Monday, May 16, 2005

http://lkmp.blogspot.com/2005/05/buffett-consumers-eafe.html#comments

The problem with investing outside the US is that since the US represents
nearly 25% of the global economy, a downturn in the US economy would drag
down the entire global economy. Thus getting your money outside the US
does not protect you from a downturn in the US. Such protection is the
whole point of diversification, so in this case diversification does not
work.

The contrary case is not true. The US economy could expand dramtically
while the economies of other nations stagnate - just look at Japan and
Germany over the last 15 years. In that case, getting your money outside
the US would cost you.

So there is no likely upside, but a very likely downside, to international
investing for the US investor.

It could happen that the US economy expands, and the foreign countries you
invested in also expand, but do so faster than the US, so you earn a
little more than if you kept your money here. In any time frame there
will be at least some other countries that do this. But you never know
which countries will outperform the US, when they will do this, and for
how long. So you're left trying to "country pick", which is as frought
with danger as trying to stock pick.

The US is the wealthiest nation in the world because we have enjoyed the
highest sustained growth rate of any nation in the world. In any given
year or decade some other nations might show faster growth than the US,
but no nation has ever outpaced the US for the long term. If you're a
long term investor, that's all you need to know.

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