Tag Archive | "electricity"

Thanksgiving on The Equator


An Ecuadorian time of thanksgiving has a timely message now.

We have also have had the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in many countries, from Ecuador to England to Hong Kong. We especially enjoy this day because no one outside the US recognizes Thanksgiving Day in November as an official holiday.  This gives us an opportunity to share a beautiful American tradition with other cultures.

Our family is so wide spread…five kids: in Oregon, Florida, London and Bristol, England, can rarely all unite for Thanksgiving.  Since everyone globally likes feasts, we find it easy and delightful to create a larger family.

We often use the day to invite friends, wherever we are, to share our turkey, dressing, cranberries and pumpkin pie (though there have been challenges finding the ingredients at times – one year in Gloucestershire, we had to settle for making a yam pie as there were no pumpkins!)  Many from other nations have left our Thanksgiving table knowing the true heart of America better after sharing this traditional meal with us.

This is a wonderful…simple way to enjoy friends and expand goodwill worldwide for which we are truly thankful.

Ecuador does not celebrate Thanksgiving but while living on the Equator, Merri and I learned a great lesson about the importance of having a thankful attitude.

This was the year 2000.  Merri and I were spending an entire winter at our Ecuadorian plantation with a shaman and his apprentices.

The shaman and his apprentices stayed in the plantation house. We lived in this crumbling 10’x 10′ hut, no electricity, no phone and no hot water…for months just so we could have privacy and to be more or less in nature.

Ecuador-Thanksgiving

Our goal was to understand how the lifestyle of the indigenous equator  and how the residents really lived, thought and felt.  We did not expect how much we would learn.

Though the apprentices had no material wealth and earned about $30 a month, the joy and happiness during that time with those people was infectious, laughter always just waiting to bubble over at any event.

Then one day around thanksgiving the Ecuador’s economy literally came to a shrieking halt.  Almost everything shot down.

The country ran out of gas.  The banks were closed.  The shaman and the apprentices lost every penny they had in the banks.  Upon learning this, the shaman called for a mingo (this word means circle and represents a meeting) where he performed a ceremony of thanks for all the change that these losses would bring.

Later after the meeting we sat on the front porch and looked out, over this view.

Ecuador-Thanksgiving

We watched the setting sun, dropping in a burst of purple and mauve. The wind was warm and a symphony of insects gave a serenade. This now penniless shaman looked over and whispered. “Life is good”.

Changes in his financial life did not rob him of a penny’s worth of living.  He felt what others considered a loss with gratitude.

I can’t put in words what a sense of peace and harmony rolled over us as we looked down at the lushness of the valley below, the mists rising, the waterfalls folding in lacy cascades, bird songs trilling through the clear air.  The river although far below us was a great bubbling sound along with the strangeness of some of the bird calls. This was a joy we had not felt since we were kids.

As Merri and I enjoy this day of thanks, we feel that our thankfulness is heightened due to our sharing Thanksgiving with other cultures that have helped us learn to be thankful, about everything…even though they may seem negative at the time.

We cannot thank you enough!  We look forward with great joy to sharing more ideas in the year ahead with you. If we can in some way make your life more joyous and help you laugh, learn and be grateful, we will truly be blessed. There is such beauty on this earth and in this world at this time. We feel privileged to be able to share it with you.

Gary

Inflate Your IQ

You can inflate your IQ 18 points.  Move from having an average IQ to being in the top 3 percent of intelligence.

Raise it that high… in just weeks.

When it comes to money… inflation is cheating.

That’s bad for you.

When it comes to intelligence… inflating is smart… fair… good for you and it’s good for the rest of the world.

Monetary inflation is a sneaky government and business trick.

What cost a dollar in 1965 can easily cost $15 now.

They promise you more.

Liars?

They devalue the currency so you get more dollars that buy less.  They can rip off your salary,  your pension…raise insurance, almost everything.

And they make you work harder… longer… for less.

Whittle, whittle, whittle.  Push, push, push.  That’s what monetary inflation does to you.

Fight back… overcome the inflation trick.  Inflate your IQ.

Earn more than inflation.

Be smarter…

That’s the way to get ahead!

Create more income opportunity.  Improve your health.  Be naturally smarter… use Super Thinking.

You can improve your IQ in just weeks.

You might well ask… How is this possible?

That’s what the scientists say.

A Wall Street Journal article entitled “Ways to Inflate Your IQ”(1)  show how you can be smarter and actually add matter to your brainThe article says:

           Many people think of IQ as a genetic trait, like brown eyes or short legs: You’re born with it and you’re stuck with it.

Now, a growing body of research is showing that a person’s IQ can rise—and even fall—over the years.

Scores can change gradually or quickly, after as little as a few weeks of cognitive training, research shows.

British students were given IQ tests and brain scans at ages 12 to 16 and again about four years later.  9% of the students showed a significant change of 15 points or more in IQ scores.

The study published in Nature said that on a scale where 90 to 110 is considered average, one student’s IQ rose 21 points to 128 from 107, lifting the student from the 68th percentile to the 97th compared with others the same age. 

MRIs in this study showed changes in gray matter in areas corresponding to fluctuations in the kid’s skills.

There are practical steps people can take to see longer-term IQ changes.  New tasks stimulate the brain most.  Young adults given just one month of intense training in juggling, found an increase in the corresponding gray matter in the brain as early as seven days after the training began.

Fluctuations in IQ scores over time underscore the brain-boosting benefits of musical training and new experiences throughout a lifetime.

Music lessons are linked to higher IQ throughout life.  Six years’ lessons lifted children’s IQ scores an average 7.5 points.

 Improve the brain through music… without lessons.

Here’s the Super Thinking story…

The educational program Merri and I developed uses a form of brain wave integration that increases IQ.

Super Thinking uses frequency (in music and a number of other ways) to integrate brain waves so the process of absorbing, processing and recalling information is vastly accelerated.  The music creates the three C’s:  Calm, Clarity and Coherence.

This Super Thinking program is not a gimmick or trick… just advanced education.

Certain types of Baroque music are the base, and they make you smarter!

Proof?

At least four best selling books, “Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain”,  “Superlearning”, the “Mozart Effect” and “Superlearning 2000″ showed how to learn and think more powerfully based on systems drawn from the Bulgarian educational master, Dr. Georgi Lozanov.

This Baroque music tactic alone is so powerful that Small Business Innovation Research… an official site of the US government granted over $100,000 for the specific purpose they said was: to provide a method to remove barriers which hinder or prevent the employment of blind persons.  An innovative method, the Lozanov Learning System, is proposed to help train blind persons to become computer programmers and operators of automated equipment.

Merri was among just a few who learned this technique directly from Dr. Lozanov the time he visited the USA.

Our Super Thinking workshop enhanced this system with numerous other tactics.

We added slight alterations in nutrition that create a higher IQ.   Altered nutritional tips in Super Thinking can make anyone 25% smarter!

Baroque Music and nutrition are just part of seven, easy to use, learning techniques that make you smarter.

Gain any skill, from computers to athletics to conversational languages…in less time…two-to-five times faster.

Here’s a huge bonus.  Super Thinking also relieves stress.  Super Thinking is fun.

You can use a Super Thinking focus in everything:  health… earning… education… investing.

Super Thinking works on the learner first…the data second.  This system “grows the learner” rather than the information.

If you have 4.5 inches of information flowing through a 4 inch learning pipe, the solution is not to add another inch of information.  The answer is create a six inch IQ pipe!

Share our years of experience.

For nearly 50 years, Merri and I have conducted hundreds of courses and tours for tens of thousands, in dozens of countries (even behind the Iron Curtain).  Our Super Thinking Workshop has been one of the most profound.  Now the workshop is even better online because it condenses Super Thinking so you can increase your IQ, at home… right away.

The workshop shows how these mind expanding tactics can be applied to starting and running a business for extra income, to forex trading and investing.  Athletes of all types… golfing being one common sport benefit.  Our Super Thinking plan goes far beyond Lozanov and allows you to rapidly get smarter in every part of your life.

For example, real estate broker, Suzy Kurinsky took the workshop to help her learn Spanish.

She wrote: “You are the BEST!!! Your Seminar was fantastic! I am so excited. I had procrastinated fulfilling my continuing education for my Broker’s License and then just before my surgeries, I realized by expiration date isn’t Nov. 12th – it is Sept 12th. Prior to taking your course I had only completed 3 units of the required 45 units. I thought I would take your course and then complete my remaining 42 units over the next 2 weeks. However, I took one class exam on Saturday night, August 27th. I didn’t even take the cellophane off the required Course manuals until after I saw the two of you today less than 5 hours ago! I used your techniques and completed 39 units of continuing education today. I have now completed all 45 units. All of my test scores were in the 90.6-96% range.  My course exam information is listed below. I just wanted to let you know how valuable your course was to me. Thanks again!”

Super thinking can improve almost anything you do… faster, better, more fun and with less stress.

Another attendee to the Super Thinking Workshop sent this note.

 Thank you for the wonderful workshop on Super Learning + Spanish!  I really enjoyed the workshop and getting to know you.   I can see several ways to apply what I learned in the classes I teach.

Since I returned home, I have purchased some of the CDs of Baroque music and thought about which specific pieces will work best in different parts of my classes.  I am also reading Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra.  I found your discussion of this book to be very helpful in showing how to balance one’s life.  I have adjusted my daily schedule, and I can already notice a difference in my productivity.

Super Thinking can help improve your health. Super Thinking can make you rich and add richness to your life.

However the time, travel expense and workshop cost (delegates have paid up to $999) have prohibited many from getting this benefit.

That’s why we have created the workshop in electronic form.  Get Super Thinking online for less than fifty bucks.

You can order the online Super Thinking Workshop here ($49.95)

The workshop is divided into two parts.  Part one is the application… the sessions that tell you exactly what to do, what music to use and even includes two recorded sessions you can use.  We have kept this portion short and simple so you can easily start immediately.

Part two is a longer portion on theory.

Part one is enough.

Super Thinking is like jogging… giving results if you simply do it!

You do not have to know why Super Thinking works to increase your IQ.   But Part Two explains why you are getting the good results from Part One, if you want to know.

You might ask…”Will it work for me”?

The Super Thinking Workshop will help increase your IQ.

I guarantee it.  Order the Super Thinking Workshop.  Use it for two months.  If you are not totally satisfied… in any way, during that time, simply let me know and I’ll send a full refund… immediately… no questions asked.

Order the online Super Thinking Workshop here ($49.95)

Another Super Thinking workshop attendee wrote: Listening to the two of you during our time together has suddenly got me to thinking, and although some of the ideas still seem foreign to me,  I am at a point in my life now where I can say, “anything is possible”.   I am now willing to embrace and allow myself to experience the world of possibility and let it take me in directions I may have in the past resisted.  I really don’t know where all this is going to lead me but I am now willing to explore, develop and grow.   Thank you again for a wonderful four days!!

Inflation is a cheat… a crime when it comes to money.  Inflating your IQ to beat inflation is simple good sense.  Learn Super Thinking now with no risk.  Begin to increase your intelligence today.

Order the online Super Thinking Workshop here ($49.95)

Gary

(1) Read Wall Street Journal article Ways to Inflate Your IQ

(2) See government grant records on teaching blind persons with the Lozanov method

 

Ecuador Amazon Problem


Many readers sent me an article from Agora Financial entitled “The Chevron Witch Trial: The Changing Face of Resource Nationalism” about the Ecuador Amazon problem and the ensuing Chevron lawsuit.

See why these Ecuador export tour delegates are creating earning potential and doing some environmental good.

ecuador-flower-exports

Many readers sent me notes similar to this: Gary, I wondered if you’d seen this and were familiar with the case, given your knowledge of and interest in Ecuador?  It sounds pretty scary and doesn’t reflect well on Ecuadorian justice and its authorities, if it’s true. You might want to comment in one of your messages as I assume other of your readers have also seen this matter reported. Regards

The recent article seemed to blame the Ecuadorian government for the problem and has some good points.

Here is a portion of that article:

Ecuador-legal-system

As mentioned the article had some valid points.

However…

We are very familiar with this story which is very, very old news going back into the 1970s.

We have lived with the Amazonians and spent quite a lot of time with the shamans there. Here I am with a Sierra Sion healer.

In fact we built a camp to help a small community of Amazonians who wanted tourism rather than oil revenues to support them.  We lost the entire investment when the FARC invaded that area.   Learn more about our Amazon trips and the Amazon village.

So I see the plight of the Amazonians as well.

I drive a car fueled with gas. I heat my home with electricity and use electricity that may come from diesel fueled generators and buy products delivered from abroad brought to me on ships propelled by their fossil fueled oil bunkers.

So there are two sides to this story.   Quite correctly the emails I have received are, half from this type of article and half from the environmentalists and humanitarians who say Chevron has cheated the poor natives of the Amazon.

See information on the other side from Amnesty International entitled Chevron (CVX) in the Amazon  Oil Rights or Human Rights? Texaco’s legacy, Chevron’s responsibility

Newsweek wrote a good article about this Amazon lawsuit over a year ago that has a balanced view.

If you Google the phrase “amazon chevron lawsuit” you’ll see dozens of articles about this… looking at both sides of the picture.

Plus there are many who argue that this has nothing to do with Chevron or Ecuador but the US legal system that encourages attorneys to file lawsuits like this.

One article “The Chevron Ecuador Lawsuit: It’s all about the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin says:  Sure it is. The 48 so-called plaintiffs or the 30,000 indigenous people we hear so much about in the media aren’t the financial beneficiaries in the law suit. The money goes to the Amazon Defense Coalition (ADC) and the law firm of Kohn, Swift & Graft.

So who is the culprit… the oil companies?  The Ecuador government?  The lawyers or we the people who use fossil fuels?

Our hearts personally go out to the poor people of the Amazon who are slowly being destroyed by civilization.

Yet we see the business view and we do like a warm home and to travel by car.

Plus if it were not for resource exploration and extraction many, many more people would be poor.

Yes, business does exploit.

There is a similar tales of bad exploitation in the part of Ecuador where we live, not with Chevron but with Ascendant Copper Company.

And another with Mitsubishi Mining.

This is because we the consumer buy their product.

Now another dilemma has bubbled up… with pharmaceuticals.

An October 17 Associated press article “Ecuador’s Correa plans to bypass drug patents” says:  President Rafael Correa says he is preparing to override a host of drug patents to provide lower-priced generic medications in Ecuador.  Correa says Ecuador will seek “compulsory licenses” from companies to produce medications considered indispensable.  Under World Trade Organization rules, countries can issue “compulsory licenses” to disregard patent rights, but only after negotiating with the patent owners and paying adequate compensation. Governments can skip the negotiating by declaring a public health emergency.  Correa says access to medicine is a human right and his decision is motivated by “the philosophy of 21st century socialism.”

When I recently noticed this I was really pretty happy to see this.

Merri and  do not use pharmaceuticals ourselves but recognize the importance they play in many people’s lives.  I consider a lot pf pharmaceutical marketing one of the biggest con games in this generation… makes Madoff pale in comparison.

It is hard for me to have sympathy for this industry as I believe that many pharmaceuticals are bilking the US public.

Already many of our readers come to Ecuador to get their prescriptions at a quarter the US cost.  This hopefully will allow this to continue or do even more.

However…

Where does it end?  If patent law loses its validity what incentive will anyone have to risk investing in new inventions and ideas?

So what can we… the little guy do?

There is not much we can do…  but if we all take some small steps, these rivulets become streams that can turn into torrents that do create change.

In Merri’s and my case, we created a small foundation Land of the Sun (LOTS) to help the environment and the poor of Ecuador.   The foundation rejuvenated the hotel Meson de las Flores which now provides a nice number of jobs at above average wages.  Our 2009 project was helping the Village of Topo above Cotacachi with its infrastructure, school and water system.  Also, LOTS sends a dozen children to school and university in our area…including the first university student from Topo.  In the past, we brought water to indigenous villages and an 80,000 gallon reservoir, schools, reforested 250,000 trees and etc….all off the Avenue of the Volcanoes.

LOTS promotes Ecuador flowers… those grown in green plantations certified by Veriflora.

We promote the ideas of having an internet business that sells exports from Ecuador to help stimulate the Ecuador economy… and to help North Americans who find they need new avenues of income.

