Tag Archive | "General Motors"

More Electric Investing Ideas


Will the Volt put voltage back into General Motors shares?

electric-car

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

Probably not… because small is beautiful.

In this era of rapid change a company’s value is its idea… less its size and experience.   A monster organization like GM… even trimmed down comes from the muscle car experience. Changing course from the “Giddiyap 409” attitude to “Go Green” requires enormous effort.

Yet who will come out ahead?

Chinese? South Koreans…. even Japanese?  Europeans?

The Japanese and Europeans have the benefit with their small, crowded nations, narrow and winding roads. They have always had to think smaller than in the US, where soft big and fast were the norm.

Japan’s gas prices are almost double those in the US and Europe’s are sometimes triple…. so when America’s cars were getting bigger… Europe’s and Japan’s were shrinking.

The Chinese and South Koreans are relatively new to the game so their mindset may not be as formed.

Americans did not learn much from the 1980s oil crisis.  Americans made pretty crappy, small cars at that time… the Dodge Reliant…  yuck!  No wonder Chrysler went broke.

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The Ford Mustang had fallen from its great beginning to a miserable low and the Chevy Malibu wasn’t any better.  We should not be surprised that the Japanese grabbed so much market share.

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GM rebounded with the Suburban.  Ford watched F150 pickup sales soar. Chrysler  made the minivan an every day affair and American drivers moved from gas guzzling muscle cars to gas guzzling SUVS and trucks.

Here are reader comments from our last message about green investing.

Greetings Gary, Thank you for printing the electric engineer’s letter. He is a smart guy, and used good illustrations. In his passion for reminding us that a battery is like a bucket [of course he is right] he managed to throw out the benefits of the battery out the window.  I hope he doesn’t impede you from reporting on new tech you hear about in the future. We all knew what you intended. The real point is reducing our grid use [via wind solar, whatever] and being able to store it economically. If this battery works it is the breakthrough you reported.  Please don’t lose your passion, tell us as many of the details of the vision you see, please. Happy Trails, and keep up the good work.

No chance I’ll lose my passion! I have grand kids and my children are really passionate about this so they push me right along. From the investing point of view, I know that big problems create big opportunity and there are few bigger problems than environmental pollution.

Here is another reader:  In response to the solar battery section of this post, it may interest you to access National Geographic’s August’s “Picture of the Month”.  Scout around the site until you find the series of photos from their recent article on the current state of solar power technology.

You may know that the WSJ recently had an article about a meeting Correa had with a Russian delegation to discuss Russian help building a nuclear energy plant in Ecuador. The WSJ (which hates Correa) was on red alert. But the general feeling in other media is that the Russians are meddling in “our” backyard in response to us meddling in “their” former sphere of influence, particularly those missiles in Eastern Europe.  I continue to be puzzled why no one in Ecuador, or interested in Ecuador, is looking at developing a solar power industry. Apart from the obvious abundance of stable and intense year-round solar radiation, a distribution system along the north/south axis of the Andes would avoid all the problems of moving oil and gas through mountains and volcanoes from the eastern Amazon basin west to the Pacific ports for trans-shipment.

The lack of solar would seem a puzzle until one thinks it through. Solar power is still costly and poor nations tend to go with the least expensive choice.   Plus who would help?  Solar could make Ecuador independent and no one seems to have that on their agenda.

Mankind must become greener. This is a huge problem and because problems create opportunity, demand for electric cars that help the environment may continue to grow.

When looking at investment ideas in electric cars think small… the winners are not likely go come from America’s… big (mostly busted) three.

See Jyske Bank’s Financial Friday including an interview about electric investing in cars.

Gary

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October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour

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Join us with Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management in Ecuador. Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business at the seminar.

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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”.

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

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“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.

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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…

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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.

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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

Ecuador Risk


Ecuador has risks.

As does everywhere.  In fact our world has more risk then ever before.

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Are quiet Ecuador streets like this Cotacachi avenue at risk?

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The young Ecuadorian children who go to school early, alone don’t seem to feel much risk.  Yet?

Change creates risk and we live in an era of increasingly rapid change.

Those who welcome this fact are those who have the best chance of success. ahead.

