Retirement Plan Investment Options - Human Resources at Ohio State

Investment Options

To make it easier for you to choose the investment options, within the Alternative Retirement Plan, 403(b) Plan, 457(b) Plan, Retirement Continuation Plan, and 415(m) Plan, that best match your desired level of involvement with managing your account, Ohio State offers a tiered investment lineup. The three tiers are:

Tier 1, Do It for Me
Through professionally managed target date funds that make investing simple. These diversified funds automatically rebalance the asset mix to become more conservative based on an anticipated retirement date.

Tier 2, Build Your Own
From a mix of investments that were carefully selected to allow participants to construct well-diversified portfolios using a combination of capital preservation and index funds.

Tier 3, Experienced Investor
Provides a self-directed brokerage account with access to thousands of additional mutual fund options from hundreds of investment companies, giving you more control and flexibility with your investment strategy.

The choice is yours. You can choose to invest in one or more of the investment tiers and can update your selections at any time. Importantly, investments in Tiers 1 and 2 are monitored by Ohio State’s Retirement Oversight Committee, while those in Tier 3 are not.

Tiered Investment Details

You will have access to the Vanguard Target Retirement Date Funds through the retirement providers. These funds offer simple, one-stop shopping for those looking for an easy approach to investing for retirement. These funds:

  • Offer built-in diversification
  • Become more conservative as you get closer to your retirement date
  • Are managed by professionals and monitored by the university’s Retirement Oversight Committee

Each Vanguard Target Retirement Date Fund contains a year in its name. The year refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the fund would retire at age 65.

Tier 1
Fund Name Ticker Retirement Year Range1 Date of Birth Range
Vanguard Target Retirement Income Fund – Investor VTINX Before 2013 Before 1948
Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 Fund – Investor VTXVX 2013-2017 1948-1952
Vanguard Target Retirement 2020 Fund – Investor VTWNX 2018-2022 1953-1957
Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 Fund – Investor VTTVX 2023-2027 1958-1962
Vanguard Target Retirement 2030 Fund – Investor VTHRX 2028-2032 1963-1967
Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 Fund – Investor VTTHX 2033-2037 1968-1972
Vanguard Target Retirement 2040 Fund – Investor VFORX 2038-2042 1973-1977
Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 Fund – Investor VTIVX 2043-2047 1978-1982
Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Fund – Investor VFIFX 2048-2052 1983-1987
Vanguard Target Retirement 2055 Fund – Investor VFFVX 2053-2057 1988-1992
Vanguard Target Retirement 2060 Fund – Investor VTTSX 2058-2062 1993-1997
Vanguard Target Retirement 2065 Fund – Investor VLXVX 2063 and later 1998 and later
1 Assumes a retirement age of 65

If you are experienced with investing and feel confident with concepts like asset allocation and diversification, you may opt to build your own diversified portfolio using a mix of investments that were carefully selected by the university. These funds are monitored by the university’s Retirement Oversight Committee for their continued viability and integrity.

  • Capital preservation funds. Both money market and guaranteed fixed-return annuities provide a high level of principal stability. In addition, a guaranteed fixed annuity lets you convert your balance to a guaranteed stream of income when you retire.
  • Index funds. As passively managed funds, these options are designed to mirror a market index or benchmark. These funds generally have lower fees than actively managed funds. (Note: While these funds typically perform like the index they track, you should be aware that index funds cannot be expected to meet or beat the index’s performance.)

You will have access to the same Vanguard index funds through all the retirement providers; the fixed-return annuity will vary by provider.

Tier 2
Category Asset Class Fund Name Ticker
Capital Preservation Money Market Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund – Investor VMFXX
Capital Preservation Guaranteed Fixed Annuity 1 – AIG offers the Fixed-Interest Option
– Fidelity offers the NY Life Guaranteed Interest Account
– TIAA offers the TIAA Traditional
– Voya offers the Voya Fixed Plus III
Index Total U.S. Bond Market Index Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund – Admiral VBTLX
Index U.S. Large Cap Stock Index Vanguard 500 Index Fund – Admiral VFIAX
Index U.S. Small/Mid Cap Stock Index Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund – Admiral VEXAX
Index Total International Stock Index Vanguard Total Intl. Stock Index Fund – Admiral VTIAX
1 Generally, the minimum interest rate on the guaranteed fixed annuity option is 1%. Please contact the ongoing providers for more details.

Self-directed brokerage accounts are designed for experienced investors who prefer to exercise more control over their investments. Opening a self-directed brokerage account will allow you to invest your retirement savings in mutual funds that are not included in Tiers 1 or 2.

While a self-directed brokerage account offers expanded flexibility, it also comes with additional responsibility and risk. Ohio State neither evaluates nor monitors the investments available through a self-directed brokerage account. It is your responsibility to ensure that the investments you choose are suitable for your situation, including your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance.

Self-directed brokerage accounts are not appropriate for everyone. You may be interested in Tier 3 if you:

  • Want a wider range of investment options to supplement the investments in Tier 1 and 2.
  • Are willing to take greater responsibility for researching your investments.
  • Feel confident in your ability to choose a mix of mutual funds that are right for your personal investment strategy.
  • Are comfortable with the additional risk and fees that come with a self-directed brokerage account.

Each provider offers a self-directed brokerage account through Tier 3.

Tier 3
Ongoing Provider Self-Directed Brokerage Account
AIG Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account (PCRA)
Fidelity BrokerageLink
TIAA TIAA Brokerage
Voya T.D. Ameritrade

To invest through this tier, you will need to set up a separate brokerage account with your ongoing provider. Keep in mind that, with a self-directed brokerage account, you may incur additional fees, including transaction fees for trades and ongoing fund management. Additionally, institutional share classes (like those offered through Tiers 1 and 2) may not be available through Tier 3. This means that a fund’s expense ratio may be higher because you will be investing in a retail share class versus an institutional share class.

Note: The amount you invest through a self-directed brokerage account may be limited based upon your total plan assets. Once your self-directed brokerage account is established, funding may occur either by: 1) selecting self-directed brokerage as one of your investment options; or 2) exchanging money from one of your existing investment options. There is no minimum amount for direct payroll contributions, but initial and/or subsequent exchanges may require a minimum amount. In addition, some investments may also impose a separate minimum investment requirement when you make a purchase. Please contact your provider for additional information.