Here are delegates at our most recent Ecuador export tour…

ecuador-flower-exports

learning…

ecuador-flower-exports

how to conduct…

ecuador-flower-exports

an Ecuador flower party.

In another way we were early advocates of green investing in the mid 2000s through our Spottingtrends.com site and mutilicurrencyinvesting.com where we launched our Green Portfolio Study in 2006.

This is one reason why we focus on green investing and business ideas.
See http://www.garyascott.com/2008/04/01/2064.html

Here perhaps is the most important message.  Self interest is nature’s way of making sure every sentient being remains alive.  Only we human’s  have an imagination to understand the risks of ungoverned expansion.   All other life forms, given the chance will grow themselves out of existence.

Due to the conflict of our vision and this natural self serving impulse, we know that consumers will tend buy what seems most comfortable to them in the short term.

We know that big business will often take advantage of this fact and exploit, without conscious, resources to serve this impulse.

This conflict creates huge problems.  Huge problems create great opportunity… so look for small ways you can serve yourself now and help the future.

Let the big guys fiddle around with their battles while we each do the best we can… trying to make positive environmental and humanitarian statements and changes through the way we live enjoying earning, investing and living in the sun each day.

Gary

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

December 6-8 Blaine Watson’s  Beyond Logic & Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us in 2010.   Attend more than one seminar and tour and save even more plus get the three emailed courses free.

Our multi seminar-tour discounts have grown!

See the 2010 winter schedule below.

2 seminar courses & tours

3 seminar courses & tours   $1199 $1,749

4 seminar courses & tours   $1,399 $2,149

5 seminar courses & tours  $1,599 $2,499

(Be sure to show in the comments section which courses and tours you are attending)

International Club attend up to 52 courses and tours in 2010 free.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour ($499) Couple $749
Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 16-17     Coastal Real Estate Tour
Jan. 19-20    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Jan. 22-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999
Feb. 15-16   Travel to Quito and Andes
Feb  17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Feb. 20-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

Mar. 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999
Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes
Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Mar. 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour
Mar. 22-23    Coastal Real Estate Tour
Mar. 25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour

The greatest asset of all is the ability to labor at what you love wherever you live. This brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we are providing a special three for one offer with our  course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business

This course can help you create your own internet business.

Our emailed course “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Web Based Business” is a continuing educational program.  You receive the first 28 lessons when you enroll and a new lesson every week or two.

This course teaches how to create a web based business and is developed from the ongoing experiences that we have from our successful and profitable internet business.

This course is well worth the enrollment fee of $299… but currently you also receive two additional courses FREE.

The other two courses are #1: International Business Made EZ, and #2: Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.

These two courses have sold for $398 and thousands have paid this price. We add them to your course, at no added cost, as I believe they will help you develop a better business in these crucial times..

Even Better Get All three Courses Free

To make this offer even more compelling,  I am giving everyone who enrolls in all our seminars or tours for any one month, October, November or December, “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course,”  “Self Fulfilled- How to be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ” free.

Here is another Ecuador export delegate at Hilana. Learn about and see more Hilana export products below.

Internet-export-idea

Internet Business & Freedom


An internet business can set us free.

Technology and a global economy allows us to enjoy our business where the sun shines for us.

Broadband has really allowed me to be free with my internet business.

ecuador-internet-business

I do have a very nice office… with a wonderful desk given to me by a friend when he moved from NC to Ecuador!  Honestly I rarely use it.

I like to move around while I work and technology means… I can!

At one stage Merri and I lived in a really remote part of Ecuador… 45 minutes off the highway down this road.

ecuador-internet-business

Our hacienda was at the tip of this bluff.

ecuador-internet-business

This was my front room view.

ecuador-internet-business

We lived with a Taita Yatchak and his apprentices and had no electricity  and no cell phone coverage. I charged my laptop from our old Land Rover. Once a week we drove into town, downloaded messages, sent and picked up email.

Seem strange?  Technology allows our internet businesses to give us even more freedom than this as is explained in a recent USA Today article entitled “Your office: At home, in a tent, or something more formal” by Laura Petrecca.

The article first tells about Katy Leakey who operates jewelry business from a tent in Kenya.  She uses VOIP phone calls, e-mail and Skype to run a global business.  She lives with the Maasai in the Kenyan bush yet sells her jewelry online and in U.S. retail stores.  She turns her passion into profit and also helps the world since she reinvests a portion of her business income in local projects, roads or schools to help the people of Africa.

internet-business

At times a table in the sunny courtyard of our hotel Meson de las Flores is my office.

The USA Today article reviews other mobile internet businesses. Here is an excerpt:  Kathy Levinson’s office environment is vastly different (from Katy Leaky).  The real estate agent works in a 10-foot-by-12-foot refurbished storage closet in the basement of her Port Washington, N.Y., home. She made the windowless office cozy by adding carpet, fresh paint and soft lighting. Leakey and Levinson are part of a surging group: business owners who work from home or in remote or mobile offices. Nearly 9% of all North American adults operate a business out of a home, according to Forrester Research. And the number of people who work remotely will continue to increase worldwide, according to research firm IDC.

Many factors will contribute to the continued growth of remote working. They include technological advances, the desire for more life/work balance and the desire of retiring Baby Boomers and older adults to keep working for personal and financial reasons.

“Folks in their 60s, 70s and 80s have 35 or more years (of life) to enjoy and pay for, but not everyone wants to be a greeter at Walmart,” says Joanne Pratt, a futurist and researcher who has studied the effect that technology has on home-based businesses. She expects many in these age groups to operate businesses from home. “That gives them the luxury of enjoying so-called retirement while keeping a hand in and earning income.”

Laptops, broadband make it possible!

Levinson and Leakey have disparate careers, work styles and offices. Yet they credit the same necessity with enabling them to run businesses on their own terms: technology.

Souped-up laptops, speedy broadband Internet connections and low-priced global phone plans have helped empower millions of people to ditch traditional office settings and run businesses from their homes, cars, vans or even a tent.

Small-business owners now have access to “more powerful tools that used to be available only to large enterprises,” says IDC mobile enterprise research analyst Sean Ryan.

Lower costs, no commute.

There are many lifestyle benefits to running a home-based business: no commute, working in sweatpants and the array of readily available food in the kitchen refrigerator.

There are also some financial benefits. Home-based businesses take in less revenue than businesses that lease space, but they keep more money because there is no rent or other expenses that go with leasing, according to Pratt’s research for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

I love our bubbling creek so sometimes stroll to our deep woods office on Little Horse Creek and work there.

internet-business

7 Fundamental Laws of Your Own Internet Business

Knowing this ancient wisdom gives seven steps to calling on a vast pool of inner intelligence that we can combine with the wonders of modern technology. This combination leads us easily and stresslessly to a healthier and more enjoyable way of creating income and wealth.

#1: All Investments are Controlled by just a Few Natural Laws

Step to take: Look for fundamental economic laws which serve society rather than just for hot investments.

“The ideals which have lighted my way to face life cheerfully have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth. The trite subjects of human effort-outward possessions, outward success, luxury have always seem to me contemptible.” Albert Einstein

#2: All Natural Laws of Economics are Dynamic

Step to take: Look beneath the balance sheet.

“What have you in your houses? And what is it you guard behind fastened doors? Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power? Have you remembrance, the glimmering arches that span the summits of your mind? Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?  Tell me are these things in your houses? Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as a guest, and then becomes the host and then a master?  Ay and it becomes a tamer and with hook and scourge makes puppets of your larger desires. Though its hands are silken, its heart is of iron. It lulls you to sleep only to stand by your bed and jeer at the dignity of the flesh. Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul and then walks grinning in the funeral.” Kahil Gibran

In Western society, we are fooled by triple illusions of material wealth. These illusions are net worth, balance sheets and money. These are measures that never show true wealth and can change quickly.

Such undependable measures of wealth lead to never-ending restlessness. They are like looking at a picture of a picture of a picture and treating this picture as if it were real.

We look at how all business are ideas and how dynamic nature is so too must our business be.

#3: All Wealth is Within

Step to take: Listen to your inner intelligence.

“The course of human history is determined not by what happens in the skies but by what takes place in our hearts.” Sir Arthur Keith

#4: All Economic Laws are Ruled by Cause and Effect

Step to take: Learn to give.

“It is truly one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

#5: The World’s Economy has Infinite Abundance

Step to take: See the infinite possibilities.

“Water is everywhere around you but you see only barriers that keep you from the water.” Rumi
#6: All Economic Laws are Simply Energy and Desire

Step to take: Give attention to intention.

“Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” Swami Sivanada

#7: The Only Certainty is Change

Step to take: Embrace change.

“Do everything with a mind that lets go.” Achaan Chah.

When in Cotacachi, I work from our studio and watch the sunrise over this view.

ecuador-internet-business

When on Ecuador’s coast I work on the balcony of our beach front apartment and watch the sunset.

ecuador-internet-business

We live in miraculous times.  The current economic downturn moves us along… to where we really want to be.  Ancient wisdom and modern technology take us from there.

Merri and I hope that every step of your journey is blessed.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to labor at what you love wherever you live. This brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we are providing a special three for one offer with our  course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business

This course can help you create your own internet business.

Our emailed course “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Web Based Business” is a continuing educational program.  You receive the first 28 lessons when you enroll and a new lesson every week or two.

This course teaches how to create a web based business and is developed from the ongoing experiences that we have from our successful and profitable internet business.

This course is well worth the enrollment fee of $299… but currently you also receive two additional courses FREE.

The other two courses are #1: International Business Made EZ, and #2: Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.

These two courses have sold for $398 and thousands have paid this price. We add them to your course, at no added cost, as I believe they will help you develop a better business in these crucial times..

Even Better Get All three Courses Free

To make this offer even more compelling,  I am giving everyone who enrolls in all our seminars or tours for any one month, October, November or December, “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course,”  “Self Fulfilled- How to be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ” free.

Head south to Ecuador!

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

December 6-8 Beyond Logic Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us in the mountains and at the sea.  Attend more than one seminar and tour and save even more plus get the three emailed courses free.

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799

Read  Your office: At home, in a tent, or something more formal

Electric Investments


Yesterday’s message looked at high voltage investments ideas.

In a moment we’ll see an Ecuador income idea.

First, here are some more electric thoughts about investing in energy.

wind-turbine

Investments in alternate energy can be profitable.  For example in 2006 we introduced the idea of investing in the Vestas Wind Turbine company.  The chart below from finance.yahoo.uk shows that this share has done really well… up four times even after the great 2008 correction.

Vestas-shares

Jyske can buy the VESTAS WIND ADR (VWDRY) of this share for US investors by the way.  Here is a chart from finance.yahoo.com of the ADR since it was introduced.

wind-turbine-chart

Jyske Bank currently has a buy recommendation with the current price of 378.50 Danish kroner  and a target price of 550 Danish kroner. Jyske considers this a HIGH RISK share and says:  Thanks to its market share of about 23% in 2007, Vestas Wind Systems is the world’s largest producer of wind turbines. The company began its production of wind turbines in 1979, and was listed on the stock exchange in 1998. Today Vestas produces and sells wind turbines in sizes from 850 kW to 3.0 MW. The company’s vision is to turn wind into an energy source equal to oil and gas.

They believe the shares are available at an attractive valuation. The company’s streamlining will continue to the benefit the earnings margins and despite the financial crisis, Vestas is facing high growth past 2009, and the management is experienced and strong.

You can get more details from Thomas Fischer at Jyske Global Asset Management at fischer@jgam.com (US investors) or Rene Mathys at Jyske Bank (non US investors) at mathys@jbpb.dk

Yet we must understand that not all alternate energy investments will go well.  See what I mean here.

Of course one malfunction does not mean much… this was just a dramatization… pointing out that we have to invest in a future…that we cannot truly see.

What can we do?

First, we can understand that we may not know the technology but we can know the trends.  Part of the future is in the here and now and we can pick up these trends.

Here are seven trends we can use to reflect upon when looking at new ideas for the future.

Trend #1: The rate of change will increase. This is self evident. Change is speeding up… so new products will not remain “in” as long.  This means bigger is not better. Ian Pierson, a futurist whom I know and respect, said that the value of a company is its idea… less its size and experience.  Fast and small have an advantage now.

Trend #2: The rate of private consumption will grow. From 1884 to 1995 private consumption just about doubled, but increased 25% in the past ten years. This means that the amount of money spent per person will continue to grow. This also means that the amount of discretionary income per person is growing.  There will be more people producing more.

Trend #3: There will be more automation. In the process of automation, mankind supplements muscles first, brains second and feelings third.

Trend #4: Age, gender and wealth are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Trend #5: There will be a shift of attitude from our brain to heart.

Trend #6: Families will turn more and more of their responsibilities to the market place.

Trend #7: The growth in markets will be for stories, not products.

When looking at new technology… run it past this list.  This will not tell you if the technology is best… but may help you understand if the product fits the trends.

Take electric cars as an example.

We have been thinking about electricity here at the farm for some time as we have great hydro potential.

Mark Owen has been helping us research this and sent us this note about electric cars.

Electric Car Idea

Those readers who were able to get to the final paragraphs of my Electric Bicycle article might remember that I myself wondered what the Electric Bike Industry might lead to. I questioned how the industry could become more mainstream, how could it address safety concerns, convenience, and of course speed. I also pondered the question: “Two wheels or Three?”

Aptera answers “Three.”

electric-car

Aptera

After completing the article I researched a new electric “car” named the Aptera Typ-2e. This is an extraordinary vehicle on many accounts. The reason I italicized the word car when describing this vehicle is that it will be considered a motorcycle by the US government. It has three wheels, two in front, one in back. The cockpit is teardrop shaped cocoon with airbags, two comfy-looking seats, and a very sophisticated dashboard. Many have said the interior of the cockpit makes it seem like you are in a small airplane.

I have seen this car featured by videographers, and it is purported to have extraordinary acceleration and top speed. Please visit the Aptera Forum for the latest specifications sheets

I am sure it will be faster, safer, and more convenient than my electric bike.

It will cost a little more, though. Aptera reports they will be delivering the first of their vehicles in October of 2009, for an estimated cost of between $25,000.00 and $40,000. This vehicle is by far my favorite of all the electrics You may see the Aptera and 26 other electric cars reviewed here

If any reader has access to the Aptera, please invite me for a test drive, no matter where you are.

Maybe in a few years, when Aptera gets their initial “bugs” worked out, and the price slides down a bit due to enhanced production, you will see me and my daughter grinning behind the wheel of one of these cars.

This car differs a lot from the Fisker Karma we reviewed in yesterday’s post.

Will people buy the stylish Karma or the more functional Aptera?

Each of these technologies may help a bit.  Some solar… some wind… hydro… better batteries and such plus most importantly energy use reduction.

Perhaps micro production and savings will be the in thing instead just as the PC overwhelmed the mainframe computer.

Mark for example has been looking at micro wind power for us.  Wind energy is normal considered expensive… but Mark shows here that it does not need to be.  He writes:

Gary, I was at the farm a couple of times this winter. I went to the top and felt the consistency and strength of the wind up there. I have done lots of research on the cost-effectiveness of installing a windmill system. These pre-made windmill systems are expensive. Even with consistent wind, it takes a long time for a windmill system to pay back its initial investment costs.

I researched making our own windmill. It will be easy and cost eight cents on the dollar. I have already purchased a 33 foot aluminum sailboat mast. It is quite strong and will handle a medium-sized windmill. I would like to purchase the remaining components. The motor would cost about $200.00 (motor/generator, they are both the same thing). I would also like to purchase a fan blade kit. I think after the initial purchase, I will be able to manufacture our own fan blades. I will produce a template from the purchased blades, then manufacture future blade systems from the template. I think I can purchase the blade kit for another $100.

Perhaps the way of we receive, store and use energy will evolve into many inexpensive, small devices each saving a bit… as PCs and then lap tops and now hand helped devices have altered the way we receive and transmit information.   

We can see a bit of this at Neuton Power.  I have used a Neuton Electric lawn mower for five or six years and finally the battery died.  When I called to get a new one, I discovered they also have electric weed eaters, chain saws, hedge trimmers, blowers and power carts. The rep explained that when they introduced their weed eater they were overwhelmed with 1,500 orders.

I have mine on back order. It will take months for them to fill demand… so electric replacing gas is in… perhaps for now in small ways… but watch for this trend to grow.

