BOSTON – Vanguard is making its target-date retirement mutual funds more accessible to small investors by cutting the required minimum initial investment to $1,000 from $3,000.

The change announced Wednesday applies to 12 funds in the Target Retirement series of the nation’s largest fund company. Vanguard is also cutting investment minimums for 15 other funds that aren’t part of its target-date series, to $3,000.

The reductions are designed to attract young investors and others with little available cash as they start investing.

Target-date funds, also known as lifecycle funds, aim to help investors achieve long-term savings goals while leaving portfolio adjustments to the pros. As investors approach their target retirement date and have less appetite for risk, the mix of investments in the fund becomes more conservative. Fewer stocks and more bonds reduce the chances that an ill-timed market decline will cut deeply into savings just before or during retirement.