I front loaded all of my Roth IRA contributions in the first two months of this year. I thought that the market was already as far as it would go and it was a good buy. Only time will tell whether or not those purchases were a good buy. Next year, dollar cost averaging is the way for me. I will purchase only no transaction fee mutual funds and will do them every month at the least. The actual time frame will depend on minimum transaction amount per fund.
I had sufficient money and got careless. New budget already created and being monitored.
Presently, I think that my play this year in having at some point all of my money go into a defensive play in March was a good one. The fund remained steady while everything else declined. It somewhat fell in the last quarter of 2008, but I think overall it would have been more prudent to do some balancing throughout. I'm not committed to re-balancing yet but will be shortly.
Just like Forest Gump always said, "I'm not a smart man." I bought the bad ones - E-Trade (ETFC) and even worse, Fannie Mae (FNM). Please Rinse and Repeat - Past performance (or price) does not indicate future performance (or price).
Just because I have a nice website and tracking software doesn't mean I should be looking daily at performance percentages - it's not healthy and doesn't make my portfolio better off.
Next year may not be better, but I have been forewarned.