Thanks to a generous family member, I came into a bit of money in the past week. It was enough to fund my Roth IRA for the year with a bit leftover. So of course, step one was funding my Roth. I couldn’t decide whether dollar cost averaging was the way to go or not. I did know that I wanted to add a fund to my IRA – a fund tracking the international markets – and at the financial institution I use, that required a minimum of $3000 to open. So that was an easy decision. I decided to just use the additional $2000 to purchase additional shares in a fund I already own. I thought about it for a while and decided to just drop all $2000 at once rather than do dollar cost averaging. Basically, I just wanted to have it done and not worry about it anymore.
With the market fluctuating as it has the past few months, I’ve really been ignoring a lot of my investment accounts. I know that I have chosen good funds for my Roth IRA. I know that I’ve chosen good funds for my TSP (not that there are a lot of options). The market is what is is, and I can’t change it, so I might as well not worry about it. Besides, these are retirement accounts. I’m 27. I won’t need them for quite some time.
When the market is good, it’s fun to check in on retirement accounts and see how they are growing. But when the market is not so good, it can simply be added stress to log-in to an account and see how much money you’ve lost in the past few days. I’ve decided that’s not added stress I need.
I do check my retirement accounts every month when I calculate my net worth for the month. And when the value is up, I’m happy, and when it’s down, I just shrug and know that things will get better.
So that’s why I decided against dollar cost averaging for the last $2000. I don’t want to have to worry about it. There’s no way to predict which method is better, though my hope is that the market is on a rebound and will keep bouncing back. But for my mental health, it was the right choice.
(Of course, what to do with the rest of the money is another story for another post.)
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.