Short-Term Investments (fixed accounts/cash) – Short-term investments are sometimes referred to as cash equivalents because they can be easily sold (converted to cash) without affecting their value. While these short-term investments are generally less risky than stocks or bonds, their returns are also usually much lower and may not keep pace with inflation. A variety of investment types can be generally categorized as short-term investments, including Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Money Market Accounts (MMAs) and Treasury bills (T-bills). The Plan’s short-term investment option is a stable value fund. Because the value of the securities held by stable value funds will fluctuate, there is the risk that an investor will lose money by investing in stable value funds.
Bond Funds – Bond funds are made of bonds purchased from a government entity or corporation that agrees to pay back the original amount paid along with interest on a specified date. Many bonds are generally more stable than stocks and provide a steadier flow of income. However, they also typically provide a lower rate of return. High-yield bond securities are typically subject to greater risk and price volatility than funds which invest in higher-rated securities.
Balanced Funds – Balanced funds typically invest in a combination of stocks (which tend to be higher risk), bonds (which tend to be more stable), and, occasionally, short-term investments. This is similar to an asset allocation approach, but the asset mix is never adjusted in response to the investor’s age or risk tolerance. This fund is aimed at preserving proportionate levels of risk, safety and gains.