This is the era of rapid change… the era of  extra risk.  The current time period within this era is of accelerated change and risk.

This is an important message about how to manage risk in Ecuador or anywhere.

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Even young children play alone in the Cotacachi Ecuador streets without much risk

Yet we must always take care.

Take for example the US travel advisory for Ecuador… read  without perspective. Ecuador risk would seem high.

Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Ecuador:

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Quito advises caution when traveling to the northern border region of Ecuador, to include areas in the provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Carchi, northern Esmeraldas, and southern Esmeraldas, south of Atacames.  U.S. government personnel are under limitations with respect to traveling alone and over-nighting in these areas due to the spread of organized crime, drug trafficking, small arms trafficking, and incursions by various Colombian terrorist organizations.

CRIME:  Crime is a serious problem in Ecuador, and visitors should be alert and cautious.  Non-violent crime is common: hundreds of Americans are robbed every year in Ecuador.   Incidents of rape have increased, even in well-traveled tourists areas and when the victims traveled in groups for safety. Shootings, kidnappings, and carjackings are still relatively rare, but American citizens have been victimized by those crimes.  The Ecuadorian government has increased police patrols in tourist areas, but travelers should remain alert to their surroundings and maintain constant control of personal belongings.

Criminals sometimes use incapacitating drugs such as scopolamine on unsuspecting tourists in order to rob them.  These so-called date rape drugs are put into drinks in order to drug the unsuspecting victim.  This drug can render the victim disoriented and can cause prolonged unconsciousness and serious medical problems.  Never allow a stranger to “buy” you a drink and never leave your drink unattended.  Several American citizens have reported thefts of property following ingestion of such substances.

Does Ecuador sound risky?

Ecuador sounds risky until you read the travel advisory for Italy.  Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Italy:

Some travelers are victims of rape and beatings.  There are incidents of drinks laced with drugs being used by criminals to rob, and in some cases, assault tourists.  Many of these incidents occur in the vicinity of Rome’s Termini train station and at major tourist centers such as Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona, as well as in Florence and Naples.  Criminals using this tactic “befriend” a traveler at a train station, bus stop, restaurant, café or bar in tourist areas, then eventually offer a drink laced with a sleeping drug.  When the tourist falls asleep, criminals steal the traveler’s valuables.  There are also instances where the victim is assaulted, either physically or sexually.

Petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, theft from parked cars, and purse snatching are serious problems, especially in large cities.  Clients of Internet cafes in major cities are also targeted.  Tourists who have tried to resist petty thieves on motor scooters have suffered broken arms and collarbones.

The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian Law Enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices.

Organized criminal groups operate throughout Italy, but are more prevalent in the south.  They occasionally resort to violence to intimidate or to settle disputes.

Italy could seem risky as well until you read the travel advisory for Spain .  Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Spain.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:     Spain and Andorra share with the rest of the world an increased threat of international terrorist incidents.  Like other countries in the Schengen area, Spain’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity.  Spain’s proximity to North Africa makes it vulnerable to attack from Al Qaeda terrorists in the Maghreb region.  Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

In the deadliest terrorist attack in recent European history, in March 2004, Islamist extremists bombed four commuter trains entering Madrid, causing 191 deaths and over 1,400 injuries.  Spanish authorities tried the suspected terrorists and their co-conspirators in February 2007 and convicted in October 2007.

The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization remains active in Spain.  ETA has historically avoided targeting foreigners, directing their attacks against the police, military, local politicians, and Spanish government targets as well as attempts to disrupt transportation and daily life. However, foreigners have been killed or injured collaterally in ETA attacks.  Two examples of this are the Barajas Airport bombing in December 2006, in which two Ecuadorian nationals were killed and the bombing at the University of Navarre in October 2008, in which 17 students were injured including one American student.  In addition, bombs have been used as part of criminal extortion of businesses, particularly in the Basque region. The risk of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” in event of an ETA action is a concern for foreign visitors and tourists.  U.S. tourists traveling to Spain should remain vigilant, exercise caution, monitor local developments, and avoid demonstrations and other potentially violent situations.

Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.  Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of pick-pocketing, mugging and occasional violent attacks, some of which require the victim to seek medical attention.  Although crimes occur at all times of day and night and to people of all ages, older tourists and Asian Americans seem to be particularly at risk.  Criminals frequent tourist areas and major attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, outdoor cafes, Internet cafes, hotel lobbies, beach resorts, city buses, subways, trains, train stations, airports, and ATMs.

Thieves often work in teams of two or more people.  In many cases, one person distracts a victim while the accomplices perform the robbery.   Spanish authorities warn of the availability of so-called “date-rape” drugs and other drugs, including “GBH” and liquid ecstasy.  Americans should not lower their personal security awareness because they are on vacation.

We could go on… in Europe…  in Asia… or anywhere.

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Parents in Cotacachi Ecuador do not feel much risk when they let their children play in the parks.

Mostly, places are not the cause of risk.  The causes of risk  are within,  our awareness, our actions, our  patterns and habits.

If one becomes aware of change and adapts accordingly… there is no risk.  There is opportunity instead.

Early adapters are called risk takers.   They are not.

Real risk takers are those who do not  adapt because…  we know…  there is change.

The real risk is living by OLD rules in a NEW world.

The real risk is believing in General Motors for example… because it is the biggest… oldest… so it must be safest.

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Young lovers in Ecuador can meet safely in out of the way places.

The world is new every day and each day, some old rule no longer works.

The old rules used to say that the Western world was safe… and the emerging world riskier.   The old rules said that the Western world had low crime…  the emerging world had high crime.

Yet look at excerpts of a recent New York Times article entitled “Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid” by Solomon Moore (See a link to the entire article below) says:

One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008, according to a new study.

Criminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which quadrupled in the past two decades, according to the report Monday by the Pew Center on the States, the first breakdown of spending in confinement and supervision in the past seven years.

This suggests that the US has quite a lot of risk… both in crime and health.

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Ecuador people are by nature, caring, friendly and warm.

Sometimes I get letters like the one below from readers who have been victims of crime in Ecuador.  This reader lost her computer and camera when she forgot them in the business lounge at the Radisson hotel in Quito.

Dear Gary,  Can you believe, the Quito police, working with the Radisson hotel, found my  briefcase with the computer and other small items and had them sent by Federal Express to me.  I had provided them with the receipts of all the items stolen, for the items they were not able to send me  (camera and cellular phone) I was reimbursed via bank transfer. I still can’t believe it.  This was a good ending and so unexpected.  send you all love, and good thoughts. Laura

New rules about risk are being written every day and our daughter Francesca shared some thoughts on this when she recently visited us here.

Fran is quite a traveler.  Here early studies were in England… Gloucestershire and Birmingham.  Then she spent more for more than a year in Spain and Costa Rica, and moved to Naples and Delray, Florida which were bases for her to  manage real estate tours in Argentina, Belize, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay.

She worked for several years doing human rights training in Geneva, Switzerland before returning to get her Masters degree at London School of Economics.

Then  she worked in London for the Crown Agents where she was assigned
as a project manager and consultant to governments in Nigeria,  Peru, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

She has worked the last several years  as a development planning, monitoring & evaluation consultant in Swaziland and is returning there now on a contract with the United Nations.

As a young, single woman (now married) she has had to be aware of risks traveling everywhere from Florida to London to Lagos.

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Here I am with Francesca on her wedding day.

Fran & Sam rode to their reception in Richmond Park on a bicycle built for tow.

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Riding a bike through London traffic… now that is risky!

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Here are some common sense thoughts that Francesca shares about living with risk.

Living with Risk by Francesca Scott

We’re living in risky times; from the economic collapse, to swine flu, to erratic weather conditions.  It sometimes surprises me when people ask me if I’m not worried about living in Swaziland (my current home), because, they say, Africa is such a dangerous place.  I figure that when I return to London, my risk of being attacked in a terrorist attack skyrockets.  And I am still dumbfounded by the fact that children are screened for guns at schools in the United States.  By the way in England for the first time screening for knives has begun in some inner-city London schools.

