There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… one is its miles of sunny empty beaches.
When I took my first flight to Hong Kong 41 years ago, I was 21 years old and flew on a cheap ticket that was called a student fare.
While in Hong Kong I met a travel agent. Charlie Kwok was his name and he had an office in the Miramar Hotel, Kowloon, not far from the Star Ferry. Charlie was the master of the low cost air fare and over the next half decade he amazed me with some of his great deals…. Especially for people under age 27.
Next decade in London, John Dragonas, a Greek travel agent continued showing the way to get deals. Back then they had VUSA (Visit USA) where prices were really low.
By then Merri and I had met and she became the maven of amazing air fare deals.
In short I have always enjoy incredibly low costs air fares. However Merri added another dimension because not all low cost air fares are great.
I recall one flight Honk Kong to Portland, Oregon that Charlie Kwok arranged… really cheap, because it was a charter with two empty seats and otherwise full of doctors returning from Thailand. What Charlie forgot to mention was that the actual fare went Hong Kong, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco and then I had a connection back to Portland… adding about 24 hours to the flight!
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… such as the high Andean lakes.
John in London ignored the human part of travel to get the cost down once as well… a special VUSA fare. Merri and I wanted to fly London, Miami, Chicago, Portland, London.
To get the lowest fare, the actual flight turned out to be London -Denver, Miami- Denver, Chicago-Denver, Portland-Denver, London…or something like that… low fare but not a great deal.
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… including wonderful colonial architecture.
It was about then that Merri took over finding our fares and she is good… Let me be humble and say she may be the best. Recently our son visited us from London-Charlotte-London for $17. That is correct, seventeen dollars.
There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… big cities and…
quaint villages like… Cotacachi shown here.
Many readers asked for help on how to get this fare that I asked Merri to prepare an article on how she does it.
Here it is:
Buying Air Tickets: Merri Scott
Gary often asks me to write about how I buy airline tickets and especially those to Ecuador…so this is the first in a series of hints including safety, price, ease…
Well, first of all…it’s a tricky business for sure. And to top it all off, it rarely is quick and easy. I start out with that in mind and sometimes days later I’m still at it! But there is a pattern that I always use that helps me sort from the beginning the good, bad and the ugly.
Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, “The Outliers, The Story of Success” clearly states that most people are really good at something, really successful after about 10,000 hours. Well, for sure I have my 10,000 hours in on travel and tickets. For over 4 years, Gary and I crossed the Atlantic commuting from our home in London to our home in Naples, Fl every three weeks. It was always different, always a surprise and very often extremely challenging to buy tickets for Gary’s mom, our 5 children to all our destinations all over the world ON A REGULAR BASIS. We had homes in London, Gloustershire, Naples, North Carolina, the north coast of the Dominican Republic and…oh, it makes my head spin just thinking about it!
Needless to say, just by the sheer act of plotting, planning and finally buying, I’ve learned a lot…earned my 10,000 hours over the last 25 + years of international traveling.
However, all the rules have now changed…it’s often hard to know which way to jump…some people book for instance a conference and tell me to confirm quickly so they can buy “that cheap ticket” that is 6 months out! Whoa, I reply…that’s pretty risky…sometimes you can now buy a ticket at a week out for the same price or better than a month out.
Airlines are constantly shifting and changing and hedging their bets…so let’s look at a few things that we can count on.
#1. The internet makes it a lot easier than we’ve had it before. There is plenty of data and solid information that we can gather from 100s of sources instantly.
#2. The internet also makes it a lot harder than we’ve ever had it before BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY CHOICES! We have more information so it is essential that we use this information wisely.
Here are a few ground rules that I am currently using that are working now.
1. Don’t buy months out.
2. Sit down with those who are traveling and have a general chat on days/possibilities/flexibilities that might be possible. Right now, for instance, I am buying for Ecuador. Gary and I will get a month’s calendar, list our IDEAL flight days and then see which ways we COULD be flexible.
3. For the past year, it is cheaper (yes, cheaper) in most cases to fly from an outlying airport than direct. I know a lot of people for instance who drive from let’s say Birmingham, Ala to Atlanta and then fly direct from Atlanta to everywhere. Don’t do this. CHECK YOUR POSSIBILITIES.
For example, Gary and I fly mainly from NC to Portland, NC to Quito, NC to London and NC to Copenhagen. Well, we can fly from Charlotte, Greensboro (Triad) or from a nearby TRI Cities TN tiny airport. I check out each of these easily and quickly to get a handle on the whole picture. I don’t just assume that one is cheaper or more expensive, etc.
