Is the U.S the only place for long term returns?
Although the United States has experienced one of the best bull markets in terms of duration and returns, investors have been wondering what is next. This past year has not been as invigorating as the prior few years and, on top of that, economists are predicting U.S GDP growth to be at around 1.5% for the next few years. You may have also been hearing from either presidential debates or that “one guy” at the bar that everything is going down the tubes and that we have seen our best days. Are they right? The answer is, we do not know.
What we do know is this, even though the U.S is still considered the safest place for investors, that doesn’t necessarily mean we should only be invested in American securities. Did you know that the rest of world accounts for 95.5% of the human population, nearly 75% of the global GDP, and nearly 60% of the total stock market? On top of that, international securities are not perfectly correlated with the U.S markets so they can be used as a very effective diversification tool for people of all age groups and time horizons. So why don’t people invest outside of the U.S?
There a couple of reasons:
- Many people have a bias towards their home country
- Many people fear that investing internationally is unbearably risky
To respond to those two reasons, there is nothing necessarily bad about being biased toward your home team but there is also nothing wrong with tapping into other developed countries and even emerging markets such as China and India to name a couple. And for people fearing that going international is overly risky, that is not necessarily true. Although volatility is more prevalent, that does not mean that international securities are a sure way to lose money. In fact, it is the volatility that will allow more buying opportunities which in turn can boost returns for people like you and I.
So despite what happened this past quarter (Brexit, continued negative interest rates in Europe, along with current slow global growth), we should still expand our horizons into the international markets and tap into the opportunities they present.
Attached are a few slides about global markets for the past quarter.