Posted on 04 May 2009.
Here is a shot taken from the front yard of our Ecuador sanctuary in the Andes.
This land is part of a cloud forest and we are often truly above the clouds!
Many valleys in Ecuador are famous for the longevity of the residents. Our search for such valleys led us to understand that we can use more than landscape to live better, richer and longer.
This article was written on May 2, 2009, on the 41st anniversary of starting my international business. Yet I plan to keep writing and sharing information for 41 more years!
This was more than an idle boast. The promise was made from a belief and understanding that began to grow when we first arrived in Ecuador and began searching for the longevity valleys there.
That longevity search an Ecuadorian Taita Yatchak (Shaman of the highest learning) who told us there was an unoccupied valley with special healing powers.
He offered to take us there. (More on why below).
Here is Merri and me with the Taita Yatchak after purifying in a sacred spring in preparation for the trip into the Ecuador longevity valley.
We invited friends and started our journey at 4:30 a.m. hiking from 10,500 feet, to 14,000 feet. Here we are getting ready to go.
After hours of climbing we descended 4,000 feet down a hidden, mud, animal trail for three hours into a virtually impenetrable cloud forest, ripped by thorns, cut by razor grass, soaked, and caked in mud.
Here we are ready to descend.
And here we are in the cloud forest during the descent.
By the time we arrived in the valley, it was just minutes before dark. We were fatigued by the high altitude, bone weary from our packs, every muscle aching from fighting all day with the sucking mud (which had regularly pulled off our boots).
We stayed in a floorless, leaky thatch hut, sleeping on dirt, no heat except the cooking fire, no running water, no nothing. The next morning, to our surprise we all felt and looked wonderful! Those who had been injured had no sign of the injuries. We explored the valley which is perpetually wrapped in mist and fog. We swam in small icy, deep blue lagoons and did ancient exercises while the Taita Yatchak talked with us. We were continually cold, wet, dirty and cramped-all 12 of us in this tiny hut with its earthen floor.
I cannot describe how we felt except to say none of us had ever had so much fun and had such a sense of well-being.
There is something about the valley I cannot yet explain. Even at times when we were really worried about some of the party who had gone into shock from fatigue, there was never a moment of regret.
We discovered a magical quality to this Sacred Valley and even over a decade and a half after our return have found powerful emotional and physical evolutions happening to all of us. Merri and I, along with the others, feel physically stronger, more alert, more positive, more active and yet more serene than ever before in our lives.
After this journey we purchased the 962 acre Hacienda Rosaspamba and lived and studied there for nearly a year with the Taita Yatchak and his apprentices.
Here is another shot at Rosaspamba of one of the yatchak’s apprentices.
Living in a healthy place like Rosaspamba can help longevity. More important is the fact that one can have longevity anywhere. We discovered this at our other sanctuary in the Blue Ridge Mountains where we also live. The family cemetery on our farm has five headstones with people aged 86, 91, 95, 100 and 115 at death.
The 115 year old lived from 1794 to 1909. I wonder what type of medical insurance she had… back here in these hills. Here is that cemetery.
Merri and I have studied global health secrets for decades and have lived with healing masters from China, Tibet, the Andes and India to learn that it is not only where you live.. but how you live that creates longevity.
Mountain mists are important to longevity. One Ecuador shaman taught us that the hydrogen ions in the mists bond with free radicals on the skin to cleanse the body from the outside in.
Longevity does not come from quadruple bypasses, pacemakers, chemo, radiation and all the modern drugs so many people use.
Up here in these mountains people in decades and centuries past labored, breathed clean air, drank pure water and ate fresh food. These were hardy mountain people who worked hard, had little, ate little and with that made the most. Life was simple and they kept it that way. Longevity was their reward.
Now is the time to be thinking about longevity.
Many of us work so hard to build financial security then lose it through lingering illness or even worse death, heart attacks – stress, diabetes -bad diet, cancer – over-aggression created by the effort.
