Risk Management: Dollar-Cost Averaging
Plan ahead and invest to minimize risk and maximize your returns with this averaging. Even if you’re a seasoned investor or just getting started, try it today.
What is dollar-cost averaging?
In dollar-cost averaging, you invest a set amount of money into your investment portfolio over regular intervals. Rather than investing a large sum of money at once, dollar-cost averaging allows you to get into the investing game without a huge outlay of capital. Dollar-cost averaging allows you to buy more during market slumps and less when the markets are high, without trying to play the market in the short term.1
There are quite a few benefits to dollar-cost averaging as an investment strategy. Dollar-cost averaging can help you:
- Buy more shares: Over the long term, the price of assets trends higher. By using dollar-cost averaging, you may be able to use the ebb and flow of the market to buy more shares over time than if you made a big one-time purchase.
- Invest consistently: Dollar-cost averaging helps you maintain consistency with your investing strategy. If you’re setting aside pre-tax dollars to invest in a company-sponsored 401(k), for example, you’re already making use of dollar-cost averaging.
- Set it and forget it: Rather than trying to time the market in the short term, dollar-cost averaging allows you to invest in assets that are more likely to have staying power. This is an especially useful strategy if the idea of monitoring the stock market makes you queasy.
A case for lump-sum investing
There is research that shows that over the very long term, lump sum investing can outperform dollar-cost averaging. If you get a bonus or a sudden inheritance in general, you’re better off investing it as soon as possible. While returns aren’t guaranteed, it’s also more likely that you’ll see a return over having that money accrue minimal interest in a bank.
However, there are some key caveats. While lump-sum investing outperforms dollar-cost averaging most of the time, dollar-cost averaging still wins out in one-third of cases. The idea of investing a large sum of money at once can be intimidating to many investors, so it’s important to get an outside perspective to help you think with a clear head.
Who Should Use Dollar-Cost Averaging?
Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy that can best help beginner investors, or those without much money to invest at the outset. If you’re investing for the long term and aren’t comfortable with the research that goes into the financial market, dollar-cost averaging is a safer way to get started with investing. However, if you’re investing for the short term, or have a lump sum to invest, you might want to pursue another investing strategy.1,2
Depending on your personal financial situation, dollar-cost averaging may be a smart strategy for you—or it may make more sense to invest a large amount of capital at once. For most people, the financial strategy lies somewhere in between. By working with our licensed advisors at California Retirement Advisors, we can help determine which strategy is the best for you, while also ensuring that you feel confident in your financial decisions.1,2
Regardless of the amount of money you have, the worst thing you can do is not invest at all.
By Christian Cordoba
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Founder, California Retirement Advisors
Investment advisory services offered through Mutual Advisors, LLC DBA California Retirement Advisors, a SEC registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Mutual Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Mutual Securities, Inc. and Mutual Advisors, LLC are affiliated companies. CA Insurance license #0B09076. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by California Retirement Advisors. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. California Retirement Advisors, nor any of its members, are tax accountants or legal attorneys and do not provide tax or legal advice. For tax or legal advice, you should consult your tax or legal professional.