Time it takes: 25 minutesPutting together a complete fund portfolio was once a time consuming chore. Nowadays target-date funds, which adjust the stock and bond allocation to smooth returns as you near a "target" retirement year, do it for you in minutes. Many 401(k)s offer them.
For direct investments, use the low-cost options from Vanguard (800-851-4999) or T. Rowe Price (800-638-5660). At vanguard.com, click on the tab labeled Research Funds and Stocks. Find the fund that corresponds to your planned retirement year, then download and look over the prospectus. Next click on the Buy This Fund link and follow the instructions. Have your checkbook ready to deposit funds electronically.