Ever since the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service first opened for business back in March 2004, we've brought subscribers the inside scoop on the very best funds the money management biz has to offer, cherry-picked keepers that are worth building your portfolio around. And earlier this year, we added a new dimension to the service when we completed the rollout of our model portfolios.

The first, a racy little number built for investors with investing timelines of at least 10 to 15 years, debuted as our Aggressive model in the April issue. The Moderate model, one designed for folks who are just about as interested in preserving their wealth as they are in growing it, hit the streets in the May edition.

Last but not least, our June issue unveiled a model meant for conservative investors -- i.e., folks with an investing timeline of five years or less. As it happened, this model made its inaugural appearance on my Mom's birthday, and while the timing was purely coincidental, it couldn't have been more appropriate: The Conservative model is a sensibly allocated portfolio of stock and bond funds designed for folks who are approaching -- or perhaps already in -- their golden years.

Sneak peek
If you want a sneak peek -- and you know you do, Fool -- just click here for a free trial. You'll also have access to all the back issues and recommendations I've made since our newsletter first appeared nearly two years ago. Quite the deal, no?

That said, when it comes to investing, one size fits ... one. Our models are meant as asset-allocation starting points, not investment prescriptions. With that in mind, I've strongly encouraged readers to tweak the models to their particular timelines and tolerance for risk. And judging from the dynamic dialogue we're having on the boards about that subject, folks are doing precisely that.

To my way of thinking, that represents true success for a service like ours: folks coming together and having an informed (and informative!) conversation about the best way to invest for the long haul. 'Scuse me while I mist up a little, but it makes me proud to be a Fool.

My aim is true
Don't get me wrong: The aim of Champion Funds has always been and will continue to be recommending funds that have what it takes to beat index trackers such as SPDRs (AMEX:SPY) and Fidelity Spartan 500 (FUND:FSMKX) over the next three to five years -- and beyond. And just to keep our eyes on that particular prize, we track the newsletter's performance against the broader market each and every day on our online scorecard.

When you take a gander at that scorecard, you'll also see that I've recommended funds plucked from across the market's various "styles" -- i.e., the point of intersection between cap range and where a fund falls on the growth/value spectrum. Indeed, I've recommended funds that invest in the go-go likes of Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), as well as others that gravitate toward more buttoned-down fare, such as Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Altria (NYSE:MO), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).

Superior investment decisions
Still, as fun as the scorecard part of the service is, it's not the only reason Champion Funds exists. No, our overarching goal is to provide investors of all stripes the tools and information they need to make their own superior investment decisions for the long haul. No two investors are alike; indeed, over the course of a lifetime, each individual investor's objectives will evolve as he or she enters a new stage of life. And with that in mind, it's worth remembering that the perfect portfolio is always a work in progress.

And that precept, as it happens, brings us back to our models.

As retirement approaches and near-term goals (such as buying a house or funding a child's college education) draw near, your investment strategy needs to change, too. The stocks-only portfolio that may have served you so well in your 20s and 30s probably isn't going to do the trick when you hit 40 -- and for all but the most aggressive of investing daredevils, it certainly won't work in your 50s.

That's why I think our model portfolios are such a vital part of Champion Funds. They provide sensible allocation templates that folks can tweak over time to make sure their investments are aligned with their stage of life. Indeed, combined with our list of individual picks and world-class discussion boards, I think the models make Champion Funds the ideal service for folks who are seriously Foolish about investing in mutual funds.

This commentary was originally published on May 10, 2005. It has been updated.

Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service. He owns none of the securities mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.