Investing Across Borders: Four Reasons to Remove Your Red, White & Blue Blinders and Put Your Money in Foreign Markets

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Uncertainty in the US market might have you convinced that your safest investment is no investment. But Al Chalabi and Jim Mellon say that line of thinking equals lost investment opportunities--and explain why it's time to think global.

If you've been following the financial news lately, you may be thinking a box buried in the backyard is a better place to invest your money than the stock market. The US financial sector's climate has certainly been grim, and forecasters aren't expecting sunny skies anytime soon. But now isn't the time to run scared, say Al Chalabi and Jim Mellon, two experienced investors who have mastered finding big ideas and great opportunity in any market. Just take off your red, white & blue blinders. That's right. The US market is only one piece of a very large and lucrative pie, and when you look outside the country's borders, you'll find tons of great investing opportunities.

"The currency crisis in the US and the sluggish market don't have to mean the end of your investing prospects," says Chalabi, coauthor along with Mellon of the new book The Top 10 Investments for the Next 10 Years: BigIdeas, MoneyFountains and Your Path to Prosperity (Wiley, February 2008, ISBN: 978-1-84112-802-3, $29.95). "Foreign investments provide great opportunity for Americans willing to venture beyond their nation's economic borders. Best of all, doing so can be as easy as investing in American equities."

That said, it's time to tear down the roadblocks that may have intimidated you prior to the US economy's slow down. You don't have to be a market insider or have brokers in several countries throughout the world to take advantage of these foreign opportunities, says Chalabi. You can gain appropriate exposure to foreign markets while mitigating the risks through several viable investment options.

Here's why now is a great time to invest in foreign markets:

It's easier than ever to get started. Gaining access to foreign markets has never been easier for the average joe. If you are interested in foreign markets, ETFs (exchange traded funds) are probably the best way to go. They let you gain access to emerging markets as well as other categories of investments, such as metals, agribusiness, or alternative energy. ETFs are easy to understand for inexperienced investors, and they allow you to increase potential rewards without greatly increasing risk.

You can participate in gains from rapidly growing economies. US economic growth may be at a virtual standstill, but that isn't true of many economies throughout the world. The "BRIC" countries--Brazil, Russia, India and China--are notable examples. These economies are experiencing rapid growth, growth that is likely to exceed that of more developed nations like the US, for the next 5 to 10 years.

You gain exposure to the commodities markets. If you've managed to cut through all of the negative financial news of late, you may have heard financial experts touting the profitability of investing in commodities, which include everything from oil to gold to wheat. Investing in foreign markets lets you do this.

Here's the thing, says Chalabi: The US economy may not be down for the count, but it's probably not bouncing back anytime soon. If you don't want to suffer along with it--and who in his right mind would?--you certainly don't have to.

"And it's likely that there will be no recovery for at least a year," says Chalabi. "Investing in foreign markets empowers you to diversify and grow your portfolio rather than letting it languish until things start looking up.

"The important thing to remember is that no matter which market or theme you choose to invest in, you need to be thinking long-term," continues Chalabi. "Jim and I are advocates of long-term investment strategies, hence the '10 years' in our book title. Trying to make a quick buck using the strategies discussed above isn't the answer, especially with the current market uncertainty. The best way to reach prosperity is to pick strong products with good fundamentals and stick with them."

About the Authors:
Jim Mellon is an investor with interests in companies in several industries. Jim spends most of his time working on startup ideas and on investing.

Al Chalabi is a business consultant, entrepreneur, and author who has been based in Asia for eleven years and has extensive experience of developing economies. He helps corporations establish and grow their operations in Asia, particularly in emerging economies like China.

About the Book:
The Top 10 Investments for the Next 10 Years: BigIdeas, MoneyFountains and Your Path to Prosperity (Wiley, February 2008, ISBN: 978-1-84112-802-3, $29.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945. In Canada, call 800-567-4797.

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