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Posted by: Adrienne Carter on August 1, 2006


Philanthropy and mutual fund investing don’t exactly seem to go hand in hand. But back in May, American Century Investments announced a partnership with the Lance Armstrong Foundation (well known for its now ubiquitous yellow bracelets), renaming the My Retirement Portfolios—a series of asset allocation funds—the LIVESTRONG Portfolios. In teaming up with the cancer research organization, American Century agreed to a minimum, multi-year donation that could increase if the funds do particularly well.

Now investors can get into these funds even easier. On July 31, the fund group lowered the initial investment minimum from $2,500 to $500. Investors need to make monthly minimum investments of $100 thereafter until their accounts reach $2,500. Such a low minimum in a traditional, taxable account is pretty rare these days. And most fund companies have been raising minimums rather than lowering them. So I have to applaud American Century for such a move, especially in an era where most fund companies consider small investors a bit of a pest.

Back in May, nothing really changed about these funds but the name. They’re pretty straightforward target maturity funds that offer investors stocks, bonds, and potentially other asset classes in one, easy-to-use mutual fund package. They come in five flavors, including an income fund and four target dates (2015, 2025, 2035, and 2045). Plus, they are reasonably priced, with expense ratios ranging from 0.77% of assets to 0.95% of assets. And hey, you can support cancer research without having to wear a yellow bracelet.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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