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Retirement investing is a long-term process. Amerivest-guided portfolios are provided by its investment advisory service. The service provides managed portfolios or model portfolios for a customer to manage her own portfolios. In this article, we construct a Amerivest Guided Portfolios Based ETF Plan that uses ETFs that represent the Amerivest model portfolio's asset classes. We then discuss how model portfolios constructed using these ETFs perform compared with benchmarks. Please note the ETFs in this plan are not the same as the ETFs used in Amerivest model portfolios. This plan uses the asset classes in a guided portfolio such as the Amerivest balanced portfolio:

Target Allocation

One can see that the above asset classes cover the following six major asset classes: US equity, commodity, foreign equity, REITs, emerging market equity, and fixed income. We then chose the following ETFs to represent the asset classes in the above portfolio.
Asset Class Ticker Name
LARGE GROWTH VUG Vanguard Growth ETF
LARGE VALUE VTV Vanguard Value ETF
Mid-Cap Growth VOT Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth ETF
MID-CAP VALUE VOE Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF
Small Growth VBK Vanguard Small Cap Growth ETF
SMALL VALUE VBR Vanguard Small Cap Value ETF
SMALL BLEND IWC iShares Russell Microcap Index
Foreign Large Blend VEU Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF
FOREIGN SMALL/MID GROWTH GWX SPDR S&P International Small Cap
DIVERSIFIED EMERGING MKTS VWO Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF
REAL ESTATE VNQ Vanguard REIT Index ETF
COMMODITIES BROAD BASKET DBC PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking
Short-Term Bond BSV Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF
Intermediate-Term Bond BIV Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond ETF
Long-Term Bond BLV Vanguard Long-Term Bond Index ETF
Inflation-Protected Bond TIP iShares Barclays TIPS Bond
Intermediate-Term Bond MBB iShares Barclays MBS Bond
High Yield Bond JNK SPDR Barclays Capital High Yield Bond
WORLD BOND BWX SPDR Barclays Capital Intl Treasury Bond
Emerging Markets Bond EMB iShares JPMorgan USD Emerg Markets Bond

As of July 21, this plan investment choice is rated as average based on our plan rating methodology that measures the effectiveness of a plan's available investment funds. It has the following detailed ratings:

Diversification -- Rated as great (94%)
Fund Quality -- Rated as below average (26%)
Portfolio Building -- Rated as below average (23%)
Overall Rating -- Average (45%)

The asset classes are well chosen; on the U.S. equity side, it has growth and value styles to cover each capitalization. On the fixed income side, it has short, intermediate and long bonds to cover interest rate exposure while having high yield bonds to cover low end credit bonds that possibly can provide higher capital appreciation (with increased risk) and international and emerging market bonds.

The high diversification rating of these ETFs can be seen in the following performance comparison (VFINX: Vanguard 500 Index (proxy to S&P 500 total return), VBINX: Vanguard Balanced Index (60 U.S. stock/40 fixed income)):

Portfolio Performance Comparison

Portfolio/Fund Name 1Yr AR 1Yr Sharpe 3Yr AR 3Yr Sharpe 5Yr AR 5Yr Sharpe
VFINX 23% 151% 3% 15% 3% 8%
Amerivest Guided Portfolios Based ETF Plan Strategic Asset Allocation Moderate 19% 181% 3% 17% 6% 34%
Amerivest Guided Portfolios Based ETF Plan Tactical Asset Allocation Moderate 14% 125% 7% 44% 11% 76%
VBINX 16% 203% 6% 32% 5% 28%

Both strategic and tactical asset allocation portfolios out performed the two benchmarks by a meaningful margin. For more detailed performance comparison, refer here.
To summarize, Amerivest guided portfolios provide wide diversification coverage that can be used by investors to construct their own portfolios for their retirement plans (such as 401K) or brokerage IRA/taxable accounts.
Disclosure: I am long DBC, JNK.
Source: Diversified ETF Portfolios Based on Amerivest Model Portolios