For instance for years, Charlotte has been very expensive to fly into our area than all the others, and suddenly last fall, it all shifted…now it’s the cheapest. Well, it could be the aggressiveness of USAir after its near collapse that has caused them to price the lowest since it is their hub and therefore Delta, etc. have followed suit.
When flying from Florida, I look at Tampa (our favorite), Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. Takes only a second and sometimes you can really find an el cheapo winner!
4. Decide whether you are a frequent flyer who needs to accumulate miles or if you are just an occasional flyer. We for instance are frequent flyers and use Atlanta as our hub to go to our common destinations…Portland, London, Quito, Copenhagen are our patterns. Sometimes we fly from NC and sometimes from FL (according to the season)…but ALL of these flights are non-stop from Atlanta via Delta. So, instead of looking at all airlines/all flights, I really just watch Delta. We accumulate a lot of miles, use them for free tickets for our children and/or for upgrades. My advice for frequent flyers is pick an airline and stick with it! This gets the most bang for your buck…although sometimes I pay more for this, in the long run it works out well and suits us and lets us fly first class.
If you are lucky enough to be an infrequent flyer, then just look for the best deal!
5. Frequent flyers can gain a lot from loyalty…although not everything as recently we found out on an emergency trip to Portland! But usually, we can get what WE determine is important. (not that this might be your choice in the line of fire.)
What is important to us is not just the price but the Duration of the Flight…very, very important you might say! I’ll pay a bit more to fly a total of 7 hours instead of a lot less to fly the same route with a totally of 11 hours or maybe 23 hours!
Another thing that is important to us is that we can upgrade. We have logged so many miles and usually have to get off an airplane and go straight to work that over the years we have decided that if we can go first or business class (more or that later) we should. We feel better if we are not cramped in and let’s face it (although we don’t drink alcohol and don’t eat on planes) there are some good perks. Very important to us is that there is simply more oxygen up front than there is in the back…so we arrive in better shape than if we were tucked in on the last row.
Other things important to us is that we have a place where we can be quiet and not listen to a dozen cell phone conversations and 7 different TV stations. We aren’t used to this type of confusion and noise and so we want to have the use of special rooms that airlines provide (Delta’s Crown Rooms) that allow quiet areas. Often we traveled with our service dog, and she too is allowed in these rooms. We just rest and wait there. IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Merri even makes sure that we have seats so we see the sunset at night and sunrise in the morning.
But on the other hand, we don’t want to pay for this privilege which can cost big change.
How do we achieve this? Well, each airline has its own gimmicks, but Delta allows a cardholder of AMEX Sky Miles Reserve (which can cost anywhere from $295 up) to have free access with his/her companions to all Sky Mile Crown rooms at no cost. You can now have a simple Gold AMEX Sky Miles card (sometimes without a fee) that allows more or less the same privileges. We find excellent light food (that is fresh) and peace and quiet there. We also find their quiet desk of agents that will do just about anything to make life pleasant (changing flights/redoing tickets/finding lost luggage, etc.). They will even wake you if you fall asleep in your comfy chair. That same card allows us to have a free Concierge booking service (that means they will REALLY try everything to help you) as well as double miles for most of our travel…and (and this is a big one) the right to Pay with Miles.
And what is Pay with Miles? Well, let’s discuss that under Award Ticketing later in this series.
1. OK, now that we know whether we are a loyal frequent flyer or if we are a just looking for a great deal…then let’s look at an easy system.
I’ve used a lot of systems over the years and am hooked on www.kayak.com. It is simple, easy and fast. It gives you the whole picture of flights for an entire month (in case you are flexible) AND all the patterns that there are to choose WITH (and this is all important to us) the Duration of the Flight. This is instant and easy to read. Often it lists flights that the airline itself isn’t listing and also it gives you the total WITH TAXES INCLUDED.
Gosh, do I hate it when I have a great flight, great schedule and then find out that whoa…here comes the taxes. Kayak is consistent!
So, I pull up their website and I use it in the following ways. First, of all I advise you to sign in…(even though you’re probably like me and don’t want to take this step because of what it might lead to…)
Signing in allows you to look at a calendar of the month and see how much that ticket is each day…that is instantly. You can get a lot of information to compare fast and easy.
They show deals from 100+ airlines in seconds.
There are a lot of other systems but kayak for me does it all…it shows me prices from the airline from Hotwire, Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity, etc.
I sign in and then fill out the form…airports are easy…if you don’t know the call signs of your airport, just type in part of the name & the list pops up. Check “Include other airports” just to see what might happen. Click on “Flexible Departure” if this is the case…sometimes a fare can vary hundreds of dollars from just a day’s difference!
In this case, the fare varied $90 per person from day to day. Well, then I hit in the top left hand corner “Modify or Start Search Over” and clicked on Charlotte to Quito…wow, a savings of $295 per person! Same schedule, same #of hours…but this was with AA…which we don’t accumulate miles, etc.
