How To Do Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 1


This article is posted under Investing.

There are two basic ways to invest in the stock market.

The first one is active trading which involves “timing the market” and doing fundamental and technical analysis.

The second one is passive investing or cost averaging which involves doing steady investments through time.

If you want to invest in the stock market but you don’t have the time to monitor and study the daily, weekly and monthly movements of stock prices; then I highly recommend doing cost averaging.

What is Cost Averaging?

Cost averaging is an investment strategy which requires systematically purchasing securities at predetermined intervals and set limits over a long period of time.

Too hard to understand? Then let me clarify things through an example.

Consider the table below and focus on the first two columns which shows the quarterly prices of Stock ABC from January 2008 until January 2011.

Cost Averaging 1 How To Do Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 1

Cost average investing means buying the same value of stocks regularly. In this case, it’s buying P6,000 worth of stock ABC every quarter as indicated by the third column.

Cost Averaging 2 How To Do Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 1

Meanwhile, the fourth column shows the number of stocks that was bought every time. Notice that when the price of Stock ABC is high, you bought less number of shares; and when it is low, you bought more shares.

The fifth and sixth columns shows the cumulative amount you have already invested and the total number of stocks you already own.

Cost Averaging 3 How To Do Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 1

The seventh column (“Stock Value”) shows the value of the stocks you own based on the “current” price. This was computed by multiplying “Total ABC Stocks” with “Stock ABC Price”.

Cost Averaging How To Do Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 1

And the last column shows how much is your profit or loss IF YOU SOLD all your shares during that time. Notice how it fluctuates from being negative to positive over time.

Also note that as time went by, the amount of “loss” and “gain” increases.

Finally, the last row shows that if you sold all your stocks last January 2011, then you would have gained an extra P54,000 in your pocket – that despite the price of Stock ABC going sideways over the past three years.

how to do cost averaging How To Do Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 1

To summarize, here’s how to do cost averaging, step by step:

  1. Determine the amount you can invest every time.
    • This was P6,000 in our example above.
    • It can be any amount which you can afford, however at least P5,000 is recommended for the Philippine Stock Market.
  2. Determine how often you will invest.
    • This is quarterly in our example above
    • It can be weekly, twice a month, monthly, every two months, etc. – you can even do it just annually.
    • The right investment frequency really depends on your situation. Do what is most comfortable for you.
  3. Invest the set amount, regularly, for a period of time.
    • For the stock market, it’s recommended that you have an investment horizon of at least 3 years.
    • Try your best to follow the schedule. But it’s okay to miss one if you have other financial priorities.
    • Again, do what’s comfortable for you. You can choose to just do this for one year then stop buying and let your money “sleep” for the next two years or more.
  4. When you have achieved your investment objective, then it’s time to sell your stocks and enjoy the profits.

Hopefully, this post has helped you understand how to do cost averaging in the stock market. In the next part, I shall explain WHY this strategy works and HOW TO PICK the best stocks for cost averaging.

Make sure you don’t miss that because it’s really important. If you haven’t subscribed to Ready To Be Rich yet, then just enter your email address below and you’ll know when Part 2 is already posted.

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Disclaimer: The information above should not be taken as financial advise from an expert. This article is merely for educational purposes. Please consult a wealth manager or a certified financial planner before making any major investment decision.

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Photo credit: pfala

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How Does Cost Averaging Work: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 2
In the previous post, I showed you How To Do Cost Averaging – which is simply investing equal monetary amounts regularly on a particular stock over a period of time. For Part 2, I shall try to explain how cost averaging actually works. First, you should know that cost averaging...

How To Pick The Right Stocks For Cost Averaging: Passive Stock Market Investing Part 3
Welcome to the third and final part of this series. Hopefully by now, you already know how to do cost averaging and likewise understand how cost averaging works from a mathematical point of view. As promised, in this last part – we shall examine actual Philippine stocks and see how...



People are talking about this article, join the conversation below.

  1. Does cost averaging also apply to Mutual Funds?

  2. Hi Erlaine, YES, you can also do cost averaging for Mutual Funds.

  3. Hi Fitz,

    I am 24 years old and I’m looking to investing in the stock market. Particularly I am interested in the cost averaging method. But I don’t know how to start. Is it less risky than the lump sum method? Is it always the case that after a period of three years or so, you will profit?

