For investors all around the world, NASDAQ
and the S&P 500 are synonymous with investment itself. It's true, you would be hard pressed to find the portfolio of a serious investor which doesn't include investments in these American markets. But increasingly, people who live outside of the United States are looking for investments which don't take part in these markets.
There are a variety of reasons for this.
1. Some people see contemporary America as a stalled economy. Even as specific sectors are geared for major growth, the economy as a whole is not enjoying the sort of growth that yielded the golden economies of the 90's and early 2000's.
2. Many people don't have enough money to invest meaningfully in American markets. Even though users of ETFs and Mutual funds are liable to see returns of up to 10%, investors are unlikely to see returns they can live on unless they have lots of money to invest.
3. Some investors simply want to invest outside of the American financial ecosystem, for personal and ethical reasons.
For those seeking to start investment outside of the American investment paradigm, there are a number of ways to do it.
Here are a few.
- Forex. Increasingly available to people all around the world, Forex trading is an interesting way to start investing with minimal startup capital. New users can take advantage of free demo accounts to learn the ropes without risking real money. Another advantage to this model is that investors don't own the underlying investments, as with ETFs and Mutual funds. Instead, the investment is made regarding anticipated future value behaviors of associated currencies, assets, and commodities. It's inexpensive to begin, and fast to learn. But it takes a lot of time to master. This investment model will appeal to those who want a fast-paced investment, without a lot of money to begin.
- Real Estate. One of the chief complaints about traditional investment is that it is nearly metaphysical in nature. There's nothing to see or touch. It's all about strategizing with abstract numbers. People who invest in real estate enjoy the tactile nature of the endeavor. This also appeals to people whose skills may be in carpentry rather than finance. "Sweat Equity" is a way for real people to acquire wealth, outside of the American investment model.
- Growing Markets. For the same reason that the American markets are considered "mature", up and coming markets have a lot of room to grow. This has created "emerging" markets in Africa, India, and other massively growing economies around the world. People who invested in these years ago have already made their money back many times over, but there are still lots of room to grow. People who invest this way enjoy the form and function of traditional investment, while staying well away from American markets.
There are many ways to invest. Don't let the most common way that gets talked about discourage you from investing. Just because you don't want to put your money in American markets, or because you don't have enough capital to see significant returns this way, doesn't mean there isn't a fitting kind of investment for you.