The following chart demonstrates the benefits of international diversification.
On the far left hand side is a portfolio made up entirely of Australian shares. Over a period of 30 years it delivered an annualised return of close to 12 per cent and there were 39 quarters when the portfolio delivered negative returns.
In the middle is a portfolio made up entirely of global shares.
It didn’t perform as well as the Australian portfolio, as it had an annualised return of 9.90 per cent with 43 negative quarters.
The third portfolio on the right-hand side is made up of 50 per cent Australian shares and 50 per cent global shares. Its annualised return was only slightly less than the Australian-only portfolio, but it had significantly fewer negative quarters.
By diversifying across international markets, we can smooth out the volatility of returns by spreading risks, without making a significant impact on the overall result.
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