Monday Night Finance- Volume 87

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The Case For International Diversification

Do you have international stocks in your portfolio? Are you rethinking that strategy after seeing them get crushed by the S&P 500 over the past few years. It’s no wonder. From 2008-2021, the S&P 500 has 11% annualized returns, whereas the remainder of the world’s stocks have only returned less than 4% per year. Looking at that data, you might think people are a fool for holding international stocks. But is there a reason you might want to hold them? In this article, Ben Carlson presents data on international vs US stocks over the past 50 years and presents some interesting data on why you might want to hold on to those international stocks.

The win percentage isn’t that much better either. Over the past 53 years from 1970-2022, international stocks had higher returns than U.S. stocks 25 times. The U.S. stock market had better performance in 28 out of 53 years. It seems like U.S. stocks always outperform but that’s recency bias at work. The performance is cyclical just like everything else in the markets.

Ben Carlson

In this article, the author presents a compelling case for international diversification in investment portfolios. They emphasize that while home bias is a common tendency among investors, limiting exposure to domestic markets can be a missed opportunity. The author highlights the benefits of international diversification, such as reducing overall portfolio risk and potentially enhancing returns by tapping into the growth potential of global markets. They address concerns about currency risk and political instability, explaining that a well-diversified portfolio can mitigate these risks. Ultimately, the author encourages investors to consider the advantages of international diversification and to seek a balance between domestic and global investments for a more robust portfolio.

Weekend reading: Higher calling

Ah, the paradox of making more money – on one hand, it’s a sign of success and progress, but on the other hand, it often means paying more taxes. Usually, that’s a good thing, a testament to our growing income and financial prosperity. However, thanks to the sneaky inflation monster, more people find themselves in higher tax brackets without necessarily feeling wealthier. It’s like walking on a treadmill of taxes, where the faster you run (or earn), the harder the taxman pushes back. While US earners have had the marginal tax brackets recently adjusted, earners in the UK have had the same tax brackets since the 1990s.

At the start of the 1990s, just 3.5% of UK adults were in the upper tax band. That wasn’t exactly fun – and there was a recession coming, with a big housing crash imminent. But least those 1.6 million higher-rate payers could console themselves they were members of an earning elite, of sorts.


In this article, the author delves into the increasing number of UK taxpayers falling into higher-rate tax brackets and the potential implications it brings. They provide intriguing data from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), highlighting the rise in the number of higher-rate taxpayers from 3.5% in the 1990s to a projected 7.8 million by 2028. With a freeze on tax thresholds, the author humorously notes that tax accountants might be enjoying a boom time. They discuss the challenges faced by taxpayers in a stagnant economy, rising inflation, and concerns about public services.

Is Vinyl Flooring a Good Choice?

For many people, their home is their biggest asset. Home renovations can be a great way to invest in their home’s resale value while making their everyday lives a little bit nicer. One common home renovation is replacing outdated flooring. While ripping out 1970’s shag  carpeting is a no-brainer, you’ll then have to decide what to replace it with. Will you go with the classic charm of hardwood floors, the cozy comfort of plush carpeting, or the sleek elegance of tile? It’s like choosing the perfect outfit for your home’s grand debut on the real estate runway. Just remember, each type of flooring has its own personality and appeal. While hardwood floors and ceramic tiles are typically thought of as high-end finishes, you might also want to add vinyl tile to your considerations.

For households with children and pets, many vinyl flooring companies ensure safety and practicality. Slip-resistant properties are integrated into the designs, minimising the risk of accidents as little ones scamper through the house. Spills and messes are no match for its easily cleanable surface, effortlessly maintaining its immaculate appearance. 

Lylia Rose

In this article, the author dives into the topic of vinyl flooring to determine whether it’s a good choice for homeowners. On the positive side, vinyl flooring offers exceptional durability, making it a practical option for high-traffic areas such as kitchens or hallways. Its water resistance also makes it suitable for bathrooms or areas prone to moisture. However, on the flip side, some concerns exist regarding the environmental impact of vinyl flooring due to its manufacturing process and potential health risks associated with the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For instance, certain vinyl flooring products may contain phthalates, which are chemicals of concern. Therefore, it’s crucial for homeowners to carefully evaluate their priorities and consider alternative flooring options if minimizing environmental impact or potential health risks is a top priority.