Then I clicked on “Modify or Start Search Over” and clicked on “Include Nearby Airports”…and guess what? I found a price of $302 less per person on DELTA! And this was from Raleigh Durham…now just ask yourself, how can a flight be $300 cheaper from a further distance on the SAME airline…well, of course it is a mini airfare war…RDU (Raleigh Durham, NC is AA’s hub!).
Now, if I were to say to Gary…”hey, how’d you like to save an extra $600 to go to Ecuador next month?”….he’d reply “is it on Delta?”…I’d say yes, then he’d say “is it from Tri Cities?” And I’d say “No”…and he’d say, “buy the higher priced ticket from Tri Cities”.
Why? Well, we are sort of tired out road warriors. We can go (except in the winter when the pass is closed) over the top of Mt. Rogers and drop down to tiny tiny Tri Cities and find ourselves able to double park (yep!) and walk our bags and weary bodies in. (Last month, the lone policemen there even helped us!) Everyone there knows us. They jump to help us…and we can sanely walk through security even with our dog with everyone helping us…and then walk down to the one of only 4 gates and sit in the sun. We can board, take a 25 minute flight to Atlanta and walk (we always walk through all the airports not ride when possible) to the Crown Room…or go directly to Gate E for the International flight.
Well, this is where you have to choose…what do you want? We want peace and quiet and a very easy entrance to the world and also a very very cheap daily rate at the airport for our car. We like quiet, non events as opposed to people shouting at us to hurry and clear security, etc.
We’ve left our car, checked in at a gate with 4 people manning the desks and maybe two other passengers there, cleared security and are at the gate in less than 15 minutes or maybe 10…with no stress.
All top importance to us, but maybe not to you…this is why I mention to pick the airport where you begin for its appeal to you…that’s why we are loyal to Tri Cities and Tampa (in the winter).
OK…so all it takes is a few minutes to click on Kayak figure out ALL your possibilities and all your data.
My advice is to once again choose what is important to you…and that is whether you value money or time. I scroll down a number of times and watch these rates for a few days or weeks (if I have the time) and pick THE BEST RATE FOR US WITH THE LOWEST DURATION OF HOURS. These are equally important to us. Kayak lets you click on “Details” for the stops in between and other information and then once you decide which flight pattern (sometimes they offer 5 or 6 pages of these all in price order) then click on that. Kayak then sends you directly to the listing agent. You don’t have to figure out a single thing but the flight you like.
If you are trying to stick with just one airline, then click on the list at your left and it will eliminate the others.
We don’t usually like to fly to one country through stops in other countries and that prevents us from using Taca, Lacsa and Copa…who stop and change flights in Panama and Costa Rica. We find this heightens the chance of lost luggage and further wears us out.
We do like LAN Ecuador, which we have flown from Miami many, many times. A great airline (parent is LAN Chile with a very good safety record) with courteous, gentle service (Ecuadorian!) and a non hassle check in! That’s a winning combination for sure! This helps.
We now have a choice of Aero Galapagos, which is a regional Ecuadorian Airline that is flying from Miami to Ecuador. We respect its young female CEO and our only complaint for this is that it is non stop to Guayaquil with an overnight then go up to Quito. However, she has applied for rights to fly non stop Miami/Manta! That should be a winner for sure. So, let’s watch out for this application to be approved…but of course immigration and customs must be added to the excellent Manta Airport first.
Right now, there are 19 pages of 15 schedules each (that’s 285 flights!) from Miami to Quito. This could be bewildering. Let Kayak (or your favorite search site) do your work by sorting them out and presenting them in just seconds to you!
One other Kayak feature is that you get to choose the currency of your country for the prices. This is absolutely a fantastic feature of this website, truly international and very cognizant of the global marketplace that the web represents.
The tips above can be used to get great airplane ticket deals anywhere.
Some suggestions for Ecuador. I find a lot of people need help on this somewhat exotic country…because there isn’t a lot of information out there. Gary and I have lived/worked in Ecuador for 15 years, so we’ve learned a lot the hard way…that is so you won’t have to!
Here are my list of dos and don’ts:
1.Fly into Quito not Guayaquil (even if the flight is cheaper). Guayaquil is a big, bustling, expensive city full of a lot of things you don’t need to put up with and not much of interest to tourists as well as those who want to look for a place to live. Quito is orderly and functional and the airport really organized. We have good friends in Guayaquil and over the years have spent a lot of time there, but that doesn’t mean that we like it. It also costs a lot of time and money to get up to Quito (over $100 round trip, so that usually wipes out any savings) and since most flights arrive in the evening…you’ll have to overnight in expensive Guayaquil.
