Simplifying Dollar Cost Averaging

Simplifying Dollar Cost Averaging

November 16, 2023

Investing has long been a strategy for wealth accumulation, yet knowing when and how to invest may discourage potential investors. One investment strategy aimed at making investing more consistent and manageable is Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA). DCA is an investment strategy where a fixed amount of money is invested consistently over a specific time frame, regardless of the investment's price. The main idea behind DCA is to mitigate the impact of market volatility on the investment by spreading out the purchases and eliminating the investor trying to 'time the market.'

A fixed-dollar investment can purchase more shares when the market is down; conversely, a fixed-dollar investment purchases fewer shares when the market performs well. Buying at the average cost per share over time results in DCA. DCA as an investment strategy may be suitable over other investing methods for some investors for these reasons:

  1. DCA removes the pressure of timing the market, which may concern some investors who fear making a 'wrong' investment move. With DCA, it matters less when you begin your investment journey because the focus shifts to the duration you remain invested.
  2. DCA encourages consistency and discipline in investing. Regular, fixed-dollar purchases may help investors gradually build up their investment portfolio over time, potentially leading to higher returns in the long term.
  3. DCA may help provide independence against market volatility. Since DCA takes advantage of market downturns by purchasing more shares when prices are low, it can help mitigate some risks associated with market swings.

Here is an example of DCA contributing $300 over a ten months with various share prices resulting from differing market performance:

Source: Bankrate

This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results may vary.

How to Implement Dollar Cost Averaging

Implementing DCA is generally a straightforward process. Begin by determining a fixed-dollar amount to invest at regular intervals — this could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Once you determine an amount and frequency, it’s mainly a matter of setting up automatic contributions so that the amount is automatically invested in your chosen portfolio, whether stocks, bonds, or mutual funds.

DCA shows how doable the investing process can be to build an investment portfolio without the stress of trying to time the market or the fear of market volatility. Practicing consistency and discipline, DCA may prove helpful in pursuing long-term goals. It's crucial, however, to remember that, like any investment strategy, DCA does not guarantee a return on your investment.

Engaging the services of a financial professional may be beneficial to you. They can provide professional guidance, tailor strategies to your goals and situation, and help you understand how DCA may impact your situation.


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.

 All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by Fresh Finance.

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