To provide you with a diverse range of investment choices, Harvard offers target date funds, core funds, and a brokerage account option. Your investment selections should reflect your savings goals, timeline until retirement, and tolerance for risk.
Target date funds
Target date funds are the plans’ default investment. Target date funds are considered a “best practice” approach to retirement investing. That's because they offer:
- "Built-in" diversification. Investing in a variety of major asset classes—such as bonds, U.S. stocks, and international stocks
- Automatic asset allocation and rebalancing. As you get closer to retirement, the fund manager gradually shifts the fund’s investment mix from higher-risk investments to lower-risk investments.
- Low investment fees/costs. Harvard chose specific lifecycle funds that have low fees
The Vanguard Target Retirement funds are the automatic (default) investment for any newly eligible faculty and staff member who makes no other investment choice for University retirement plan contributions or for a TDA or 457(b) account. If you make no choice, you will be defaulted into a Vanguard Target Fund closest to the year you turn 65. You can learn more in this brief presentation: Vanguard Target Retirement Funds.
Learn more about Harvard’s target date fund choices
- Vanguard Target Retirement funds:
- Fidelity Freedom Index funds; review the fund fact sheet
- TIAA-CREF Lifecycle Index funds; review the fund fact sheet
You can also create your own mix of investments by choosing from the plans’ menu of low-fee investment options based on your long-term savings goals.
You can choose core funds in four different asset classes – money market, bonds, U.S. stocks, and international stocks – which can be combined to create varying degrees of potential risk and return.
Learn more about Harvard’s core fund choices
TIAA-CREF: Review the fund fact sheets for the core funds from TIAA-CREF
Vanguard: Review the fund fact sheets for the core funds from Vanguard.
Fidelity: Review the fund fact sheets for the core funds from Fidelity.
In addition to the core funds, you can choose three annuity funds from TIAA-CREF:
- TIAA Traditional Account
- CREF Money Market Account
- CREF Stock Account
Review the fund fact sheets for the alternative investments and contact TIAA-CREF.
You can also access thousands of additional mutual funds through brokerage accounts with Fidelity and Vanguard. This option is for savvy, “hands-on” investors who are comfortable researching and selecting their own investments and managing their portfolios. Contact Fidelity or Vanguard directly to set up a brokerage account. (This option is not available for the 457(b) plan.)
How to select your investments
- Visit the HURC website or call 800-527-1398
- Choose from the investment providers —Fidelity, TIAA-CREF, or Vanguard — for your allocations. You can invest with a single vendor or divide your contributions across two or more.
- Call the investment providers or visit their websites to invest your contributions.
- If you make no investment election, you will be defaulted to the Vanguard Target date fund nearest to the year you turn 65.
Required Fee Disclosure Information
Required fee and investment disclosures are designed to help you make informed decisions, and include a Summary of Plan Services and Costs and Investment Options Comparison Chart (note that the chart may include funds in the retirement plans that are closed to new investors). If you have any questions concerning this material, please call the HURC or contact the investment vendors directly.
Note about Retirement Plan Investment Changes - 2016
Harvard announced several changes to retirement plans effective fall of 2016, including money market fund offerings due to new federal regulations. In addition, following a review of best practices, Vanguard's fund offerings were changed to lower-cost share classes and a new quarterly account fee of $9 per account will be charged. You can learn more about each vendor's changes here:
- Fidelity Money Market Letter (9/1/2016)
- TIAA Money Market Letter (9/1/2016)
- Vanguard: Upcoming Plan Changes brochure (9/1/2016)