The surf at San Clemente is safe enough for kids to play in.
2.Don’t fly on a Colombian Airline (Avianca and others), even if it is great deal cheaper.
For instance, right now Avianca is flying from Miami to Quito for a cheaper fare than Delta is listing. (round trip). I’ve been waiting for all of you to arrive in Quito for over 14 years and those which fly from Bogota, Colombia often don’t land in Quito, they go onto Guayaquil and overnight there…or more usual, they just stop in Bogota (unscheduled of course) and then continue in the next day to Quito.
Why do people fly with them? Often they are the cheapest…but cheap is nothing compared to an American passport holder overnighting in Bogota and not really understanding when the next plane goes out, plus missing your ride in Quito, etc. I always say to people this is the prime example of false economy….the decision comes in Bogota whether the plane continues on are not…it is simply a load situation…and we don’t want to get caught out another night in a strange hotel…when it clearly said…arrival in Quito!
Weather can be misty with a socked in airport and Quito can be a tricky airport to land into. (This will be remedied when the new airport is finished. It is built on top of a plateau instead of in the valley of Quito.) All Delta pilots who fly in there are licensed to land in any weather (but sometimes choose not to land and go to Guayaquil…but rarely.) Colombian pilots are rarely licensed to land on instruments, so the plane just stays in Colombia and comes the next day…not ever a good thing for a traveler! I’ve waited hours in the Quito Airport with our greeting crew for years looking for those people who don’t arrive until the next day!
3. Bring your own favorite non heavy snacks and just drink lots of water, skip the airline fare and the drinks…you’ll feel better and the next day not have any recovery time.
4. We never book “Multiple Airlines” tickets. This can be a combination of all sorts of airlines and can be a reason if anything goes wrong (like lost luggage) that no one claims responsibility. We don’t like to mix airlines.
5. If you think that Quito might be too high in altitude for you, then just hire a driver to meet your plane, bring you water and fruit and a pillow and blanket and bring you on out to your destination! That’s what we do!
Ecuador is a charming, beautiful country…buy your tickets with care and enjoy the ride!
Now let’s discuss Award Tickets vs Pay with Miles and other variations that we use tomorrow.
Award Tickets vs. Pay with Miles
I used to think that the highest thing out there in the “ticket” world was a free ticket! But look at the cost is of a “free” ticket with Delta!
Our daughter was here for 3 weeks from London before she returned for a year in Africa, and this was a more or less “instant” decision for her. Many fares from London were high…and I thought “Oh, let’s go for an award ticket”…
But just to show you how all the rules have now changed, I thought well, let’s make some comparisons…
Here’s what I found…Award Ticket round trip from London to Charlotte:
Mileage required 50,000 and up to 70,000.
Award available on most days, plenty of seats, etc.
Sounds good…right? A free ticket! Great for kids as there is no tax advantage and it’s there and red hot!
However, let’s look closer, the requirement for taxes was $316.23!! Other flights, taxes were $375.10. Wow!
Well, that’s not really a free ticket is it?
So…then let’s look at Pay with Miles (explanation later in this article):
Same flights, same days…ticket would be $94.43 and 50,000 miles…a big big difference…this includes all taxes and fees. I could have made it even lower to $40.43 if Gary had an extra 5,000 miles in his account.
Well, what would you rather have? A “free” awards ticket for 50,000 miles + $316-$375 in taxes or a Pay with Miles for 50,000 miles for $94.43 or even as low as $40.43?
Ecuador tickets will brings you rustic restaurants open air restaurants like this three table authentic pizza parlor complete with dog, cat and dirt floor.
But great pizza
Pay with Miles
How does Pay for Miles Tickets work? Well, there is a small catch that I discovered after recommending this to a client…she called me back and said “Pay with Miles does not appear on my computer”…
Here is that catch. It says very clearly that this is for Platinum and Gold Medallion Members. And of course, only people crazy enough to travel as much as we do qualify…but and this is a big BUT it is available to anyone with a Delta Skymiles number if that person holds an American Express Sky Miles GOLD Card, Platinum or Reserve Credit Card. I have provided links to learn more about how to get these cards at the end of this message.
The first year, the fee is waived and then can be as low as $55 annually…you’ll save that on your first purchase of “Pay with Miles”.
All of this is a bit lopsided…but as I said before “All the Rules have Changed”…and that means ALL the rules. When you order this credit card you’ll get a bonus 25,000 miles to start.
Gary and I (as you probably know) abhor debt, so we pay off our credit cards each month but we do love credit cards…because we can easily track our purchases for tax purposes and also because of the Pay with Miles feature. It is possible to have free (that is really free) Delta Crown Room use at all airports by showing your American Express Delta Reserve Card. This Amex card is a bit pricier but has more benefits because your miles are at times doubled and you have access to a Concierge desk when you really get into trouble (which I often do) and also don’t forget all those quiet times in the private rooms.
