BlackRock: 20-Year Anniversary of Target Date Funds

In 1993, Harrison Ford was being chased all over Chicago by Tommy Lee Jones, people were reading about the bridges of Madison County, and the very first phone-to-phone text message was sent somewhere in Finland.

There are probably still fans of The Fugitive and The Bridges of Madison County, but there were 6.1 trillion text messages sent in 2010 alone. Clearly, many things little noticed at the time go on to have a major impact on our lives.

Which leads me to something else in 1993 that few people noticed at the time; BlackRock introduced LifePath, the very first target date fund. While not as ubiquitous as texting, today target date funds are in up to 80% of defined contribution plans and hold up to $500 billion in assets.

The 20th anniversary of the target date fund strikes me as a good excuse to think about how much can change over time, and what small actions we can take that can have a big impact on our lives. Assuming you are in mid-career or later, what practical actions would you have taken if you had perfect hindsight?

Regrets— They’ve Had a Few