Good water is important to longevity. This is a mineral thermal springs near Cotacachi Ecuador that we visit for a soak on our Ecuador shamanic mingo tours.
Does this lifestyle make sense?
The answer, “No, it does not make sense” led Merri and me, many years ago, to sell our home in Old Naples, Florida, leave the stressful city and move here to our secluded Blue Ridge farm and Andean plantation.
We have learned that there are many simple secrets to longevity. They are harder to use in busy cities.
Here are three secrets we gain from untold hours shared with clients and friends who are expert in all types of healing. These secrets come from years of experience with disciplines like acupuncture (when I first lived in Hong Kong) when they were still considered witchcraft in the Western world, and from our years of living with healers from India, Tibet and the Andes.
I share these as a layman, but one who has watched his weight melt from 220 to 150 pounds. They are shared by a 62 year old male with a pulse of 99 over 60 something and a resting heartbeat in the low 60s whose energy and stamina is high.
The secrets are not shared just to stop you from getting sick either. They are to help you have more stamina, vitality, energy, endurance as well as longevity so you can enjoy life more!
The first secret is not a secret at all, but a simple reality that most ignore.
Restrict your diet. Cut down your caloric intake. This is the only factor that I have studied that has been scientifically supported. Plus the residents in the three valleys where National Geographic documented extra longevity had caloric intakes ranging from 1,200 to 1,800 calories a day.
For example in Vilcabamba (one of Ecuador’s longevity valleys) over one person per thousand lived to be 100. In the U.S. the figure is one per 33,000! The average caloric intake in this valley (in the past) was about 1,200 calories a day.
Secret #2 is to have more than a routine.
Create ritual! Those who live extraordinarily long lives seem to share this common trait. Whatever they do they do in moderation, in a very similar way and with great gusto. For example, if they drink an ounce of whisky every day, at six o’ clock, they do not do this at five some days and eight others. They do not have a half ounce one day and two another. They tend to have one ounce at six p.m. every day. This instills discipline, keeps life simple (very important) and allows the body to get used to doing whatever it is it has to do. Take Chris Mortensen one of the oldest documented men in the 1990s who at 113 said of his weekly cigar, “If you take my weekly cigar away from I am going to die”. The anticipation and ritual of whatever pleasure he receives from this is far more life giving than the stress. The world’s oldest documented woman in the 1990s, Jeanne Clement, at age 122 drank cognac and ate a pound of chocolate a week (but never two).
Secret #3 is to remain independent, challenged, active and needed. One of the most important features that was found in every valley where people lived long lives was that old age was revered. Often people at age 100, even 110 are still active and working! Max Zimmer of Los Angeles came to the US from Austria in 1911 with only a two dollar bill. At age 103 he still had the same two-dollar bill and had built and still ran a multimillion-dollar business. One MD, who specializes in anti aging, points out that most centenarians seldom spend much time with doctors. When they finally get sick, they die quickly and with little expense. They depend on themselves to remain healthy not others. Having a good savings and investment plan for old age is also an important factor to remaining independent. Are any of these factors in your routine and plans? Most of us have to answer “no”.
This is why Merri and I moved to our farm in North Carolina and Ecuador and have worked at instilling these simple formulas (and many others) into our lives.
We live in a rapidly evolving, often frantic and polluted world. Escape from the crowds may help longevity a bit. However escape from bad lifetsyle habits helps longevity even more. Merri and I look forward to sharing the longevity habits we learn with you.
How We Can Serve You
Schedule 2015 Seminars and Courses
We conduct our Investment seminar at Jefferson Landing in Jefferson North Carolina.
Join Merri and me for all the courses and seminars that we’ll conduct to help you gain positive solutions to your economic, financial and lifestyle concerns.
Here is the courses we currently have scheduled in 2015.
Live Long & Prosper More
One of the most frequent questions readers ask is “How can I make my savings safer but also sufficient for life?”
