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I am 27 years old and have been a Fool for about a year now. I max out my 401K and put the $ in a S&P 500 index fund. I have had a Roth IRA in loaded, under-performing funds for '98 and '99. But no longer! The 2000s are gonnna be much more Foolish! I am going to start putting my Roth money into a fund that tracks the Wilshire 5000 (probably Vanguard). Should I bother dollar cost averaging or just put the $2000 in as one lump sum? Couldn't I just keep my eye out for a "down" day and buy in all at once instead of potentially buying as the market goes up, up, up. I have done DCA in other taxable accounts and it seems that my purchase often goes through on more "up" than "down" days. Also, should I liquidate the Roth $ that I already have in the loaded funds and transfer it into the 5000 index fund? In '98, I put $2000 into a Franklin Templeton fund that has done AWFUL the past two years.
My '99 $ went into Massachusetts Investors Trust-not doing anything great after load is considered. Any suggestions/comments would be appreciated.


The only reason to dollar-cost average with a lump sum is that you think the market is going to go down...and if you think that, why bother investing in the market now anyway? I forget exactly where I read this (I'm sure it's on TMF somewhere), but if you had invested all your money each year on the day the market was at its highest, your return would only be a percent or two lower than if you had invested on the market's lowest day each year.

I also think it's a fine idea to move your money out of underperforming funds and into Vanguard. You'll get better returns AND fewer statements to keep track of.

-john
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