    Great site, btw. I’ve been a follower of your blog for quite some time now and have found every post informative and useful.

    Looking forward to your next post. Cheers!

  4. Hi Fitz! I’ll be happy if you will share with us the chart template you used. It’ll be a great help in monitoring my cost averaging buys. Thanks a lot!

  5. @Lily, I’ll answer your question in the next part of this article.

    @Alden, great idea! I’ll make the template available for download by the end of this series. Thanks!

  6. Hi Mr. Fitz, just want to say that I’ve copied the template you’ve published here and used to to keep track of my mutual fund investment. (I converted the categories so they’re applicable to mutual funds). Thank you for this! I will be looking forward to downloading the template once it’s available.

  7. Hi ikalea, the template is already available for download. The link is in Part 3 of this article series. Thanks! :D

  8. Hi Fitz! Glad you posted about investing on stock markets. I’ve been interested to invest soon but I have no idea how it works and so on. I still have to study and understand this. :)

  9. thanks for this explanation. i just join the stock market today and follow the cost averaging technique.

    honestly, my plan is just to try it for six to one year. but because of your post i ‘ll try my best to keep it for at least five years to 20 years.

    mabuhay!

  10. Great article you have posted Fritz! I too have a blog about finance but unlike yours, its not totally devoted to personal finance alone. I came across your blog when I was about to blog about cost averaging! Anyways I think you are Pinoy right?
    I will be frequently visiting your site as I am into financial blogs. I love to read sites that are devoted to personal finance.
    Keep up the good work!

  11. Good Day sir FItz

    i am a follower of your site and i followed some of your tips in savings

    now i have a BPI Easy savers account for only 2oo php with no maintenance balance.

    i can start saving now

    my question how can i start trading in the stock market by using price avering method? and what is the best way to save if i only have 4000 per moth of allowance to spend. thankyou and GOD Bless

  12. Hi erds518, the easiest way to start on stock market investing through cost averaging is by enrolling through Citiseconline. You can call them at 6333777 and just tell them I referred you.

    However, please remember that the stock market is a high risk investment and you should have an emergency fund first and have good understanding how the stock market works before you invest.

  13. nice read! very interesting, im starting to have this desire to invest in the stock market..
    How about mutual funds? does the same principle also apply? Would it be advisable to go with mutual funds or the EIP?

  14. Yes John. The same strategy can be done on mutual funds. And either one has no clear advantage over the other, so stock market or mutual fund is okay… as long as you invest. :D

  15. Hi Fitz – Good morning. I visit your site almost everyday and I find it very useful and informative. I started cost averaging with Citiseconline EIP just last week. What I did is,I bought stocks with three diff companies and divided my 5k to it ( for example, i’ve set 2k for SM stock, 2k for Jollibee and 1k for BDO). I noticed though that I wasnt actually able to use the alloted money to buy shares. For example, buying Joliibee stock at P112/share will only allow me to buy 10 shares (board allotment) which total P1121, leaving me some unused funds on my account. Am I doing this correct? I sthere a way to maximized and used the whole money you set aside to buy stocks?

  16. Hi Dale,

    Yes you are doing it correct. And unfortunately, the only way to maximize the money is to increase your budget or make your buying periods longer.

    Is your 5k being invested on a monthly basis? If so, try doing 10k every two months, or 15k every quarter (3 months) instead. This way, you get to buy more stocks, maximize the money and still do cost averaging.

    Since you just started, then I think there would be no problem changing your EIP plan. But let’s say you’re already doing this for almost a year, then it’s better to stop that EIP order and create a new one with the revised EIP plan.

    I hope I was clear in my explanation. And welcome to the stock market! :D

  17. @Fitz, yes Im doing it in a monthly basis. Looks like doing it quarterly makes more sense. I opened the account last week and only bought stocks Monday (April 30).

    Thanks for the feedback. More power and success to Ready to Be Rich..

    - dale-

  18. You have P72,000 total of amount invested in the chart above. Does it explains that you still holding the P72,000 on your pocket PLUS another P54,000?

  19. @Jerald
    The P72,000 is the total amount of money you spent in buying the total of 4,200 shares of stock ABC.

