Choosing Domestic vs International Investments

All investment has risk attached to it. If this question relates to stock market investment and the decision whether to place your money into domestic (home) or international (abroad) stocks, then you will need to study the two investment environments very carefully.

On a world-wide basis the performance of the economies of developed countries have a tendency to follow each other. In other words if the economy of the US slows down, it is likely that economies in Europe will follow, though not necessarily at the same time. This is one of the side effects of global trading. However, there are exceptions. There will be countries that perform well even when others do not. All of these factors need to be taken into account before choosing between domestic and international investments.

Domestic investments will always have a slight advantage for the individual share investor. You live there and know the company. Even without studying the financial papers and investment journals, you will have a basis idea as to whether the company you invest in is a good bet or not. It is also easier to follow their performance, through general news reports as well as the financial papers and briefings. However if all your investments are made in this way, you will need to weather the storm when the economy slows down. Earnings on the shares may reduce.

International investment is a question of more research. Before you even consider the investment, you need to have a reasonable idea of what the political climate for that country, whether it is stable or not, and also do some research into the company(s) you are wanting to invest in, what is their history, are they getting good financial press, are their products innovative and what is the management like? Many of these you would do for a domestic market, but for overseas you will need a little more depth of knowledge to be able to make a reasoned choice.

As I said earlier, there will be times when parts (certain countries) of the international markets are performing better than your own. That is the time to consider more international investment than domestic, and the visa-versa holds true as well. The real art is knowing when to go into a market and when to come out, and that applies to both the domestic and international scene. If you get that balance right, then you should make money at it.

Remember: The value of shares can go down as well as up, so be very careful with your investments.