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By Jennifer Williams
President J Williams Personal Financial Planning 

Staying on track with your retirement investments – Part 2

Jennifer's Thoughts

 

Take advantage of dollar cost averaging

One of the benefits of participating in your workplace savings plan is that you're automatically using an investment strategy called dollar cost averaging. With dollar cost averaging, you acquire shares of an investment by investing a fixed dollar amount at regularly scheduled intervals over time. When the price is high, your investment buys less; when prices are low, the same dollar investment will buy more shares. A regular, fixed-dollar investment should result in a lower average price per share than you would get buying a fixed number of shares at each investment interval.

The accompanying graph illustrates how share price fluctuations can yield a lower average cost per share through dollar cost averaging. In this hypothetical example, ABC Company's stock price is $30 a share in January, $10 a share in February, $20 a share in March, $15 a share in April, and $25 a share in May. If you invest $300 a month for 5 months, the number of shares you would buy each month would range from 10 shares when the price is at $30, to 30 shares when the price is $10. The average market price is $20 a share ($30+$10+$20+$15+$25 = $100 divided by 5 = $20). However, because your $300 bought more shares at the lower prices, the average purchase price is $17.24 ($300 x 5 months = $1,500 invested divided by 87 shares purchased = $17.24).

In addition to potentially lowering the average cost per share, investing the same amount regularly automates your decision-making, and can help take emotion out of investment decisions.

Stick to your strategy

Try to resist the impulse to change your investment strategy with every news headline or investing tip from a relative or coworker. Timing the market correctly is very difficult; even professionals find it a challenge. Most people fare better by having an investment game plan that can weather good times and bad, and then sticking to it.

That doesn't mean you should simply forget about your investments altogether. At least once a year, you should review your portfolio to see if your choices are still appropriate. Even if your circumstances haven't changed, market movements can affect how your money is divided among various types of investments. For example, if one type of asset has been very successful, it may now represent too large a share of your holdings. To rebalance your portfolio, you could sell some of an asset that's now larger than you intended and buy more of a type that is lower than desired. Or you could keep your existing allocation but shift future investments into an asset class you want to increase. But if you don't review your holdings periodically, you won't know whether a change is needed.

All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there can be no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful. And asset allocation and diversification alone cannot guarantee a profit or eliminate the possibility of loss, including the loss of principal.

Note: Before investing in a mutual fund, consider its investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses, all of which are outlined in the prospectus, available from the fund. Consider the information carefully before investing. Remember that an investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.

Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuating price levels of such securities. You should consider your financial ability to continue purchases through periods of low price levels. Dollar cost averaging does not guarantee a profit or eliminate the possibility of loss.

Article courtesy of Forefield. Securities offered through NPB Financial Group, LLC. A Registered Investment Advisor/Broker-Dealer Member FINRA, MSRB, and SIPC

 
 

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