MoneyDo: Know What You Own – International Equities

 

This week’s MoneyDo continues our advice to “Know What You Own,” specifically when it comes to International Equities.

As we mentioned in an earlier MoneyDo, while it sounds rudimentary, we find that many folks neglect to track what’s in their portfolio. Some haven’t looked in months or years. If you aren’t sure what you own, it’s time to heal your financial paralysis and start actively examining what you own – including your international equities position.

Living in the United States, it’s very easy to slip into a myopic view of investing and pursue only opportunities in US Markets. Part of the near-sightedness can be attributed to recency bias – we look at recent market history and see that the US has outperformed globally and believe this will continue to happen.

Recency bias can take a toll in the long run: according to JP Morgan, Emerging Markets have outperformed the United States over the last 15 years; however, it only has once over the last six years. 

Beyond recency bias, many of us share a fundamental ignorance of corporations, geography, and the geopolitical pressures exerted on those markets.

Media doesn’t help: turn on cable business news, and you’ll likely watch for a significant period without an update on how markets are performing in Europe, or China, or South America. You likely can’t recall a written or on-air piece looking at investing in Africa.

Still, a wise investor will fight through and explore international opportunities. As positively as US markets performed in 2017, Developed Markets beat the US by 5%, and Emerging Markets beat the US by 16%.

If you’re a DIY investor, getting started as an international investor can be daunting. You’ll discover that access to specific securities might be limited through your current investing portal. We’ve discovered that some brokerages have limitations, as well.

Make sure to ask the right questions as you choose international securities for your portfolio. Try to avoid bias – examine whether you’re picking opportunities that you know because they have a large US exposure.

In addition, make sure you’re aware of rudimentary corporate information, like what countries the corporation is located in, and how stable the political environment is there. Take a long look at the currency used there, and their regional/geopolitical status, like whether or not they’re in the process of trying to exit a certain political block. 

At Annex, our research seeks expert portfolio managers who have the ability to achieve higher risk-adjusted returns.  To be a successful investor in the International markets, it could require being able to visit the companies you’re investing in, and becoming experts of the countries they are located in. Navigating the political risk, and understanding the local culture makes a tremendous impact in potential higher returns, and more importantly not taking unnecessary risk.

By knowing what you own and considering how it aligns with your financial plan, you can strive for more diversity and a balanced portfolio.

If this MoneyDo is more work than you can handle, find an advisor you can trust to help you get started.

For help with international equities and/or a financial plan to help guide and inform your portfolio allocation, consider sitting down with us at Annex Wealth Management, where we perform an in-depth portfolio review to understand your current holdings.

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Elm Grove, WI 53122

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