You don’t really need to be a road warrior who has hundreds of thousands of miles, you just need that little American Express Gold or Platinum card! Suddenly those magic words, “Pay with Miles” automatically appear on your screen, giving you a free ticket with no blackout dates, the use of any amount of miles you might have (award tickets have a premium minimum), as well as flexibility, AND no fees. This can be purchased for a group of people (if on the same itinerary) and can be used as often as you have miles in your account.
Pay with Miles is a great way to use those accumulated miles that is fast, easy, Internet friendly and instant. I just love bringing our kids from all over the world as we did Jake (on the itinerary and dates he chose) last year for $17!
Ecuador tickets can lead you to fancy restaurants in Bahia like at the Bahia yacht…
simple affairs like this Bahia Cafe on the
or at La Piedra Hotel in Bahia…
where standards are high and…
outstanding and food is very reasonable.
Good flights and happy endings….Merri
Join an upcoming Ecuador or Super Spanish course or tour.
Enjoy the Good New DaysMany people yearn for a return to the good old days. This is a mistake. Those days are gone and will never return. Honestly they really were not that good. We would be sorry if they were here now. The future is better and for a special few the days, months and years ahead will be much better than the past. We plan to be among them and invite you to join us in an easier, freer, richer, safer world.
Soon you will be reading… again, about how instability in the US dollar threatens our lifestyles. The dollar, once the world’s reserve currency is burdened with debt and deficits that threaten economic and social order almost everywhere. This is nothing new. In fact, deterioration in the greenback is one reason for a seven decade downward spiral in your and my freedom. When we work hard and save carefully, but get less and less in return, we become boxed in. It’s a never ending rat race. This is a trap, a downwards spiral where the more dollars we get the less we can buy.
Learn how to have more freedom and time, less stress, better health care, extra income, greater safety and profit in your savings despite America’s deficits, debt and currency risk.
A downward spiral of the US dollar began the downward spiral of our freedom.
Fortunately there are secrets that will allow a few to live much better, free of debt and worry despite the decline in the dollar’s purchasing power. My wife Merri and I have traveled, lived, worked and invested around the world for nearly 50 years to gain this information. Let me share the basics of this data and how it can help you.
The first fact behind this secret is that things are really good in the western world. Despite the many problems, we are surrounded by more abundance and greater opportunity than almost anyone has ever enjoyed, anywhere, ever. To enjoy a fair share of this wealth, all we have to do is understand human nature and learn how to invest in the new economy, as it changes and becomes new, again and again. Merri and I have made seven huge transitions in the 50 years. Each has allowed us to always stay ahead of losses that the majority of Americans suffer. We are in another transition right now and want to share why and what to do so you can stay ahead and live a richer, independent life too.
The concept of democracy, as we learned it, has weakened, but we still have free will and do not have to let poor government, wars, economic and social injustice blur our well-being. We can still be free and responsible for our health, our income and our wealth. The majority of people blame on government and big business for economic failure. They want them to fix the problems, step back from the change and rebuild from what they perceive as ruin.
The few who succeed see change as a gift instead. No change is a guarantee that nothing gets better. Evolution brings destructive innovation but such change is not ruin. It is opportunity.
The change in the purchasing power of the US dollar is one of the greatest risks we have to our independence, safety, health, and wealth, but is also a chance for huge profit as i explain below. Though the greenback has been strong for a number of years, its strength is in serious jeopardy. The growing federal deficits increase the national debt and this with rising interest rates propels a growing debt service.
When the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently passed 20,000, another milestone of “20” took place that has a much darker meaning to your and my spending power. The U.S. national debt passed the $20 trillion mark.
The problem is that the Dow will come back down. National debt will not fall.
In the past decade US debt nearly doubled and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the rate of debt will continue to rise for at least ten more years. That debt is all the debt issued by the US Department of the Treasury since 1790. In other words in the ten years from 2006 to 2016 the US government added as much debt as it had accumulated in the previous 216 years!
That number does not include state and local debt. That number doesn’t include so-called “agency debt ( debt issued by federal agencies and government-sponsored enterprises) which is “guesstimated” to be another $8.6 trillion or so. That dreadful number does not include the so-called unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Do you feel burdened by personal debt? Well, add the Federal National Debt because per person it is over $60,000. If one adds in all the other debt each and every American owes over $100,000! For each family of four, our friendly Congress has added an extra $400,000 debt.
How can America pay this back?
