Originally created 04/25/06

AARP starts selling mutual funds

WASHINGTON - AARP, the big seniors advocacy group, has started selling three mutual funds geared toward retirement savings.

The three funds - conservative, moderate and aggressive - are designed to simplify investment choices for seniors, AARP Financial said in a news release issued Monday. Each fund, carrying the AARP brand, invests in a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and other securities, with the allocation based on the level of risk, it said.

The funds are part of a new move by the powerful seniors lobby to compete for the dollars of baby boomers - a huge and affluent cohort. AARP has been moving beyond selling discounted products and services, such as travel, insurance and computers, to its members and has developed its own financial products, consulting service and "seal of approval" program.

Tewksbury, Mass.-based AARP Financial, which was established last year, sells investment products targeted to people aged 50 and over, including the new mutual funds; life, home and auto insurance; credit cards, and even motorcycle insurance. They are marketed to seniors in general, not just AARP members.

The three portfolios of each mutual fund are based on market indexes for U.S. stocks (MSCI U.S. Investable Market 2500 Index), international stocks (MSCI EAFE Index) and U.S. bonds (Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond Index).

"It is no secret that individuals are not saving enough for retirement," Larry Renfro, president of AARP Financial, said in a statement. "We believe investors are overwhelmed by the numerous investment choices available in the marketplace, and the difficulty of assembling and managing a retirement portfolio on their own."

The mutual funds are designed to simplify the investment process, he said.

On the Net:

AARP Financial: www.aarpfinancial.com


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