Here is another nifty idea that saves energy and could create a business opportunity in Ecuador… the solar or sun oven.

sun-oven

Sun ovens cook with the sun… no electricity… fossil fuel, wood, charcoal or any pollution are required.   This may offer a  business opportunity in Ecuador or anywhere sunny.  Learn more about solar ovens here.

Whether the savings are large…

wind-turbine

Worlds-Largest-Wind-Turbine-Generator

or small…

energy-saver

Neuton electric weed eater.

Investing in alternate energy is wise for the future.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Thank you for your inspiration and information outlining foreign banking and retirement.  Your comments and suggestions are welcome for planning the steps to evaluate the early stages of living abroad.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina with our webmaster  David Cross & Thomas Fischer of JGAM

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour (early sign up before Sept. 1, $499 per person).

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799

High Voltage International Investing


Here are some international investing ideas that could bring a shock.

We can add energy to our international investment portfolios with investments in green energy!

electric-car

Will the new Chevy Volt add energy into an investment portfolio?

But which green investments make sense?

Ecuador for example is regreening the Galapagos. We’ll see why and how in a moment.  Does investing there provide an opportunity?

Green and alternate energy is important because the world has a lot of wasted energy in modern lifestyles…. that the environment can no longer afford.

Investing in electric energy not always simple though.

One main rule of good investing is to invest in what you know.  Yet the nature of the next new era of productivity is unknown.

In the computer era, who knew anything about Windows when Microsoft began?  In the .com era who knew what impact the internet would bring?  How can we imagine the unimaginable?

Who knows what will be …”the thing” of sustainability in the future?

For example, a recent message Investing in Chaos looked at the ideas of investing in new battery technology.  The idea looked pretty good to me… but a reader just sent me this note:

Hello Gary,  Your columns are a daily joy to read for me, including yesterday’s “Investing in Chaos” and the article it referenced about Ceramatec’s ‘wonder battery’.  Being a specialist in renewable solar electric energy, I’ve read hundreds of articles over three decades written for purposes of sensationalizing hardware equivalents of software ‘vaporware’, and this one fits the bill perfectly.

Identifying truly new technologies possessing wide ranging, paradigm-busting potential, is not easy, especially for readers and investors depending upon what they read in popular sources like newspapers as being bona-fide journalism.

Having received a great deal of very high value from your writings, I thought I’d send back a few words given this topic is so near and dear to my own heart and personal passion for purity in all things energetic (physical and otherwise).

Because breakthrough technologies involving renewable energy – especially solar-electric (photovoltaic) power, including batteries of all types – is core and central to my own life career work as an electrical engineer and research scientist in this field, I believe I can offer your readers a bit of technical feedback:

First and foremost, it is valid that storage of electricity generated by photovoltaic solar power sources – in batteries of many types, sizes and costs – is nearly as vital a technology as the solar cells that charge them. The claim in this article, though, that Ceramatec’s battery ‘concept’ (NOT a product yet, by a very long shot)”… could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.”

This is a huge overstatement, to say the least.

In no way would their technology, if and when ultimately developed into a useful product, compare to any one of a long list of truly authentic alternative energy breakthroughs, such as: silicon semiconductors (solar cells), electronic devices (MOSFET transistors, integrated circuits galore), power conversion methods (inverters), optical lenses (fresnel and others), super-insulators (thermal barriers), or even plain old window glass (for passive heating and active heat collectors).

Although several errors and misstatements fill the article, one in particular really stands out.

Readers may recognize its error quickly when explained economically: …”With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery’s life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour”

Re-read that last paragraph and let the information really sink in.

Knowing that batteries, like bank accounts, only store what’s put into them, the essential question  is: where do deposits come from, and what do they cost?

In solar energy systems, it’s solar energy in that equals energy out.  With the battery being not a SOURCE of energy but simply a ‘bank’, or RESERVOIR in which to temporarily store what’s generated by day for use at night.

Stating the daily cost of a battery (“less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour”), which, remember, supplies NO power (it only stores it) while in the same sentence making NO mention of the cost of what DOES supply the power, whether it be solar panels, wind turbines or just the normal electric-utility grid, implies at best and misleads at worst that the battery cost is all that counts, as if it were the SOURCE of the power itself.

And then comparing it so favorably to the cost of electricity from the utility (8 cents per kilowatt hour) which DOES SUPPLY ALL the power, is obviously grossly misleading; the TOTAL cost would be the sum of BOTH, or 3 + 8 or 11 cents per kilowatt hour!

Either the author has near zero understanding of what batteries do (store energy) and do not do (generate it), or as is often the case in local newspapers writing about local businesses, another agenda is being served.  To tell readers that “buckets deliver water cheap without being refilled”, can only cause misplaced interest.   Unfortunately, every bucket and battery and bank account must be refilled at some cost. The cost of the bucket should be, and usually is, nearly negligible. Cheap buckets do not mean cheap water.

Many thanks for all you do to bring so many new ideas, concepts, tools and awareness to all of us readers who tune into your thinking regularly.

The reminder from this reader provides a good lesson that we always have to use diligence in understanding the future. And aren’t we thankful when readers can come forth with information on these complicated subjects!  When we invest in new ideas and technology that we do not know… go slow!

The same questions can be raised about electric cars.

electric-car

The picture above is from a USA Today article entitled “Plug-in Fisker Karma car is stylishly environmental” by Chris Woodyard.  Here is an excerpt: Even as Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Rolls-Royces prowled the avenue, the obscure silver sedan parked at the curb gathered its share of stares and curiosity.

The Fisker Karma, as it is called, has looks that rival a Mercedes-Benz roadster. Yet the key to what makes it different is emblazoned on the sides in chrome letters:

The maker, Fisker Automotive, is trying to carve out a niche in what is fast becoming a crowded field of next-generation electric vehicles: a high-performance eco-car loaded with style.

The company has taken more than 1,400 refundable deposits so far for the Karma, which has a starting price of $87,900 and can top $100,000. The car can be driven for 50 miles on electric power alone before its auxiliary gasoline engine fires up to generate more juice and extend the range to up to 300 miles. The engine never directly drives the wheels.

The point never mentioned is the cost of electricity to charge the Karma.

This cost may not be much… I do not know and this is the point.  Use diligence as we move into new technologies.

See Jyske TV for an interview with Henrik Fisker the head of this company

Galapagos Green

Even Galapagos is turning to solar and wind power. Every year, more than 140,000 tourists descend on Galapagos and the island’s population has tripled to nearly 30,000 in the past two decades. To support all those people, 10 million gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline are shipped to the Galápagos annually, a fifth of which is used just to generate electricity. Regular tanker traffic in one of Earth’s most fragile ecosystems is a disaster waiting to happen (just ask an Alaskan), so the Ecuadoran government is trying to go green. Naturally, the remote location involves challenges, but several projects to cut fuel use and boost protections are up and running, with more in the works. See how Galapagos is becoming more green here.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Merri, I am sitting here with a smile on my face.  I am always amazed at the turn around that I get from my emails to you.  I know you are busy with all of the projects that you and Gary address on a daily basis and appreciate very much you making time for mine.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina with our webmaster  David Cross & Thomas Fischer of JGAM

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour (early sign up before Sept. 1, $499 per person).

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799

Read the entire USA Today article Plug-in Fisker Karma car is stylishly environmental

International Investment Purification


What is the difference between health and wealth? Not much, just WH.   They are very connected. Without good health, wealth may not last long…  nor is wealth very important when health fails, except to regain health.

We can apply an idea about having better health through purification, to enhance our wealth.  We can improve our wealth by removing toxic investments from our portfolio.

In a moment we’ll also look at investing in sustainable timber and see an Ecuador visa update.

sustainable-investment

Sustainable Timber.

First, let me begin with a purification health tip.

The tip is in the summer eat a watermelon.  Many ancient healing traditions (including Andean) view the body as having several elements including water, fire and air. Imbalances of these elements reduces energy, vitality, even leads to illness. The seasons too contain elements of fire, water and air. Water is predominant in spring, fire in summer and air in autumn-winter. Our bodies tend to accumulate these predominances during the season. In winter we have air imbalances (leading to dry throat called colds). In spring we pick up too much water (runny noses we identify as allergies, etc.). So at the beginning of each new season, it’s a great idea to clean the system out.

Watermelon is a cleanser of heat. During the summer the body accumulates heat.  Eat a whole, big watermelon if you can. This works in the summer when the flushing action removes excessive fire, water and air. The melon must be fresh, cut and eaten within 20 minutes. Watermelon is a sponge that absorbs and flushes free radicals from the system. If you let the melon sit after cutting, it oxidizes and loses its cleansing capacity.

Sound crazy? I thought so but tried it after watching a Shaman prescribe it for a woman suffering a severe rash (a summer fire imbalance). I felt so good, I make this a regular habit each summer. About once a month I eat only watermelon… three in a day if I can.

So how do we purify our investment & business portfolios?

One really simple tip for detoxifying your investment portfolio is to sell your losers and keep your winners.

This sounds awfully simple but forty years of working with investors has shown that most investors do exactly the opposite… except the pros. They all know… sell the losers.  Next time you invest, set a limit you will allow the investment to drop before you sell.  Stick to it!

The second trick is review your portfolio now. Are there any investments you hold that you would not buy right now?  Consider selling them. Take the loss and look for something better.

Another way to purify business and investments is to simply take a holistic long term view with expanded horizons.

Since we were looking at watermelon purification, let’s take investments in nutrition as an example.

Here is an excerpt from an article in Time magazine entitled “The Real Cost of Cheap Food” by Bryan Walsh:

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won’t bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He’s fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he’ll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That’s the state of your bacon — circa 2009.

The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can’t even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming — our energy-intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy.

And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous. A series of recalls involving contaminated foods this year — including an outbreak of salmonella from tainted peanuts that killed at least eight people and sickened 600 — has consumers rightly worried about the safety of their meals. A food system — from seed to 7‑Eleven — that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America’s obesity epidemic. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. “The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us,” says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

First Lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden has so far yielded more than 225 lb. of organic produce — and tons of powerful symbolism. But hers is still a losing battle. Despite increasing public awareness, sustainable agriculture, while the fastest-growing sector of the food industry, remains a tiny enterprise: according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), less than 1% of American cropland is farmed organically. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find. And while large companies like General Mills have opened organic divisions, purists worry that the very definition of sustainability will be co-opted as a result.

But we don’t have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don’t take care of your land, it can’t take care of you.

Big problems create opportunity and investments in apparently obscure but sustainable food and energy ideas can help take toxicity out of your business as well as investment portfolio.

Sustainable may not seem profitable now… but neither did Microsoft when the idea of individual PCs began.

Sustainability is vital to our future. Sustainability is a huge problem and hence opportunity so though it will not arrive overnight…this is a sector we can invest in to detoxify our wealth.

Since we are connected to our investments… this process will also help us learn to eat and live better and help purify our health as well.

Sustainable Tables

Another way to purify your portfolio is to look for opportunities where you invest your own energy as well as your cash… like we are doing with our value added sustainable timber below.

Here is one little idea we are trying in our new little Blue Ridge Crafts business.

For years I have written that timber is a great investment.  Timber is the only commodity where the supply increases even when demand is down.  All you have to do during bad times… of low demand… like now is don’t sell.  Your timber continues to grow!

Now we are doing a business using dead timber and adding value!

We are turning dead wood, like this poplar log, into a business.

sustainable-investment

This poplar sitting right behind our house died a few years ago and dropped branches on the house all winter. This spring we trimmed off the branches and last week brought it down… cut it in three pieces and dragged them to one of our fields.

We set up a portable mill and…

sustainable-timber

cut over a thousand board feet of nice poplar planks.

sustainable-investment

We also…

sustainable-timber

cut one huge 13 foot long slab for a table top so if anyone is interested in a 12 foot poplar table… that you help design yourself… let us know.

This is a pretty small step towards sustainability but if we all think about ways to purify our investments, our business and body, our health and our wealth…at the big level and small will improve.

Ecuador Visa Update

A reader who travels frequently in business asked how to handle  the fact that Ecuador immigration policy does not allow a new resident to leave for more than 90 days a year for the first two years.

We checked with one of our Ecuador Living advisers, an attorney who specializes in immigration, who replied:

Please notice that in theory all resident visas come with the obligation not lo leave Ecuador for more than 90 days a year in the first two years.

Nevertheless, please be advised that authorities until now have not automatically removed a resident visa for this matter.

We have noticed that once the visa is stamped and if the passport is valid for more than two years, then you do not need to go to the Ecuadorian immigration authorities for anything else. This reduces the risk of the authorities reviewing how long you have you been outside of Ecuador during the first two years.

A good number of our clients have obtained the resident visa and have been outside of Ecuador far more than the 90 days with no complication whatsoever.

Anther option is to travel into Ecuador on a tourist visa which allows a stay in Ecuador for up to 90 days every year and this can be extended  for 90 days more.

Whether you want to live, do business or and invest in Ecuador, Smalltown USA or anywhere in the world… if you think sustainable, you are thinking… the future. This is a great place to be.

Gary

How We Can Serve You

How to Have Real Safety

Regain Real Security

There is a path to true security.

I was reminded of this once when I made a horrible mistake.  Almost!

The supposed error?  Letting my mind wander six decades back to an hour I spent with a girl.

Learn from this near disaster, seven most powerful sources of wealth, health, security and fulfillment in this era.

The girl was pretty and blond.  Terry was her name. My imagination spanned decades returning to my Oregon roots seeing her as if she were there.

We were 11 or 12 and had known each other since we started Rockwood grade school.  Just buddies, our non-romantic friendship lasted 12 years, from first grade till high school’s end.  Then she went off to Pepperdine College in California.  I started traveling the world.  Never saw her again.  I hope her life has gone well.  But until that reflection I’d never thought much of Terry in so many years.

What could have been the tragic error was letting that memory touch my heart.  Two kids, walking on a crisp, Pacific Northwest autumnal afternoon.

We walked down a sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt path.  Huge, fat, green Douglas firs lined the road.  Traffic was no problem, not many cars.  Crossing Stark Street we turned left, hiking three blocks to 182nd.  There we passed an old clapboard candy store.  I can still hear the wooden sidewalk of that store slap beneath my feet, felt the soggy planks sag and smelled astringent pitch from the fir trees.  Then we turned right, up 182nd for about a mile.  There was Terry’s house.

I carried on, walking through a big field, waist high grass turned straw brown by an early frost.  There were dozens of paths made by who knows what.  Animals perhaps or countless generations of other kids walking home alone from school.  I chose one following it to another wood of tall, rough-barked fir.  Crossing one more field, I climbed a rock wall, struggled through a barbed wire fence (my Mom hated that fence ripping my jeans).  I was home!

Sweet simplicity, that dream.  Two kids holding hands, walking on a dirt trail under a crisp, but blue, sunny sky.  Pure innocence.

My tragic error was looking back.  I returned to Rockwood, Oregon with Merri and my kids to show them this part of their roots.  Following the route, Terry and I had walked were the candy store, grange hall, old wooden buildings and their home spun honesty and charm.

Instead we found six lanes of fast, frantic traffic and road rage.  McDonalds, KFC, strip shopping centers.  The car radio blared warnings of local gangs and drive-by-shootings. Beauty, innocence, sweet simplicity, replaced by drive ins and drive bys.  Gangs and drive-by shootings replacing a tender walk in the sun.  Good bye memories, good bye.

How can our kids walk in places like this?  How can we return to those old feeling of security and comfort?

How can any of us possibly keep pace in this world that’s moving so fast?  Then something inside snapped. “There has to be an answer for honest, hard working folks to enjoy the wonderful opportunities of today and regain what we’ve lost over the past forty years”, I swore to myself.

How can we keep up, without having such a fast paced life we turn into machines?  Where do we find time for God, family, charity, and our friends?  How can we rediscover those sun filled, pine needle covered, dirt paths we want to walk?

“There has to be places that are still innocent and pure”, I thought.  “There has to be a way of life that does not pound us with stress”.

This thinking led me to begin reviewing the thousands of economic and business experiences I have shared with readers over the decades.  This started a search for a simpler way of life and a better place to earn and protect our wealth.

By digging, asking and observing, traveling and talking to investors and investment managers all over the world I found that there are true paths to real security in the here and now.  That knowledge helped me develop courses on how to have natural health, everlasting wealth and purposeful investments.

