Broken Arrow expressed some concern about my 44% international exposure:
Yikes... perhaps you have higher tolerance than I have, but I feel like the international is actually... too high!
Everybody is going international... and well, yes, that's understandable.... However, what exactly is international anyway? Is fund diversification really going to spread out the risk enough for us to simply invest in it and feel safe?
I currently use a full-service broker and the vast majority of my money is in American Funds. I was a bit concerned the first time I saw how high the international was, but my broker explained that with Amerian, most of the "international" companies are really big multi-nationals, which includes companies that were founded in the US, but register overseas. If you look at the breakdown by nation the majority is in US, Europe, or Japan. He felt that the international component was about right.
I wouldn't say that I'm a savvy investor. I've got a big portfolio because I stashed 10-15% in my 401k the first 12 years that I worked as a software engineer, and because I made a $150k profit on a townhouse I bought, and decided to invest it instead of rolling it into our second house. I've basically followed the advice of my broker, and the townhouse profit has almost doubled in 6 years time, so he's done pretty well by me so far.
I had a big wake-up call when I read The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Rich, and realized that I'm entering a growth phase where how I manage my investments is becoming more important than how much I contribute each year. For instance, last year my dividends and capital gains were about $30k, where maxing out 401k and ROTH would only be about $23k.
So I'm trying to get to the point where I actually understand what is going on rather than passively following the broker's advice. At the same time, I'm reluctant to change anything (and potentially screw it up) before I feel I have a deeper understanding.
My dad, who was an investment broker for many years, believes that American is one of the best at protecting your money -- losing less in the down years than the other families. I'm in no position to judge.