I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 684.8 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- How do you transfer stocks and shares internationally as an expat after you leave your home country?
- How do you know to spend money on the right thing?
- Should I invest in International or U.S. stocks?
- Is China’s economic growth sustainable?
- There’s no such thing as bad publicity, true or false? Why?
- When do you think this recession in 2023 will end?
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How do you transfer stocks and shares internationally as an expat after you leave your home country?
Before tackling the how, let’s look at the why.
Why should you transfer shares internationally as an expat after you leave?
The main reasons are
1. Tax-efficient investing. Onshore tax benefits are usually no longer available to expats. ISAs in the UK are a great example. You shouldn’t invest in them after you become an expat.
Investing outside your home country brings about potential tax benefits.
2. Risk. Many countries, such as Canada and Australia, are making the rules stricter for expats. Increasingly, expats should show that they plan to leave for a reasonable time.
If you leave your gym membership and brokerage accounts open, they could claim that you were only planning on being away for a while, so you are still a local tax resident.
This factor could only worsen with ageing populations and high government debts.
3. Investment choice. When you are overseas, you often have more diverse investments you can get into.
There are exceptions to this rule. Plenty of American expats are better off, from a tax point of view, doing things in the US if anybody will accept non-residents, but that is an exception to the rule.
In terms of how the steps are
- Find a do-it-yourself (DIY) account or advisor who can accept you based on your nationality, country of residence, etc. Open an account with them.
- Then, you need to fund the account by moving the money from your home country’s brokerage account via cash (you need to sell the positions) or an asset transfer, also known as an in-specie transfer.
I have helped countless people with this.
It is usually straightforward, except if the shares and ETFs are in pensions.
How do you know to spend money on the right thing?
Here is a good rule of thumb.
Imagine nobody else was watching.
- There is no social media
- You don’t tell anybody else about your spending
- There are no friends and family at your table.
In that case, what would you spend money on?
You likely might buy business class rather than economy if you have already made it.
You might buy a nice home or car if driving is your hobby, which only applies to a minority.
But would you buy a gold-covered steak in a restaurant which costs hundreds of dollars more than the same steak without it?
(image from GQ)
I doubt it.
It would only cost a few dollars to add that yourself at home.
Should I invest in International or U.S. stocks?
The billionaire investor Ray Dalio recently made a great point recently.
He mentioned that one of investors’ biggest mistakes is assuming that sectors and countries that have recently outperformed always will.
So, people have become used to the US stock market outperforming.
That hasn’t always been the case, though.
It wasn’t the case even relatively recently, from 2000 until 2010.
The graph below from Hartford Funds shows these things move in cycles:
Sometimes, the US market outperforms, and sometimes it underperforms.
The recent outperformance has partly been due to a strong USD.
Once that changes, the investment landscape will look different.
So, it is best to be globally diversified.
You could argue that for people living in the US, the global nature of the companies on the S@P500 means that you don’t need many international investments.
After all, many large US firms sell more globally than locally.
For non-US investors, global diversification makes complete sense.
Is China’s economic growth sustainable?
This question was asked ten years ago.
We now understand the answer to this question.
China is now only growing at a maximum of 4%-5% per year, with many economists daunting those figures.
The question is what will happen in the future.
Many are pessimistic.
Patrick Boyle says it best here:
When China opened up, it was poor.
So, every dollar spent on infrastructure was needed.
Even when I first went in 2007, there was still a lot of room for improvement.
However, there has been an increase in over-investment since the 2008 global financial crisis.
If the central government tells the local government to meet a 5% growth target, they can build ghost cities, dig a hole that doesn’t need to be dug and then fill it in again and other things which don’t produce cashflow.
So, people go to big cities in China and think, “wow look at this technology or infrastructure that the West doesn’t have!”.
They forget that:
- High-speed trains are losing money. As per this video -According to the latest data, as of the first half of 2022, the total liabilities of China National Railway Group totalled 6 trillion yuan, and in the first half of 2022 alone, it lost 80.4 billion yuan, with an average loss of 400 million yuan per day. 400 million, what does that mean? Even in Shanghai, the most economically developed city in China, the total GDP in 2020 was only 3.87 trillion yuan. That is to say, the money earned by Shanghai’s hard work for a year is not enough to make up for the loss of China’s high-speed rail for one day. You may be very puzzled. China has a population of 1.4 billion, and there are so many trips every year.
- Many of the other big projects are losing money
They don’t need loads of futuristic things that cost a lot in terms of upkeep and of which there is little need!
This is miles away from the growth in the 1990s and 2000s, which was based on intrinsic value.
When China became a manufacturing powerhouse, it produced something that generated massive cash flow, and much of that activity came from the private sector.
Even the Chinese Government admit that more “high-quality growth” is needed.
Mind you, most countries fall into the mid-income trap eventually and even it they grow 1%-3% long-term, they will still have a huge economy.
Just not as big as most people expected
There’s no such thing as bad publicity, true or false? Why?
In general, it is true.
Think about this.
Imagine you were looking for online products.
You see zero negative reviews.
There are either no reviews at all or all are positive.
Would you be sceptical?
I would be.
If I saw some negative reviews surrounded by positive ones, I would be much more reassured.
Unfavourable reviews show that the company is big enough and/or competitors are threatened enough to write nasty things online.
That isn’t to mention that most business problems are due to being unknown.
Most businesses are neither famous nor infamous.
That is the biggest problem. Not negative press.
For a small minority of businesses and individuals, however, negative press can be detrimental.
If somebody is already famous for being whiter than white, a ‘scandal’ can affect them.
In general, though, today’s scandal is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper.
When do you think this recession in 2023 will end?
I saw this on my phone today:
So, there hasn’t been a recession in 2023 in the US and most other major economies.
Germany is in recession.
The UK has struggled, but many economists were predicting a two-year recession.
Instead, there is small growth and no recession.
That doesn’t mean there might not be a recession in 2024 or 2025.
Good and bad economic times come and go.
But it shows that nobody can predict these things, and people shouldn’t plan their financial lives around such projections.
Most of the most successful people either ignore entirely fear-mongering from the media or take it with a pinch of salt.
If you don’t, you delay investments and ‘wait and see’.
Moreover, there will always be numerous recessions in our lifetime anyway, most of which aren’t predictable.
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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 694.5 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.