Total assets in target-date funds hit the $880 billion threshold in 2016, adding $120 billion in value over the previous year to mark yet another all-time high.

Continued positive inflows from participants in defined contribution plans, which overwhelmingly favor TDFs as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA), helped fuel the juggernaut: The funds experienced $59 billion in new inflows last year, even as baby boomers continued into retirement and out of workplace retirement plans.

And positive investment returns helped too—the TDF market has increased every year since 2008, when the funds took a shellacking in the wake of the financial crisis.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.