Lump Sum vs. Dollar Cost Averaging: Which Is Better?

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Some people go swimming by diving into the pool; others prefer to edge into the water gradually, especially if the water's cold. A decision about putting money into an investment can be somewhat similar. Is it best to invest your money all at once, putting a lump sum into something you believe will do well? Or should you invest smaller amounts regularly over time to try to minimize the risk that you might invest at precisely the wrong moment?

Periodic investing and lump-sum investing both have their advocates. Understanding the merits and drawbacks of each can help you make a more informed decision.

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