This knowledge helped Merri and me invest in stocks and real estate all over the world.  It helped us find and develop Merrily Farms into a sanctuary here on Little Horse Creek.

That almost error led us to create an entire portfolio of information on how to keep pace, get ahead, enjoy our modern society but, to enjoy life wherever you choose without having to move too fast.

This is why I am making a special three day “Let’s get our lives back offer”.

“What would you think in the last 30 seconds of your life if you were the richest man in the world but were unhappy?”

This quote is from the opening slide of our Value Investing Seminar, “How to Secure Your Future With a Value Breakout Plan”.   This a vital question because few investors think about the value of comfort and happiness.  Yet the truth is, those who are comfortable and happy with their investments are most likely to make good investment, business and lifestyle decisions.

Without comfort, no matter how much money a person has changes are, they’ll eventually lose it or kill themselves with stress from worry.

There is a way to have the perfect form of financial security.  Let’s call it the perfect pension.  To help understand how to build an unshakable economic platform, here is Part One of the report, The Pruppie Factor.

The Pruppie Factor – Seven Steps to Comfortable Living & Profits.

“May you live in interesting times”.  That’s a Chinese curse that seems to have been cast on our modern world.  We can enjoy comfort and profits in the year ahead despite this fact.

Become a Pruppie.  Integrate your earning with your investing and enjoy peak living, everlasting wealth and natural health with PIEC Investing in the year ahead.

Before we look at what PIEC means, let’s delve into Pruppieism, the new economic and social realism.  Pruppies expect everything to expand.  They take advantage of every new benefit and technology they can.  Pruppies enjoy using the fruits of our ancestor’s deliberations and labors to earn in this advanced technological world.  They also engage in activity that they love that would sustain them in case society and the incredibly intricate weave of our global economy and society should fail.

Pruppies are prepared in case everything, everywhere, or at least everything relating to their income and savings fails and the fabric that surrounds their lives disintegrates into an unknown veil.  Yet a Pruppie’s preparation is not a sacrifice, but a joy as you will see.

Hope springs eternal and it should.  One of the key themes in my first book, Passport to International Profit, (published in the 1970s) was “The Sun Always Shines Somewhere”.  This thought has been in and remains a foundation of everything I do.

Sometimes this sunshine is hard to see because the press always focuses on doom and gloom.  Current news often makes the world seem about to end.  We cannot blame the press. Bad news sells.  The majority seem to want to worry instead of learn about all that’s good.  This does not make doom and gloom right.  This is why the majority are also the rich portion of the population, but bad news is an economic fact for the press.

Yet despite all the negative headlines, we have lived through the Cold War and MAD, Y2K, GridX II, the Peak Oil Crisis, the recession of the 1970s, 1980s 2007, etc. etc. etc.  Chicken Little is always out there, selling the falling sky.  Don’t buy into this story!

History suggests that there will always be opportunity.  The sun always shines somewhere.

Brexit, global warming and the election of Donald trump as President of the United States are 2016 examples of how the press gravitates to negative news.  These three events may be bad news or not.  The future will tell, but they are examples of how the media focuses on tiny parts of our infinite existence.  They can make anything and just about everything seem negative.  This can blind us to the positive realities ahead, if we let it.  Don’t.  Expect that the world will remain standing and look for opportunity instead!

Our wealth and economic opportunity is pushed by supply and demand.  We are part of a growing global population.  New technology makes more people, as a whole, more productive every day.  The world has increasingly larger markets creating more supply in increasingly efficient ways.

This reality increases everyone’s wealth.  Yes there is a lot of bad news in many places.  There is inequality.  There is crime.  There is war and hate and injustice.   Despite these negatives there is even more that is positive.  Opportunity grows.

Pruppies tap into and use every bit of the good news they can.  They have a plan B if everything goes wrong, but Plan B is based on something a Pruppie wants to do we love, not just a shelter from bad news.

At the end of this report, you’ll find three day special offer that can help you integrate earning and investing for the ultimate form of profit and safety.

Imagine this example of Pruppism.  The Tiffany lamp casts an amber glow, rich, ivory and warm in the grey gloom of early dusk.  The gold knobbed mahogany desk, its deep patina waxed and smooth, shines with reflections of ancient leather Chesterfields stuffed full, but rumpled with age and of maritime shots that hang in brass frames on the wall. The room speaks of settled tradition, the kind that might never end.  But thoughts instead are on the demise of the business that has supported this room.

The late Jim Slater of Slater Walker, a British industrial conglomerate turned bank in the 1970s was in that room.  I recall his bank’s collapse well as I was living in Hong Kong and Slater Walker was a huge going concern in what was a British colony in those days.  The Slater Walker crash was big news that unsettled the entire British banking system at the time.

Slater, the founder, had been a really high roller, using every modern banking tactic available including buying many assets with cheap loans.  Then in the mid 1970s banking crisis interest rates skyrocketed and his bank was unable to refinance its debt.  The company failed and Slater had to resign.  Numerous charges were brought against him and he spent considerable time defending what he had done.

In the end he was only fined a nominal sum but despite this, his banking career was well and truly dead.

However he had already moved on.

He wrote about this in his autobiography, “Return To Go”.  He had always had a hobby making puppet shows and telling stories to his children, so instead of banking, he turned his passion into profit and wrote some children’s books.  His first effort sold a respectable 35,000 copies.  His next a monster series for younger children, became a huge hit.

He had also maintained a hobby of salmon fishing so again turned his passion into profit by creating a business that bought up fishing rights and resold them as time-shares.  He had quite a success.

Some day a catastrophe beyond our control could redirect the course of our lives.  We might lose a job, learn that our pension won’t pay or that our dollars won’t buy as much as they must.

Though Jim Slater was a banker, outside economic forces beyond his control caused his business disaster.  Yet he had options because he had been doing things he loved that were not related to his banking, but could become useful income generators in difficult time.

I do not know if Slater understood Pruppism but that’s what he was practicing.

Pruppism is a positive realism based on the knowledge that much of our lives are directed by events that we do not know or expect and could not change them even if we did.  There is always something we do not know and that’s okay.

Years ago I was speaking at an investing seminar in Marbella Spain.  One of the speakers was a brilliant strategist, Johan Peter Paludan, of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies.  This institute has a large interdisciplinary staff with expertise in economics, political science, ethnography, psychology, engineering, PR and sociology.  They identify and analyze global trends that influence the future.  Paludan was speaking of these trends and answering questions that delegates had about the world’s economic future.

One delegate asked what to do if there was a global nuclear exchange.  Paludan replied that the results of some events are so unpredictable that it is not worth trying to plan for them.

This thought has stuck with me for decades because it helped me realize that no matter how cautious, how defensive and careful we are, there are events that we cannot even imagine that can turn our lives upside down, for the good or bad.  With this in mind my wife Merri and I have created a lifestyle where we turn our passions into profit but in a way that whatever happens we are likely to be in a position to spot the positive and the opportunity.

A PIEC Experience

Pruppies gain the benefits of PIEC wealth.  PIEC is an acronym for “Personal Income Earning Corridor”.  PIEC income and wealth come from doing what you do for love, rather than just the money.

Traditionally people get jobs to create income.  They work to live and support their lifestyle while attempting to spend less than they earn.  They hope, that maybe the savings will bring, sometime in the future, a lifestyle of doing something enjoyable without work.

Pruppies reverse the priorities.  Instead of working for money to save and invest, they focus their prime effort on doing something they enjoy right now.  Then they learn how to enjoy the effort in some profitable way.  They learn to create “Avenues of Abundance” that combine lifestyle with the necessary task of accumulating wealth.

If economic circumstances tie them to an existing income effort, they create hobbies that are income producers of the future.

For example, if a Pruppie loves golf; instead of working six days a week, 50 weeks a year just to golf on Sundays and during short vacations, instead he or she will create a business in some aspect of the golfing trade.

In another example, a client of mine, who loved animals became a vet.  But he learned that the vet’s lifestyle was not one he enjoyed.  He wanted to travel and move around, which is difficult for a professional who needs to stay at his office and build a practice.  So he built a business that prepares special animal foods for race horses.  Now he travels globally visiting horse breeders and makes much more money as well.

Pruppies combine money with time, energy and desires.  They generate income doing something desired.  Desire and fulfillment become at least as, if not more, important as the money.

#1: Do What You Love!

The reason PIECs work well is that when we love to do something, we do it better, for longer and with greater enthusiasm.

Effort, determination and tenacity are wealth building attributes that cannot fail.  Yet Pruppism does not mean we should suddenly abandon our jobs and try becoming golf pros, when we have never been able to break 100.  Smart Pruppies start small and gradually expand into their passion.

For example, as a writer and lecturer, I was never fully satisfied sitting behind a desk or standing on a podium all day long, even though I was making over a million bucks a year. I’m the physical, outdoors type and yearned for exercise and the wilds of the deep woods. “What good’s the money if this isn’t fun?” I often asked myself.

Rather than quit writing and teaching, I looked for ways to combine these professions with the outdoor life.  Through research I learned that many city folk like myself yearn to be in the primitive outdoors.  So I bought an isolated farm high in the Blue Ridge Mountains and an Andean plantation high in Ecuador where I developed seminar centers with charming but simple dwellings, set in rustic surroundings, with clean water and pure air.  Now I live in nature so after I finish the writing or talking, I can walk in the woods or take my axe and chop firewood or something physical.  I’ve combined my writing with physical work and have blended the life I want, with my readers’ needs in a way that makes great financial sense.

We built a series of cabins in the wild that bring more profits than most stocks or bonds could ever return.

The process took six years to shift. Now we have been at this for nearly two decades and we are far from finished.  But while doing what we love, who cares? This is one of the great benefits of PIEC investing. We can slow down and enjoy the work instead of always rushing ahead, looking for something more.

Those who work nine to five can start PIEC businesses part time if they are too uneasy to quit their jobs. Others, who like myself, already have a business can slowly shift their product or service in a sensible way and let it evolve toward their PIEC.

But where do we start?

There is a seven step process we can all use whether we have our own careers, a business or even if we are retired (PIEC investing is especially good for retired folks who have found the supposed good life flat or financially short).

The first step is to get a clear idea or vision of our dream.  This is sometimes harder to achieve than it seems.  We are so deluged with false ideals from Washington, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, etc. that we have to stop and really take stock.  What do we sincerely want?

There is a very practical economic reason to look inwards for wealth.  Warren Buffet recommends that we only invest in what we understand. What can we understand better than ourselves?

This inner search will lead us to an ideal that begins the second step which is gaining enthusiasm.  How can we be anything but enthusiastic about finally fulfilling our deepest dreams?  The enthusiasm leads to the third step; gaining an education.

We need to find out everything we can about our idea.  To succeed we must take the third step and become real experts in the product or service we offer.

Fourth, this educational process allows us to develop an intelligent, focused business plan we can act upon and the action is the fifth step which brings us the experience. Experience gives us the sixth step, a financial loss or profit.  We always profit in increased knowledge which creates the seventh step, more ideas.

Then the entire cycle starts all over again: Idea, Enthusiasm, Education, Action, Experience, Financial Profit and New Ideas.

This is a way to keep adding new opportunities into our lives.  Business is rarely static. It is an ever evolving process instead.

This seven step cycle may take days, weeks, months or years, but the moment you begin you’ll start moving into an avenue of affluence where you love your work so though money isn’t your main goal it comes more easily.

#2: Do what you love, but also be of service.  Do something for others that is meaningful and important to you.

We all have a purpose in life and when we are filling it, we feel fulfilled.  Wealth and fulfillment is the goal.  Fulfillment is important because of the law of diminishing returns.  A 2008 study that analyzed Gallup surveys of 450,000 Americans suggested that day-to-day contentment improves until income hits around $75,000 per annum.  After that, more money just brings more stuff, with far less gain in happiness.  Income beyond $75,000 does not do much for a person’s daily mood.

This is a pretty general study and regional differences in costs, inflation and life circumstances will create many fluctuations from this norm, but the point is when money is the main goal, the better you get, the harder it will be to gain satisfaction.

Giving, on the other hand, never has limitations, especially when the giving helps complete a purpose that is part of our destiny.

This is true in business and investing.  A study of investors for example found that investors with socially responsible ideals gained the best returns.  A dual goal of profit and achieving some social benefit provides a purpose beyond returns.  This brings comfort and determination to the investments and the added stick-to-it-ness helps increase profits.

The financial giant State Street Corporation’s Center for Applied Research did an 18 month study of 7,000 investors to get a better understanding of the role incentives play in making investment decisions.  Based on this study a new measure of investment performance called “Phi” was created.  Portfolios were previous rated by their Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Phi is the newest measure of performance.

Alpha measures an investment’s performance against a market index.  If the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is up 10 percent and a mutual fund is up 15 percent, for example, that 5 percentage point difference is alpha.

Beta is the return of any given market.  And charting beta is what a passive index fund does.  Comparing different indexes’ beta — say domestic equities and international bonds — helps investors in deciding how to allocate their investments.

Gamma is a measure of the impact on returns of more intelligent financial planning decisions.  A Gamma rating quantifies the additional value that can be achieved by optimal asset allocation, a dynamic withdrawal strategy, incorporating guaranteed income products (i.e., annuities), tax-efficient decisions, and liability-relative asset allocation optimization.

What phi aims to add is a way for investors to quantify how their motivations — or those of the people managing their money — will affect long-term investment returns.

The study examined what motivates a person to invest — or not and found that main investment motivations are market-based motives, the most frequent and powerful being fear in the market.  Both market motivations, the prospect of profit and the fear of loss, can have a negative effect on long-term performance.

A deep sense of purpose is what causes a high phi score.  A high phi factor is not about outperforming markets or peers, and it’s not an asset-gathering measure of performance.  Pi performance is defined as sustainable investing with a deeper sense of purpose.

People who invested with socially responsible ideals did best in the study.  The dual goal of profit and achieving some social benefit provides a purpose beyond returns.  This brings comfort and determination to the investments.

The study helped define three aspects of investing that are generally ignored, purpose, habits and incentives.

Purpose.  Purpose requires some soul-searching questions about what we each want our life to be.  This purpose is more important than the investment goal.  The purpose of the money we have becomes more important than the amount in the portfolio.

Habits.  Habits come next because we need to create habits and routines that keep us on the path of our unique purpose.  The marketplace does all it can to distract us from our goals.  There is an endless stream of news, rumor, conjecture, facts figures, ideas and tactics generated by every part of every stock market aimed at getting us to act in ways that benefit the agenda of others.

Habits help us avoid being distracted from what we are meant and want to do.  The muffle the noise of Madison Avenue, the spin from Washington DC and the hidden agendas of big business.

Incentive.  Changing incentives to accomplish a purpose instead of a numerical (percentage or profit) goal helps us adopt better behavior.  We react to accomplishing our meaningful purpose instead of drama created by media as well as manipulation and short term whims in markets.

The study showed that changing incentives in this way improved phi when they had a meaningful impact on a person’s investment strategy.

The study found these facts: Every one-point increase in people’s orientation toward investment goals with a purpose — and the scale is 0 to 3 — equated to 42 percent greater odds that the investors know what they are paying in fees, 37 percent greater odds that investors are not rejecting their financial adviser, 38 percent greater odds that the people consider investing in socially responsible investments and 79 percent greater odds that investors will trade less frequently, the research found.

As in so many others cases, two of the most important factors of success are keeping costs and trading activity low.  These are among the most powerful ways to increase wealth.  Having greater fulfillment as well as more wealth is a bonus that Pruppies call “Everlasting Wealth”.

Figure out what is really important in life for you and then find ways to invest in that purpose.  When you do, you’ll be on a solid path to everlasting wealth that is not so easily diverted by the daily drama that seems to be unfolding in the modern world.

Learn to focus your investments using purpose as the most important investment goal.  The purpose of money becomes more important than the amount.

Learn how to create habits and routines that keep us on the path of our unique purpose.  The market will do all it can to distract us from our goals.  Understand that many banks, brokers, the media, the government and commerce all have agendas to take our money, not make more for us.   Good wealth habits and routines protect us from this.

#3: Integrate your earning and investing. 

Long term success in business and investing are determined by control and comfort.

Comfort comes from feeling in control, but since there is always something we do not know, real comfort comes from knowing that we are serving a valuable purpose, the best we can, regardless of how events unfold.

