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Hold em Or Fold em: Tips On Managing Foreign Investments

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A successful baseball manager knows when it is time to pull his starting pitcher out of the game and bring in his ace reliever. A good poker player knows when to get up and leave the table with his winnings after the cards start going against him.

A top boxing trainer knows that sometimes it is better to throw in the towel and save his fighter for another night, rather than having him go on all 12 rounds and risk serious injury. In the world of sports, the top people know what to look for, and know the actions that need to be taken to give them the best chance for success.

The same holds true with investing and particularly in the area of foreign investing. Knowing when it is time to cash in your overseas investments is every bit as important as finding the right investments in the first place. The challenge, of course, comes from the fact that your foreign investments are affected by factors that, in many cases, your US investments are not. While it is certainly true that we live in an increasingly global economy, those trends and events that affect the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ . and specifically the companies that trade there  will not necessarily have the same effects on the businesses you have invested in South America, Europe or Asia. In order to maximize the profits of your foreign investments, it is necessary to monitor a number of factors within the specific regions you are doing business in and take these factors into consideration when making the decision on whether to stay with an investment, or get out. These factors include:

Regional Economic Stability: Despite occasional fluctuations, and upward and downward turns, the American economy has been remarkably stable for years. While, as any Venture Capitalist can tell you, this certainly does not make investing in American companies a foolproof proposition, devastating, fast moving economic downturns in the over all US economy are few and, thankfully, far between. This is not necessarily the case worldwide. War, natural disasters, changes in a specific nation’s economic policy and in some areas even revolution all of these factors play a part in analyzing a region’s economic stability. To protect your investments, it is necessary to be completely familiar with the area in which you have put your money, and keep a close eye on both regional economies and the local economies of the areas in which the businesses you have invested in are located. By watching the economic trends in a specific region closely during the entire length of your investment, it is often times possible to accurately assess exactly the right time to pull your money out for maximum profit.

Regional Political Stability and Policy: In the United States, every two years national elections are held which influence the direction the nation as a whole will go. But regardless of whether it is the Republicans or Democrats who win, the essential stability of our governmental structure and in most cases the nation’s foreign policies  remains basically unchanged. This, however, is most certainly not the case in many other parts of the world where you might have your investments. One need look no further back than Hugo Chavez’s election as President of Venezuela in 1998 and the disastrous effect his government’s anti-American policies had on numerous investors in Venezuelan businesses. to understand the dramatic effect the political stability of a nation can have on your investment dollars. While it is probable that you will have a country or region well researched before you invest in companies located there, it is also critical that you constantly monitor the political stability of that nation while your money is there. It is equally important to keep an eye on the region as a whole as, particularly in Latin America and the Middle East, changes in some of the larger, more powerful countries in the region can have a dramatic effect on the countries you may have your dollars invested in.

Regional and Multi-national Trends: What is hot in the United States is not necessarily going to be a best seller in Argentina, or in Germany, or in Singapore. Whether due to economic considerations on the part of customers or general taste and preference changes that are influenced on a national or cultural level, each unique area of the world has its own trends that need to be watched. This is particularly true in the area of consumer goods and manufacturing where customers are interested in purchasing can often at  times change on a monthly basis. or even weekly  basis. While it is certainly not possible to predict what any given market will do every time, all the time, by carefully monitoring economic and cultural shifts in a given region and keeping a close eye on the purchasing trends in that region, you will give yourself a much better chance of getting your money out at the proper time to maximize profits.

The above examples are just three of the many factors that need to be taken into consideration when making the decision to stay with a foreign investment, or get out when you feel that the getting is good. While ultimately the decision on whether to stay or go will be based on your basic belief in a particular investment’s continuing viability and profitability, it is critical that you not only have access to the most up-to-date information across a broad spectrum of economic and social trends, but also either have or hire the expertise to analyze that information as it pertains to your specific investments. Overseas investing can be among the most profitable things you can do with your investment capital, but also one of the riskiest. The best way to minimize that risk is to make sure you have the tools to allow you to get out with your profits intact, and not stay in the game one inning too long.

Author Bio:

Steve McLaughlin founded Global Market Insights, with offices in Europe and the U.S., with his vision of giving clients two synergistic competencies: knowledge of the global marketplace and industry expertise in manufacturing, finance and information technology. Steve has over twelve years of international experience in three continents, having started in executive search as a Beckett-Rogers Associate. Steve is a graduate of Rice University, where he was student body president, and completed post-graduate studies in International Economics at the Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile.

Short note about the author: Steve McLaughlin is available for consultation and can be contacted directly by Email: smclaughlin@gmi.lu or Phone: 352-26364921. Additional information is located on his website: http://www.gmi.lu.

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