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Is Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund (VFFVX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you've been stuck searching for Target Date funds, consider Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund (VFFVX - Free Report) as a possibility. The fund does not have a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, though we have been able to explore other metrics like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

VFFVX is a part of the Vanguard Group family of funds, a company based out of Malvern, PA. Since Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund made its debut in August of 2010, VFFVX has garnered more than $14.60 billion in assets. The fund's current manager, William Coleman, has been in charge of the fund since February of 2013.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 12.07%, and is in the top third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 10.22%, which places it in the top third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. Over the past three years, VFFVX's standard deviation comes in at 17.04%, compared to the category average of 17.22%. The standard deviation of the fund over the past 5 years is 13.88% compared to the category average of 14.26%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

With a 5-year beta of 0.89, the fund is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Alpha is an additional metric to take into consideration, since it represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which in this case, is the S&P 500. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -1.38. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, VFFVX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.15% compared to the category average of 0.50%. Looking at the fund from a cost perspective, VFFVX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $1,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Your research on the Target Date segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer as well for additional information. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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