Real comfort helps maintain determination, dedication and enthusiasm, all among the most vital parts in the process of succeeding in investing and business.

Our own business increases comfort because a business is simply an investment that gives us more control due to the addition of our own time and energy. 

A Personal Income Earning Corridor (PIEC) begin with a main income generator that we control.  For some this is a job with a salary.  For others it is a pension. For many it is their own business.

Integration of business and investing is important because investments are not always good income generators.

Years ago I managed an investment portfolio for Canada’s largest private investment management firm.  One day, during lunch with the president of the firm, we discussed the difficulties of professional fund management.  He explained that one of his biggest problems was the excessive expectation of customers.

“I have a retired client who has a million dollars”, he said.  “The client wants $90,000 a year to live on.  In a good year, we might earn 11%.  The client can take 9%. Our fee is 1% and the client’s fund increase by 1%.  In a bad year, we might earn 5%. The client takes 9%.  Our fee is 1% and the client’s funds drop by $50,000.  In the next year the client has even less to work with so a withdrawal of $90,000 may be more than 9% of the portfolio.  The client tends to take even more in good years, but never reduces the demand in bad years.”

The number one golden rule of investing is that there is always something we do not know.  Risk is always our partner.  When we invest, there is always potential that will negatively affect our financial welfare.  Our investments might rise or fall because of market conditions (market risk).  Corporate decisions, such as whether to expand into a new area of business or merge with another company, can affect the value of our investments (business risk).  If we own an international investment, events within that country can affect our investment.  There is both political and currency risk.  There is liquidity risk because we may need to draw on an investment at a time when it price is low.

Plus there are broken promises.

We live in an era of broken promises.  Defaults could ruin most average retirees and even investors.

A look at government, social and currency breakdown at its worst can help us see the problem.  Germany is an example when it borrowed heavily to pay WWI costs.  Such borrowing almost always leads to currency and social erosion and this did then.  Right after the war there was some stability, before government spending began to run wild.  By 1923, it reached the worst in history.  This caused prices to sometimes double in hours. In Germany by late 1923 it took 200 billion marks to buy a loaf of bread.

Hard-working people with modest spending habits could not even buy a postage stamp with their life savings.  All debt was wiped out but so too were all savings.

Salaries were paid three times a day yet shops were empty.  Food riots raged. Businesses closed down, unemployment soared.  The economy collapsed.

Anyone on a fixed income was destitute.  They sold everything just to buy food.

Small businesses however survived because they could hold material things such as clothing, food, anything people could consume. 

Recent news about Social Security, pensions and health care shows that the US government has excessive debt today and that we as individuals need tactics to make sure, when governments, pensions and insurers weasel out of their promises, that we can take care of ourselves.

One big broken promise is Social Security and Medicare.  The most recent Social Security trustee report shows that the programs will begin to spend more than they earn within just three or four years.   The Medicare hospital-insurance trust fund, could use all its reserves by 2028.  They face insolvency over the next 20 years because Social Security runs totally out of money by 2034.

This is a bigger problem then it may seem because it creates an even bigger broken promise concerning the US dollar.

Medicare and Social Security already account for 41% of federal spending.  That was the expenditure last year.  This is not a static problem.  Each year that percentage is growing worse.  This creates a special risk for the dollar because Social Security’s reserves are not really assets at all.  The purported assets are simply IOUs from the US government.

Social Security assets are a liability of the government, so eventually the money comes from the same place as all other government expenditure, taxes or federal debt.  This means that if Social Security has to sell an asset, then the government, already overburdened by debt, will have to borrow the money from somewhere else.

If the Fed cannot raise enough money to pay Social Security only two options are left, devalue the greenback or don’t pay.

When Social Security was established in 1935, the President and Congress imposed taxes to pay the promised benefits. Thirty years later politics had changed.  When Medicare was established in 1965, the government took credit for the popular health coverage but left the payment problem for future generations.

President Nixon and Congress also enjoyed the popularity of they increased Social Security benefits  in the 1970s but left future generations the bill.

The public has not been fooled.  A survey in 1964 found that 77% of the population answered yes to the question “Do you trust the government to do the right thing “just about always” or “most of the time”.  Only 19% answered yes in 2015 according to Pew Research.

Yet what can individuals do other than what we have, voting in new administrations?

Voters attempted to create change in 2008 with a new administration.  The election process and result of 2016 suggests they were no pleased with the results. 2017 and beyond may be “interesting” years.

There should be little wonder that Americans have stopped trusting politicians who promise benefits to get and remain elected but leave the burdens of paying for the promises to pile up waiting to sink the next administration.

This problem has grown so large that in 2011 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke “maintaining the status quo is not an option. Creditors will not lend to a government whose debt, relative to national income, is rising without limit.”

In 2014 Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress that more work must be done “to put fiscal policy on a sustainable course.”

If the government does not resolve this problem soon, then the world of lenders will.  If the US has to raise interest rates to continue attracting loans, a downward spiral will grow.  Higher rates create greater debt and greater debt demands higher interest payments. The costs will be catastrophic.  As investors flee US bonds and T-Bills for safer investment, the US dollar will lose purchasing power.

Social Security, if paid and even if paid in the same amounts as before, will buy less.  If Medicare stops working then all that’s left for backup is Obamacare and the private insurers in the plan.

This is another broken promise.  When United Health Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, recently announced that it was pulling out of Obamacare insurance the public learned that it will face higher premiums.  Many will need to choose a new plan, change doctors and hospitals as well.  United Health is not the first or only insurer to quit. A dozen nonprofit health insurance cooperatives shut down just last year.  The giants Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield are even considering a drop out.

If Social Security and health care promises are broken that just leaves our pensions. Right?

Yet if we look at the Pensionrights.org website we see hundreds of corporations that have reduced pension benefits including the likes of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Allstate Corp., Coca Cola, Boeing, Caterpillar, Kraft Foods, Hewlett Packard, Fedex GM and GE to name a few of over a hundred.

This problem is not limited to corporate pension.  An Economic Budget Issue Brief issued to Congress from the CBO (Congressional Budget office”) says:

“By any measure, nearly all state and local pension plans are underfunded, which means that the value of the plans’ assets is less than their accrued pension liabilities for current workers and retirees” CBO.

The report shows that even five years ago the short fall of State and Local Pensions was over 3 trillion dollars, more than all other state and local debt

That leaves the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) as a safety net.  In the 2015 PBGC’s annual report the Director’s message says:  “One of the most important functions of PBGC is assuming responsibility for pension plans when their sponsors can no longer keep them going.  We insure the benefits of more than 40 million workers and retirees.  Currently, we pay more than 800,000 people each month.  An additional 585,000 workers are scheduled to receive benefits from PBGC when they retire.”

But if you look at the first paragraph of the Financial Report in that annual report you see:

“PBGC’s combined financial position decreased by $14,577 million, increasing the Corporation’s combined deficit (net position) to $76,349 million as of September 30, 2015 an all time record high from  $61,772 million as of September 30, 2014”.

Every step along the way we see shortfalls, debt with little hope of repayment and an economic overhang that will eventually create broken promises at every level from the pensions, healthcare, Social Security and most from a falling US dollar.

These facts will ruin the life styles of millions, but not all.

In short, there is risk in even the safest investments and there is a possibility that a negative financial outcome might occur.

This is why multi dimensional business opportunities make sense.  You can profit from expanding your utility.  The US currency may fall but your business can offer valuable, needed services or products that will be worth more than gold.

You can gain from having a source of income in a place where you have the best chances of control.  This is why for centuries… small business have had a home upstairs and business below, so the owner could control their business.

Those who profit most in changing times are those who add new dimensions to old time proven ways.  Modern technology offers many exciting ways to create multi dimensional profit and can earn income at home.

When you have your own business, you reduce the need to place excessive demands on your savings and you reduce the risks of broken promises especially when your have a multi dimensional business with multiple streams of income.

At the end of this report, you’ll find three day special offer that can help you integrate multiple streams of income and investing for the ultimate form of profit and safety.

Merri and I aim to create multi dimensional opportunity wherever we live.

In Florida we bought a house and an orange grove next door.  Then we added a rental unit.

In North Carolina we bought a farm, then we added a seminar center, rental units and a trout raising business.

Products and services of essentials, food, clothing, shelter, protection and good health are the real golden assets in the worst times.

Imagine the scenario where our entire structure melts down.  “See the man who has just come in to get some milk for his family.  He stares at the rows for canned milk.  They were empty. Cleaned out.  He closes his eyes.  The world spins.  He snaps his eyes open and checked the rows again.  They are still empty.  He feels oddly betrayed.  Grocery stores are the supports of life.  When you need something you come here.  This is a fact of life in today’s world.  How can he not take this for granted.

“He rushes to the dairy case.  That’s empty too.  He runs to other shelves and sees shoppers piling up food, any food they can grab, throwing entire rows into their carts.  He is pushed and shoved in a mad rush to take any remaining food.

“The man speeds off to the nearest Dollar Store but finds the parking lot filled, lines waiting just to get in the door.”

Just one disruption in the supply line and in a day, the stores were empty. Our modern world is so intricately connected and stores operate on a just-in-time inventory control system.  When you buy anything a computer orders more and it comes next shipment, next day. One glitch in this complex system, one short break and the shelves rapidly go empty.  The barer the shelves, the faster everything goes.

Yesterday everything had been normal. Suddenly there was no milk anywhere.

The man’s tale is imaginary, but the fabric behind it is not, as the real story below shows.

In September and November of 2016, the Colonial pipeline that supplies millions of people with gasoline was shut down.

In November, one simple error caused the disruption.  A track hoe digging for utilities accidentally struck the pipeline, ignited gasoline and caused an explosion.

In September there was a leak (over a quarter million gallons of gas) that caused the disruption.  While shut down, so many people rushed to the gas station to fill up that it created a panic and shortage.

I spoke with the owner of the local gas station we use. He said people were lining up to fill their cars, gas cans and even large tanks in pickups.  He had to limit sales.

A shortage of just about any essential quickly creates panic.  In the pipeline disruptions motorists running to gas stations deviated from their normal consumption habits at the pump and quickly exhausted existing supplies.

There was still plenty of gasoline, but the ability to transport the product to North Carolina (and four other states) was restricted.  Loss of common sense, civility and safety flew out the window within hours.

This was despite the good news that there are two pipes that run side-by-side.  Only one was ruptured, so the disruption was not as bad as it could be.

The September leak, just one small problem in just one pipeline led to days of dry pumps and higher gas prices in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas while repairs were made.

Five states are so dependent on just two side by side  pipelines that their shutdown can create panic for millions of people in under one day.

Merri and I make each of our houses multi dimensional…a home and a source of income from some essential product.

Governments are going further into debt globally.  This creates serious debt and economic problems everywhere.  These burdens mean that governments and societies lose their ability to keep their promises.  Multi dimensional earnings can help overcome the risks these conditions create.

Our website has long shared the idea of multi dimensional business, investing and living.  We have looked at the idea of living as a landlord or the idea of multi dimensional writing and farming or Ecuador farming with B&B, plus Ecuador B&Bs on the beach or in the Amazon to name a few.

Multi dimensional opportunity earns in numerous ways.

Merri and I have always created multi dimensional opportunity in our global travels.  We have united self publishing, seminars, tours, real estate, teaching, currencies, investing and real estate to enhance our income and living.  For example in London we converted a house into an office and bedroom time share. We found special currency deals that helped.

I came across this (one of my first) multi dimensional opportunities when I wanted to finance a house purchase in London.  My business plan was to create a small office-apartment complex.  I would live in part of the house, have an office in part that I would share with a number of my readers.  The deal was aimed at helping overseas businesses people have an office and a place to stay when they were in London.  I set up a club something like a timeshare.  Not quite a timeshare but close enough.

My track record with the bank was good and I had always repaid loans.  Yet the policy at that bank was “timeshares are no-nos”.  I could almost see the glaze come over my bank manager’s eyes as I explained the project.  It was the look that said “No matter what you say, the answer will be NO”.  Once a manager thinks that what you want is against company policy, it is better to do something realistic like climb Mount Everest on a lunch break.  I come from a family of modest means and had no relatives or friends with the cash to start the deal so my alternative was to find overseas investors.

After making the necessary polite motions with my banker and letting him do likewise, I thanked him for his time and was preparing to leave.

Then he said, “By the way let me show you our new American Express Gold Card plan”.  The bank had just started to offer credit cards and they came with a 7,500 pound unsecured overdraft.  He told me that overseas investors could have these as well as local investors and customers.

Overdrafts are a peculiarly British line of credit that allows you to borrow up to the limit of the overdraft without any regular payment plan.  The banker sort of expects to see the amount borrowed rise and fall.  The borrower just pays interest on whatever amount is owed and on occasion the bank reviews the overdraft with you.

At that time one pound equaled about 2.2 dollars so this meant that everyone who obtained this credit card received a $16,500 dollar unsecured line of credit. $15,000 was the amount I was charging each member who joined my London office-apartment club!  I immediately saw how to use this to attract overseas investors.

I wanted 50 members at $15,000 each which was double the $375,000 I needed to buy and develop the property. I saw how to turn my customers into my overseas investors.

My head was spinning as I left the bank.  The bank would not give me a $375,000 loan secured by property.  Yet they would lend my buyers of the club the full price of membership on an unsecured basis.  All I needed was get half my buyers right now on a nothing down pre -purchase deal.  This is exactly what I did.  My customers became my overseas investors.

I hustled out, called my customers and offered them this deal they could not refuse.  “Join our club now and you get an American Express gold card.  The bank will lend you the money unsecured for your club membership.  Pay it back when you can.” 

That was a deal that few overseas investors could refuse.

This was a much better deal for me than borrowing the money from overseas investors to start.  The original 25 sales were financed by the bank.  My customers had to pay the money back, not me.

My clients loved me for this deal.  The British pound collapsed shortly after.  That 7,500 loan that created over $15,000 became much less expensive…. barely $10,000.  Those who borrowed made about $5,000 (33%) forex profit on the loan as well as the good real estate deal.

They made such a profit on the currency change I wrote a report about it and earned additional income from the report sales.

In that real example, I used my writing to enhance a real estate deal.  The real estate helped me promote my seminars and sell a report plus I ended up with a income and a wonderful central London house to live in.

There are many multi dimensional real estate opportunities, land that offers a low stress, healthy home, farm income and other profit potential all at the same time.  Merri and I sponsored many Ecuador real estate tours to help readers buy multi dimensional real estate like Ecuador beach farms that provide rentals and farm income.

When investing and business are balanced the building of wealth becomes a more fulfilling, enjoyable process of service.  Great financial rewards are an extra benefit rather than ultimate goals.  Worries about money become less dominant and we gain an inherent power because we want to work harder and longer.  We don’t need to search (and spend) so much for fulfillment and are more likely to excel financially.

Three Layer Financial Plan

Having our own business allows us to operate at peak performance and create a PIEC (Personal Income Earning Corridor).  Having a PIEC business does not mean you should put all your money in just your own business (though at times you may).  Diversification is always good.

PIEC portfolios come in three layers, first the personal business, then a layer of very safe investments over a third, much smaller layer of speculative deals.

The majority of PIEC diversification beyond our business should be in stodgy, liquid investments such as utilities, CDs, bonds and good value equities.

I prefer Country Index ETFs that provide diversification into entire equity markets.  These investments might pay little in the short term, but are safe and they are highly liquid at a known price.  The low return on these investments is acceptable because they support your PIEC business which maximizes profits and adds comfort like few other investments can.

These very safe investments act as reserves if your business hits a sticky patch and can provide ready finance if sudden business opportunities arise.  They also don’t take up much time in research, accounting, watching the market, etc. so you can devote your energy doing what you love (your business).

However, if you genuinely love researching and tracking the market and have the mentality, capital and experience for it, just being an investor can be a wonderful PIEC business in itself.

The third layer of diversification can be speculative because modern portfolio theory suggests that safe investments are enhanced and made safer by adding a small amount of higher risk deals.  This also allows us to fulfill any casino mentality we might have left if having our own business is not enough.

PIEC investing makes it easier to create and keep wealth.  It enhances our lifestyles now, because it lets us make money being who we really are.  It makes life more fulfilling and fun.

Integrating investing and business reduces the risks of placing excessive demands on your savings, especially if we have an anchor of value.