“What is the time horizon of a lifetime?” I ask. Time horizons are one of the most important elements in investing and most of us will live longer than we expect.
For example in a moment, you’ll see how this exercise is actually connected to my investing portfolio because it alters my investing timeline.
(Gary Scott doing Andean yoga.)
Overall US life expectancy at birth was 78.8 years in 2013. Women live longer, 76.4 years for men, 81.2 years for women. You’ll be happy to know that those statistics don’t apply to you and me.
How most of us think about life expectancy is wrong. That overall rate is the average of all people, young and old. The older we are, the longer our life expectancy grows. Right now those who are 50 years old, life expectancy is 85.6 for women and 81.6 for men. The expectancy of a 50 year old is 5 or 6 years longer than the overall expectancy.
As we age, the expectancy gets better. At 65 the expect age is 87.9 for women and 85.3 for guys. At 75 there is another boost to 88.6 and 90.5 years.
This is good news and even better is the fact that a succession of six technical panels established by the Social Security Advisory Board, in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 2013 all stated that Social Security was assuming unrealistic mortality rate improvements. In other words, life expectancy continues to grow.
There is a lot we can do to improve the odds of a long, active life even more. In fact we can improve them much more. A University of Washington publication “12 Reasons Yoga Helps Extend Lifespan” (1) shows 12 wasy that yoga extends life.
A UC San Francisco study “Lifestyle changes may lengthen telomeres that measure cell aging” (2) show that exercise, nutrition, meditation, diet, exercise, social support and yoga can extend life even further, as much as 12 years.
This is why I practice yoga and meditate almost every day and adjust my investing to support a long, busy, lifeline.
How can we have a strategy so our savings, investments & income are sufficient for a full lifetime?
Our life expectancy can be much longer than statistics suggest. That’s really good to know but longer life expectancy is expected to worsen the shortfall in Social Security by 11 percent over the next 75 years. What will a longer, active life due to our savings and budgets?
During nearly five decades of global investing I have noticed that some people, such as Warren Buffett, have a good value strategy that makes sure they do not lose, but increase their wealth again and again.
What is this strategy? It is a good value strategy based on three tactics.
The first tactic is to seek safety before profit.
A research paper that studied Warren Buffett’s investing strategy was published at Yale University’s website. This research shows that the stocks he chooses are safe (with low beta and low volatility), cheap (value stocks with low price – to – book ratios), and high quality (stocks of companies that are profitable, stable, growing, and with high payout ratios).
The second tactic is to maintain staying power. At times Buffet’s portfolio has fallen, but he has been willing and able to wait long periods for the value to reveal itself and prices to recover.
This chart based on a 45 year portfolio study shows that holding a diversified good value portfolio (based on a good value strategy) for 13 month’s time, increases the probability of outperformance to 70%. However those who can hold the portfolio for five years gain a 88% probability of beating the bellwether in the market and after ten years the probability increases to 97.5%. Time is your friend when you use a good value strategy. The longer you can hold onto a well balanced good value portfolio the better the odds of outstanding success.
The Buffett strategy integrates time and value for safety and profit.
A third, limited leveraging, tactic in the strategy boosts profit. Buffett leverages his portfolio at a ratio of approximately 1.6 to 1. The Yale published research paper shows the leveraging methods used by Warren Buffett to amass his $50 billion fortune. The researchers found that the returns from Buffett’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, far outweighed those achieved by any rival that has operated for 30 years or more. The research shows that neither luck nor magic are involved. Instead, the paper shows that Buffet’s success hinges on using leverage at the rate of 1.6.
This rate of expansion by the way is called the “Golden Ratio” and it is a mathematical formula that controls the growth of most natural things; trees, the shape of leaves, the spiral of shells, as well as the way economies and societies grow.
To sum up the strategy, Buffet uses Golden Ratio to make large purchases of “cheap, safe, quality stocks”. He uses limits leverage so he can hold on for very long periods of time, surviving rough periods where others might have been forced into a fire sale or a career shift.