The issue of risk came to mind recently, when I was visiting my Grandma. One evening over dinner, the discussion turned to the security situation in Swaziland, and I mused that in certain ways I feel safer in Swaziland than I do in parts of London. My Grandma commented that gangs were increasingly becoming a problem in Portland, her home city, and that she didn’t feel that safe these days.  The next day, as we stopped at the local bank, I was surprised by the thick wall of bullet proof glass completely separating the staff from the general public. They don’t have that in banks in London, or in Mbabane, Swaziland’s capital city.

I began thinking about how easily we adapt to different risks within our local environments. In many countries, one would be crazy not to have bars on lower windows. In central London, I hold my bag very close to my chest – I value my purse and cell phone too much. My mother-in-law, who lives in Australia, actually leaves her keys in her car when she stops at a store to pick up groceries (gasp!).  Sadly, I doubt that will last for much longer.   So does my Dad in NC.  They have a policy on the farm that all keys remain in all vehicles…just in case someone needs to jump in one!

Each country has a different risk profile, from pick-pockets, to pollution, to drug barons.  I am not saying that Swaziland does not have its dangers – my house has been broken into several times, and I drive much more defensively than I would in the US or the UK (mostly to avoid wayward cows that have drifted onto the road).  The important thing is to be fully informed about the risks.  This might sound obvious, but sometimes people are scared off by unfamiliar risks or misinformation.

It’s also worth remembering that there are often a variety of ways to mitigate those risks through effective prevention methods, so long as you know the rules. Most of us are guilty of exposing ourselves to unnecessary risk as a result of ignorance at one time or other, and are lucky that we’ve lived to tell the tell. I was threatened at knife point by a drug addict in a park in Spain, when I lived there as a student.  When I recounted my story to my Spanish roommate, she told me that I was a fool to be in that park in the first place, ‘…didn’t you know that it’s the favorite haunt for heroine addicts in the city?’  Well, no, obviously I didn’t know at that time, but it was a valuable lesson for me about the importance of knowing the rules.

I must admit to being a little scared before I went to Swaziland.  After all, it’s in one of the poorest parts of the world, and only three hours drive from Johannesburg, a gang-ridden, violent city. I also couldn’t shake off all those awful images of Africa I’ve seen on the evening news. I told myself that I would try it out for six months (I figured I could survive for that length of time in an underground bunker living off tinned corned beef and bottled water if it was that bad), and make a decision from there about whether or not it was for me. Two-and-a-half years later, I still thoroughly enjoy living here and am very glad that I resisted my initial anxieties.

For those considering buying property, or even moving to Ecuador, or any other country – developed, developing or downright poverty stricken for that matter – I would recommend to take the time to become fully informed about the types of risks you might face.  You can find out a lot from the internet and books, but it would be a shame to be scared off by some of what you read or by the well intentioned comments of a neighbor who hasn’t ever lived away from their home town.

Everyone comes from a different starting point, and everyone has a different risk threshold.

Also, the dramatic stories tend to be more interesting to tell.  While reading around can certainly offer you a variety of different and valuable viewpoints, it’s also important to talk to people who have lived in the country. Locals can be an invaluable source of information, while ex-pats may be more appreciative of the kinds of risks unanticipated by a foreigner, risks that may seem glaringly obvious to a local. Also, find out what you can do to mitigate those risks. Often you can reduce your exposure significantly using the appropriate precautions. If you think that the benefits outweigh those risks, then go down and check out the country for yourself.  That’s the only way you can really know if the level of risk is one that you could tolerate.

It might be that the risks are in some countries and in some places, in fact, just too high, pushing you beyond your comfort zone, or that the restrictions necessary to reduce your risks would make you feel stressed and claustrophobic. It’s no fun lying restless at night at night because you’re worried over a break-in, even though you have an alarm, or resent the lack of privacy from having a guard permanently outside your house. If you’re looking for the exact replica of your own community, with the same level of risk, and a Starbucks around the corner thank you very much, then somewhere like an emerging country really may not be for you. There will inevitably be new and different risks in poorer countries, some to which you, as a foreigner, could be at much higher risk than a local.

But take a moment to reflect on the risks that you face in your daily environment back home, and you might find that such risks are relative. While some risks will be new when you move abroad, you will also leave some behind. Therefore, before making any decision of moving to a country other than your own, I recommend making sure that you are informed by the reality on the ground, not some misconception fed by the media or well-intentioned homebodies. Only with that information can you gauge whether you’ll be comfortable with the type and level of risk you might face. For an adventurous soul, you may well find that the benefits of living in a new culture, the fun of exploring a foreign terrain, make everything worthwhile.

