Vanguard has reduced the investment minimum on its 12 Target Retirement Funds from $3,000 to $1,000. Previously, only the Vanguard STAR Fund, a balanced fund-of-funds, had a minimum of $1,000.

And on other Vanguard funds, the firm is reducing the investment minimum for Investor Shares to $3,000. Previously, the minimum ranged from $3,000 to $25,000.

“Investing early and investing regularly are two of the most important things investors can do to help ensure their retirement readiness,” said Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb. “By reducing the investment requirements on our target date funds, we hope to encourage more individuals to participate in the financial markets.”

McNabb added: “We believe that target date funds have been the single most important development in the past 25 years in terms of improving the retirement readiness of several generations of investors. These funds provide well-constructed, balanced investment programs, and research by Vanguard and others shows that asset allocation is the dominant factor in determining total return over the long term.”

Vanguard’s Target Retirement Funds have nearly $88 billion in assets under management and have had tremendous inflows of $41 billion in the past three years.

Vanguard also said that it is using social media to educate investors about the importance of saving for retirement, and has just included Charu Gross of its asset management services division as an additional blogger, hoping that as a member of Generation Y, she will resonate among younger investors.

In addition, Vanguard will be adding additional tools and content on retirement to its Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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