    If you chose to sell all those shares, you will receive P126,000 – which would net you P54,000 in earnings.

    Strictly speaking, you are not holding the P72,000 – what you are holding are stock ABC shares. And the only way to have your invested money back plus your earnings is to sell your shares.

  20. Hi Sir Fitz,

    I am just a newbie in investing and still trying to learn the ups and downs.

    Just a quick question. Which would you prefer in applying Cost Averaging? COL EIP or Mutual Funds? I understand that in COL EIP you can selct your preferred company to invest in but in MF the Fund Manager is the one who will select on which company to put your money.

    Thanks

  21. Hi Gil,

    Honestly, either one would be okay. Although personally, I prefer COL EIP because I would like to be more in control of the stocks that I invest in. Mutual funds are really geared more towards people who are “too busy” to analyze the market.

    With regards to which one is profitable, based solely from my experience, investing directly in stocks (through a broker such as COL) gives you a little bit higher earnings – not very significant, but still higher.

  22. Hi Fitz,

    pwede ko pa rin po ba gamitin yung cost averaging method if yung amount ng hulog ko is not the same every month? or yung mode of buying ko is not monthly? thank you very much po..

  23. Hi kipoy,

    Kailangan same ang amount all the time for cost averaging. This is a strict rule – no exceptions.

    Yung frequency, pwedeng every week, every month, every 2 months, quarterly, or kahit once a year lang – ikaw ang bahala kung gaano kadalas… basta as much as possible, same ang duration – ito ang optional, depende na kung ano ang convenient sayo para laging same amount ang nai-invest mo.

  24. Thank you very much po sa reply..Kasi po depende po sa budget ko ang hulog ko sa mutual fund..mahihirapan po ba ako if ganito ang system ko parang di ko makikita if talagang gain or loss ako?…if not cost averaging, is there any method?…sensya na po nag start pa lang po kasi ako..

  25. Hi kipoy. My personal suggestion is to just save your money and invest it every time you get your decided amount.

    For example, kung P5,000 ang target investment mo. Just keep the money you are able to save hanggang umabot ng P5k, then invest mo sa mutual fund. Then repeat the process.

    As I said, the frequency is not important – what’s important is the amount which should be the same every time to be able to do cost averaging.

    Lastly, marami pang ibang investment strategies, pero ito talaga ang pinakasimple na pwede kahit sino gawin. Yung iba kasi, kailangan may knowledge ka na about technical and fundamental market analysis.

  26. Thank you po uli sir sa magandang explanation…every time po ba mag hulog sa mutual fund ay may entry fee? same thing na every mag withdraw ay may exit fee if under holding period po?

    meron po ba akong site na pwede tingnan to know if kelan po magkakaroon IPO ang isang company?

  27. Hi kipoy, depende sa mutual fund company yan, kung sa UITF ka mag-invest, walang entry and exit fee kasi integrated na yun sa unit price – unless under holding period pa.

    Regarding sa IPO, you just have to read the news to know kung anong company ang mag-IPO.

  28. Thank you po uli sa info…God Bless po !

  29. Hi Sir Fitz.May question lang ako regarding this strategy.I’m planning to invest long term in the stock market.Okay lang ba kng initial deposit ko is malaki like for example 40k then every two months 6k until the end of the year?basta po initial lang yung medyo malaki. then the rest is the same. Patulong na rin po kung mas better ba kung sa Eastwest Bank or Puregold stocks? Please help me regarding choosing sa companies. Ang hirap kasi pumili sa dalawa timeline ko Sir is 3 to 5 years. I just want to focus on 1 okay lang po ba un.Hindi ko po kasi alam kung alin magiging mataas ang value after 5yrs? mas okay po ba bank stocks or hypermarket stocks?

    Thanks a lot ;)

  30. Hi koko. For cost averaging, dapat same parati ang investment mo. 1k lang naman ang minimum investment sa stock market, so kung ang plan mo is 6k every two months, then just start and stay at that price.

    Also, I cannot choose between Eastwest Bank and Puregold because I don’t know their fundamentals and I have not studied their charts.

