Fund?:
The Fund is not a mutual fund and its units are not deposits of the Trust or the Advisor, and are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other agency. The units are securities which have not been registered under the 1933 Act and the Fund is exempted from investment company registration under the 1940 Act. Therefore, participating plans and their participants will not be entitled to the protections under these Acts. As defined in the Declaration of Trust establishing the Fund, the Fund is available for investment by eligible qualified retirement plans only. Management of the Trust, however, is generally subject to the fiduciary duty and prohibited transaction rules under ERISA.
As with any investment, you can lose money by investing in the Fund. Before investing you should consider carefully the following risks that you assume when you invest in the Fund. For more information regarding the following risks, please consult the Fund's Information Statement.
Market Risk. A particular security owned by the Fund, units of the Fund or securities in general may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments, and their securities may be less liquid and may experience greater price volatility than larger, more established companies.
Non-U.S. Securities Risk. The Fund invests in securities of non-U.S. issuers or ETFs that invest in non-U.S. issuers. Such securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments; restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities; lack of liquidity; excessive taxation; government seizure of assets; different legal or accounting standards; and less government supervision and regulation of exchanges in foreign countries. These risks may be heightened for securities of companies located in, or with significant operations in, emerging market countries.
Inflation Protection Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities ("TIPS") issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury or similar securities issued by foreign governments. In a falling inflationary environment, both interest payments and the value of the TIPS and other inflation-protected securities will decline.
Real Estate Investment Risk. The Fund invests in real estate companies, including real estate investment trusts ("REITs"). Investing in REITs involves certain other risks related to their structure and focus, which include, but are not limited to, dependency upon management skills, limited diversification, the risks of locating and managing financing for projects, heavy cash flow dependency, possible default by borrowers, the costs and potential losses of self-liquidation of one or more holdings, the risk of a possible lack of mortgage funds and associated interest rate risks, among others, which may result in less market liquidity and greater price volatility.
Interest Rate Risk. Increases in interest rates typically lower the present value of a REIT's future earnings stream, and may make financing property purchases and improvements more costly. Because the market price of REIT securities may change based upon investors' collective perceptions of future earnings, the value of REIT securities will generally decline when investors anticipate or experience rising interest rates. In addition, the Fund's investment in fixed-income securities subjects it to interest rate risk as the value of fixed-income securities generally declines as interest rates rise.
Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk of nonpayment of scheduled interest and/or principal payments. The value of fixed-income securities is affected by the creditworthiness of the issuers and by general economic and specific industry conditions.
Income Risk. Income a Fund receives based on interest it earns from its investments can vary widely over the short- and long-term. If prevailing market interest rates drop, distribution rates of the Fund's portfolio holdings in debt securities may decline which then may adversely affect the Fund's overall value. The Fund's income also would likely be adversely affected when prevailing short-term interest rates increase.
Commodity Risk. The value of commodities and commodity-linked instruments typically is based upon the price movements of a physical commodity or an economic variable linked to such price movements. The prices of commodities and commodity-related investments may fluctuate quickly and dramatically and may not correlate to price movements in other asset classes. An active trading market may not exist for certain commodities. Each of these factors and events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund.
ETF and PIV Risk. The Fund invests in Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and Pooled Investment Vehicles (PIVs) and therefore is subject to unique risks. Like securities or bonds, ETFs and PIVs carry market risk and could decline in value because of current events, supply and demand and other conditions that may affect the sector or group of industries the ETF and PIVs represents.
High-Yield Security Risk. High-yield, high-risk securities are subject to greater market fluctuations and risk of loss than securities with higher investment ratings. The value of these securities will decline significantly with increases in interest rates, not only because increases in rates generally decrease values, but also because increased rates may indicate an economic slowdown. An economic slowdown, or a reduction in an issuer's creditworthiness, may result in the issuer being unable to maintain earnings at a level sufficient to maintain interest and principal payments. Because high-yield securities are generally subordinated obligations and are perceived by investors to be riskier than higher rated securities, their prices tend to fluctuate more than higher rated securities and are affected by short-term credit developments to a greater degree. The market for high-yield securities is smaller and less liquid than that for investment grade securities. Due to the smaller, less liquid market for high-yield securities, the bid-offer spread on such securities is generally greater than it is for investment grade securities and the purchase or sale of such securities may take longer to complete.
An investment in this fund is not guaranteed, and you may experience losses, including losses near, at, or after the target date. There is no guarantee that the Fund will provide adequate income at and through your retirement.
Target Date Funds, like any investment, should be selected based on factors in addition to age or retirement date, including the investor's risk tolerance, personal circumstances and complete financial situation. As a plan participant whose balance may have been invested in a QDIA (Qualified Default Investment Alternative), you have the right to direct this investment to any other investment alternative under the plan, subject to any fees or limitation that may apply to such transfer under the plan.