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Target-date funds, those hot 401(k) investments, ran into trouble during the financial crisis. Many target-date funds performed poorly amid the sell-off, with the worst showing among funds designated for workers nearing retirement. Those losses have given rise to calls for changes in the funds.

After the Labor Department named target-date funds as a qualified default investment for 401(k)s in 2006, money poured in. A recent report by investment research firm Morningstar calculates the top 15 target-date families held $256.4 billion in assets at the end of 2009, almost quadruple the $69.4 billion they held in 2005.

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