Auto-Pilot vs. DIY Portfolios

How to decide which is right for you

Taking the first step is often the hardest part when you start investing.

We make it easy by giving you two CRA options for both the 401(a) and 457(b) plans, and two added options with partner organizations:


Choose Your investment strategies

Schedule a One-on-One Meeting to Get Started.

One of the key benefits of your CRA plan is personalized retirement counseling. If we can help, just let us know.

Option 1: Automatically Allocated Target Date Funds

Intelligent portfolios created by investment professionals so you can be freed of the burden and effort of selecting and monitoring funds, if you prefer, while knowing your portfolio is appropriately suited for your age group.

Option 2: Choose Your Own Funds

A comprehensive selection of institutional-grade funds that you can choose from to create your own personal portfolio.


Understanding Added options

The following investment services are available to CRA plan participants.

These providers charge additional fees on a monthly basis for these services, however you can choose to cancel these services at any time.

For additional fees, you can choose to invest in funds that are not listed in CRA’s fund portfolio through the Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account® through Charles Schwab & Co, Inc. (Member SIPC).

For instance, you might choose to invest in a fund that you have a personal interest in, or you could invest in multiple funds through this service, as long as the greater of $5,000 or 10% of your total 401(a) or 457(b) account balance remains in core CRA funds.

For fees based on a percentage of your assets under management, Empower Retirement Advisory Services offered by Advised Assets Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor, offers My Total Retirement™, a professionally managed retirement strategy created just for you.

You gain ongoing access to investment advisor representatives.

If you prefer to manage your own investments but would like some assistance, Online Advice, available through Empower Retirement Advisory Services, generates personalized saving and investing suggestions to help you make decisions based on information you provide about your situation and your goals at no additional cost to you.

There is no guarantee provided by any party that participation in any of the advisory services will result in a profit.


Weighing CRA Investment Strategies

Need Help to Set Up Your Account?

One of the key benefits of your CRA plan is personalized retirement counseling. If we can help, just let us know.

Both CRA investment strategies offer advantages depending on your needs and preferences.

Option 1: Target Date Fund
Dynamic “auto” allocations based on years until retirement

The CRA target date funds (A.K.A target date portfolios, or TDPs), are professionally designed to simplify investing by providing a convenient “cruise-control” alternative that automatically becomes more conservative as you get closer to retirement. It also manages the glide path after retirement to help meet ongoing income needs.

We offer a variety of target date portfolios based on the current age of the employee participant and their anticipated retirement year.

These portfolios are created by CRA’s investment advisor, Innovest Portfolio Solutions, with oversight from CRA’s Board of Directors. The portfolios allocate assets and invest in securities believed to offer attractive risk and reward characteristics to meet the goals and objectives of each portfolio.

Diversification: By selecting only one portfolio, you invest in a diversified pool of stocks, bonds and other asset classes that are designed to meet the goals and objectives of each vintage.

Professional oversight: TDPs are managed by professional investment advisors at Innovest Portfolio Solutions who are highly experienced in creating sophisticated and diversified portfolios, analyzing funds and balancing associated risks.

Automatic rebalancing: Every quarter, CRA rebalances each TDP to the target allocation. An example of this is selling a portion of fast-growing stocks and putting that money back to the underperforming asset classes. This may seem counter-intuitive, but is an essential discipline in the buy/sell decisions over time – to buy when the price is low and to sell when the price is high.

Simplicity and peace of mind: The investment experts behind each TDP take care of asset allocation and specific fund management, so you can have confidence that your portfolio is professionally assembled and managed while saving you the worry and time of researching all of the investment funds on your own.

Economies of scale: Because each TDP is a pool of money, the fund can take larger positions and invest in lower-cost funds than an investor could individually.

Transparency: The allocation of each portfolio is available for you to see.

One-size-fits-all may not work for you: TDPs are professionally designed portfolios targeting specific retirement years. While it provides excellent advantages, it may not meet specific needs for some people.

Lack of control over specific funds: This is both a benefit and a disadvantage. The asset classes and specific funds for a TDP are selected by experienced professionals. For some investors who have the knowledge and want to pick particular funds, TDPs may not be the ideal option.

Option 2: Choose Your Own Funds

With the amount of access to investment information and market news, you can become a knowledgeable investor.

Managing your portfolios means that you likely will spend time digging into the detailed security statistics and data and advanced financial charts while creating a diversified allocation strategy to match your risk tolerance.

Some people love it. But if you find yourself glazing over the last sentence, target date portfolios may be the option for you. 

In the end, it’s all about knowing your limitations and how confident you are in your decisions. To help you decide, we’ve outlined some advantages and disadvantages of managing your own portfolio below:

Customized investment for you: Creating your own portfolio means you get to make decisions about everything, including selecting an allocation strategy and making decisions on purchasing stock and bond funds. The destiny of your investment is in your hands – for better or worse.

Potential upsides: If you wisely choose the right fund at the right time, your gains can be significant (this can also be true of TDPs).

Highly complicated decisions: Picking your own funds and creating a strong allocation strategy is highly complicated for most people. There are lots of factors to be analyzed and weighed, both in terms of short-term risks and long-term goals.

More research: Managing your own portfolio is ongoing work, to say the least. In addition to the initial homework involved with learning about asset allocation, portfolio diversification and everything associated with investments, it is important to keep up-to-date with your funds and market trends to ensure the portfolio is always diversified and balanced.

Emotional burden: All of the information-gathering, terminology and complexity can be exasperating for many people. In addition, the lack of access to professional expertise often creates a lot of stress, especially during market downturns.

Potential long-term damage: Of course, choosing your own funds comes with inherent risks that may damage your earnings potential over the long-term (TDPs also are subject to market risks).

Other Resources

Retirement Planning Guide