#4: Find your Anchor of Value.

Find your passion.  Knowing ourselves also helps begin a business with a most powerful business tool I call the Golden Rule of Simplicity.  This rule says there are millions of people just like us.  When we truly see ourselves we look into a mirror that reflects an entire market who feel and desire just as we do.  This is a simple rule yet gives us a finely tuned market research system which shows us how to get create our product, get in touch with our market, deliver the product or service and surrounds us with like minded souls.

Self-knowledge is also essential for comfort and comfort is a vital part of everlasting wealth.  When investors are not comfortable, no profit is enough.  Uncomfortable investors have a never-ending thirst for more that cannot be quenched.  This indefatigable desire gums up the money making process.  Amounts don’t matter.  Even investors with incredible assets suffer this never-ending lust.  A well documented example is Bunker Hunt’s huge losses when he speculated in silver in the 1970s.  He had hundreds of millions yet speculated it all to make even more. When is hundreds of millions not enough?

Develop your investment rules.  Whatever your passion you will need to establish your method – the criteria you will use to select shares for your portfolio.

Whatever your preference you need to establish your key criteria.  Once you have your method working well, improvements come from experience and practice – learning from the successes and failures of each and every investment you make.  The quote “The harder I practice, the luckier I get” applies here.

Know when to sell – and when not to.  A key factor in effective portfolio management is to run profits and cut losses.  This is counter-intuitive for most people because it is natural to want to grab a profit and rather unpleasant to realize a loss.

If you run your profits they can become very big.  If you cut your losses they will always be relatively small.

To understand this approach better, let me ask a question.  What if I offered you a free Mercedes Benz?

You would probably say YES… but would be thinking… “What’s the catch?”  That’s good because we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, much less a free new car.

Would an answer be harder if instead there was a choice, a FREE Mercedes or $4 million bucks (as in US dollars)?

Most would choose the cash.  Yet of course we would still be expecting a catch.  There is a penny to drop, some risk and the need to ignore the thundering herd and an absolute requirement of discipline.

Let me share a true story about how and why an investor in similar circumstances got the Mercedes and had the $4 million, but then lost it.

The story contains three valuable tips.

Once upon a time, 1981 to be exact, there was a recession. An economic and political mess arose across the land.  The story began with unemployment.  In 1981, the US Presidential election was over, the US economy was hurting and the new government and president were turning on the money printing machine.

This was a gloomy time, those early 1980s.  Really.  That was the worst recession since the great depression.

You often hear that the worst recession since the great depression was the great recession of 2007.  This is statistically wrong.  1982 was worse.

The times were dark and this story begins at the end of the 1980 Presidential election when the US economy was at its worst in 50 years and getting worse.

Our hero in the story thought the stock market would recover, despite the fact that everyone thought everything was bleak and black.  He approached his bankers and asked to make some leveraged investments in the stock market.

His goal was to make enough profit to buy a brand new Mercedes Benz.

He opened the account and bought shares. He used those shares as collateral to leverage these investments with borrowed Japanese yen.

His timing was lucky.  The stock market rose quickly.  The Japanese yen collapsed.  His profits shot past his goal to buy the car.

The Fever

Bubble fever had set in so when the hero’s investment manager called with that great news, “You have enough for your new Mercedes“, the investor changed his mind.  “Let it roll,” the investor said.  “I want to make a million instead”.

The investment manager left the portfolio alone and soon the investor’s profit rocketed past 1 million dollars.

The investment manager called.  “You have made a million bucks… perhaps we should take some profits.

Let it roll,” the investor said. “I have decided to make two million instead.”

The investment manager left the portfolio alone and soon the investor’s profit rocketed past 2 million dollars.

The investment manager called.  “You have made two million bucks… perhaps we should take some profits.

Let it roll,” the investor said. “I have decided to make three million instead.”

The investment manager left the portfolio alone and soon the investor’s profit rocketed past 3 million dollars.

The investment manager called.  “You have made three million bucks… really we should take some profits.

Let it roll,“… the investor said. “I have decided to make four million.”

As the portfolio was nearing four million in value the investment manager called.  “You have made almost four million bucks… perhaps we should take some profits.

Let it roll,” the investor said. “I have decided to make four million and enough for a Mercedes.”

Shortly after the stock market corrected and the yen strengthened.  Profits fell so quickly the investor lost a million almost overnight.

The investment manager called.  “You have lost a million bucks… we had better take the profits.

Hold,” the investor said. “The market will come back”.

The stock market fell more and the yen grew stronger.  The profits fell even faster and the investor lost another million.

The investment manager called again.  “You have lost another million bucks… it’s time to take your profits.

Hold,” the investor said. “The market will come back”.

The stock market continued to plummet and the yen rose more.  The investor lost another million.

The investment manager called.  “You have lost three million bucks now…  You really should take the profits left.

Hold,” the investor said. “The market will come back”.

Finally as the market plunged more and profits faded away, the investor, having lost more than 3.5 million, closed his positions and had just enough profit left to buy his new car.

The Mercedez was black and shiny… a big 500 SEL model… king of the road.  The hero never enjoyed it much.

The moral of the story is that when you invest you need a plan, a discipline and to know when to holdem and when to foldem.

Remember that there are always three distinct options – buy, sell and hold.  We’ll look at how to decide when to buy, to sell and to hold later in this report.

Make sure you have some liquidity. You should always keep an eye on the “liquidity”, the ease with which you can sell all or part of your portfolio. If you are invested mainly in big cap stocks you will have little trouble going into cash if necessary.  However, if you have focused on smaller growth shares it makes sense to keep enough of your PIEC portfolio in large companies.

Select shares that can, if necessary, be turned into cash instantly and provide some comfort if the market as a whole turns ugly.

The potential gains on very large companies are not likely to be as high as those from smaller growth companies, but they can and often do well enough to give you a warm feeling.  Remember comfort counts!

Diversify – but not too much.  Your portfolio should contain no fewer than 10 shares, and you could put 10 percent of your money in each of your top selections.  Diversification is essential to reduce risk, but too much of it can hinder performance.

One of the best ways to have huge diversification in a small portfolio is with Country Index ETFs.  These ETFs are similar to an 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.

Most country index ETFs are invested in dozens, often a hundred or more, shares.

For example, the iShares MSCI Australia (symbol EWA) is a Country Index ETF that tracks the investment results the Morgan Stanley Capital Index MSCI Australia Index which is composed mainly of large cap and small cap stocks traded primarily on the Australian Stock Exchange mainly of companies in consumer staples, financials and materials. With 72 constituents, the index covers approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in Australia.

A portfolio of a dozen country index ETFs represents diversification to hundreds of shares and a dozen currencies.

Diversifying into countries is safe because countries  generally do not go away, go bankrupt or become challenged by changing technology and altering markets.

Diversifying into countries is also relatively simple because, there is sufficient analysis of global markets so every country’s stock market can be compared and markets of best value included in a safe portfolio.

In addition these valuations do not change quickly.  In 2016 our portfolio of 20 good value country index ETFs had only one change, an addition of the Turkey Index ETF, in the year.

This low volume turnover gives us time to put our focus and energy on our business and the passion we love most.  Studies over decades suggests that this simple slow trading, highly diversified approach increases long term profits and increases safety.

Country ETFs provide massive, good value diversification at a really low cost.

Most passive country index ETFs have minimal cost structures.

#5: Keep costs down. 

High trading costs are one of the biggest drags on the performance of your PIEC portfolio.

There are numerous costs we need to keep an eye on.

Load fees. Avoid back-end and ongoing load. When looking at mutual funds, we’ll typically see them listed as A shares, B shares, and C shares.  All of these share classes have some type of load.  Avoid them.

A shares include a front-end, a guaranteed loss the minute you buy.  B shares come with a back-end load, a guaranteed reduction of any profit or expansion of any loss.  B shares typically charge 5% if they are sold within a specified time (normally five to seven years). There are also higher ongoing operating expenses for B shares. Fund companies typically charge up to an extra 1 percent a year for B share operating expenses.

C shares charge a penalty (usually 1 percent) if a sale is made within the first year.  They also carry higher expense ratios.

12b-1 fees are fees hard to see internal fees that cover a fund’s marketing and distribution costs. Funds can 12b-1 fees to pay brokers incentives for selling their funds. We should watch 12b-1 fees to make sure our broker is advising this fund because it is a good investment, not because he or she is receiving an incentive.

Management fees. We should make sure we get what we pay for, a good manager who makes us feel comfortable by helping build safety and steady performance in our portfolio.

Churning. Some funds and brokers churn, or buy and sell more than is really required.  History suggests that the less activity in a portfolio, the higher the return. Active management is one thing, but funds and brokers can increase their income with excessive transactions that do little or nothing to help us as investors.

Misallocation. Many investors are misallocated for the benefit of the bank or broker.  There are a remarkable array of unnecessarily risky, undiversified portfolios created to generate fees, and that have nothing to do with a client needs. Beware of complex and expensive portfolios full of bits and pieces that are hard to understand. Low transparency can often be associated with high costs.

Expense ratios in fund doesn’t cover all of the costs.  All investors, whether using funds or not face other costs such as brokerage and bid-ask spreads.

Bid-ask spreads for example are subject to market friction.  Markets are liquid because makers standing ready to buy or sell shares at all times.  They are paid by the difference between what they will buy and or sell for.

Shares that have less liquidity, ie.  Not many buyers and sellers, have bigger spreads between buying and selling prices.

Investing in widely held index funds and index ETFs can reduce this cost gap.  Such investments normally trade within fractions of a cent, keeping this this hidden expense in check.

Trading commissions make active trading an expensive way to increase profits. Trading costs sandbag our profits from the start.

Taxes need to also be considered. Buying and selling quickly increases fees and also creates short-term capital gains taxes.

Be careful of margin account as well. Most brokers will let us borrow money (for a fee) so we can leverage our investments.  This increases any profits or losses created, but also adds the interest cost of the leverage.

If we add up all the potential fees, redemption fees, brokerage fees, back-end load fees, management fees, inactivity fees, 12b-1 fees, transfer fees, minimum equity requirement fees, commissions, the cost of limit orders and consultancy costs, before investing.

We should know what all our fees are.

Passive Funds Usually Cost Less. Because reducing costs is a major factor in investment success, low cost passive funds that do not require high cost managers generally out perform managed funds in the long run.

Over a 15 or 25 year period very few managers outperform the respective benchmarks of sectors where they invest by a couple of percentage points.

It’s an easy way to game the stock market, and getting easier by the day.

In Part Two of this report we’ll look at the more speculative end of our PIEC portfolio.

While we are sharing this report, I want to make a special offer, limited to the next three days, that can help you integrate your business and investing.

We offer two courses for attaining financial security.

The first is 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” course
  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
  • 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”
  • Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year.

You can learn all about this program at How to Have Real Freedom, but do not order the program there for $299 .  If you subscribe to the Purposeful investing Course in the next three days, I’ll send you the program free.

I invite you to join me and a small selective group who for the next year will participate in an intensive program called the Purposeful investing Course (Pi).  The purpose of Pi is finding value to increase the value of and protect our savings, pensions, income and wealth in good times as well as devastating economic conditions.

Learn Slow, Worry Free, Good Value Investing

Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies.  They 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 (almost) 50 years of global experience and my study of the analysis of four mathematical investing geniuses (and friends).

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 2017 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.

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 in some of these good value markets using 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.  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 subscribe to Pi you’ll receive the report, “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” FREE.

Plus get the $39.99 report, “The Silver Dip” 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.

Save $457.95 if You Act Now

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 FREE the $29.95 report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More”, the $27  report “Silver Dip 2015” and the $299 “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”.

Triple Guarantee

Enroll in Pi.  Get the first monthly issue of Pi and the report “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” and the “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program” 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 your own purposeful business and slow, worry free purposeful investing.

If you are not totally happy, simply let me know.

#2:  I guarantee you can cancel your subscription within 60 days and I’ll refund your subscription fee in full, no questions asked.

#3:  I guarantee you can keep “Three Currency Patterns for 50% Profits or More” and “Silver Dip 2015” plus the Value Investing Seminar as my thanks for trying.

You have nothing to lose except the fear.  You gain the ultimate form of financial security as you reduce risk and increase profit potential.

Subscribe to a Pi annual subscription for $197 and receive all the above.

I am so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email me within 60 days for a full refund  and keep the $299 “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program” as my thanks for giving Pi a try.  

Read the entire article “The Real Cost of Cheap Food” here.

Investing in Chaos


Many recent messages have looked at living, business and investing in chaos during times of turmoil and change.

investing-in-chaos

Ecuador at times may seem chaotic.

Chaos is caused by transition from one wave of productive technology to another.

Investors and businesses who understand this have an enormous advantage because they know to look for the next wave.

In a moment, we’ll look at the potential for chaos in Ecuador.

First, let’s look at some positive chaos that could ruin some basic utilities but also create millions (maybe billions) for some businesses and investors.

The industrial revolution has been a time of continual chaos.  There was a time of turmoil when mankind shifted from steam technology to the internal combustion engine. Investors who had been big in railroads (but were smart) shifted to investing in automobiles and trucking and bus lines.

Then chaos came again when the jet engine made the airplane a more effective form of transportation than long distance.  Bus travel and smart investors shifted from Greyhound into airline shares.

In the information era; the PC, Internet (and Microsoft) became the major carrier of mankind and investors who saw this potential once again jumped ahead of the pack.

Where do we go next?

One new wave of technology may come in a product we all take for granted…. creating what I would call the independence era. Let’s just look at the break through.

A forward looking reader sent me the Utah Daily Herald article “New battery could change world, one house at a time” by Randy Wright.

Here is an excerpt:  On a modest building on the west side of Salt Lake City, a team of specialists in advanced materials and electrochemistry has produced what could be the single most important breakthrough for clean, alternative energy since Socrates first noted solar heating 2,400 years ago.  — a new generation of deep-storage battery that’s small enough, and safe enough, to sit in your basement and power your home.

It promises to nudge the world to a paradigm shift as big as the switch from centralized mainframe computers in the 1980s to personal laptops. But this time the mainframe is America’s antiquated electrical grid; and the switch is to personal power stations in millions of individual homes.

The battery breakthrough comes from a Salt Lake company called Ceramatec, the R&D arm of CoorsTek, a world leader in advanced materials and electrochemical devices.

The convergence of these two key technologies — solar power and deep-storage batteries — has profound implications for oil-strapped America.

With small-scale electrical generation taking place at millions of individual homes — as opposed to today’s large-scale power generation from a handful of giant power plants — there would be less worry about what’s called “point failure” on the grid. That’s when a single component gets knocked out and shuts off power to a whole region. California-style rolling blackouts would be history.

The threat of terrorism has heightened the worry. But wide distribution of batteries in homes would virtually eliminate it.

Inside Ceramatec’s wonder battery is a chunk of solid sodium metal mated to a sulphur compound by an extraordinary, paper-thin ceramic membrane. The membrane conducts ions — electrically charged particles — back and forth to generate a current. The company calculates that the battery will cram 20 to 40 kilowatt hours of energy into a package about the size of a refrigerator, and operate below 90 degrees C.

This may not startle you, but it should. It’s amazing. The most energy-dense batteries available today are huge bottles of super-hot molten sodium, swirling around at 600 degrees or so. At that temperature the material is highly conductive of electricity but it’s both toxic and corrosive. You wouldn’t want your kids around one of these.

The essence of Ceramatec’s breakthrough is that high energy density (a lot of juice) can be achieved safely at normal temperatures and with solid components, not hot liquid.

Ceramatec says its new generation of battery would deliver a continuous flow of 5 kilowatts of electricity over four hours, with 3,650 daily discharge/recharge cycles over 10 years. With the batteries expected to sell in the neighborhood of $2,000, that translates to less than 3 cents per kilowatt hour over the battery’s life. Conventional power from the grid typically costs in the neighborhood of 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Re-read that last paragraph and let the information really sink in. Five kilowatts over four hours — how much is that? Imagine your trash compactor, food processor, vacuum cleaner, stereo, sewing machine, one surface unit of an electric range and thirty-three 60-watt light bulbs all running nonstop for four hours each day before the house battery runs out. That’s a pretty exciting place to live.

