What Is an Automatic Investment Plan?

What Is an Automatic Investment Plan?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An Automatic Investment Plan (AIP) is a financial strategy where an investor designates a fixed amount of money to be taken out from their bank account periodically, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly. This money is then invested directly into a mutual fund, brokerage account, or retirement plan. AIP is an excellent way to ensure consistent contributions towards your investment goals. Using this method, investors can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging where buying more shares when prices are low and fewer when prices are high can potentially lower the total average cost per share of the investment, providing potential for a better overall return on investment.

Related Questions

1. Are there specific benefits to using an Automatic Investment Plan?

Yes, using an AIP simplifies the investment process and makes it more disciplined. It can also be a beneficial strategy to buffer against market fluctuations as the investor can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging.

2. Can I stop or modify my Automatic Investment Plan anytime?

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Yes, you usually have flexibility with AIPs. Most financial institutions will allow you to stop, pause, or adjust your contributions at any time.

3. What type of investor is an Automatic Investment Plan best suited for?

AIPs are generally best for long-term investors who wish to contribute smaller amounts periodically, rather than lump sums.

4. Is there a minimum amount required for an Automatic Investment Plan?

This depends on the financial institution, but many require a small minimum investment to start an AIP, often as low as $50.

5. Can I use Automatic Investment Plan for any type of investment?

While AIPs can be used for a wide range of investments, they are commonly used with mutual funds, index funds and retirement accounts. It’s always best to ask your financial advisor or brokerage if they offer AIPs for your desired investment.