Shifting trends in investments – and the long-term fears that retirement savers have developed after being burned by the stock market in past years – have led to a significant growth in target-date funds in America's 401(k) accounts, among other diversification measures.

According to 401(k) Plan Asset Allocation, Account Balances and Loan Activity in 2011, a joint study created by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute, nearly three quarters of 401(k) plans offer TDFs as a part of their investment options by the end of 2011, up from 57 percent back in 2006.

And while 61 percent of 401(k) participants' assets were, at the end of 2011, invested in equity securities and 34 percent in fixed-income securities, the percentage of participants taking part in TDFs is on the rise. Stock investments do, however, still form the largest percentage of 401(k) investments nationally.

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