And then you recharge. With a projected 3,650 discharge/recharge cycles — one per day for a decade — you leave the next-best battery in the dust. Deep-cycling lead/acid batteries like the ones used in RVs are only good for a few hundred cycles, so they’re kaput in a year or so.

How do you recharge? By tapping your solar panels or windmills. It’s just like plugging in your cell phone or iPod, only you plug in your house.

A small three-bedroom home in Provo might average, say, 18 kWh of electric consumption per day in the summer — that’s 1,000 watts for 18 hours. A much larger home, say five bedrooms in the Grandview area, might average 80 kWh, according to Provo Power. Either way, a supplement of 20 to 40 kWh per day is substantial. If you could produce that much power in a day — for example through solar cells on the roof — your power bills would plummet.

“Batteries and PV are about to merge,” said MIT’s Nocera, using the shorthand for “photovoltaics” or solar power. “First Solar is now saying that it takes $1 a peak watt to manufacture, and another 80 cents for installation. So they’re saying that you can get PV for under $2 a watt. That’s a reduction of cost by a factor of four. Only a few years ago, it was $8. If CoorsTek and Ceramatec come up with a good battery, the market will develop quickly.”

The long-term impact of home electric generation for a power company’s business model could be huge. After all, you can’t stay in business if nobody’s paying for power. Exactly how that will play out remains to be seen.

This technology is new to me… but seems breathtaking and loaded with opportunity.  Please send any thoughts, ideas, information or opinions you have.

Before you invest though, remember the golden rules of investing.

1. Money isn’t everything
2. Work only with people you like
3. Buy businesses, not stocks
4. Invest only in what you understand
5. Don’t over diversify
6. Keep looking for new opportunities
7. Buy businesses you plan to keep for life
8. Look for businesses that are available at a good price
9. Do what you like

Potential Ecuador Chaos

investing-in-chaos

The people of Ecuador are friendly and happy.

There is some potential for change in Ecuador that could benefit those moving and investing there.

First, let’s look at the cause of the turmoil.  A recent message entitled Investing Internationally shared news about the Ecuadorian government’s plan to take back a number of radio and TV frequencies stations. We promised to stay tuned to what happens and share observations and opinions from trusted sources in Ecuador about this.

Since that time, the Western press has published even more bad sounding news.

A recent AP article entitled “Ecuador Wants Citizen Committees To Defend Gov’t” said:  QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador wants to create local citizen committees that would defend the government and its “revolution” — sparking criticism that the president aims to control opponents in a system reminiscent of Cuba or Venezuela.

Citizen Participation Minister Doris Soliz told Ecuador TV on Thursday that local citizen groups are needed to defend against coups like the one that recently deposed Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, or against outside agitators, noting U.S. military plans to use Colombian bases.

Other articles covered lots of rhetoric from Venezuela’s President about winds of war in the area (Chavez’s commenting on the announcement that the US would place military in Colombia).

Since the daily press distort, dramatize and magnify the negative; here are more comments from Ecuadorian business people with this comments.

Dear Gary: Sorry for the delay in my reply.  Correa is an unpredictable president.  On one hand he tries to emulate everything Chavez has done in Venezuela.  It is clear that Chavez gave him millions to finance his political campaigns and now he is obligated to do whatever Chavez wants.

On the other hand, he knows how far he can push the people of Ecuador.  If he is not careful, he can end up like Zelaya in Honduras.  I see strong confrontations coming if he tries to close radio and TV stations like Chavez did.

As you say in your reports.  We all need to be diversified in order to avoid problems in one place and not have anywhere to go in thing go bad.  I do believe the Ecuadorians are not as passive as the Venezuelans, and if Correa pushes too far he will find out. Let’s wait and see.

I agree with this reader. Ecuadorians are an independent people, and I have watched them (peacefully) oust a number of Presidents who abused their power.

Here is another opinion from one of my many sources.

Gary,  My comments are just some personal opinions and for that reason I prefer that I not receive any credit.   There is some noise going around that Correa wants to have “block leaders” who will report back to the government of any dissent. You can imagine what this means. Stifling dissent. It is a time to be careful and hope the Ecuadorian military remains faithful to the people of Ecuador. While there are so many needs and opportunities in Ecuador to be attended to, one could ask why does the president feel it is necessary to be out speaking of “winds of war blowing” against Colombia?
Anyway, it all comes with the territory of being in the Latin governmental world I suspect.  If the leaders were just humble people looking to improve the lot of their people instead of being megalomaniacs hell bent on being Castro or Hitler, life would be easier for all.

investing-in-chaos

Here are children in a parade in Cotacachi.

Readers should note that it was not Correa, Ecuador’s president who made the comment about Winds of War but Chavez of Venezuela. A lot of press makes it sound like Correa is much more closely aligned with Chavez than I believe he is.  Good or bad, I do believe that Correa is his own man and is pretty independent.

Here is another comment by an Ecuadorian with a great political and historical background.

Thanks for asking.  Correa. He is all right.  His big problem is being too young.  There is
a proverb in Spanish “mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo”.  (
The devil knows more because he’s old than because he’s the devil). That is Correa’s problem.  He is not old enough.  Velasco Ibarra who was president five times, was very much like Correa, when he was young. When he grew older he became much more sedated.

Again I agree with this. Everything I have seen has led me to feel that Correa has many good intentions and is trying to correct many wrongs and has a big job.  In his youth he may be too ambitious and impatient.  Time, inertia and politics should correct a lot of that!

Here are more comments.

He usually talks too much.  He talks every Saturday for 3 or 4 hours continuously.  It is not highly recommendable to quote him or mention his speech. Sometimes he just changes his mind. Or does not follow what he mentioned in the previous weekend.

That could describe more than one politician!

I have met the President a couple of times. He actually stopped next to us on the street at 9pm at night and met our son and was very sincere and asked what we thought about how things were here in Ecuador.  He is very headstrong, but I think that he is a very intelligent guy and he knows how to negociate  and what it is going to take for Ecuador to become a stable economy and that is with foreign investment and tourism.

Again this is the way I see it as well.

This is from a Quito businessman:

Dear Gary:  Many thanks for sharing the concerns some of your readers have about President Correa. I get some emails on the subject too.  I should start by saying that I am no fan of President Correa,  far from it. I don’t particularly like his discourse as if from the union trenches of the 60s and 70s.

Some of his economic policies seem to go counter current and his relative closeness with Chavez is a blemish.

Nonetheless, there are merits too, amongst which is great effort in improving education and health care. Also, in attempting to fix some wrongs and distortions we’ve had on several fronts.

In spite of Correa’s antics, Ecuador continues to offer, and perhaps more so than ever, rather remarkable opportunities for real estate investors, visitors and expats.

Let me explain:

The new, fresh-out-of-the-oven, Ecuadorian Constitution states, following with the tradition of the previous one, that foreigners have exactly the same rights as Ecuadorians under the law.

Furthermore, private property is protected under the law as one of the main pillars of our economy. Confiscation is prohibited and eminent domain (expropriation) situations are extremely rare, much less so than what they would be in Miami, London or Toronto for that matter.

While some people may believe that Correa is not particularly pro foreign investment, the reality is that Ecuador, just as the next country, needs investment to prosper and, hence, the President is very welcoming of it, he just demands responsible practices.

While the pitfalls of politics-as-usual and nationalistic grandstanding in Ecuador, can and does preclude some major investments from coming in (picture hydroelectric, oil exploration, etc), for most of us, of your readers Gary, this should not be a problem.

Regarding the Government’s stance towards foreigners coming to Ecuador and investing here, something quite nice and reassuring happened to me recently, which is telling about how reality differs from perception.

Here’s the story:

While working in the concept for a coastal development with international capitals and geared mostly towards foreigners, we realized that better government planning and zoning was needed in the area if we were to spread our wings the fullest.

I decided to call the Production Ministry, which is a high level coordination entity on top of many other ministries in Ecuador to see if they could perhaps give us some light as to getting some better zoning for the area.

I was immediately transferred to the head authority in charge of foreign investments in Ecuador and in a few hours was meeting with him along with other officers from the ministry he had called in.
They were not only incredibly welcoming of our ideas and concepts but asked us to create with them a road map not only for planning and zoning, but for infrastructure, education of the local community, and much more.

They have let me know that they are ready to lend a hand as needed and that when the time comes, once we have things down on a plan we can meet with the secretary of the ministry and even President Correa for further vision.

What is the reason for this incredible support? Well, that they are really pro investments and that when you want to do the right thing, doors become open.

On the subject of visas, something that concerns many foreigners, I can say that the President has prompted a very open regime for foreigners to come to Ecuador. However, some changes in the procedures are driving some of us nuts. We just have to adapt.

In any case, you can expect to get a resident visa in Ecuador in 3 to 6 weeks in most cases. The new director of Migration is quite a gentleman and very open and understanding. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

With regards to some radios being closed, this is something the President declared as a possibility on grounds that some radio frequencies had been granted with irregularities according to an audit. While the audit may be correct, President Correa does have a bitter quarrel with the press and his fixation with it is over the top now.

Getting back to real estate; I’d like to add that foreigners have been investing and buying real estate in Ecuador for some time, and that this is a trend that is seemingly quite on the rise.

I am seeing the start of a major wave here.

Ecuador has excellent real estate opportunities and values and the current international crisis where former “safe havens” have been shattered is making this truth about Ecuadorian real estate all the more compelling.

Investors into Ecuadorian real estate ought to buy soundly into capital preservation and important appreciation potential.

As final thoughts, given the current financial problems the world is seeing, the violence in Mexico fending off tourists and investors… the bursting of the real estate bubbles throughout, the baby-boomers coming of age with individuals lusting for active living with quality of life to boot, Ecuador is starting to make some tremendous sense to many.

Our President may be a bit of a showman (to put it somehow), granted; and we as a nation have a ways to go into maturity; we are rough around the edges, but we may have among the warmest, most welcoming people on earth, and no development can buy that.

We have good infrastructure and low cost of living. Those who see beyond the perception should be able to get in early on the trend, ride this major wave and make the best out of it.

These are good points… especially this one… the government may be talking one way or the other… but look at how it is acting. In this case it appears that the government is pro tourism… pro investment and is welcoming residents from abroad.

Here is one final comment.

Gary, I don’t get involved in my host country’s internal politics.  I am however a strong believer in the Open Society and the value of ideas meeting arguments, so I guess I would prefer more media outlets to fewer.  By the by, Ecuadorians I know say this is the first time they feel they cannot express freely what they feel about their government, for fear of repression.

These are two key points also. I do not get involved in politics anywhere.  My feeling is that time is better spent adapting to whatever the politicians do rather than joining into the political fray. Reality is that if you do business fair and well, whatever the political system is you’ll be welcome.  The second point is about freedom of speech.

I recall feeling fear like this recently when talking to my son over the phone. I was about to make a joke about a certain president and decided not to thinking… I had better not joke about this.  The problem was I was in the US… not Ecuador.

The great technology that has created such great access to information has destroyed our privacy as well…everywhere.

My new real estate acquisitions are in Ecuador . Recent messages have looked at the importance of seeing reality. People write often asking if it‘s safe in Ecuador. I was thinking of the reality of this as Merri and I concluded a long Ecuador morning walk. The birds were singing, roosters crowing in the distance and we saw two very young children, a girl of maybe six or seven and her little brother maybe four or five walking alone through the village on their way to school. This is so typical in Ecuador.

I wondered how many children of that age in North America are allowed to walk alone through town as they are in Ecuador.

investing-in-chaos

More Cotacachi children in a parade.

You see young girls like this (maybe eleven or twelve) walking around night and day. This is not because Ecuadorian parents are careless. It is because there is a great deal of safety in Ecuador .

Here are a few facts I know.

#1: The Ecuador constitution protects landownership of citizens regardless of citizenship. No local government can take land by eminent domain for economic development.

#2: No Ecuador children have been shot in school.

#3: Ecuador schools do not require metal detectors.

#4: No Ecuador police force has used a “no knock” search warrant to break down a door and then shoot an innocent 80+ year old resident 50 times.

#5: We do not worry in Ecuador about being sued if someone spills hot coffee on themselves at our hotel. By the way our coffee is hot here.

#6: Ecuadorian doctors do not have to shut down their practices because of malpractice insurance costs.

#7: Parents in Ecuador are not at risk of having their child diagnosed as having ADD and being forced to give them Ritalin. Read http://www.ritalindeath.com/ if you want to have your heart rendered over the weekend.

investing-in-chaos

There is a deep culture in Ecuador.

Back in early 2007, a potential real estate buyer visited me about buying a $93,000 house in Otavalo. As we enjoyed a “cuppa tea” and visited I could see he loved the house but was really worried about loss of property due to Ecuador’s constitutional reform.

My view was that the reform was unlikely to reduce individual land rights. As we can see above, the opposite took place. the constitution strengthened property protection.  Ecuador’s base of wealth has always been individual land ownership.

Then I pointed out to this potential buyer that his  real bigger risk was buying a similar three bedroom house in England. A similar house would cost him between $400,000 and a million dollars. The risk of losing $93,000 in value when the overheated English real estate market dips seemed greater to me than the chances of losing $93,000 in Ecuador because a house would taken due to constitutional change.

Prices were way overblown in England.  This was exactly what happened.  Real estate crashed in England while real estate prices in Ecuador have remained strong.

Plus Ecuador offers the benefits of $1.40 a gallon gas, lovely weather, sweet people, no capital gains tax on real estate sales, very inexpensive but good medical and dental help, ridiculously low property tax, almost no tort liability, inexpensive cost of living, low crime and better food.

In the west, the cost of living is so high that many people can barely move!

So where is it safe to live? I think when Merri and I are really realistic, we feel that there are many aspects of safety in Ecuador.

Many of us feel many changes in our homelands that are not good. If you do, don’t despair, the sun always shines somewhere as it did here in Cotacachi, Ecuador. Here’s the sun coming up!

Merri and I always practice diversification…in asset class as well as geographically.  We are over weighted in Ecuador so we are voting with our money that the chaos here will create more opportunity than trouble.

See more about Ecuador diversification here.

Change and chaos are parts of the rhythm of life.  The never ending evolution created by time and space creates turmoil but also opportunity.

We hope the chaos in your life brings only good to you.

Gary

Combining good international investing with the greatest asset of all, the ability to earn wherever you live, brings everlasting wealth in chaos.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

See details of the two seminars below.

Join Merri, Thomas Fischer of JGAM, our webmaster David Cross and me in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free.  Save $300.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Here is an email for a recent seminar delegate: Amazingly helpful, amazingly timely … thank you for this !

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Read the entire article New battery could change world, one house at a time

Ecuador Luxury Villa in Loja Ecuador


Ecuador Luxury Villa in Loja, Ecuador

loja-ecuador-villa-for- rent tags

Here is an advertisement for an Ecuador Luxury Villa for rent (or sale) in Loja Ecuador.

One of the first cities Merri and I ever visited in Ecuador was Loja, the capital of Loja Province and Loja Canton.

We never had a chance to visit this small town again in the last half dozen years (population about 200,000) which has been to our regret.  Loja has a lot to offer… but gringos seem to have missed this.  And also we can just imagine how much things have changed and progressed there.

Loja is in the south of Ecuador and is gateway to Vilcabamba and several other valleys of longevity.

Loja-map-Ecuador

This map is from travel.nationalgeographic.com

Vilcabamba has blossomed along with Quito, Cuenca, Imbaura province and Manabi on the coast… but I have not heard much about Loja.

This makes me suspect that this is a great missed opportunity because with Peru near to the south, Loja is rich in tradition, arts, music and hosts two major Ecuador universities.

Loja is also at a lower altitude the Quito, Cuenca and Cotacachi at about 6800 ft. Plus its climate is somewhat milder 64 to 90 degrees F.

Loja is very civilized, was the first city in Ecuador with electricity, yet is near the Cuxibamba valley, Amazon Basin, Peruvian sechura and Podocarpus National Park, which is a huge cloud-forest reserve near Loja.

Two rivers, the Rio Zamora and Rio Malacatos are in Loja.

So I was happy when Dario Espinosa at javier200@hotmail.com sent this advertisement for a rental (and/or sale) in Loja to me.

Villa Serena is a large, well furnished luxury home with six bedrooms and suites.

