NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Thanks to the slew of issues including the debt crisis in Europe and China's steps to cool its overheating economy, many investors are having doubts that the U.S. and the rest of the global economy can stick to the road to recovery. With the resounding fear emanating from all corners of the globe, it is no wonder that the investing world has become a volatile and tricky frontier.Because of the various risk factors at play, I have long touted that the best approach to weathering the current and future economic storms is to properly diversify your portfolio. The theory behind diversification is that by spreading assets across a broad spectrum of holdings, investors can avoid taking a hit in the event that any particular position takes a nosedive. A strong portfolio boasts exposure to a diverse selection of domestic and international equities as well as defensive plays like bonds and gold. Thanks to the advent of exchange-traded funds this process of spreading risk into various slices of the market has become simpler than ever. Rather than picking individual stocks and bonds, do-it-yourself investors can purchase large, liquid, equity-based ETFs like SPDR S&P 500 ETF ( SPY) and iShares MSCI Emerging Market Index Fund ( EEM) and instantly gain access to more than 1,100 strong, stable companies from around the world. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll By combining these positions with exposure to defensive funds such as SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) and iShares Barclays TIP Bond Fund ( TIP), investors can construct a simple portfolio that successfully taps into the upside potential of the broad domestic and global markets while, at the same time, protecting against economic turmoil in the future. Although the use of diversification has remained an essential element to the various portfolios I construct to protect and build wealth for my subscribers and money management clients, not everyone in the investing world shares the same views regarding this technique. Opponents of diversification point to the fact that, by spreading assets across the vast market spectrum, investors risk losing out on returns. One prominent individual who has mixed feelings on effectiveness of diversification is Warren Buffett. Within his massive collection of aphorisms, the Oracle of Omaha has offered up his own wisdom on the topic of diversification: "Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes very little sense for those who know what they are doing."