When considering investment options for your 401(k), you might consider fixed income funds. Although these funds are a niche option for 401(k) investments, they can be useful in specific circumstances, such as if you are close to retirement and need low-risk assets to preserve your capital.
In this article, we’ll explain what fixed income funds are and how to use them to achieve your investment goals.
Key points to remember
- Fixed income funds are low-risk investments that investors can use for their 401(k).
- If you are focused on growing your portfolio, these funds may not be ideal as other types of assets have greater potential for higher returns.
- Fixed income funds are designed to generate regular and reliable returns.
What are fixed income funds?
Fixed income funds hold a portfolio of assets such as bonds or other debt securities and provide fixed income or regular payments. They are offered by banks and insurance companies and have common characteristics with a certificate of deposit (CD), which is a savings account that provides fixed returns for a specified period. These funds are designed to grow slowly with little risk and provide a predictable rate of return.
Fixed income funds mainly hold government and corporate bonds in the short and medium term deadlines about two to four years. These funds usually pay more interest one Money market fundswho generally invests in fixed income securities that are highly liquid, such as cash or short-dated contracts.
Other terms may refer to a fixed income fund or a type of fixed income fund: stable value funds, guaranteed investment contracts (GICs), capital preservation funds, capital protection funds, fixed interest funds, guaranteed funds or stable interest funds.
Some types of these funds are also limited in their availability. For example, stable-value funds are usually only available through your 401(k), and even then some employers don’t offer them to their plan members. This means that you may not be able to buy all types of fixed income funds in one place. individual retirement account (IRA) or your brokerage account.
Unlike mutual funds, the share price of some fixed income funds, such as stable value funds, will not change over time.
How to Use Fixed Income Funds in Your 401(k)
Although there is usually a fixed income allocation in most target date funds, for most people running their own 401(k), fixed income funds are of limited use. Perhaps these funds are best viewed as a middle ground between cash and money market funds, which have low givenand bond funds, which have higher risk and volatility.
Stable Value Funds are primarily useful for conservative investors and those with time horizons. If you are approaching retirement, these funds will provide you with income with minimal risk. They can also help stabilize the rest of your walletacting like a hedge against stock market volatility.
On the other hand, if you can tolerate more risk and want to grow your portfolio aggressively, these funds may not be right for you. Above long termthey are unlikely to offer as high a return as equity funds. In general, most advisors recommend allocating no more than 6% to 15% of one’s assets in these funds, with the average allocation being in the 13% range. The amount you allocate will depend on your own investment objectives and financial situation.
What are fixed income 401(k) funds?
A fixed income fund holds several fixed income assets and pays a fixed rate of return over a certain period of time. These funds are made up of investment contracts issued by banks and insurance companies.
Why use fixed income 401(k) funds?
How safe are fixed income 401(k) funds?
Fixed income 401(k) funds are considered a safe investment. The risk of losing money or not receiving expected returns is low compared to other types of investments like stocks.
Fixed income funds are considered a low-risk investment to help you to diversify your 401(k) in storage. If you have a top risk tolerance, for example if you are decades away from retirement, these funds may not be ideal as they tend to offer lower returns. Your money has greater potential for higher gains with other higher risk investment types like actions or regular mutual fund.
However, for investors with a low tolerance for risk, fixed income 401(k) funds can be an ideal asset to preserve capital and provide predictable income.