Disclaimer: These model portfolios are selected by a panel of independent advisors and do not represent the recommendations of CNBC or any of its employees.
Let's be honest: Baby boomers employed in the private sector have not been well-served by the current iteration of retirement plans.
Public employees have guaranteed pensions, managed by a team of investment professionals, with assured levels of return. By contrast, private employees have been handed a menu of investment options and with it the role of a portfolio manager.
How can that really be the case? Think about it. Asking a 401(k) plan participant to select from a list of mutual funds and determine when to buy, say, emerging-market bonds or small-cap growth stocks is asking that person to make decisions that have the most critical impact on investment returns.
Not surprisingly, investors have not fared well, as it's difficult to to juggle the responsibilities of an investment manager when you have a day job.
The challenge of the ETF Advisory Council was to propose a different way of approaching the retirement investing challenge. The target age 30-, 50- and 70-year-old models were designed to provide an allocation to lower-cost exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios that are diversified across global equities, global fixed-income and alternative or opportunistic ideas.
(Read more: ETFs: If You don't know about them, take a look)
Clearly, retirement savers have different goals and risk considerations at each stage of their lives. Each target age portfolio was structured with these considerations in mind. The advisory council meets monthly to review the portfolios and make changes where warranted by changing market conditions. Managing the investment allocations on an ongoing basis is critical to keeping the portfolios in line with their long-term objectives.
The council has the following observations and has made the following portfolio changes for each model, which were initially populated in early April.