Dollar Cost Averaging: A Strategy for Young Professionals

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  • Dollar Cost Averaging: A Strategy for Young Professionals
Author: Joseph Reinke, CFA

My name is Joseph Reinke and I’ve helped thousands of new grads navigate the world of investing. Therefore, I know investing can be a daunting task, especially for young professionals. With financial markets often resembling roller coasters, finding a sound investment strategy is key to building wealth. Enter dollar cost averaging (DCA), a disciplined and strategic approach to growing your investments over time. This article will dive into the nuts and bolts of DCA, showing how it can help solidify your financial future.

Understanding Dollar Cost Averaging

Definition and How It Works

Dollar cost averaging is an investment strategy where you invest a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, regardless of the share price. If the market price is high, your fixed amount fetches fewer shares, and conversely, when the price is low, the same amount gets you more shares.

By regular intervals, I am referring to bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc… In short, the more often you contribute the fixed amount the more you will reap the benefits of dollar cost averaging.

Comparison to Lump-Sum Investing

Contrast this with lump-sum investing, where you invest a significant amount at one go. This could lead you to buy at a high, just before a potential dip. DCA mitigates this risk by spreading out your investment and reducing the impact of volatility.

Benefits of Dollar Cost Averaging

Below I discuss the benefit of using a DCA strategy.  You’ll notice that these benefits are features of retirement accounts such as a 401(k).  There is a good reason why 401(k) investments are made each pay check….

Mitigating Market Volatility

Market trends are unpredictable — they can swing wildly due to various factors. DCA smooths out the impact by averaging the purchase price over time, insulating your investment from short-term fluctuations.  In short, the ups and downs you experience won’t be so dramatic.

Disciplined Approach to Investing

DCA forces you to invest regularly, which cultivates financial discipline. It’s an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ way to ensure you’re consistently contributing to your investment portfolio.

Potential for Long-Term Growth

While no strategy guarantees returns, DCA aligns with the market’s long-term upward trajectory. Consistent investment can potentially result in significant growth given sufficient time.

Implementing Dollar Cost Averaging

Setting Investment Goals

Begin with clear goals. Are you saving for retirement, a down payment on a house, or an emergency fund? Your objectives will dictate your strategy.  For example, you are going to use a DCA strategy for retirement savings.  Whereas you would save in a simple savings account if you are saving for a down payment for a house. The reason being is that the benefits of dollar cost averaging happen overtime. Therefore, short-term savings goals wouldn’t benefit from this strategy.

Choosing Investment Vehicles

Next, select your investment vehicle. Mutual funds, ETFs, and individual stocks are all viable options. We recommend low-cost index funds for broad market exposure and diversification.

Establishing a Regular Investment Schedule

Finally, decide on the frequency of your investments – monthly, quarterly, or biweekly. Automate the process through your bank to adhere to your schedule without manual input.

Common Misconceptions

Addressing Concerns About Timing the Market

Timing the market is notoriously challenging, even for seasoned investors. DCA is built on the premise that ‘time in the market’ is more reliable than ‘timing the market’.

For example, 99% of individuals that use FitBUX’s Hybrid Investment Advisor kept their money invested and continued to contribute to retirement accounts during the last downturn.  The 1% that stopped lost $10,000s as the market has soared since dropping in 2023.

Considering the Impact of Fees and Expenses

Be mindful of transaction fees as they can eat into your returns, especially if you invest small amounts frequently. Choose platforms with low fees to maximize your DCA approach.  This is also why you should choose to invest into ETFs. Most platforms have commission free trades into ETF investments.

Case Studies

Let’s look at real-world instances where DCA led to better returns and lower risk.

FitBUX Members Using DCA

Story 1: Emily’s Retirement Readiness

Emily, a FitBUX member, started her career as a physical therapist with significant amount of student loan debt. Despite her debt, she committed to a DCA approach in her retirement savings. Every month, she invested a portion of her paycheck into a Roth IRA, focusing on index funds with low fees. Over five years, the market weathered ups and downs, but Emily’s consistent investments paid off. Her retirement account grew steadily, benefitting from market rebounds and demonstrating the strength of her long-term strategy.  She now has $40,000 in her Roth IRA.

Story 2: Michael’s Educational Fund Triumph

Michael, another FitBUX member, had a dream of securing his daughter’s college education without the weight of student loans. He decided to set up a 529 College Savings Plan shortly after her birth, choosing a DCA strategy to manage his investments. By making regular monthly contributions, he was able to take advantage of dollar cost averaging, which reduced the average share cost over time. As his daughter grew, so did her educational fund, providing a substantial sum by the time she received her college acceptance letter. Michael’s foresightedness and disciplined investing approach allowed his daughter to attend college, free from the burden of debt.

Advanced Case Study

For illustrative purposes, we ran an analysis for a 1 asset portfolio to compare DCA methods. We used a hypothetical portfolio consisting only of the ETF SPY and used from its inception date in 1993.

Scenario 1, we invested $833 a month and compared that to Scenario 2  which was investing $10,000 annually.  Both utilize the DCA method. However, this will illustrate why making contributions more frequently is a benefit.

When looking at this comparison, one of the key things you’d want to look at is what’s called the Sharpe ratio which basically determines risk. The higher the Sharpe ratio is, the better.

For Scenario 1, we found that the Sharpe ratio was 0.65 while while Scenario 2 was 0.63. What that means is you get a better return for less risk in Scenario 1. This doesn’t even consider things like rebalancing as this would likely make this even more drastic of a difference in favor of DCA.


Dollar cost averaging stands out as a prudent, strategic approach to investing, particularly suitable for young professionals looking to build their financial base. By focusing on long-term growth and not getting sidetracked by daily market movements, you set yourself on a path to financial success.

Remember, the best time to start investing was yesterday, the second-best time is today. So why wait? Embrace the benefits of dollar cost averaging and start on your journey to achieving your financial goals!

If you have any questions or need further clarification on dollar cost averaging, please don’t hesitate to contact us at FitBUX. we’d be more than happy to assist you on your investment journey.

Joseph Reinke, CFA

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About the Author

Joseph Reinke is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter Holder and founder of FitBUX which has helped over 14,000 young professionals on their journey to financial freedom. Joseph has been personally investing since he was 12 years old.

In addition, he has experience in student loans, mortgages, wealth management, investment banking, valuation, stock trading, and option trading. He has been on 100s of podcast and has been invited to 100s of universities to discuss financial planning with their soon to be graduates.

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