Motley Fool Australia

The World Is Your Oyster

There’s been a lot written about the astonishing success of some of the planet’s tech titans over the past couple of weeks.

Apple’s sales continue to skyrocket. Amazon’s shares jumped almost 20% in after-hours trading last night. And Google’s shares have also gained 20% in the last month.
Is it any wonder Australian investors are looking enviously at overseas markets?

I made the case last week for investors investing on foreign exchanges. If you took my advice, just like members of Motley Fool Share Advisor  did, and invested in some of the greatest companies of our time, like the ones listed above, you’re probably already smiling.

And we have some sort of track record. I told members of Motley Fool Share Advisor to buy shares of Netflix back in July 2012 — and the shares have increased by 1,200% since then! That would have turned $10,000 into $130,000… not bad — and yet another reason to look abroad when you invest!

We recommend one US company each month to our members, as well as one ASX stock — they get twice the coverage (and twice the opportunity for life-changing wealth building investments) for the one low membership fee!

It’s easier than you think

I know the sheer idea of having to confront the complexity of overseas investing is tough for some people. But it’s easier than you think. An account with a broker like the Australian arm of US-based OptionsXpress is pretty easy to open, the brokerage is cheap and the customer service is great.

(For the record, Motley Fool Australia has no commercial — or other — relationship with OptionsXpress, but I’m a happy customer.)

Once set up, you can buy shares in all of the great US-listed companies, including plenty of European and Asian businesses that maintain listings on the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq. Indeed, at Motley Fool Share Advisor, we have more than 20 current Buy recommendations on US stocks right now!

Apple, Amazon, Nike, Starbucks, Facebook, American Express, Berkshire Hathaway… the list of well-known, world-beating companies listed on the US exchanges could fill the rest of this article. You really should give it a try.

But I also know that despite my encouragement, a US brokerage account will be a bridge too far for many investors. And while that’s a big shame, I understand it. So if you’re not going to open a US trading account, here are another couple of options:

Explore ETFs

Acronyms make things far more complex than they need to be. An ETF is an exchange-traded fund — basically allowing you to buy into a fund using your normal brokerage account.

And while not every ETF is created equal (be careful of debt, fees and what each one invests in), you can gain exposure to a ‘basket’ of US-listed shares from right here at home.

The best broad-based international ETF is Vanguard’s International ETF (ASX:VGS), which gives you access to the rest of the developed world. It’s a one-stop shop to buy a small part of some of the very best businesses on the planet.

Australia’s best, overseas

If you’re not buying overseas-based businesses, but like the idea of some ‘rest of the world’ access, another option is to buy shares of Australian companies that are doing it for themselves.

World-beaters like CSL, Cochlear, Computershare — just to start with the Cs —earn large chunks of their sales and profit overseas — giving you diversification across countries and geographies.

It’s not as ‘pure’ as investing directly overseas, or via an ETF, but gives you much-needed diversification away from our pure banks-grocers-and-miners exchange here in Australia.

For the investor who wants to really build long-term wealth…

Many investment scholars call diversification ‘the only free lunch in investing’. Whether it’s diversification you’re after, or some of the truly world-changing success stories being written by the likes of Apple and Amazon et al, looking beyond our borders is a must for any serious investor.

Where to invest $1,000 right now

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for more than eight years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

Scott just revealed what he believes are the five best ASX stocks for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they are great buys right now.

*Returns as of June 30th

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