Planning for retirement is a significant financial milestone, and constructing a well-balanced retirement portfolio is essential to achieve your long-term financial goals. For employees participating in the Community Trust Bancorp, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), it’s crucial to make informed decisions about asset allocation and investment choices. In this article, we will discuss how to build a diversified asset allocation portfolio using the available investment options in the ESOP.

Understanding Asset Classes

A diversified retirement portfolio typically consists of several major asset classes, including U.S. stocks, International Stocks, Emerging Market Stocks, Real Estate, and Bonds. Let’s examine each of these asset classes and explore available investment options in the ESOP.

U.S. Stocks

U.S. stocks are known for their stability and potential for growth over time. For broad-based diversification in U.S. stocks, consider the following options:

  1. Vanguard 500 Index Investor (VFINX): This fund is an excellent choice for exposure to large-cap U.S. stocks. It tracks the S&P 500 Index, providing diversification across top U.S. companies.
  2. American Beacon Small Cp Val Inst (AVFIX): This fund focuses on small-cap U.S. value stocks, which can add diversity to your portfolio.

International Stocks

International stocks offer exposure to global markets, which can enhance diversification. Consider:

  1. Harbor International Instl (HAINX): This fund provides exposure to foreign large-cap stocks, helping spread risk across international markets.


Bonds offer stability and income, making them a crucial part of a diversified portfolio. For bonds, consider:

  1. Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX): This fund provides broad exposure to the U.S. bond market and is an excellent choice for bond allocation.
  2. Vanguard Short-Term Bond Index (VBISX): For shorter-term fixed income, this fund can be a suitable option.
  3. Meridian Equity Income (MEIFX): While categorized as a Mid-Cap Value fund, it has a blend of stocks and bonds, potentially offering a balanced approach.

Real Estate

Real estate assets can add diversification and income potential to your portfolio. Unfortunately, there are no explicit real estate funds in the available options. However, you can still get some exposure to the real estate asset class through U.S. and international stock funds. Keep in mind that you can also consider including real estate in other retirement accounts, such as IRAs.

Emerging Market Stocks

Emerging markets offer growth potential. However, there are no funds available in the ESOP that explicitly cover this asset class.

Low-Cost Index Funds

Low-cost index funds are cost-effective and efficient ways to invest. In general, for stock investments, broad-based index funds are preferred. The Vanguard 500 Index Investor (VFINX) mentioned earlier is a prime example. For bonds, total return or core bond funds, like the Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX), can be solid choices.

Target Date Funds

For those who prefer a hassle-free approach to portfolio construction, target date funds can be an excellent solution. These funds automatically adjust their asset allocation over time as you approach your retirement date. Some popular target date funds, like Vanguard Target Date Funds or Fidelity Freedom Funds, can simplify your retirement planning.

Portfolio Construction

Constructing a diversified portfolio involves selecting a mix of assets that align with your risk tolerance and retirement goals. The available investment options in the ESOP provide a foundation for building a well-rounded portfolio. Here’s a simple example:

  1. U.S. Stocks: Allocate a portion to Vanguard 500 Index Investor (VFINX) for broad U.S. equity exposure.
  2. International Stocks: Consider Harbor International Instl (HAINX) for international diversification.
  3. Bonds: Include Vanguard Total Bond Market Index (VBMFX) for stability and income.

Remember to regularly rebalance your portfolio back to your target allocations annually and review your target allocations annually to ensure they align with your changing financial objectives.

In summary, constructing a diversified asset allocation portfolio for the Community Trust Bancorp, Inc. ESOP involves careful consideration of the available investment options. By selecting the right mix of U.S. stocks, international stocks, bonds, and potentially healthcare sector funds, you can build a portfolio that aligns with your retirement objectives. Always consult with a financial advisor if you have specific questions or need personalized guidance.