Does it make sense to dollar cost average? It depends. Standard financial analysis says dollar cost averaging is suboptimal. If you focus on only your investment outcome, investing a lump sum immediately lets you construct the best portfolio you can today; slowing the process with dollar cost averaging just keeps you in something other than your best portfolio until you are done. Behavioral finance provides a different perspective. Because of the difference between the way people react to errors of omission and errors of commission, dollar cost averaging may give investors a better expected investment experience.
Eugene Fama and Ken French are members of the Board of Directors for and provide consulting services to Dimensional Fund Advisors LP.