Risk assessment is a vital part of survival and success in today’s world.

This has always been true so always consider risk… but when you evaluate danger… don’t  just look at the places where you will be.   Review your thinking, your habits and patterns to see how you can turn risk into opportunity.

Gary

Join us here at our hotel Meson de las Flores.  Learn more turning risk into opportunity at our courses and tours.

ecuador-risk

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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.

See the entire article Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/us/03prison.html

Cotacachi Spa & Ecuador Web Business


Cotacachi’s (perhaps Ecuador’s)  most famous spa is La Mirage and seeing it could help you own your own Ecuador business.

cotacachi-spa

In a moment, there is a link to some great shots of La Mirage by Todd Smith.

However it is Todd’s success with his web business after attending our course that I want to share.

The global economy is going though a much needed cleanse.    A recent USA Today article reports that census numbers show that a record one in nine U.S. housing units are vacant, including about 3% of owned homes. The Mortgage Bankers Association says more than 2 million homeowners faced foreclosure last year. The median sales price dropped 12%, according to the National Association of Realtors — far more in parts of Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan.

This inventory is delaying any kind of housing recovery and will dampen the job market for some time.  This is especially true because of the lack of demand.

One in nine means that 14 million housing units are vacant. USA Today says: That number does not include an estimated 4.8 million seasonal or vacation homes, most of which are occupied part of the year. The combined vacancy rate of almost 15% is higher than during previous recessions: 11% in 1991 and 9.4% in 1984.

• About 3% of owned homes are vacant. In normal times, “maybe 1% should be vacant.”

This means we should not expect to see any economic recovery soon.

A recent New York Times article entitled “U.S. Is Pressed to Add Billions to Bailouts”  by Edmund L. Andrews, Andrew Ross Sorkin  and Mary Williams Walsh says:  The government faced mounting pressure on Monday to put billions more in some of the nation’s biggest banks, two of the biggest automakers and the biggest insurance company, despite the billions it has already committed to rescuing them.

The government’s boldest rescue to date, its $150 billion commitment for the insurance giant American International Group, is foundering. A.I.G. indicated on Monday it was now negotiating for tens of billions of dollars in additional assistance as losses have mounted.

Separately, the Obama administration confirmed it was in discussions to aid Citigroup, the recipient of $45 billion so far, that could raise the government’s stake in the banking company to as much as 40 percent.

The Treasury Department named a special adviser to work with General Motors and Chrysler, two of Detroit’s biggest automakers, which are seeking $22 billion on top of the $17 billion already granted to them.

All these companies’ mushrooming needs reflect just how hard it is to stanch the flow of losses as the economy deteriorates. Even though the government’s finances are being stretched — and still more aid might be needed in the future — it is being forced to fill the growing holes in the finances of these companies out of fear that the demise of an important company could set off a chain reaction.

This means the government is creatng more money then it has and we are likely to see inflation.

So what can we do?

One is buy real estate in California, Florida and some of the other hard hit states. There will be real bargains.  Merri are headed to Florida as fast as soon as we wrap up our March tours in Ecuador.

Start our own business. No other time offers such great opportunity. The old boys network is slashed. Big business cannot compete and labor has not been so abundant in decades.

This is why Todd Smith sets such a great example.

Todd attended one of our courses on how to self publish and has developed a growing, thriving internet business.

See Todd’s latest emailed message about La Mirage here.

Here are two important points about Todd’ success.

First he already had a successful wedding photography business. However hat type of business did not have the upside potential nor offer the freedom he desired.

Second he was not enjoying the business. The hours and the types of photography did not fit Todd’s desires.  He had a passion to earn in a different type of  photography.

So he turned his passion into profit!

Due to numerous successes like Todd’s and because of  the ideal business conditions created by the economic correction, I have developed a new course... The Tangled Webs We Weave…A Web Based  Business Course

Enroll here $299

You own web business provides enormous freedom.  You can like anywhere you desire…  a Cotacachi business is great. This is a quiet peaceful place without much crime, noise or pollution.    Merri and I  have have a web business that works in Cotacachi, the Blue Ridge of North Carolina or anywhere we choose in the world?

