The MONEY 50 has never been about the hottest or trendiest investments. Just the opposite: Our lists of recommended mutual andexchange-traded fundswas designed to help you construct a well-diversified portfolio thats built to last for years to come.

What follows is our list of recommended funds, broken out into three groupings: building-block funds for the core of your portfolio, offering you broad exposure to stocks and bonds; custom funds to help you tilt toward specific strategies, such as value or dividend investing; and one-decision funds, which are single funds offering you exposure to both equities and fixed income.

These mutual funds expose you to broad swaths of the stock and bond markets, and should be used to construct the core part of your portfolio that youll hold for years. Because youre simply seeking basic exposure, low-cost index funds are your best bet here.

Dont want to put together a portfolio on your own? Then use one of these professionally managed funds that hold a diversified mix of stocks and bonds.

Supplement your core holdings with these funds to diversify more broadly and to tilt toward certain types of stocks and bonds.

NOTES: Net prospectus expense ratios were used for annual expenses. Total return figures are as of Nov. 30; five-year returns are annualized. Shares of VWELX available only through fund company. 4.25% sales load on TPINX. N.A.: Not available or not applicable.

SOURCES: Lipper, Morningstar, and fund companies

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