International Investment for Retirement Savers: Historical Evidence on Risk and Returns
An important decision facing retirement savers is how to allocate their savings across different assets. The decision includes the choice of how to divide investments between domestic and foreign holdings. This study uses return data for 1927-2005 to determine whether cross-border investing in the past would have been advantageous to retirement savers in eight large industrialized countries. By assumption investors can buy mutual fund shares in index funds for stocks and bonds in their home country and in any of seven foreign countries. The mutual funds’ foreign holdings are not hedged to protect investors against currency fluctuations. The paper’s goal is to determine whether workers in the eight countries would have obtained higher expected retirement incomes, with smaller risk of catastrophic investment shortfalls, if they invested part of their retirement savings in foreign stocks and bonds. Consistent with past theoretical and empirical findings, the results show that workers could have improved expected financial performance by investing in foreign as well as domestic equities. Remarkably, retirement savers in nearly all countries would have obtained higher average pensions with a 100% foreign allocation than with a 100% domestic allocation, even if they followed extremely naïve strategies in allocating equity investments across different foreign markets. For retirement savers in most countries, though not the United States, naïve overseas investment strategies would also have reduced the risk of catastrophically poor investment performance. In all countries, retirement savers who selected a global portfolio allocation along the efficient frontier could obtain better average pensions with lower risk of very small pensions than savers who restrict their investments to the domestic stock and bond funds.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2007|
|Date of revision:||Feb 2007|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Hovey House, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467|
Phone: (617) 552-1762
Fax: (617) 552-0191
Web page: http://crr.bc.edu/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Campbell, Rachel A. & Kraussl, Roman, 2007.
"Revisiting the home bias puzzle: Downside equity risk,"
Journal of International Money and Finance,
Elsevier, vol. 26(7), pages 1239-1260, November.
- Campbell, Rachel A. & Kräussl, Roman, 2006. "Revisiting the home bias puzzle: Downside equity risk," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/31, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
- Glen, Jack & Jorion, Philippe, 1993. " Currency Hedging for International Portfolios," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1865-86, December.
- Gary Burtless, 2000. "Social Security Privatization and Financial Market Risk: Lessons from U.S. Financial History," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 211, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Niko Canner & N. Gregory Mankiw & David N. Weil, 1994.
"An Asset Allocation Puzzle,"
NBER Working Papers
4857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock & Jon Wongswan, 2004. "The performance of international portfolios," International Finance Discussion Papers 817, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, 09.
- Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
- Peter A. Abken & Milind M. Shrikhande, 1997. "The role of currency derivatives in internationally diversified portfolios," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 3, pages 34-59.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2007-05. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Grzybowski)or (Christopher F Baum)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.