Library: Portfolio Building

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Dollar Cost Averaging

Dollar cost averaging is a simple method of investing a specific amount of money at specific periods of time without consideration for the cost.

For example; you decide to take $100 a week out of your paycheck and have it automatically set aside to fund the purchase of a stock or bond each week. For the sake of simplicity, the stock originally sold for $20 per share so each week you were initially able to purchase 5 shares. Later the stock price increased to $25 per share so now you can only purchase 4 shares.

Notice, the number of shares has declined but the original value of the first shares increased.

Month 1 Month 2
5 shares at $20 = $100 5 shares worth $25 = $125

The rationale is that buy purchasing at a steady rate, you will benefit from the increases while negating the decreases. But does it actually work?

According to a landmark bit of research conducted by the Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis in 1979…No, it doesn’t measure up to lump sum investing when comparing total return. Statistically speaking the overall rate of return was less for dollar cost averaging. On the other hand, dollar cost averaging does provide a return – just not quite as high as that of lump sum investing. It is also a valuable way to begin investing especially for new investors.

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