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"One problem is that in the past five years there have been over 5,500 new mutual funds unleashed on the public. Most stink. But not the ones chosen for your plan. Many of the Plan funds have outperformed the S&P over long-term horizons. Importantly, the core equity options contain less risk than the index, as measured by standard deviation."

Hmmm... I thought the options he was talking about were your choices of mutual funds. In the plans I have been in, they seem to pick one each of various type of funds, so you have one bond fund, one balanced fund, one growth fund, etc. The "core" equity options would be the stock funds you could choose that would be the most mainstream (probably excluding aggressive growth and international funds).

Then what he means by risk, of course, is volatility, which IMHO diminishes in importance the longer you intend to keep the investment. Sorta like an impressionist painting, which is really wild when you stand up close, but when you step back it looks quite orderly and serene.

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