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Does Frequency & The Time Of Year Impact Investment Performance?

One question which I am often asked by pension savers is are they better off investing on a once off basis annually (normally they mean around November time when tax has to be paid) or would they be better off making monthly contributions, which is a concept known as “pound cost averaging”.


The idea behind pound-cost averaging is to provide some protection in case the market drops shortly after the money is invested. Instead of the entire investment suffering the loss, only the invested portion does, and the benefit is that the remainder is then invested at lower prices.


Pound-cost averaging can work well in a falling market, but there is a problem in that markets go up more often than they go down. In fact, over the past 20 years, the stock market has risen in 60% of individual months. This means that if you pound-cost average, more often than not you’re buying shares at increasing prices, which is an inefficient strategy.


However, there are still benefits of drip feeding. By spreading the contributions across 12 months the monthly investor has less money at risk at any one time, compared with the annual investor who has put everything into the market at the start of the year.

Time Of Year

So what are the good months to be investing in and what are the not so good ones? Over the years many phrases and idioms have been used to describe times when we should and shouldn’t be investing. I have a looked at a few of those old sayings below and assess if they have any merit.


One of the oldest and probably most famous saying of them all is “Sell in May and go away, and don’t come back til St Leger Day” describes how investors should enjoy the summer season without expecting growth in stock markets. The classic horse race the St Leger is held in September so according to this saying, investors are expected to sell their stock and forget about markets until the autumn arrives.


One question which I am often asked by pension savers is are they better off investing on a once off basis annually (normally they mean around November time when tax has to be paid) or would they be better off making monthly contributions, which is a concept known as “pound cost averaging”.


The idea behind pound-cost averaging is to provide some protection in case the market drops shortly after the money is invested. Instead of the entire investment suffering the loss, only the invested portion does, and the benefit is that the remainder is then invested at lower prices.


Pound-cost averaging can work well in a falling market, but there is a problem in that markets go up more often than they go down. In fact, over the past 20 years, the stock market has risen in 60% of individual months. This means that if you pound-cost average, more often than not you’re buying shares at increasing prices, which is an inefficient strategy.


However, there are still benefits of drip feeding. By spreading the contributions across 12 months the monthly investor has less money at risk at any one time, compared with the annual investor who has put everything into the market at the start of the year.

Time Of Year

So what are the good months to be investing in and what are the not so good ones? Over the years many phrases and idioms have been used to describe times when we should and shouldn’t be investing. I have a looked at a few of those old sayings below and assess if they have any merit.


One of the oldest and probably most famous saying of them all is “Sell in May and go away, and don’t come back til St Leger Day” describes how investors should enjoy the summer season without expecting growth in stock markets. The classic horse race the St Leger is held in September so according to this saying, investors are expected to sell their stock and forget about markets until the autumn arrives.



Omega Financial Management

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Beacon Court

Sandyford

Dublin 18

Eircode: D18 FK12

Tel:      01 293 8554

Fax:     01 293 1948

Email: info@omegafinancial.ie

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