Starting an Investment Program With Dollar Cost Averaging

    by John Markese

    The first step is always the hardest. And individual investors taking their first steps in an investment program must also confront a sea of stock market uncertainty. Some plunge headlong into the market with all their savings. Others barely wet their feet before heading back to the safe shores of their money market funds. The problem, however, with these two all-or-nothing approaches is one of timing—the risk of entering the market at a high point in the market cycle.

    Dollar cost averaging and its variations, such as value averaging, offer investors an alternative, allowing them to ease into the market over time, which reduces the timing risk. The mechanical aspects of averaging provide an investment discipline, require no market forecasts and are relatively simple to initiate. Most mutual funds offer automatic investment and exchange programs—a cruise control for your investment plan that eliminates the more routine aspects of maintaining an averaging plan.

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