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Dollar Cost Averaging: Put Your Investing on Auto-Pilot


If you've ever asked yourself, "Is this the right time to get into the stock market?" or answered, "The market's too high now. I've missed my chance," you'll soon forget those words after you've learned about the power of dollar-cost averaging.

Here's what dollar-cost averaging means: putting the same amount of money each month into an investment, such as a stock or a mutual fund. That's all.

Why put money in the stock market every month? Because the markets, while having bad days -- even bad years -- tend to go up over time. When you invest a set amount -- say $100 -- your money will buy you fewer shares when the market is high, and more shares when it's low. You'll put dollar cost averaging to work and sleep well every night, knowing that you don't have to track and time the market.

Buying stocks in a falling stock market sounds easy, but most people don't have the stomach to do it. In fact, the stock market is the only place where people seem to get more interested when the prices are being raised. They seem to lose interest when stocks are "on sale."

Dollar-cost averaging is easy to understand, even easier to do, and will have a very positive long-term effect on your portfolio. John Bogle, one of Wall Street's most successful money managers, has said, "As far as investing is concerned,