The answer is they cannot. However there is good news. Payback actually does not matter. No one expects the US or any country to ever pay back all its debt. Isn’t that nice? We all owe $100,000 but don’t have to pay it back? Right?
Here is the bad news. Everyone does expect every country to pay its national debt service. This is why we know there will be a downward dollar spiral. You see when debt service gets too high, governments always let the purchasing power of the currency fall. It’s a dirty trick. Someone owes you a bunch of dollars every month and they pay it. The problem is those dollars buy less clothing, less food, less housing and energy and less everything.
Wait a minute isn’t that good for us? If we each owe a $100,000 but get to pay it back in devalued dollars, don’t we reduce our debt? Yes, but those are the same dollars we are paid with. Those are the same dollars that pay for our food, our clothing and our shelter. Those are the same dollars in our savings account so the reduced purchasing power lowers our standards of living too!
Go to the store. Buy some bread or, heaven forbid, some fresh vegetables like peppers or fruit. Look at the cost of your prescription or hospital bills. Do something simple like have your car serviced at an auto dealer. Look at the dollars you spend and you’ll see what I mean.
A huge dollar conundrum looms from the rising national debt service as well. During most of the last decade when the national debt was skyrocketing, interest rates were plunging and remained really low. Now rates are starting to rise as will the US national debt service. This chart from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) shows that debt service is expected to more than triple in the next ten years.
Largely due to the Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to keep interest rates low, the U.S. government is paying historically low rates on its debt.
The CBO projects, unless the law changes, US national interest costs will more than double over the next 10 years, rising from $270 billion in 2017 to $712 billion in 2026 and totaling $4.8 trillion over the period. Interest costs are expected to continue climbing beyond the next 10 years and are projected to be the third largest category in the federal budget by 2028 (after just Social Security and Medicare), the second largest category in 2046, and the single largest category in 2050.
These interest costs add up to trillions of dollars that won’t be spent on roads, on the military, on health care or the environment or schools. That rising debt service creates a vicious cycle that can only lead to a devaluation of the US dollar so the debt can be paid, but in phony terms.
The loss of the dollar’s purchasing power erodes our independence, our freedom and our savings and wealth as well.
At the same time, low interest rates by big banks and higher health care costs soak up the ever diminishing income and savings we have left. According to a Gallup poll, the most unpopular three institutions in America are big corporations & Wall Street banks, HMOs and Congress. Yet there is little we can do because these institutions are in control.
Over the last 50 years the average income for 90 percent of the American population fell. Our health system is restricted by a Kafka-esque maze of legislation and insurance regulations that delay, frustrate, and thwart attempts by patients and doctors from proper medical care. Big banks and corporations restrict our freedom of choice. The business customer relationships are no longer transactions between free equals.
Banks can trap us in indebtedness at every age from student loans to mortgages to health care costs. They pay almost nothing on our savings. They hide unexpected fees and payments in complex and unreadable documents. Banks and big corporations routinely conceal vital information in small print and then cheat. Weak regulations and lax enforcement leave consumers with few ways to fight back. Many of these businesses ranging from cable TV to phone and internet service to health insurance have virtual monopolies that along with deceptive marketing destroys any form of free market.
These same companies control the credit-scoring agencies so if we don’t pay unfair fees, our credit scores will plunge and we could lose the ability to borrow money, rent an apartment, even to get a job. Many consumers are forced to accept “arbitration clauses” in lieu of legal rights. The alternative is to lose banking, power, and communication services.
Big business has also usurped our privacy. Internet companies sell our personal data. Personal information is pulled from WiFi and iPhones track and store our movements. The government can access this information, sometimes without subpoenas. There’s a lot that we don’t know, often withheld under the guise of “National Security.”
The glow on Western democratic capitalism has dimmed… or so it seems. The US, leading the way, is still a superpower with economic, innovation and military might, but the institutions that should serve the people have become flawed or broken.
America’s infrastructure is in shambles. The nation’s bridges are crumbling, many water systems are filled with toxins, yet instead of spending more to fix this, we build more prisons. The 2.2 million people currently in jail is a 500 percent increase over the past thirty years. 60% of the inmates belong to ethnic groups. Not just non-white ethnic groups are suffering. Annual death rates are falling for every group except for middle-aged white Americans. Death rates are rising among this group driven by an epidemic of suicides and afflictions stemming from substance abuse, alcoholic liver disease and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.
America’s middle class is shrinking. Nearly half of America’s income goes to upper-income households now. In 1970 only 29 percent went to this group. How can we regain our freedom, our happiness and our well being in such a world? What can we do?
The answer to a better, freer life is to combine better health, higher income and greater savings for a happier, more resilient lifestyle.
Merri and I are in our 48th year of living, working, investing and researching to find and share ideas on how to have simpler, low stress, healthier, more affluent lifestyles. Our courses, reports and email messages look at ways to gain:
#1: Low cost natural health.
