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Three Things to Know About: Target Risk Portfolios


This article is part of Virginia529’s “Three Things to Know” Investment Portfolio series, highlighting the more than 20 portfolio choices available to Invest529 customers. The information presented is an overview of the plan’s investment options and should not be considered advice. Before selecting a portfolio consider factors such as the age of your child and your tolerance for risk. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. 


Know your risk level? From conservative to aggressive, target risk portfolios are designed to help achieve your investment goals.


What is a Target Risk portfolio? 

A Target Risk Portfolio is a mix of equities and fixed income stocks and bonds that match a certain risk level. That certain risk level aims to stay the same for a given portfolio over time.


What are the risk levels?

Everyone has a different comfort level with risk. Some people like to take bigger risks for bigger rewards, while others prefer less risk and more stability with their investments. Target Risk Portfolios let you choose the level that's best for you.

Invest529 has six Target Risk Portfolios, and they have different options for how they're managed.

The passively managed portfolios – Aggressive Growth, Moderate Growth, and Conservative Income – are made up of reputable international and domestic equity and fixed-income index assets. These portfolios have lower fees but will never “outperform” the market.

The actively managed portfolios – Active Aggressive, Active Moderate, Active Conservative – attempt to choose stocks and bonds to outperform benchmarks. Because there are larger teams and tools used to manage these portfolios, the fees are higher.


How does a Target Risk portfolio differ from a Target Date Portfolio?

Target enrollment portfolios are the more popular option because of their “set it and forget it approach” to long-term investing. There’s not a lot of work for the investor, as the portfolios will automatically shift from riskier investments towards more conservative investments over time. Related: Three Things to Know About Target Enrollment Portfolios.

Target risk portfolios are for people who are comfortable with risk, monitor their investments regularly, and may want to change their investments based on market performance or personal strategy (up to two times per student per calendar year). They can be a good choice for shorter-term investments or can complement other portfolios.


Key Takeaways:

  • You can choose a portfolio that matches your risk tolerance, from conservative to aggressive.
  • These portfolios aim to maintain their risk level over time. The asset allocations won’t get more aggressive or more conservative.
  • Personal financial situations and investment philosophies may change, so it’s good practice to check your portfolio to make sure it still meets your needs.


Review Invest529’s Target Risk Portfolios


Low fees, tax advantages and diverse investment options are reasons Invest529 is consistently ranked among the top 529 plans by independent sources.

The examples above are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to reflect or predict the actual performance of any specific investment. Virginia529 cannot and will not provide legal, financial, or tax advice, and nothing herein or in any other written materials shall be construed as such.

For more information on Virginia529’s college savings options, visit or call 1-888-567-0540 to obtain program materials. These include information on Virginia529 programs, investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other important information; read and consider them carefully before investing. Virginia529 encourages prospective participants to seek the advice of a professional concerning any financial, tax or legal implications related to opening an account. For residents of states other than Virginia: before investing, you should consider whether your or the beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protections from creditors that are only available for investments in that state’s qualified tuition program.  ©2024 Virginia College Savings Plan. All Rights Reserved.

Resources to help you learn

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions about 529 plans.

Smart Savers Academy

Tune in to a live episode and ask questions of the presenter, or watch a previously recorded webinar below.

Invest529 Portfolio Performance

Review and compare historical returns of Invest529 portfolios.