The Real Reason Your Broker Isn’t Recommending International Real Estate
The investment and securities industry can be a complicated thing for most people to understand. As a result, many depend on the services of a licensed broker or financial advisor to help them navigate the many options available for building wealth and preparing for retirement.
And, while most of these individuals are very knowledgeable and well-meaning professionals, they’re not necessarily the only (or even the best) solution for determining how to invest your dollars. But you won’t hear that from them.
Of course, your broker has your best interest at heart. But he also has some interests and limitations of his own. Ones he’s not likely to disclose to you. Here are five statements that, while true, probably won’t ever come up in your quarterly review.
1. “I’m a salesman, not a stock analyst.”
Your adviser probably sounds like he’s up-to-the-minute on market trends and the hottest new investment products. He may also provide colorful graphs and charts and use lots of financial jargon. But the fact is that selling investment products has no education or experience requirement. Candidates just have to pass a test, albeit a relatively difficult one.
That’s because, at the end of the day, the role of a financial advisor is essentially a sales job. The company your broker works for has experts who research individual stocks, mutual funds, and other financial tools. Any insights he offers to you he’s learned from reading his corporate literature, not analyzing the annual report of every company in the S&P 500.
2. “I have ulterior motives.”
Brokers are sometimes offered extra incentives for selling certain mutual funds or products. So, while he would never intentionally recommend something that’s a BAD investment, he could have his own selfish reason for suggesting one investment vehicle over another.
Not to mention, he may also have a quota to meet. Even if your portfolio is performing just fine, he could suggest that you buy into a different fund or company, since he only gets paid when you make a transaction.
These practices do happen, but that doesn’t mean they’re true of every broker or firm. It might be worth looking into how your advisor gets compensated.
3. “I’m biased towards domestic investments.”
Most advisors suggest putting anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of your portfolio in international investments. This recommendation reflects something that’s know as “home country bias.” People tend to assume that their home markets are less volatile and more likely to earn higher returns, when that isn’t necessarily the case.
While it’s true that international markets do fluctuate, they’re no less stable overall than the U.S. market. In fact, looking over a long range of time, the results have actually been quite similar.
Furthermore, while the U.S. once made up over half of the global market, that’s no longer true. So, if you want a portfolio that more closely resembles the global ratio, you’d end up with closer to 50% in foreign investments, leaving you better poised to shoulder both the political and economic risks.
4. “You should be thinking outside the box.”
Your broker has probably talked to you about the importance of diversifying your portfolio. He may have stressed the importance of having a mix of large- and small-cap or domestic and foreign funds.
He’s probably touched on any other business or personal property that factors into your net worth, such as your home. But outside of that, he’s probably never mentioned any product that he doesn’t offer.
When it comes to investing, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are only part of the picture. You shouldn’t overlook the myriad of other options out there, such as real estate. These non-traditional ventures are often very profitable options, but they’re probably not on your advisor’s radar. Not even close.
5. “Your best investment option may be one I could never sell you.”
Not only will your advisor probably not mention any non-traditional investments, he might not even be able to help you with any that you suggest on your own. International real estate is a good example.
Buying land or a home overseas can be a fantastic investment, particularly if you’re able to hold on to it long-term. There are a number of areas in the Latin Tropics where real estate is getting ready to take off, due to infrastructure improvements or other development nearby. Plus there are many tax advantages to buying foreign real estate.
The problem is that your broker’s firm probably won’t allow him to assist you with the purchase. That’s not because it’s a bad or risky investment. It’s merely because it’s beyond their capacity. They simply don’t have the time or resources to research these kinds of investments for every client. So they’ll have to send you elsewhere.
However, for those who want to include international real estate in their financial portfolio, there are plenty of options available. It’s just a matter of finding a custodian who deals with these types of transactions and is better equipped to work with a more informed, entrepreneurial client.
Bottom line…there’s no need to fire your broker just yet. When you make money, he makes money. So, for personal and professional reasons, he wants to see you build as much wealth as possible. But you should definitely go into your next quarterly review with a more open and inquisitive mind.
He knows a lot of ways to get you a great return on investment. But only you can decide what’s truly the best strategy for your future.
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