    If you’re looking for companies to buy in the Philippine stock market for long term investments, I suggest you simple choose one among the companies listed here:

    The Best Philippine Stocks for Long Term Investment

  31. Hi Fritz,

    I just want to clarify. For cost-averaging, basta same amount ang ihuhulog mo regardless of the interval? Like for example,

    Week 1 – 5K
    Week 2 – 5K
    Week 3 – Skip
    Week 4 – Skip
    Week 5 – Skip
    Week 6 – 5K

    Or important din na, kung weekly, weekly talaga. Kung monthly, monthly talaga.

    And mas okay na 10K every 2 months, kaysa 5K every month? Bakit mas okay siya?

    After 1 year ng regular na paghuhulog, okay lang ba na mag-stop na ako then hayaan na lang siya. May chance bang malugi pa ako if hindi ko siya imonitor?

    Sorry for a lot of question.
    More power! You’re an awesome blogger. Galing mo mag-explain. I will open an account next week so I’m really trying to gain as much knowledge as I can about EIP/Cost-Averaging.

  32. Hi Marlon. Doing it in regular intervals is recommended but not required, unlike investing a fixed “ceiling” amount – which is necessary to cost average the price.

    Personally, I’d do 10k every 2 months because you can buy more shares. If the price of the stock is P1,400. You can only buy 3 shares every month with P5k – but you can buy 7 shares every 2 months with P10k.

    Just make sure you invest at least once every quarter – but once a year is also acceptable if your funds can only afford that.

    Yes, you can stop after a year and just monitor it. You need to monitor it so you’ll know if price has already hit your acceptable target selling price (which you alone can determine). Yes, stock prices can go down, so pwede malugi if you need the money and the market is at the bottom – but as long as you don’t need the money, then just leave it there until the market goes up again.

    Thanks, if you’re opening an account with Citiseconline, you can look for Ms. Shan Loquinario, she’s my account manager there and she can help you, just tell her I referred you. :D

  33. I really appreciated your reply, Fitz. Thank you very much!

    Sorry. Question again, I can’t still imagine.
    From your example:
    “Personally, I’d do 10k every 2 months because you can buy more shares. If the price of the stock is P1,400. You can only buy 3 shares every month with P5k – but you can buy 7 shares every 2 months with P10k.”

    I have 5000.
    If the price of stock is 1400,
    1400 x 3 = 4200. What will happened to the 800 left? Should I still use the 800 or not? Or 3 stocks will be worth 5000?

    I don’t if I’m on the right track. Thanks!

  34. Got it! Thanks a lot Sir Fritz :)

  35. Hi Marlon, the rule of cost averaging is having a fixed MAXIMUM investment, which in your case, for the first example is P5k.

    So if the price is P1,400 – you can only buy 3 shares for P4,200. You cannot buy 4 shares because you will go over your set P5k budget.

    If you do that, the remaining P800 is left in your budget – you can use it to invest in another product, or use it to buy yourself something nice. :D

    Next month, you’ll have P5,000 investment fund again. If the price becomes P2,000 – then you can only buy 2 shares for P4,000 – which means you’ll have P1,000 in unused cash which again, you can invest in another product, or use to buy a luxury.

    Again, after a month, if the price goes down to P1,000. Then all your P5k will be used to buy 5 shares and you have nothing left of your budget.

    The cycle just goes on and on like that.

  36. Dear Fritz:

    Thanks for your explanations.

    But you tell us also how the operators make money from the money we put in their hands.

    I just want to know, and I suspect that whether they make money for us from the money we put in their hands; or sad to say fail to make money for us, but even lose money, they still make money from the money by whatever means and ways they know how, from the money we put in their hands.

    But I agree that they have the right to the money or the opportunity legal perhaps at that, they make from the money we put in their hands.

    One observation though, if they be unscrupulous, they can just do nothing but make continuously very convincing promises and assurances, and just make money from us while our money gets lesser and lesser at least with its buying power even though numerically they remain the same amount we put in their hands.

    So, we have to continuously monitor their performance and not be taken on by their promises and re-assurances even with gifts of free trips to Hongkong.