The study found that Buffett applies a leverage of about 1.6 to 1, boosting both his risk and excess return in that proportion. He uses the Golden Mean in his borrowing, not too little, not too much.
Thus his many accomplishments include having the conviction, wherewithal, and skill to operate with leverage and significant risk over many decades.
Learn how to use this type of three point strategy with the Purposeful investing Course (Pi). This course is based on my 50 (almost) years of investing experience combined with wisdom gained from some of the world’s best investment managers and economic mathematical scientists.
Pi reveals investing secrets and the sciences that make investing easy, safer, less time consuming and increases the chances of profit.
One secret is to invest with a purpose beyond the cash. When we invest with purpose, doing what we love, we do better and we joyfully put in more energy, time and care. This is nature’s irony. If we chase just the money, human nature tends to make it run away. If we pursue our passion and work with more than concern for the cash, the wealth can’t resist us. This is the purpose behind, “Purposeful investing”.
Slow, Worry Free, Good Value Investing
Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies. These are major foundations of the Behavior Gap, a trait exhibited by most investors, that causes them to underperform any market they choose. The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear. The losses created by this gap grow when investors trade short term under stress. More about the gap in a moment.
Learn how to create profitable strategies that combine good value investments with unique, personal goals.
Spanning the Behavior Gap
Behavior gaps are among the biggest reasons why so many investors fail. Human evolution makes fear the second most powerful motivator. (Greed is the third.) Fear creates investment losses due to behavior gaps. Fear motivates us more strongly than desire. By nature investors are risk adverse, when they should embrace risk. Purpose is the most powerful motivator, stronger than fear and greed. One powerful way to overcome the behavior gap is to invest with a purpose.
Combine your needs and capabilities with the secrets and the math through the Pifolio – The Pi Model Portfolio
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 is based entirely on good math.
The Pifolio is a theoretical portfolio of MSCI Country Benchmark Index ETFs that cover all the good value markets using my (almost) 50 years of global experience and my study of the analysis of four mathematical investing geniuses (and friends): Michael Keppler, Eric Roseman, Thomas Fischer (for currency positions) and Richard Smith, PhD (for trailing stop alerts).
The Pifolio analysis begins with Keppler who continually researches international major stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return. He compares each major stock market’s history.
Michael is a brilliant mathematician. We have tracked his analysis for over 20 years. He continually researches international major stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return. He compares each stock market’s history. From this, he develops his Good Value Stock Market Strategy. His analysis is rational, mathematical and does not cause worry about short term ups and downs. To invest according to the Country Selection Strategy, it is necessary to construct diversified, risk-controlled, representative country portfolios in every BUY rated country, weighting each country approximately equally in the overall portfolio. It is not appropriate or enough to instruct a stockbroker to simply select stocks in the BUY rated countries.
To achieve this goal of diversification the Pifolio consists of Country Index ETFs that are similar to index mutual fund but are shares normally traded on a major stock exchange that tracks an index of shares in a specific country. ETFs do not try to beat the index they represent. The management is passive and tries to emulate the performance of the index.
A country ETF provides diversification into a basket of equities in the country covered. The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.
This is an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little management and guesswork is required. You are investing in a diversified portfolio of good value indices. A BUY rating for an index does NOT imply that any stock in that country is an attractive investment, so you do not have to pick and choose shares. You can invest in the index which is like investing in all the shares in the index. All you have to do is invest in an ETF that in turn invests passively in all the shares of the index.
Pi adds my fifty years of experience and brings insights to numerous long term cycles that are part of the universal math that affects all investments.
For example 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!
I did well then, but always thought, “I should have invested more!” Now those circumstances have come together and I am investing in them again.
The circumstances that created fortunes 30 years ago were an overvalued US market (compared to global markets) and an overvalued US dollar.
The two conditions are in place again! There are currently ten good value non US developed markets, plus 10 good value emerging markets.
