As large and varied as the U.S. stock market is, non-U.S. global markets are now twice as large, with $32 trillion in total market capitalization compared with $15 trillion in this country. That number has been steadily rising during the past decade. But, what does that mean for you?

As an investor, keeping your portfolio well-diversified is key, and investing in emerging markets is one way to do so. Boosting your exposure to emerging markets can be done in a variety of ways, both directly and indirectly. Here are a few options to consider:

Actively managed mutual funds can offer exposure to private companies that benefit from consumer demand and infrastructure spending. Working with your financial advisor, you may consider funds with long track records, specifically in emerging markets.

Buying shares of U.S. and other multinational corporations that already have a foothold in emerging markets is another way you might gain exposure to these markets without actually investing overseas. However, it is important to remember that such investments have limitations, as multinationals get only a portion of their sales from developing nations. Often, a young, aggressive company based in an emerging market nation may have better growth potential.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) can be an effective way to invest directly in emerging economies. Most ETFs are tied to broad indexes or benchmarks which allows investors to take advantage of particular opportunities. Talk to your advisor about which ETF is best for your portfolio.

Commodities are another way to invest in emerging markets and diversify your portfolio. With the global population expanding by about 200,000 people per day, competition for commodities can only increase.

Demand for energy sources including oil and metals, such as copper, should remain strong in these developing nations for years to come.

Finally, managing your portfolio means revisiting your strategy frequently. As you move closer to specific life events, you may want to change your investment strategy.

Work with your financial advisor to make sure your investments are still aligned with your personal goals. Always discuss these goals with your advisor to help ensure your money is helping you pursue what matters most to you.

John J. Inhouse III serves as the Managing Director of the Atlanta Buckhead Complex of Merrill Lynch. He can be reached by telephone at 404-231-2500 or via email at