The reason we can have this freedom in business is passion.

I am one of the luckiest guys in the world because my children are continually doing things that I learn from.  This allows me to be a bragging dad and actually share a worthwhile point in the process.

For example Merri and I recently were reminded of the most important secret of business success from our youngest daughter, Eleanor.   Here is a shot of Merri and me riding the Virgina Creeper Trail last summer with Ele.

Cotacachi-business

Eleanor is just 27 but has already built a very successful London based business that not only provides her a six figure income, but gives her the freedom to travel the world.  This last year, she visited us twice in the US plus spent time in China  enjoying the Olympics and made numerous other trips.  She has over four months of each year to travel wherever she desires…and earn as she goes.

While she was last with us, we had a great deal of time to talk and she surprised me by sharing a valuable lessons about business.

The first lesson came when she was telling me about her latest efforts at getting some of her students auditions and roles in London West End shows.  Ele started as an entrepreneur early. She owns a performing arts school in London that teaches dancing,  drama and singing.  Here are some of her students in the production of Aladdin they are currently performing.

New-year-economic-lesson

Ele’s school is a franchised operation…one of about 600.  She is one of the youngest owners yet has one of the top ten busiest schools.

One reason for her success is the enormous energy and passion she puts into her business.  Another reason for  her success is she has a growing reputation for getting her students professional roles in the London theater.

She currently has eight of her students working in London’s West End.

Two are in the Sound of Music at the London Palladium on Argyll Street.

Two are in Rodger and Hammerstein’s Carousel at the Savoy on the Strand.

One is  in Disney’s  Lion King, at the Lyceum Theatre on Wellington Street.

One is in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

I was a bit surprised at this success and asked her “what is your trick”.  She replied:

“This is very simple.  I give the children who have extra talent free lessons. I bring them to my home and work with them there.”

When I questioned the wisdom of giving away her services as being part of a good business model, she replied:

“This is not about the money, Dad. The thrill of hearing those kids when they call me and tell  they were selected is worth every minute I put into this. I love those calls so much,  I am happy to devote my time and effort.”

This is the secret. Do what you love and figure out how to make money in the process.

In Ele’s case, she has profited indirectly…but the profit is not the purpose.  This is a matter of fulfillment and of the heart.

This has always been an important idea, but grows in importance now.  Our message about the upcoming 2011 disaster showed an economic distortion that is so grave it will force many of us to continue working… or  to work more then expected or… to start working for oneself when an existing job is eliminated.

This problem is so acute and the importance of having more people do what they love is so vital that we have decided to write a new course…on how to develop your own international internet business.

I have now started this course and before I launch it to the public want to make a special offer…that gives you this course free…or more.

Years ago, Merri and I  had 23,000 print readers…micro sized in publishing terms….but very, very profitable for us.  We made millions from this business.  We believe that in this rapidly changing world…small is beautiful.

When money stopped mattering as much, our children were grown, finished with university, we sold our print business and took a year off…lived with a shaman high in the Andes.

Then we morphed into an internet only business.  Our readership began small, with  about 1,600 email readers.  We expected to slow down and smell the roses more.  We even bought an isolated hacienda high in the Andes called Rosaspamba (Place of roses).

As crazy as it seems, we could actually run a business with this small readership and make a profit because our readers are so wonderfully responsive.

Why?  How?

This is what the new course I am creating will teach you….how to have a small, safe, profitable global internet business by creating wonderfully response, fun to be with, like-minded customers.

How small?

Today, our business remains micro sized but we have grown from 1,600 readers to four  main subscription lists consisting of 16,782 subscribers.

How safe?

The downturn of 2008 has not slowed us a bit.   In fact we  are growing faster, in number of subscribers and income, than ever.   December 2008 was our busiest month on the internet ever…by about 50%! January and February 2009 were up 226% over January and February of 2008.  This March we have almost surpassed March 2008 sales in the first ten days.

This is all at  a time when many say the world is economically depressed. Yet our sales are way up and growing almost every month.

