Published on August 10, 2020

Before I get started, the Castaway Capitalist has a confession to make: I am a recovering hedge fund research analyst. Whew, I feel better already!

That being said, you are not here for me; you are here to learn about international investing. You’re in the right place. In this blog, I will impart wisdom through the lens of my successes and many failures—along with a few well-documented lessons from others.  

I will cover:

  • Different geographies
  • A variety of asset classes (stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • Single name ideas
  • General portfolio management lessons
  • Process and risk management insights
  • Useful resources to explore

Is the Castaway Capitalist qualified for such an exercise? I have been involved in emerging markets for nearly 15 years. I have invested stocks and bonds in over 40 countries through the 2008 crisis, the 2015-2016 oil and taper tantrum crises, and the many undulations and idiosyncratic cycles in between and since.  So you be the judge! My hope is that, by reviewing lessons from old investments and sharing thoughts on new ideas, I can help you improve your own investing. 

For this to be fruitful, you’ll need two things:

  1. The desire to invest in international markets
  2. The ability to do so  

If you’re on the fence about international diversification, keep reading. Future posts will get you thinking about how new opportunities might help you. While I won’t discourage those who do this exclusively through ETFs, I’ll demonstrate in later posts how investing in individual stocks can be a valuable tool in your kit.  

Worried about the ability and added cost of going global?  You shouldn’t be.  Nearly all brokerage firms allow you to cost-effectively invest in internationally-focused ETFs and an increasing number will allow you to invest in direct single name stocks listed on stock exchanges across the globe with low-cost trading commissions.  

Within the vast hunting ground of international investments, I will focus on ideas that are value-oriented in nature.  While one could host a debate and write several blogs—if not a book—about what constitutes value-investing, for my purposes it will be investments where I believe the market is pricing something on sale. I base my determination on the current price of the asset versus how the company, country or commodity has performed in the past and on what is largely known or expected based on the current circumstances.  Such situations typically arise when either a sector or a country becomes out of favor for reasons that are unrelated to the underlying investment.

In the end, all of this is about building a framework and a process for investing that can be established and improved long after you’ve stopped reading.  So, even if a specific idea is not for you, hopefully, you take something away from it.  

You may be asking yourself: What does the Castaway Capitalist get out of sharing this knowledge? 

My only guaranteed return is catharsis. Documenting, writing, and analyzing one’s past behaviors is a great way to improve future ones, and I have yet to turn these critical rituals into a rock-solid routine.  So I am building a habit, learning my own lessons, and you get to come along for the ride!  I also look forward to your insights and feedback.

To your investing adventure,

The Castaway Capitalist

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