When Tim O'Friel graduated from college, his brother gave him sage advice: Put as much as you can in a 401(k) and don't touch it. O'Friel took that to heart, saving 15% of his salary until he reached the IRS max ($15,500 in 2007). After 13 years of steady contributions, O'Friel, a contract negotiator for a manufacturing company in Thousand Oaks, Calif., has a 401(k) worth more than $200,000.
"It's not play money," he says. "I'm not trying to beat the market." O'Friel's hands-off approach became even easier a few years ago when Fidelity, his 401(k) administrator, started offering target-date retirement funds. He jumped at the chance to let professional managers keep an eye on his portfolio. O'Friel put all his money in Fidelity Freedom 2030, the fund that's geared to the year he plans to retire. He's confident in the fund's asset allocation - currently 83% in stocks, 17% in bonds - and he's happy not to have to consider it.
"I need my investments to be as safe as they need to be and as risky as is appropriate," O'Friel says. "And I do my best not to think about it."