Retirement Saver Portfolios for Fidelity Investors
The firms' bond funds are topnotch, but its equity lineup also has some solid options for accumulators.
Investing in an IRA or brokerage account? The world is your oyster. You can have your pick among individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds, and even venture into esoteric assets such as commodities.
If you're investing in a company retirement plan, by contrast, you'll usually have to choose among a constrained choice set of investments, often from a single provider. And for years, one of the biggest names in the 401(k) space has been Fidelity Investments. The firm has been jockeying for position with Vanguard for the most 401(k) assets managed (Vanguard eclipsed it last year, according to Bloomberg) but still holds the number-one spot in 401(k) record-keeping. In short, many 401(k) investors have a connection to the Boston-based fund giant.
In a previous article, I discussed how retired investors can construct sound "bucket" portfolios consisting exclusively of Fidelity funds. This week, I'll take a look at how investors who are in accumulation mode can build portfolios using Fidelity funds. Of course, not every fund that I've used in these portfolios will be found on every Fidelity 401(k) menu, but investors can use the general framework to build out their own portfolios.
I've created three Fidelity Retirement Saver portfolios: Aggressive, Moderate, and Conservative. These portfolios are geared toward investors in tax-deferred accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s, meaning that I have selected investments without regard for tax efficiency. I'll introduce tax-efficient versions of these portfolios next week.
As with the other portfolios, I used Morningstar's Lifetime Allocation Indexes to guide the baseline asset allocations. I then relied on Morningstar's medalist ratings to help populate the portfolios, while also consulting with Morningstar senior analyst Katie Reichart, a Fidelity specialist. (Katie provided a first-half update on the goings-on at Fidelity in this video.) I used the share class with the lowest minimum investment amount for these portfolios, but investors who have access to lower-expense share classes should, of course, opt for those instead.
Aggressive Fidelity Retirement Saver Portfolio Anticipated Time Horizon to Retirement: 40 years
Geared toward a young accumulator, the Aggressive Fidelity Retirement Saver mutual fund portfolio uses the allocations of Morningstar's Lifetime Allocation 2055 Aggressive Index to guide its weightings. That index devotes 90% of its assets to stocks, including a healthy dose of foreign names. Thus, anyone considering such a portfolio should not only have a long time horizon but should also be able to tolerate the volatility that can accompany a very high equity allocation.
Because the equity position is such a large component of the portfolio, I employed several Fidelity equity funds to provide large-cap exposure. However, simplifiers could easily use Fidelity Total Stock Market Index to provide all of their U.S. equity exposure.
The Silver-rated Fidelity Contrafund, a fixture on 401(k) menus for decades, provides large-growth exposure. Despite the fund's girth ($112 billion and counting) and hundreds of holdings, Reichart notes that the fund has avoided looking and behaving too much like the market. Fidelity Value Discovery provides value exposure, including a dash of small- and mid-cap stocks. Although manager Sean Gavin is relatively new here, Reichart likes his quality-oriented style, and the fund currently earns a Bronze rating. A total market index fund provides exposure to core-type names not represented in either Contrafund or Value Discovery and helps lower the portfolio's overall costs.
The Bronze-rated Fidelity Small Cap Stock provides exposure to the lower half of the style box. (While
The Gold-rated Fidelity Total Bond provides core fixed-income exposure. I've also included a small stake in Fidelity Strategic Real Return, which includes a grab bag of inflation-fighting investments like TIPS, commodities, and floating-rate loans.
Moderate Fidelity Retirement Saver Portfolio Anticipated Time Horizon to Retirement: 20 years
15%: Fidelity Contrafund 15%: Fidelity Value Discovery 15%: Fidelity Spartan Total Market 10%: Fidelity Small Cap Stock 26%: Fidelity International Discovery 14%: Fidelity Total Bond 5%: Fidelity Strategic Real Return
This portfolio is geared toward a slightly older investor, one who intends to retire in 2035. (Assuming a retirement at age 65, our hypothetical individual would be in his or her 40s today.) But the Moderate portfolio, like the Aggressive version, includes more than 80% in stocks and a still-sizable allocation to foreign names. The key difference in the two portfolios' allocations is that the Moderate portfolio's foreign stake is lower and its core bond position is higher.
As with the Aggressive Saver mutual fund portfolio, I've used Morningstar Lifetime Allocation Indexes to help set the baseline asset allocations. In this case, I used the Moderate version of the 2035 Index.
Conservative Fidelity Retirement Saver Portfolio Anticipated Time Horizon to Retirement: 5 years
10%: Fidelity Contrafund
10%: Fidelity Value Discovery
10%: Fidelity Spartan Total Market
7%: Fidelity Small Cap Stock
14%: Fidelity International Discovery
30%: Fidelity Total Bond
12%: Fidelity Strategic Real Return
Life-expectancy gains, plus low bond yields, argue for higher equity positions in pre-retiree and retiree portfolios than might have been the case in the past. That's why the Conservative Saver portfolio, geared toward investors with just five years until retirement, maintains a healthy stake in equities, including positions in small-cap and foreign names. For equity exposure, I held on to the same funds employed in the Moderate Saver portfolio, albeit in smaller allocations.
Because the bond piece of this portfolio is larger than is the case with the Moderate Saver portfolio, it's also more diversified. While younger accumulators can get away with a single well-diversified bond fund--say, a core intermediate-term bond fund--people closing in on retirement will want to start diversifying their fixed-income exposure. Thus, I enlarged the position in Fidelity Strategic Real Return and also added a position in short-term bonds. With retirement five years into the future, it's too early to start raising cash for in-retirement living expenses; at today's very low yields, the opportunity cost of doing so is simply too great. But pre-retirees might consider steering part of their fixed-income sleeves to a short-term bond fund that could be readily converted into cash. After all, having sufficient short-term assets in the portfolio can help mitigate sequencing risk--the chance that a retiree could encounter a lousy market right out of the box. Fidelity Short-Term Bond is one of my favorites.
How to Use As noted above, investors may not have access to all of the funds included in these portfolios. But the key goal here is to depict sound asset-allocation and portfolio-management principles, so investors can readily plug in another fund in the same category if one of the funds I've named here is unavailable.
As with the bucket portfolios, I'll employ a strategic (that is, long-term and hands-off) approach to asset allocation; I'll make changes to the holdings only when individual holdings encounter fundamental problems or changes.