All rooms have high-tech  LCD TVs, DVD players, safes and iPod docking stations.

loja-ecuador-villa-for- rent tags

All beds are either king or queen size and in all cases, are fitted with comfortable mattresses with high thread count cotton sheets.

loja-ecuador-villa-for- rent tags

Villa Serena can accommodate twelve guests (five couples and two singles with  three additional daybeds available for children or single guests).

Each bathroom is utterly unique and several bathrooms have a Jacuzzi as well as shower.

loja-ecuador-villa-for- rent tags

Villa Serena offers style, every modern convenience but is steeped in colonial charm.  The villa is built around a magnificent courtyard with a fountain and wide corridors.

loja-ecuador-villa-for- rent tags

There is also a top-of-the-line kitchen with all modern appliances.

loja-ecuador-villa-for- rent tags

There is a formal dining room, bar and comfortable outdoor and indoor seating areas,  a three-car garage.

There is another reason to visit Loja beyond just getting to know and looking for value in this city.  As mentioned Loja is the gateway to Vilcabamba… which has become popular as a valley of longevity where many expats have settled.

There are several other longevity valleys near Loja that are stunning and have always been even less in cost and less crowded.

Jungilla is an example.  I wrote this about Jungilla in 2000:

Jungilla is idyllic…like a Swiss mountain valley covered in Irish emerald green. Explosions of white pampas grass line the road and swaths of forest and cotton wool clouds cover the broad valley floor. Waterfalls spring from the hillsides crashing hundreds of feet. Here, one 30-acre farm with a brand-new, 3-bedroom house had an asking price of only $25,000. Another 3-bedroom house with a central patio (and a tractor) was $30,000.

I suspect that prices are higher now, but bargains there will still abound.

Those who are interested in Vilcabamba but also looking for new places with extraordinary value may want to research and search these other valleys at the same time you go look at Loja.

Loja is the perfect stepping off point for such a venture… a place where you can enjoy the luxury of Villa Serena as you find value in Ecuador real estate as well!

Gary

Join Merri me and Thomas Fischer of JGAM and our webmaster David Cross in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free. Save $299.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and early retirement in Ecuador at the course.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador
Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Ecuador Export Tour Update


Here is an Ecuador export tour update that continues our thread on ways to earn globally with small international businesses.

Ecuador-export-tours Our Ecuador export tours visit many Ecuador markets… textiles in Cotacachi and weavings in Peguche, leather in Cotacachi… wood carving in San Antonio de Ibarra. Here is our last group arriving in Otavalo.

This update is provided by Maggie Beesley, a former Ecuador export attendee who now exports regularly from Ecuador.  She will conduct the July 4 Ecuador Export Tour:

Hi Everyone!!!

How many of you are packed?  I stay packed.  July 3rd is right around the corner.  Pack smart, bring a larger suitcase than you need, and be prepared to buy another big one ($8) to get all your treasures home.  We are already saving, aren’t we?

Yesterday, my husband and I returned from Puerto Rico and let me tell you about the prices there!  Wow!  Maybe we should all be taking our treasures to Puerto Rico to sell.  I saw so many things we are going to see in Ecuador and were they ever expensive in Puerto Rico!

Now on to our Import/Export adventures.  On one of our days together (July 8) we’ll visit the town of Otavalo and the market there.  This market is the largest indigenous market in all of South America.  The reason we are going on Wednesday is…not as many shoppers and much better prices than on a Saturday.  We like those better prices, don’t we?  While in Puerto Rico I saw a summer cape which I have bought all over Ecuador for $10.00.  In Puerto Rico, also at a market, that same type of cape was $42.00, and it was not near as pretty as the ones we are going to see in Otavalo.  Do you see the profit there?

I also just finished going through my latest Coldwater Creek Catalog, where they are having a 50% off sale and have some gorgeous earrings on sale now for $35.00 to $40.00.  Folks we are going to see much prettier ones for $5.00 and maybe up to $10.00, plus no sales tax or shipping charges.  The same is true for necklaces, scarves, and purses.  Buy that extra bag in Ecuador for $8.00, which I also saw in Puerto Rico for $40.00 to get home in and more and more of the wonderful savings.

Another day we are going to the Village of Peguche, which is the Village of the Weavers.  There are three things we will want to do in Peguche.

First, we will want to visit El Condor where people will be weaving as we watch a weaving exhibition.

ecuador-export-tour

Weaving at El Condor.

If you have never seen anyone weave on a wooden loom, it is fascinating, very complicated, and can take many days to complete a blanket, or a cape.  A lot of work!  How the people sit there and do this craft for hours on end is beyond me, but they do and the weaving is gorgeous.   Did I mention, the weaving is done with their hands for the pattern and the tightness of the weave is controlled with their feet?  No electricity here, just the rhythm ….clickity-clack,  clickity-clack…which is the sound you hear throughout the village.  We’ll also experience how the natural dyes are made including Cochineal, the rich wine color that only the emperors had in ages past.  (A little secret it is made from crushed up cactus bugs!)

Also in Peguche is an artist, Jose Cotacachi, who does wall hangings.  He exports to the United States and is shown in very high end stores at very high end prices.  You too can do this.  His work is breath taking, and the detail, well you will see what I mean. These sell to high in art galleries also.  Very easy to pack, just roll up your purchases and put them in that extra bag you bought.   Jose will ship to the U.S., but it is much cheaper to buy that $8.00 bag and do it yourself.   Jose actually has three different workshops in Peguche, and we will visit them all.

ecuador-export-tour

Jose Cotacachi at his loom.

ecuador-export-tour

He loves his work.

Depending on time, we’ll determine the next thing we do, so I am just keeping it a secret.  I don’t want to rush anyone in this town.  Every time we go to Peguche, people always want to go back.  I hear too many times, “I wish I had bought that, or I didn’t see that one”.  So on this trip, we are going to try and see it all.

We will go to San Antonio de Ibarra, the Wood Carving town. One of the stores in San Antonio does gold leaf on statues…Some of these statues go to very important places in Europe and it can take a year or more to complete one statue.  Also, one small woodcarver studio (dirt floor) hosts those direct from the Louvre in Paris…bringing pics of their treasures to be copied!

Ecuador-exports

Master Carver Marco Lopez.

Many of the towns in Ecuador are known for a particular craftsmanship. We will be in the heart of the Crafts Trail, just minutes away from the major markets.  Otavalo is the Indigenous Market town, Peguche is the Weaving town, Cotacachi the Leather town and San Antonio is the Wood Carving town. The particular talent… skill of each town is handed down generation to generation, family to family. Should a future generation of young people decide to leave the town and do something completely different the skill could be lost forever.  You know it is going to happen, that is why all the things we see are so precious.

Our first complete day in Cotacachi we are going to meet Roberto the man who grows and exports those wonderful Ecuadorian roses to so many of you in the United States. You have seen the roses in Gary’s emails.  Roberto is going to tell us how to get them, and how to have your own Export business with roses.  (Some past attendees of this course have done quite well selling roses direct from the source.  And, a big thing, Roberto’s roses are all from green plantations…your wedding clients will love this.  We will also be working the entire Leather Street (ArtePiel), which is only a three block stroll from El Meson.  So many stores, both sides of the street, and all just a little bit different.  There is also a small outdoor market we will visit in Cotacachi where I have gotten some great leather items.  This is going to be a “get outside in the sunshine day”, do some walking do some looking, and do some buying.

For all you guys coming along, one of the first stores we will visit is where you get those fabulous leather jackets and coats.  The secret word in this store is…”I know Micky”, or “Micky sent me” which could bring about that extra discount we all want.  I believe Micky will actually be in Cotacachi while we are there so we will all get to meet her and here about her businesses in Florida all from products bought in Ecuador.

To add to your packing list ….things to be sure and bring with you to Ecuador…
Comfortable walking shoes
Sunglasses
Sun protection
Sun hat
and not to be forgotten, your ATM Card!

Do not bring Travelers’ checks, or any checks like that. Do not bring $100 bills (hard to cash).   Cash works, and remember they use our dollar, so there is no converting to another currency!  (This is another great surprise and help…no need to worry about currency fluctuations!)

See you all in July.  Happy traveling!

Maggie

Ecuador-export-tours Our tours show how to earn income globally but are not all business.  Our last group took time to visit Otavalo’s main square and…

Ecuador-export-tours

the Otavalo Cathedral where we…

Ecuador-export-tours

visited and…

Ecuador-export-tours

remembered the riches… plus…

Ecuador-export-tours

met a man who reminded us that when we do business globally we do more than just make money for ourselves.

Ecuador-export-tours

International trade in native crafts helps enrich everyone.

We hope to share this opportunity with you.

Gary

We hope you’ll join us to learn more business and investing opportunities globally as well as Ecuador.

July 4-8 Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

Green Investing & Ecuador Cars


Green investments may have extra value now.

“Green  Cars”  means something different now… than it did when I began to drive.

Today “Green Car” might means this….”Small is beautiful”.

green-investment

45 years ago a “green car” meant something like this!

green-investing

“Bigger was better!”

Thinking about this change can help us cash in on green investing.

Actually buying a car like the GTO would have been a pretty good investment.

Rare cars had really good appreciation for many years… but the green, very non green, GTO above can tell us more about where to invest in “Environmental Green.”   A change in green mentality can show us how to spot special investing value that goes way beyond collecting antique cars.

This was my first car.

green-investments

This was a 1958 Chevy Bel Air.  I bought it in 1963, used… for $895. This forced me to get a job…. busing dishes at a steak house in Portland, Oregon.   That car sort of set my lifestyle for decades… a solid member of the “one car per person” society.

I lived a mile from an isolated levy on the Columbia River… so yes, I drove my Chevy to the levy.

No more!   Bye Bye Miss American Pie is a more appropriate tune since Pontiac is about to die.   What could be more American Pie than a Pontiac?

I know because this was my second car…

green-investing

a 1966 Pontiac Tempest LeMans Sprint.

These pictures from www.cardomain.com brought back fond memories.  I can list every car I have ever owned in order… it’s a guy sort of thing… but this is not the point here.

That Pontiac had a special new Pontiac – built 230 cubic-inch overhead cam six power plant, the only such engine found in an American production car at that time.  This was available in this Sprint option package on two-doors with a four-barrel, high-compression 207 horsepower version,  marketed as an alternative to higher-priced European sport sedans, which had similar OHC engines.

This motor was hot and was fuel efficient!  Here is a picture.

green-investing

Then the idea of smaller more fuel efficient engines was lost.  The gas guzzling GTO with a huge eight cylinder took over and this type of engine became hot.  Europe’s idea of smaller, high performance fell to the idea of … just plain… BIG.

Bigger is better.   Faster is good.   Power is king.  These became  the American ideals and most of us (boomer) guys and gals bought into it.

This led society down an incorrect, unsustainable path of consumption worth mentioning now because of Pontiac’s recent death.

A recent BBC News article entitled “Pontiac RIP” by Nick Holland tells the tale.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The GTO transformed Pontiac into a muscle car brand.

Pontiac has become the highest-profile victim of the crisis in the American car industry.  The decision this week by General Motors to discontinue the brand shocked a generation of petrol heads who fell in love with the all American muscle cars the company developed in the 1960 and 70s.

It is a great shame that one of America’s iconic brands is having to be removed from the automotive scene

We are talking about cars like the Pontiac Firebird, The Grand Am and the GTO.
Like Route 66, roadside diners and baseball all of these vehicles have become genuine artefacts of U.S. culture.

“If ever a car company defined swagger – Pontiac was it,” says Peter DeLorenzo who runs the Autoextremist.com blog.

“Pontiac delivered cars to the market bristling with a maverick, edgy appeal and genuine soul – a commodity so far removed from most of Detroit’s products then that it was striking,” he says.

Things began to change when the company employed John De Lorean, who later founded the ill-fated De Lorean Motor Company, as its new head of engineering in 1956.

Pontiac started test driving a saloon car fitted with powerful V8 engines.

However, the vehicle did not meet General Motors’ corporate guidelines because they were considered too fast and breached an agreement with other manufacturers within the GM group to avoid building performance cars.

Regardless of that, a handful of the cars were built and Pontiac salesman drove them around to test public reaction.  They got 5,000 orders.

Once the board at General Motors found out, the GTO was born.

The popularity of the car encouraged the company to transform itself into a performance brand.

Alongside the GTO the company developed the Grand Prix and the Firebird during the 1960s, all of them muscle cars.

The demise of Pontiac is a clue… the end of a wasteful non sustainable way… plus it’s part of  this economic slowdown that signals huge socio-economic changes.

The global financial correction has pushed equity markets down everywhere and ended as time Magazine puts it, “the end of excess”.

American society revered big. Bigger was better. The more one had… the bigger the house… the faster the car… the greater the consumption… the more a consumer was respected.

Perhaps no more.  Now being environmentally sensitive is cool.

This creates a distortion because green shares have been especially hard hit.

There is a reason for this.  A USA Today article entitled “Going green can cost too much green” by Alan Gomez may help explain why.

Here are excerpts from this article:

Going green isn’t easy, especially during a recession.

For two years, the city of Durango, Colo., bought electricity for all its government buildings from wind farms. The City Council ended that program this year, reverting to electricity derived from coal-burning plants and saving the cash-strapped city about $45,000.

“It’s very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said. “Those are the tradeoffs you have to face.”

Across the country, government agencies are either cutting or shrinking programs that use or fund renewable energy projects. Green power — from wind farms, solar power or other renewable energy sources — remains more expensive than traditional power sources.

As budgets shrink, some people have had to scale back their green ambitions.
Pennsylvania passed a comprehensive energy plan last July that included a $100 million program to encourage people to invest in solar energy. The Pennsylvania Sunshine Program would provide reimbursements to homeowners and small business owners who installed solar electric and solar hot water projects.
The program has yet to begin, and the state will start with only $30 million in grants, according to Scott Dunkelberger, executive director of the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which administers the funding of Pennsylvania’s economic development programs. “We just want to take on the debt that we need,” he said.
That has left some in Pennsylvania waiting.

Buyers and investors have been backing off green because of short term financial concerns. Yet the huge long term problems of sustainability have not been resolved. Driving old Pontiacs might be cheaper in the short run then building new energy efficient cars… but returning to “Gitiup Little GTO” will not solve the problem’s of the high energy costs that those dual quads consume nor deal with the pollution coming from the twin exhausts.

Wise investors with a medium and long term view can gain extra value by investing in the value created by distortions in green shares that are vital to society in the long term… but depressed more than the norm right now due to short term economic concerns.

One example of this is that a no car trend is also growing. Excerpts from A New York Times article entitled “In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars”
by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

VAUBAN, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

Ecuador Cars

Ecuador has some green potential in this way because Ecuador has a great import law for cars.  You cannot import used cars to Ecuador.  You can only import new cars only…ie. in 2009 a 2008 or newer.  This helps keep junkers, gas guzzlers and smokey, old wrecks off the road.

Merri and I encourage people to forget the car in Ecuador… for several reasons.

First, it is a hassle.

Second, the taxes are  high for imported vehicles. The norm for taxes for a regular car is near 50% and as the price of the car rises…so does the percentage of tax.  Cars over $100,000 have a 100% tax.

Third, hiring a car with driver (this what Merri and I do) is really inexpensive. Cars used for commerce (i,e. taxis) can be imported into Ecuador tax free. Gas is cheap (about $1.50 a gallon) and drivers do not earn a lot.  These facts often make it cheaper to hire a car with driver than to own a car.

Using a car and driver avoids getting lost.  You eliminate the legal hassle of fender benders and provide employment. Very few of the many people I know who have moved to Ecuador have a car.

Learn more about Ecuador cars at Driving in Ecuador

Owning one’s car is ingrained in the North American mentality. I am reminded of this every time I drive through a city during commuter hours. There are miles upon miles of individuals each sitting in one car.

I understand this… the minute I turned 16  I had to get a car… a big one that was fast.

That mindset was an error that the world (and many individual budgets) can no longer afford… so say bye bye Miss American Pie and so long Little GTO.  Invest in green and when possible do what you can to eliminate one person… one car.

Gary

Learn more about green investing at our upcoming International investing and business courses.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$949 for one.  $1,349 for two.

Attend any three Ecuador courses or tours in a calendar month…$1,199 for one.  $1,799 for two.

You can read the entire article “Going green can cost too much green” at www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2009-05-03-greencities_N.htm

You can read the entire article German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/science/earth/12suburb.html?_r=1&th&emc=th