Understanding 3600 Funds: A Guide to Comprehensive Investment Portfolios

June 2, 2024

Introduction to 3600 Funds

3600 funds, also known as target date funds or lifecycle funds, have become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of simplifying retirement planning for individual investors. These funds are designed to provide a diversified, professionally managed investment portfolio that automatically adjusts its asset allocation over time to become more conservative as the investor approaches his or her target retirement date.

The name ‘3600 Funds’ refers to the fact that these funds typically have a three-digit number in their name, such as ‘2045 Fund’ or ‘2060 Fund’, which corresponds to the year the investor is expected to retire. The fund’s asset allocation is then periodically adjusted to become more conservative as the target date approaches, reducing the portfolio’s risk as the investor approaches retirement.

How 3600 funds work

3600 funds work by investing in a diversified portfolio of assets, including stocks, bonds and other investment vehicles, and then adjusting the allocation of these assets over time. When the fund is first launched, it will typically have a more aggressive asset allocation, with a higher percentage of equities, to take advantage of the long-term growth potential of the market.
As the target retirement date approaches, the fund will gradually shift its asset allocation to become more conservative, with a higher percentage of bonds and other fixed income securities. This reduces the risk of the portfolio and helps to protect the investor’s savings as they approach retirement.

The specific asset allocation of a 3600 fund will depend on the target retirement date of the fund and the investment strategy of the fund manager. Some funds may also offer different risk profiles, such as a more conservative or more aggressive option, to suit different investor preferences.

Benefits of 3600 funds

One of the key benefits of 3600 funds is their simplicity and convenience. By managing the asset allocation and automatically rebalancing the portfolio, 3600 funds remove the need for investors to actively manage their retirement accounts. This can be particularly helpful for those who are new to investing or who lack the time or expertise to manage their own portfolios.
In addition, 3600 funds can provide a level of diversification that can be difficult for individual investors to achieve on their own. By investing in a wide range of asset classes, 3600 funds can help reduce the overall risk of a portfolio and provide a more stable return over time.

Another advantage of 3600 funds is their tax efficiency. Because these funds are designed to be held for the long term, they can take advantage of the tax-deferred growth of retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. This can help maximise the growth of an investor’s savings over time.

Disadvantages of 3600 funds

While 3600 funds offer a number of advantages, there are some potential disadvantages to consider. One of the main drawbacks is the potential for higher fees compared to other investment options. 3600 funds typically charge an annual management fee, which can eat into the fund’s returns over time.
Another potential disadvantage is a lack of flexibility. As 3600 funds are designed to be held for the long term, it can be difficult for investors to make changes to their portfolio in response to changing market conditions or personal circumstances. This can be particularly problematic for investors who have specific financial needs or who prefer to take a more active role in managing their investments.

Finally, there is the risk of underperformance. While 3600 funds are designed to provide a diversified and well-managed investment portfolio, there is no guarantee that the fund will outperform the market or meet the investor’s specific investment objectives.

Choosing the right 3600 fund

When selecting a 3600 fund, it is important to consider a number of factors, including the fund’s target retirement date, asset allocation, fees and investment strategy. Investors should also consider their own investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon to ensure that the 3600 fund they choose is a good fit for their needs.
An important factor to consider is the fund’s glide path, which refers to the way the fund’s asset allocation changes over time as the target retirement date approaches. Some funds may have a more aggressive glide path, with a higher proportion of equities in the early years, while others may be more conservative. Investors should choose a fund with a glide path that matches their own risk tolerance and investment goals.

Investors should also carefully consider the fund’s charges, including the expense ratio and any other charges, to ensure they are getting good value for money. While 3600 funds may have higher fees than some other investment options, it is important to weigh the benefits of the fund’s diversification and professional management against the costs.


Here are 5-7 questions and answers about 3600 funds:

What are 3600 funds?

3600 funds, also known as 3600 accounts or section 3600 funds, are a type of investment account that allows individuals to save and invest for specific long-term goals, such as retirement or education expenses. These accounts are defined in Section 3600 of the Internal Revenue Code and offer tax-advantaged benefits to account holders.

What are the key features of 3600 funds?

The key features of 3600 funds include tax-deferred growth of investments, the ability to make tax-deductible contributions (subject to certain income limits), and tax-free withdrawals for qualified expenses. These accounts are often used for retirement planning, college savings, or other long-term financial goals.

What types of investments are allowed in 3600 funds?

3600 funds typically allow a wide range of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other securities. The specific investment choices available may vary depending on the financial institution or plan provider offering the 3600 account.

What are the contribution limits for 3600 funds?

The contribution limits for 3600 funds are set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and may change annually. In 2023, the contribution limit for 3600 funds was $6,000 for individuals under the age of 50, and $7,000 for individuals aged 50 and over.

How do 3600 funds differ from other retirement accounts?

3600 funds differ from other retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, in several ways. 3600 funds are not employer-sponsored and can be opened and managed by individuals, whereas 401(k)s are typically offered through an employer. Additionally, 3600 funds have different contribution limits and withdrawal rules compared to other retirement accounts.