How profitable?

Our list and sales are still tiny compared to many of our competitors and associates who make millions a month.   We make tens of thousands…sometimes hundreds.

Yet we have been able to add this extra income with a surprisingly small amount of added overheads.  This number works perfectly for Merri and me…a fun sized readership. In our opinion, this should be the key in business… satisfaction… fulfillment and fun…through service along with the profit.

Yet, profits do matter. Almost every month our internet sales have been rising. In 2008 they rose nearly every month and created a new record for web based sales for us.

These internet sales alone have given us the freedom to live in an isolated Blue Ridge farm during summers and in Ecuador the rest of the year…yet still earn many tens of thousands of extra dollars a month.

Now you can learn everything I do to create this extra income and have fun and fulfillment in a micro publishing business.

The syllabus of this course will help you learn how to find something that is fun, fulfilling and profitable for you to do.

Our growing income is one reason I have decided to create this course.

Second, the economic downturn of 2008 means that more of my readers will need a new way to earn in the years ahead.

Yet the third reason was the straw that made me decide to do this….my webmaster who helped me start this site agreed to co-write the course with me. Merri and I explain what we do in the business.  The writing…the marketing…the product planning and such.   Our webmaster outlines the technical part. How to chose a server…set up a shopping cart…create pay per click systems…send thousands of emails a day.

Though we like to remain small, this does not mean all of our students will.  Our webmaster started with us first but since has grown to be the chief internet consultant for several much larger internet marketing companies that send over a billion emails a year!

We are explaining in the course in detail as we develop it over this year…what I will share and what my webmaster will share as well…how the course will help you.  We are at chapter eight now and I honestly do not know everything what will be in the course.

Previous courses have always evolved as they are written because of the questions that are asked as the lessons are sent.

This is why I want to offer this emailed course (which has not yet be written) now so you can grow with the course as it evolves.

Here is a  special offer.

This new course entitled “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Internet Business” is available at $299.

This is a bargain. Merri and I have been traveling and doing international business for 41 years. We have had a web based business for over ten years. You can share everything we have learned for just $299.

Plus we provide our standard full guarantee. Enroll.  Try the course for 30 days. If not satisfied we’ll give you an immediate, full… no fuss refund.

However if you sign up for any three of our in person courses below, you can have The Tangled Web course free.

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.

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

Enroll in Tangled Web here $299

To enroll in three courses click here.   I will automatically send you the free Tangled Web course when you enroll. You save $299 more.

Micro Business Security


Your own micro business can increase security.

There is a lot of bad economic news flowing these days.

For example, last week a New York Times headline last week announced:

U.S. Economy Contracted at 3.8% Annual Pace in Fourth Quarter

Though the Commerce Department’s preliminary figure for gross
domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2008 showed the
greatest decline in more than 26 years, economists had
forecast much worse.

A BBC report this week said:

Ford, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler have all reported a sharp fall in US sales in January, as industry-wide American sales fell to a 27-year low.

Sales at Ford plunged 42% last month, compared with a year earlier, while those at GM declined 49%, and Chrysler was hit by a fall of 55%.
But the bad news is not for everyone.  A recent message explained why our business is growing by leaps and bounds almost every month.

There is not bad news everywhere though.  Life is good for small businesses that have adapted and zeroed in on helping during the economic crisis.

A recent message Ecuador Business Passion explained why our web business is growing by leaps and bounds almost every month.

Car sales may be down 50% compared with a year earlier, but our January business is up over 100% compared to last January.  See why at Business Passion.

Web business are perfect during these troubled times. They reduce overheads and allow maximum flexibility to shift with economic trends.

I also also like a web business because they provide freedom to move around.

In the summer I can work and enjoy this view at our North Carolina farm.

business-security

Then in winter when it is miserable and expensive to be in these mountains I can enjoy this sunrise view from our Cotacachi condo and still be in business.

income-security

Or Merri and I can visit our Ecuador Pacific beach condo and wach this sunset while we still work.

income-security

This freedom not only makes life more enjoyable but also reduces the cost of living.

This is why we are sharing a free course on how to create your own website without a webmaster written by Michelle Toole. Here is the 32nd lesson in this course.

