The Importance of International Diversification

With a seemingly constant drip of bad news from around the globe—military conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, the spread of Ebola, slowing economic growth in Western Europe and many emerging markets—it may feel that the US is the only safe place to invest your money. But not having enough exposure outside the US means not enough diversification, and that can actually mean higher risk and potentially lower returns over the long run.

Topics: Blog Stock Market International Valuation Diversification

Understanding Diversification

Having a diversified portfolio is one of the keys to successfully managing your wealth. But while the idea of diversification may seem simple—putting all your eggs in one basket generally isn’t a good idea—it’s often misunderstood.

Simply having a lot of different investments doesn’t necessarily mean you have a diversified portfolio. Having a large number of stocks that are all in the same sector of the market—a lot of technology stocks, for example—doesn’t offer much diversification: if something happens to that sector, all of the stocks could decline at the same time.

Topics: Blog Risk Diversification

Meeting Your Income Needs with a Total Return Approach

If you need to generate income from your investment portfolio to pay for expenses, the process of selecting investments can seem a lot more complicated. Since almost all bonds, many stocks, and some alternative investments provide periodic income in the form of interest or dividends, almost any portfolio will generate some cash. But in the current low interest rate environment, there aren’t many investments that yield more than a few percentage points.

Topics: Blog Dividends Total Return Diversification Income Wealth Management

The Danger of Company Stock in 401(k) Accounts

When you’re thinking about how to select investments in your 401(k) account, there are often many options to choose from. Most of these are diversified mutual funds that each contain hundreds or thousands of stocks or bonds (or sometimes both). Many companies, however, also include a much less diversified investment option in their 401(k) plans: stock in the company itself. It’s an investment option that’s best avoided.

Topics: Blog Risk Retirement Enron Diversification 401K

Different Countries, Different Sectors

US and international stocks often perform differently, which is why the result of owning both is usually a better-diversified portfolio. There are many reasons for these performance disparities, such as different economic conditions, different laws and regulations, and different effects from currency movements. Yet there’s another key difference that’s often overlooked: US and international stock markets tend to be made up of very different types of companies.

Topics: Blog International Diversification Sectors