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Making Volatility Work for You

Zach Swaffer, CFP®
February 28, 2019
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Do you want to start investing but fear you will be buying in at the top of the market? Well, what if I told you there was a way to invest in which you could take emotion out of the equation altogether, not only banishing market anxiety but actually taking advantage of dreaded market volatility? Too good to be true? Far from it. The panacea exists, and it’s called dollar cost averaging or, as we call it in the finance world: DCA.

Dollar Cost Averaging is a pretty simple financial strategy: you purchase a set dollar amount (say $300) of securities (stocks, mutual funds, etfs, bonds…you get the idea) on the same day each month. Because you are committed to a set dollar investment the total number of shares purchased will vary from month to month based on the market. In months where prices are increasing you receive fewer shares; however, in months with falling prices your money buys MORE shares.

How does this benefit you? It removes emotion from the investment equation by keeping you from attempting to “time the market” (which has been proven to be impossible) and helps establish the saving behavior necessary for long term financial success. You are not waiting for a certain price to be reached before buying and when markets are experiencing volatility you are not selling and sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to settle down and then attempting to determine when to buy back into the market. Rather, you are using a disciplined strategy to steadily contribute to your long term goals and when the market is on sale, prices are declining, your monthly contribution has more buying power.

Here’s what’s even better: you are most likely already taking advantage of DCA as part of your financial plan, without even realizing it! If you are contributing to an employer sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k) (which you should be!), you are taking advantage of Dollar Cost Averaging by setting aside a certain percentage of your pay and investing it on set days each month. But why limit a DCA strategy to just one segment of your financial portfolio? You can leverage Dollar Cost Averaging to efficiently build individual accounts for shorter or medium term priorities such as travel, a new car, or purchasing a house. It’s not magic or rocket science, but Dollar Cost Averaging can help take advantage of volatility in markets, remove emotion from investing, and establish a beneficial pattern of saving for future priorities.

While dollar cost averaging is a powerful financial tool it is only one component of a full financial plan. If you would like to talk more about the impact of dollar cost averaging on your personal financial plan please contact me at

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Jeff Motske, CFP®
January 21, 2021
Don't get caught up in the here and now. Short-term moves and market timing are not sound financial strategies for your serious long-term plan of pursuing financial independence.  Good planning does, however, require intermediary decision-making. A few things to consider before year-end:

  1. Charitable Giving – To receive 2020 tax benefits, donations must be made by year-end. Be sure to keep a record of all giving for future tax purposes. Other planning strategies to consider are gifting highly appreciated stocks and bunching charitable donations in the same year.
  2. Tax Harvesting – Look for opportunities to sell stocks that have dropped in value to offset potential capital gains liabilities.

As always, we are available to help you with these year-end decisions and keep you focused on your long-term financial plans. Thank you for entrusting us with your financial life. Let’s all remember to be grateful and enjoy this holiday season.

Jeff Motske, CFP®
April 13, 2018

Many people accept that humility is a virtue, one that contributes to an individual’s success or legacy. Treating others respectfully and as equals is a courteous thing to do, as is recognizing everyone’s individual value and innate strengths. This is what I teach my children and the value that I integrate into how I run my business as well as my life.

This extends far beyond an altruistic ideal, though. Humility is not simply being self-depreciating or passive. In fact, it’s less about our relationship with other people and more reflective of the relationship we have with ourselves. Humility is about being fully aware of your humanity and your interdependence with others. It allows us to be self-aware and recognize where we may have gaps in our knowledge or in our control. This is a proven value that can have concrete and positive ramifications in our everyday life, specifically in our investments. Trust me, it’s not that big of a leap.

  1. Humility is understanding that I do not know everything. This means that I can make mistakes. It also reinforces that there are others who may have more knowledge or a different perspective that may provide value to the decisions I make. Whether you’re talking about a doctor, a lawyer, a tax accountant or in my case, a financial planner, there are folks who have the knowledge and passion to help you.
  2. Humility is understanding that I do not control everything. This means that things will happen that I have no power over, that I could not predict, and that may cause a few bumps in the road. In those moments, it’s good to refrain from acting impulsively or emotionally. Preparation and flexibility are also key. It’s best to plan for emergencies, fluctuations in the market, and other surprising events to understand what to expect, stay focused on the bigger picture and be prepared for not necessarily doing things “as usual”.

Once we accept these points, we can recognize where we may need assistance and be open to advice from expert counsel. When we do that, we do it for our own personal benefit, arming ourselves with the resources for monetary and overall success. Michael McGrath sums it up nicely in his article, “Humility in Investing: Why It’s Important”,

“Overconfidence tells you that it must be the other thing that was wrong—I see it all the time in my work. But humility allows you to say, “I’m not perfect, was there something that I might have been able to do better?”1

The Advisors at Trilogy Financial are here to be your resource on the road to doing things better. Our accomplishments are measured by your success and ability to achieve your financial freedom.


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