Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Investment using automatical withdrawal

Investment using automatical withdrawal

You know how you pay your gas bill, your phone bill, each month using electric billing automatically? This saves on not having to write a check address the envelope each month. Well, why not invest the same way?

There's an addictional benefits to investing small amounts say $50 on a regular basis (also called dollar-cost averaging): You may actually invest more than you would if you plunked down a lump sum, and at more opportune times. When you're dollar-cost averaging, you're putting dollars to work no matter what's going on in the market. You have effectively put on blinders against short-term market swings: Whether the market is going up or going down, $100 (or whatever amount you choose to invest) is going into your fund every month no matter what. That's discipline. Would you be able to write a check for $100 if your fund had lost 15% the previous month? Maybe not. But that would mean $100 less working for you when your investments rebounded.

For example, an investor who put in $600 up front in January would have gotten 60 shares at $10 per share. Those shares were worth $12 in June, so her investment was worth $720. If she had dollar-cost averaged her investment, putting in $100 per month, she would have purchased some of her shares on the cheap and wound up with 62.1 shares in June. At $12 per share, she would have had $745.20--$25 more than if she had invested a lump sum at the beginning.

Be careful about using a dollar-cost averaging program if you use a broker or advisor to buy and sell shares, however. If you're paying a front-end load, you'll pay that amount on each and every investment. Perhaps more important, by making smaller purchases you might not be eligible for sales-charge discounts that are frequently available to those who are investing larger sums.

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