A money market fund invests in large volumes of very short-term debt instruments. These instruments include cash, cash-equivalent securities, and high-credit-rating, debt-based securities with a short-term maturity (such as US Treasuries). Money market funds are intended to offer investors high liquidity with a very low level of risk.
An equity fund is a mutual fund that invests principally in stocks. A stock is a security that represents the ownership of a fraction of the issuing corporation. Equity Funds (also known as stock funds) can be actively or passively (index funds) managed. Stock mutual funds are categorized by company size, the investment style of the holdings in the portfolio and geography. The primary purpose of an equity fund is to invest for long-term growth.
A sector fund is an investment fund that invests solely in businesses that operate in a particular industry or sector of the economy. A few examples of industries or sectors would be technology, healthcare, real estate, and financials.
A fixed income or bond fund is a pooled investment vehicle that invests primarily in bonds (government, corporate, convertible) and other debt instruments, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). The primary goal of a bond fund is often to generate monthly income for investors. A bond is a fixed-income instrument that represents a loan made by an investor to a borrower (typically corporate or governmental).
Target-date funds are structured to maximize your returns by a specific date and are often offered in 5-year intervals. They are broadly diversified in cash, stocks and bonds and are designed to build gains in the early years and automatically rebalance to become more conservative as you get closer to your desired retirement/target date.
An asset allocation fund is a fund that provides investors with a diversified portfolio of investments across various asset classes. The asset allocation of the fund may be held for fixed percentages of asset classes or allowed to go overweight on some depending on market conditions. Popular asset categories for asset allocation funds include stocks, bonds and cash equivalents that may also be spread out geographically for additional diversification.