Dollar-Cost Averaging: A Smart Investment Strategy for Long-Term Growth

2 min readPublished Apr 23, 2024

Learn how Dollar-Cost Averaging helps mitigate market volatility and encourages disciplined investing by spreading out investment purchases over time.

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Dollar-cost averaging (DCA) is an investment strategy used by individuals to build wealth over time. It involves regularly buying a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment, regardless of the share price, thereby reducing the impact of volatility on the overall purchase. The purchases occur at regular intervals and in equal amounts, which helps to mitigate the risk of making a single large investment at the wrong time.

How Dollar-Cost Averaging Works

When using the dollar-cost averaging strategy, an investor decides on two main things: the fixed dollar amount they plan to invest each period and the regular interval at which the investments will occur (e.g., monthly, quarterly). The investor then continuously purchases a fixed dollar amount of a specific investment at each interval, regardless of the asset’s price. When prices are high, the investor buys fewer shares, and when prices are low, more shares are purchased. This process lowers the average cost per share over time, which can potentially increase returns if the market rises in the long term.

Benefits of Dollar-Cost Averaging

  • Reduces the Impact of Volatility: By spreading out the investment entry points, DCA reduces the risk of investing a large amount at a high price.
  • Disciplined Saving: Encourages regular investing, making it an excellent tool for individuals looking to build savings gradually.
  • Low Maintenance: Once set up, the investment can be automated, requiring little day-to-day management.

Considerations for Dollar-Cost Averaging

  • Market Timing: DCA avoids the risks of poor timing. However, if the market steadily climbs, lump-sum investing might sometimes lead to higher returns.
  • Cost Efficiency: Investors should consider transaction fees as frequent buying could increase costs, potentially offsetting the benefits of DCA if the fees are high.

Dollar-Cost Averaging in Action

Suppose an investor decides to invest $500 in a mutual fund every month. In January, the fund’s share price is $50, allowing them to buy 10 shares. In February, if the share price drops to $25, the same $500 investment buys 20 shares. Over these two months, the investor accumulates 30 shares for an average cost of about $33.33 per share, less than the average market price of $37.50 over the same period.

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