#2: Global micro business income.
#3: Safer, more profitable, easy to make value investments.
Many readers use our services for just one of these three benefits. They focus only on health or on earning more or on investing better.
27 years ago Merri and I created the International Club as a way for readers to join us and be immersed in all three of these benefits. The International Club is a year long learning program aimed at helping members earn worry free income, have better affordable good health and gain extra safety and profits with value investments.
The three disciplines, health, earning and investing, work best when coordinated together. Regretfully the attacks on our freedom are realities of life. There is little we can do to change this big picture. However we can change how we care for our health, how we earn and how we save so that we are among the few who live better despite the dollar’s fall.
We start with better lower cost health care.
Club membership begins by sharing ways to be free of the “Secret Hospital Charge Master”. Just as governments hide truth behind “National Security”, big health care businesses hide medical truths behind “Charge masters”. Most hospital charge masters are secret because big business does not want us to know how much hospital costs have risen. Motivations beyond our good health, like corporate greed, want to keep us in the dark about health care cost.
Despite rising health care costs, a report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention shows that hospitals are the last place we want to be for good health. One report shows that hospital-acquired infections alone kills 57% more Americans every year than all car accidents and falls put together.
Often, what patients catch in the hospital can be worse than what sent them there. Governments and health care agencies agree – antibiotic resistance is a “nightmare.” An antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be spreading in more hospitals than patients know. About one in every 25 hospitalized patients gets an infection and a 2013 report from the Journal of Patient Safety showed that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the country.
Along with the risk of hospital acquired illness and medical errors, the second huge threat to our well being… is health care costs, especially at hospitals. This is why charge masters are so often secret. There are few risks to our wealth that are greater than a hospital stay.
I have created three shamanic health reports are about:
Each report is available for $19.95. However club members receive these three reports worth $59.85 free.
Club members also receive seven workshops and courses on how earn everywhere with at home micro businesses. We call this our “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”. The program contains a series of courses and reports that show ways to earn and be free. These courses and reports are:
- “International Business Made EZ”
- “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell”
- Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
- The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3
- The report “How to Raise Money Abroad”
- Report and MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
- The course “Event-Full – How to Earn Conducting Seminars and Tours”
This program is offered at $299, but is available to club members free. They save $299 more.
Next, club members participate in an intensive program called the Purposeful investing Course (Pi). The purpose of Pi is finding value investments that increase safety and profit. Learn Slow, Worry Free, Good Value Investing.
Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies. These destroyers of wealth can create a Behavior Gap, that causes investors to underperform in any market good or bad. The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear. Pi helps create profitable strategies that avoid losses from this gap.
Lessons from Pi are based on the creation and management of a Primary Pi Model Portfolio, called the Pifolio. There are no secrets about this portfolio except that it ignores the stories from economic news (often created by someone with vested interests) and is based mainly on good math that reveals the truth through financial news.
The Pifolio is a theoretical portfolio of MSCI Country Benchmark Index ETFs that cover all the good value markets using my 50 years of global experience and my study of the analysis of four mathematical investing geniuses (and friends).
There are seven layers of tactics in the Pi strategy.
Pi Tactic #1: Determine purpose and good value.
Pi Tactic #2: Diversify 70% to 80% of portfolio equally in good value developed markets.
Pi Tactic #3: Invest 20% to 30% equally in good value emerging markets.
Pi Tactic #4: Use trending algorithms to buy sell or hold these markets.
Pi Tactic #5: Add spice speculating with ideal conditions.
Pi Tactic #6: Add spice speculating with leverage.
Pi Tactic #7: Add spice speculating with forex potential.
The Pifolio analysis begins with a continual research of international major stock markets that compares their value based on:
#1: Current book to price
#2: Cash flow to price
#3: Earnings to price
#4: Average dividend yield
#5: Return on equity
#6: Cash flow return
#7: Market history
We combine the research of several brilliant mathematicians and money managers with my years of investing experience.
This is a complete and continual study of what to do about the movement of international major and emerging stock markets. I want to share this study throughout the next year with you.
This analysis forms the basis of a Good Value Stock Market Strategy. The analysis is rational, mathematical and does not worry about short term ups and downs. This strategy is easy for anyone to follow and use. Pi reveals the best value markets and provides contacts to managers and analysts and Country Index ETFs so almost anyone can create and follow their own strategy.
The costs are low and this type of ETF is one of the hardest for institutions to cheat. Expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund. Little knowledge, time, management or guesswork are required. The investment is simply a diversified portfolio of good value indices. Investments in an index are like investments in all the shares of a good value market.