    Mdejess

  37. Dear Fritz,

    Good Day! I learned a lot from your posts regarding investments especially the comments section. I had recently started to invest in BPI UITF and Mutual funds via bpi expressonline because i work abroad. Last Feb 7, 2013 (thurs) I subscribed to Odyssey High Conviction Equity Fund (10,000 php). My order was placed after the cutoff which means it will be booked on Feb 8, 2013. Today Feb 11 (monday) it is still not reflected on my portfolio though on the transaction history it says it is still booked. How long will it take to be reflected? As I checked the BPI daily NAVPU prices Odyssey funds are always a day late in NAVPU prices (e.g. February 8 is today, All BPI funds are as of February 8 but for Odyssey funds you will see “as of february 7″) I’m kinda confused with this one. What if I will redeem/buy units on Feb 8 before cutoff, what NAVPU price shall i have? Feb 7? or is it still a gamble what will be the price at the end of the day for feb 8? please enlighten me. P.S. did Oddysey HCEF re-allocated their minning stocks to other stocks. Thank you very much

  38. Hello sir,

    I have placements for the BPI Equity Value Fund and Premium Bond. will cost averaging also work with these types of UITF?

    Thanks.

  39. Hi Randy. Yes it will also work on those types of UITF.

  40. Hi Fritz, excellent articles and you deserve the badge!

    There is just one question blindly haunting me till nightmare. The ultimate goal at the end of the day will surely to sell our stock, say on the above sample on JAN2011 the share dip down badly to 10/stock on top of that you have 0 sale. What will happen to investment?

  41. Hi JohnGalt, you just have to wait until the stock price goes up again. That’s why it’s important to buy good and stable companies, because their stock prices just goes up in the long run and will not drastically fall.

  42. Hi Sir Fitz,

    So glad I was able to see this blog in net while browding for write-ups/articles that will enlighten me with my questions. I am planning to invest in COL this April. But still being puzzled which is ok? Im thinking of investing 3500/month…and into 3 diff blue chip companies. which is ok po, 7k every two months or to have it in quarterly manner instead? Understand the fixed amt is really required, but will it really matter, if your interval is monthly, quarterly or every two months, like cost averaging benefit is maximixed if monthly compared to quarterly? Something like that.

    Your blog is so helpful and things are well explained. :)

  43. I am interested to invest in the stock market but I can’t really grasp all the terms associated with it. If I open an account with Citiseconline or COL Financial, will there be someone who will pick the shares for me, manage and monitor them? All I have to do is make use of the easy investment program to regularly add to my investments for cost averaging?
    I don’t think I can closely monitor the market (because I don’t understand the complexities of their charts) so I am planning on a term of 3 to 5 years. Or should I rather choose between mutual funds and UITF?
    Please simplify them for me. Your blog is a really big help for people who want to attain financial freedom.

  44. Hi Ann,

    No there will be nobody who will pick the shares for you. You have to buy them yourself. No need to analyze the market because COL already has a list of recommended companies to buy for EIP. You just have to choose which one you like.

    Lastly, it all depends on your investment objectives. Also, for a 3-5 year term, I think it might be better to just go for a moderate-risk UITF or mutual fund.

    My personal suggestion, try to learn more about BDO’s Easy Investment Program, or BPI’s Regular Subscription Plan. Both products also work on the principle of cost averaging.

  45. Sir Fritz, I am new to UITF investment, and I have just started investing recently. I just wanted to know if quarterly is much better than monthly. BDO is deducting from my account 10,000 per month. As per what I have understood on this blog, if I have invested 10,000 on July and the NAVPU on that date is 1.0907 I have 9,168 units. Is that correct? And on the next month another 10,000 was deducted on my account on Aug 10, but that was not on the list of NAVPU so I took the 12th of August instead and the NAVPU is 1.2037 I have 8,307 units. Summing them up I have 17,475 units which cost me P21,034.66 and meaning I gained 1,034.66. Is this correct?

    And using UITF yield calculator by BDO it is completely different.

    Thanks.

  46. Hi Carl. Yes, that is correct.

  47. You buy less shares when stocks are high, and buy more when stock prices are low at a constant Price right?

    Wouldnt it be better if you shell out cash that is small when stocks prices are high?

    Thats the thing I dont know with Cost averaging./….. hmmmm

  48. and so as with low stock prices, if that is low, its the right time to shell out a lil big amt of cash? You will have a lot of stocks….

    so is it a general rule that it should always be constant?


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