Dollar-Cost Averaging: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Dollar-cost averaging is a method of investing that has been around for many years. It is a simple concept, but it can be very effective in helping investors achieve their financial goals. This guide will discuss what dollar-cost averaging is and how it works. We will also examine some of the benefits of using this investment strategy.

What Is Dollar-Cost Averaging?

Dollar-cost averaging is an investment strategy that involves buying a fixed dollar amount of a particular asset on a regular schedule. The investor does not try to time the market or pick individual stocks. Instead, they invest the same amount of money at fixed intervals.

For example, let’s say you want to start investing in a stock index fund that tracks the S&P 500. You could make a one-time investment of $500 into the fund. Or, you could invest $50 per month for ten months. The latter is an example of dollar-cost averaging.

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Benefits of Dollar-Cost Averaging

There are several benefits to using the dollar-cost averaging investment strategy.

  • First, it takes the emotion out of investing. When you invest a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, you are not trying to time the market or pick individual stocks. This can help you avoid making impulsive decisions that may not be in your best interest.
  • Second, dollar-cost averaging can help you build a position in an asset over time. For example, if you are investing in a stock or fund that has been volatile, dollar-cost averaging can help you buy more shares when the price is low and fewer shares when the price is high. Over time, this can help you reduce the overall cost of your investment.
  • Finally, dollar-cost averaging can help you stay disciplined with your investment strategy. If you are trying to save for a long-term goal, such as retirement, dollar-cost averaging can help you stay on track. Investing the same amount of money at regular intervals makes you less likely to make impulsive decisions that could derail your plans.


Despite the benefits of dollar-cost averaging, there are also some drawbacks to this investment strategy.

  • First, it can take a long time to build up a significant position in an asset if you are only investing a small amount of money each month.
  • Second, you may miss out on potential gains if the asset price increases sharply after you have made your investment.


Before you use dollar-cost averaging, it is essential to understand both the potential benefits and drawbacks of this investment strategy. Dollar-cost averaging can be a helpful tool for investors, but it is not suitable for everyone. Be sure to research and consult a financial advisor before making any decisions about your investments.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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