Perspectives : Investment | April 25, 2023

Vanguard TDFs: Always evolving to help improve outcomes

Read time: 5 minutes

Plan sponsors and participants have entrusted Vanguard with more than $1 trillion in target-date fund (TDF) assets1 because we have delivered time-tested performance that helps give investors a better chance for retirement success. Vanguard Target Retirement Funds, on average, have performed in the top quartile among their peer groups for 10-year returns,2 and part of our success is due to continually evaluating our TDFs and making changes that can meaningfully improve participant outcomes.
1 Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of July 30, 2022.

Purposeful evolution through constant evaluation

Over the years, we’ve enhanced asset allocations, improved fund and trust lineups, reduced implementation costs, lowered fees, and increased access to our products. Many of these changes are focused on returning value to our shareholders. For example, since we first offered TDFs in 2003, we’ve lowered expense ratios by 70%.3 We also return value by reinvesting in the business to deliver better products, services, and processes. 
In 2021, we introduced the Target Retirement Income and Growth Trust, a complementary product to help participants solve the retirement income puzzle. Designed to provide the opportunity for higher returns by maintaining a greater equity allocation in retirement, the new trust is a valuable addition to our TDF lineup for those who want and have the resources to fund higher discretionary spending in retirement. We paired that with participant guidance and annual spending recommendations in retirement, services that can help participants choose appropriate equity allocations and ensure they are on the right path for a successful retirement.
2 Vanguard and Morningstar, Inc., as of December 31, 2022. Our Target Retirement Funds with a 10-year track record or longer (2055 and earlier vintages in Investor Shares), on average, ranked in the 76th percentile among peer groups for 10-year returns through 2022. Vanguard Target Retirement Income Fund ranked 32nd out of 111 peers; 2020 Fund, 20th out of 81; 2025 Fund, 24th out of 143; 2030 Fund, 34th out of 131; 2035 Fund, 40th out of 138; 2040 Fund, 30th out of 131; 2045 Fund, 26th out of 137; 2050 Fund, 26th out of 130; and 2055 Fund, 28th out of 112. Only competing funds with a 10-year history were included. Results will vary in other time periods.
Note that the competitive performance data shown represent past performance, which is not a guarantee of future results, and that all investments are subject to risks. Investment returns and principal value will fluctuate, so investors' shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data cited. For the most recent performance, visit our website at

And recently, we announced changes to our portfolio management structure to enhance our daily management and oversight, clarify roles and accountability, and centralize the role of our Investment Strategy Group (ISG) in asset allocation decisions. As part of these changes, Michael Roach has been named head of Multi-Asset Portfolio Management, and Roger Aliaga-Díaz, of ISG, has been added as a co-portfolio manager on several Vanguard multi-asset portfolios. We believe the new structure will help improve our already strong TDFs by creating more efficient and effective processes, and ultimately return value to our shareholders.

These changes represent the latest in our continued efforts to evolve our TDF offer, always with the goal of improving participant outcomes. You can access our brochure for a more comprehensive overview of the portfolio management and oversight structure, as well as a timeline of recent enhancements to our TDF lineup.

Vanguard, as of December 31, 2022. Franchise assets include Vanguard Target Retirement Funds and Trusts. Starting expense ratio of 0.23% in 2003 and 0.07% in 2022.


  • All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
  • For more information about Vanguard funds, visit to obtain a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information are contained in the prospectus; read and consider it carefully before investing.
  • Investments in Target Retirement Funds and Trusts are subject to the risks of their underlying funds. The year in the Fund/Trust name refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the Fund/Trust would retire and leave the workforce. The Fund/Trust will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive investments to more conservative ones based on its target date. The Income Fund/Trust and the Income and Growth Trust has a fixed investment allocation and is designed for investors who are already retired.  An investment in a Target Retirement Fund/Trust is not guaranteed at any time, including on or after the target date.
  • Vanguard Target Retirement Trusts are not mutual funds. They are collective trusts available only to tax-qualified plans and their eligible participants. Investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information should be considered carefully before investing. The collective trust mandates are managed by Vanguard Fiduciary Trust Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Vanguard Group, Inc.