Pi opens insights to numerous long term cycles that most investors miss because they have not been investing long enough to see them.
The Pi subscription is normally $299 per annum but club member receive Pi at no charge and save an additional $299.
Profit from the US dollar’s fall.
In the 1980s, a remarkable set of two economic circumstances helped anyone who spotted them become remarkably rich. Some of my readers made enough to retire. Others picked up 50% currency gains. Then the cycle ended. Warren Buffett explained the importance of this ending in a 1999 Fortune magazine interview. He said: Let me summarize what I’ve been saying about the stock market: I think it’s very hard to come up with a persuasive case that equities will over the next 17 years perform anything like—anything like—they’ve performed in the past 17!
Club members receive a report about opportunity in the current strength of the US dollar is a second remarkable similarity to 30 years ago. The dollar rose along with Wall Street. Profits came quickly over three years. Then the dollar dropped like a stone, by 51% in just two years. A repeat of this pattern is growing and could create up to 50% extra profit if we start using strong dollars to accumulate good value stock market ETFs in other currencies.
This is the most exciting opportunity I have seen since we started sending our reports on international investing ideas more than three decades ago. The trends are so clear that I created a short, but powerful report “Three Currency Patterns for 50% Profits or More.” This report shows how to earn an extra 50% from currency shifts with even small investments. I kept the report short and simple, but included links to 153 pages of Good Value Stock Market research and Asset Allocation Analysis.
The report shows 20 good value investments and a really powerful tactic that shows the most effective and least expensive way to accumulate these bargains in large or even very small amounts (less than $5,000). There is extra profit potential of at least 50% so the report is worth a lot.
This report sells for $29.95 but when you become a club member you receive the report, “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” FREE.
Plus get the $39.99 report, “The Silver Dip 2017” free.
With investors watching global stock markets bounce up and down, many missed two really important profit generating events. The price of silver dipped below $14 an ounce as did shares of the iShares Silver ETF (SLV). The second event is that the silver gold ratio hit 80 and has remained near this level, compared to a range of the 230s only two years ago.
These two events are a strong sign to invest in precious metals.
I prepared a special report “Silver Dip 2015” and updated this in 2017. The report explains the exact conditions you need to make leveraged silver & gold speculations that can increase the returns in a safe portfolio by as much as eight times. The purpose of the report is to share long term lessons about speculating in precious metals gained through 30 years of speculating and investing in gold and silver.
The low price of silver offers special value now so I want to send you this report because the “Silver Dip 2017” offers enormous profit potential in 2017.
The report “Silver Dip 2017” sells for $39.95 but club members receive it free as well.
The $39.95 new “Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere Report” is also free.
There is an incredible new economy that’s opening for those who know what to do. There are great new opportunities and many of them offer enormous income potential but also work well in disaster scenarios.
There are are specific places where you can reduce your living expenses and easily increase your income. Scientific research has shown that being in such places actually make you smarter and healthier. Top this off with the fact that they provide tax benefits as well and you have to ask, “Where are these places?”.
Learn about these specific places. More important learn what makes them special. Discover seven freedom producing steps that you can use to find other similar places of opportunity.
The report includes a tax and career plan broken into four age groups, before you finish school, from age 25 to 50 – age 50-to 65 and what to do when you reach the age where tradition wants you to re-tire. (Another clue-you do not need to retire and probably should not!)
The report is very specific because it describes what Merri and I, our children and even my sister and thousands of our readers have done and are doing, right now.
Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere focuses on a system that takes advantage of living in Smalltown USA, but earning locally and globally.
This report is available online for $39.99 but International Club members receive it free.
Save $418.78… “plus more” when you become a club member.
Join the International Club and receive:
#1: The $299 Personal investing Course (Pi). Free.
#2: The $299 “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”. Free.
#3: The $29.95 report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More”. Free.
#4: The $39.99 report “Silver Dip 2017”. Free
#5: The three $19.99 reports “Shamanic Natural Health”. All three free.
#6: The $39.99 “Live Anywhere – Earn Everywhere” report. Free.
#7: Plus more.
These reports, courses and programs would cost 767.78 so membership saves $418.78, “plus more”.
What’s the “plus more”?
Join the International Club for $349 and receive all the above online now, plus any online reports, online course updates or online programs we create throughout 2017 all at no additional fee. The club membership entitled you to everything.
The International Club membership is $499, but we want to encourage our first 100 members to join quickly so we are accepting discounted membership in three tranches. This is the last offer of the first tranche at $349 and expires Monday March 26th 2017 .
The next tranche will be offered at $399 before it rises to $449 and then the full fee.
Join the International Club for $349 and receive all the above online now, plus all reports, course updates and Pi lessons throughout 2017 at no additional fee.