Pi shows how to easily create a diversified, worry free portfolio that includes each or all of these countries with Country Index ETFs.
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. There is so much more to write and the trends are so clear that I have 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 Keppler Asset Stock Market and Asset Allocation Analysis so you can keep this as simple or as complex as you desire.
The report shows 20 good value investments and a really powerful tactic that allows you to accumulate these bargains now 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.
Research shows that most people worry about having enough money if they live long enough. This powerful profit wave can eliminate that concern. My experience of the 17 years in the 1980s and 90s combined with the science shared by my four friends (Keppler, Roseman, Fischer and Smith) can make the next 17 years so rich, you’ll always be rich.
You’ll receive the report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” free when you subscribe to Pi.
The 50 years of experience the Pi course shares also explains when leverage provides extra potential. For example in 1986 I issued a report called The Silver Dip that showed how to borrow 12,000 British pounds (at almost 1.6 to 1 dollars per pound the loan created US$18,600) and use the loan to buy 3835 ounces of silver at around US$4.85 an ounce.
Imagine investing in a spike like this… with leverage!
Silver had crashed, I mean really crashed from $48 per ounce. As prices decreased from early 1983 into 1986, total supply had fallen to 449.7 million ounces in 1986. Mine production was restricted by the low prices at this time, with silver reaching a low for this period of $4.85 in May 1986. Secondary recovery also was constricted by these low prices.
Then silver’s price skyrocketed to over $11 an ounce within a year. The $18,600 loan was now worth $42,185.
The loan was in pounds and in May 1986 the dollar pound rate was 1.55 dollars per pound. So the 12,000 pound loan purchased $18,600 of silver. The pound then crashed to 1.40 dollars per silver. The loan could be paid off for $13,285 immediately creating an extra $5,314 profit. The profit grew to $47,499 in just a year.
Conditions for the silver dip have returned. The availability of low cost loans and silver are at an all time low.
With investors watching global stock markets bounce up and down, many missed two really important profit generating events.
The price of silver has crashed all the way from nearly $50 an ounce to below $14 an ounce as did shares of the iShares Silver ETF (SLV). (Click on chart from Google.com (1) to enlarge.)
At the same time the silver gold ratio hit 80, a strong sign to invest in precious metals.
I prepared a special report “Silver Dip 2015” about a leveraged silver speculation 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 gained through 30 years of speculating and investing in precious metals. While working on the report, when the gold silver ratio slipped to 80 and the price of silver dropped below $14 an ounce, I knew I needed to share this immediately.
I released a new report “Silver Dip 2015” so readers can take advantage of these conditions and leverage 1.6 times as a speculation.
The speculation is so time sensitive with such fast profit (but also loss) potential that I will only offer it shortly.
You receive the Silver Dip 2015 FREE when you subscribe to Pi.
Subscribe to the first year of The Personal investing Course (Pi). The annual fee is $299, but to introduce you to this online, course that is based on real time investing, I am knocking $102 off the subscription. Plus you receive the $29.95 report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and the $27 report “The Silver Dip 2015” free for a total savings of $158.95.
Enroll in Pi. Get the first monthly issue of Pi, the first five “Golden Rules of Investing” and the report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and “The Silver Dip 2015” right away.
#1: I guarantee you’ll learn ideas about investing that are unique and can reduce stress as they help you enhance your profits through slow, worry free purposeful investing.
If you are not totally happy, simply let me know.
#2: I guarantee to cancel your subscription and refund your subscription fee in full, no questions asked.
#3: I guarantee you can keep the golden rules of investing and “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and “The Silver Dip 2105” report as my thanks for trying.
You have nothing to lose except the fear. You have the ultimate form of financial security to gain.
Save $158.95. Subscribe to the Pi for $197.
(1) University of Washington “12 reason yoga helps extend lifespan”
(2) UC San Francisco “Lifestyle changes may lengthen telomeres measure cell aging”
Learn more about our trip into the Llanganatis Valley here