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Investments/mutual funds

Japan With Kids - Forums: Consumer Reports: Investments/mutual funds
By Paul Arenson on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 3:14 pm:

Trying to find a relatively safe way to increase the value of my savings (American, living in Japan as permanent resident, will retire in 12-15 years and may or may not return to the US) and not nearly enough to retire comfortably on assuming that my current employer does not go bankrupt and default on their severance pay. I have 26 years in the Japanese social insurance program at least. Almost nothing in US Social Security.


Tired of playing Citibank's multimoney investment game with the conversions into and out yen/dollars, I went looking for investment advice and found people alternately liking/disliking Banner Japan here on this board. There was a recommendation for Meyer Assest, but a search on the Internet provides at least one warning about them also, interestingly enough praising Banner. How is one to know?

In general, the criticisms I found on the Net about BOTH companies are recommending things on the basis of their commission and steering people in a way that is more beneficial to them than to you.

SKIP NEXT PART IF NOT INTERESTED IN THE SPECIFICS OF WHAT WAS OFFERED ME...SEE BELOW ON REQUEST FOR MORE INFO


I actually contacted Meyer and they recommended land in Thailand.

My main question to ask someone--not them since I am not sure I would understand their answer; I had enough trouble understanding their recommendations) is apparently, foreigners are not allowed to buy land in their own names, so
this Thai company is set up to do the actual buying. That sounds dishonest....I do not know how common it is. Also, land seems speculative...I cannot see the land. I have to take their word for it. And if the Thai economy is going to grow significantly, then there must be a fund one can invest in instead of a speculative land deal. Also have no idea how liquid the investment is. The brochure makes it sound like it would be easy to liquidate but I would want more than the vague promises of "we are a big company and have lots of customers waiting in the wings" to buy in. If so,
why do they need my money in the first place? Why haven't the shares sold out already? If one wanted to get out, how easy or difficult, how quick or cumbersome
would the transaction be?

REQUEST FOR MORE INFO
Well, most of my money is at this point in dollars, after making a little at CB and not wanting to convert back to Yen.

I thought, why not just invest in CDs and funds (muncipal funds?) and other conservative investments in the US, and then someone said it is harder and harder to do this from Japan. And, as said, I am conservative an dnot looking to make a killing if it involves risk or having to stay up 24 hours a day monitoring things, or getting an MBA just to be able to understand financial matters.


What I am looking for is

(1) advice on places to go in Japan, on the Internet, etc. that will help me choose investments that are conservative (not speculative and risky) but that give a guaranteed income at least with no losss of principal--if possible specific recommendations or cautions on companies dealing in these things. In the past I used Fidelity, but that was when I was in the US. And they were hard to communicate with from Japan sometimes. Plus they gave no advice.

Way back when, there was Merril Lynch but they suddenly stopped serving Japan. Until then some friends had highly recommended them.

(2) I know asking for advice on specic instruments (which funds, what type, which CDa, how to spread them out, etc.) is going to bring a lot of subjective opinions. If anyone DOES have any comments, though, feel free. I will be bouncing the ideas off a few other friends who are more financially savvy than me but who do not know much about doing things from Japan.


Thanks.


Paul


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