Ibbotson Associates, a unit of investment researcher Morningstar Inc., received a patent for a model, based on a balance of human capital (earning potential) and financial capital (savings), which it uses to help plan sponsors and providers develop custom 401(k) target date funds for participants. In general, the model calls for aggressive savings and investment strategies early in a worker's career when his or her earnings potential or human capital is the greatest. As one's human capital peaks and then declines, the emphasis for older workers with limited human capital must be on the preservation of the financial capital each has saved in the earlier part of their career. But it has the potential to allow individuals develop a fund that meets their own specific needs.

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