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As I understand it, these target funds have the objective of returning principle plus interest, with a target NAV. However, the ones we've seen, unlike TIAA Traditional, are promising higher returns that current interest rates warrant, which means they will have to make their target by playing the bond market successfully, at investor's expense.

Well, there are target funds that simply buy strips of bonds all maturing in the target year.

While your buy-in NAV may vary depending on the current market, you are 100% garanteed to get $100 per share on the maturity date.

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