Fire Drill: Investing with Dollar-Cost Averaging

dollar-cost averaging

Fire Drill: Investing with Dollar-Cost Averaging

Do you ask these questions, just like some of our clients?

▶︎ “Should I wait to get into the market?”
▶︎ “Should I wait for the market to go down before I invest?
▶︎ “Do you think I should invest my money on Monday or right now?”

Financial advisors used to rely on crystal balls to decide when to invest — but those stopped working in 2008! Instead of acting like you know when the best time to invest is, create a plan to invest. 

Then, here’s the trick: Follow and stick to the plan. 

Dollar-cost averaging is a technique to take the emotions out of investing by following a plan:

Dollar-cost averaging (DCA) is an investment strategy in which an investor divides up the total amount to be invested across periodic purchases of a target asset in an effort to reduce the impact of volatility on the overall purchase. The purchases occur regardless of the asset’s price and at regular intervals; in effect, this strategy removes much of the detailed work of attempting to time the market in order to make purchases of equities at the best prices.

It goes like this: Instead of putting so much pressure on when to invest, put a set dollar amount into your investment account on a set schedule. For example, contribute $250 to your IRA on the first of each month. By following this strategy, you’ll find that you’ll have contributed $3,000 through periodic contributions by the end of the year.

You can also look at the psychological benefits. Through DCA, you hedge against “buyer’s remorse.” Imagine this scenario: You invest a large amount of money at a stock market high right before a significant drop in the market the next day. This scenario can cause you to psychologically dwell on what you should have done differently. By following the DCA strategy instead, your staggered contributions allow you to know you’ll make some investments near market highs, some near market lows, and others somewhere in the middle.

Now, how do you take advantage of DCA? Leverage ways to make DCA contributions automatic so you can be lazy with your savings. This strategy is nice because you can gain the confidence that you’re being responsible without doing much. You do this by linking your checking account to your IRA and then schedule recurring contributions throughout the year. You can decide when you want your transfers to happen in these examples — whichever strategy makes you feel comfortable:

▶︎ On the first of the month
▶︎ On a specific numbered day of the month (e.g., the 20th of every month)
▶︎
The day after your paychecks hit your checking account
▶︎
Multiple times a month

With some investment providers like Betterment, whenever you contribute to your account, the full dollar amount of your transfer is invested throughout your diversified portfolio without any transaction costs. This strategy allows you to know you’re consistently investing versus just building cash reserves. Isn’t technology lovely?

▶︎ Learn how you can get a 40% discount off Betterment’s fees with our services.

This automatic investing strategy helps because many people feel they’ll have the wits and courage to invest their cash when the markets go down. However, when the markets go down, fear begins to spread, which freezes a lot of people — especially when it comes to financial decisions. By sticking to your DCA plan and automatically investing versus just stashing cash, you can combat investment paralysis. 

As Thomas Rowe Price, Jr said about trying to time the markets:

“History and experience have proven that correctly predicting the timing and extent of stock market trends is impossible, because world developments and the psychological reactions of people are unpredictable.”

If you’re already committing to investing regularly, then here’s a friendly nudge to increase the dollar amount of your contributions. If you’re not regularly investing, there’s no time like the present to save for your future. You can speak with your financial professional to get an idea about where to start.

Ready to schedule your next meeting?

Simply head to the Meeting page where you can find and schedule a convenient time to discuss whatever is on your mind.

Dan Andrews
dan@fpfoco.com

Dan Andrews is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Accredited Estate Planner® designee as well as the Director of Estate and Financial Planning at Financial Planning Fort Collins. Helping clients since 2012, Dan aims to make the financial planning process less daunting. Even though he also has extensive knowledge in estate planning, Dan enjoys financial planning with a professional yet light-hearted approach. To learn more about Dan, read his blogs or the articles he’s been featured in.



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There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
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Assets Under Management Fee as a % of AUM
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$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
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Financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
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$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,999 0.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999 $15,000
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