Blogging…Another Effective Way to Keep Your Readers Coming Back by Michelle Toole

It is a well known fact that many a time a visitor may visit your site only once, never to return.

So how do you get them to come back?

Good Question.

You have a couple of options, first by publishing a high-value e-zine/newsletter you will encourage return visits and build a trusting relationship between you and your visitors/potential customers. But there is another “communication” approach that is growing in popularity.

It’s called “blogging.”

Basically, blogging means creating a “Web log” or a diary on your Web site, and it is a fast way to share timely information (updates, new developments in your field, trends, etc.), express an opinion, answer a question, or exchange whatever info you want.

How you communicate in your Web log/Blog will depend upon your personality, your time commitments and the tolerance level of your audience. The guiding principle should be simplicity — quick and easy-to-create messages to stay in touch.

Having a web site and a blog combined is one of the best ways to get return visitors while at the same time gaining new visitors.  And as an owner of a theme-based content site, all entries on your designated blog page need to relate to your site’s particular theme. This is a critical criterion to note. You don’t want to risk losing Search Engine relevancy points because your blog page is off target. So, for example, if your Web site focuses on PREselling your accounting service, documenting your passion for orchids will not benefit your page-ranking score — no matter how exhilarating it is for you to share new discoveries!

For a small business owner, a blog is a great way to keep your site fresh and worth revisiting on a regular basis.  But more importantly, it nurtures a feeling of familiarity and reinforces your expertise and knowledge base…

A few final points about blogging…

•    An entry should take as much time as it would to craft an informative e-mail.

•    In the offline world, sometimes people come into a store just to look around, see what’s new and visit with the owner or employees. A blog is an easy way to replicate that relationship-building scenario with your online visitors.

•    Not everyone will be interested in your blog page. But if it makes an impact on even a few visitors, then it’s a worthwhile ROI (Return on Investment). A sale more than compensates for your time effort.

•    Continue to blog as long as it makes sense to you and/or you enjoy it. Use your e-zine to cross-promote what’s new in the blog. And use your blog to cross-promote your e-zine.

Bottom line…..

The growing popularity of “Blogging” emphasizes the importance of updated content on your site. And the fastest and most profitable way to add freshness to your site is by adding regularly to a blog. Of course, long-term, nothing beats creating new pages on your theme based web site.

Look for my future articles where we discuss additional monetization options, search engine optimization, incoming links, additional e-zine techniques, link exchange programs and much more…..

You can check out Michelle’s web site at http://healthy-holistic-living.com. To get more great tips, like the ones above and to see how and what tools she used to create a successful on-line business go to http://sitesell-sbi.com

Until next message may you always find income security.

Gary

How We Can Serve You

Bear Rally Tactics


The salvation for this bear market may be near.   See below how bear rally tactics can help you profit in the current economic downturn.

History suggests that we will not see a lasting bull until 2012…but one more bear market rally may provide an escape hatch for those who are caught with too many depressed shares. These tactics begin by understanding where the US economy and equity markets are in relation to thirty year cycles that seem to dominate the flow of mankind’s industrial productivity.

These cycles are not economic cycles.  They are cycles of human interaction, technology and productivity that drive the economy and hence the stock market. These cycles are intricately connected with new waves of productivity that grow from some great human platform of combat.  Struggles for survival in the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Cold War (WWIII) super charged inventiveness that created new forms of productivity…the steam engine, the internal combustion engine,  production line processes, jet engines, TV, farming techniques, plastics, telephone, computer and internet, etc.

Each new invention helped win a war. Then shifting the technology to domestic use after the war created a boom.

Each boom led to excess.

Each excess led to a correction…and viola here we are…in a correction again…at the correct time!   This downturn started almost exactly (1998), 16 years after the last boom began (1982)…which began after the last great human struggle called the Cold War.

This correction like its predecessors has enjoyed a number of bear market rallies. You can see this quite clearly, in the graph below, how each upward cycle rises after a war (postwar boom) and how the market then crashes before the next upcoming war.

We have been viewing this process via this chart at our site since it began and we can observe how the last bear market recovery ended around December 2007 in this update from yahoo.finance on Wednesday December 3, 2008. dow charts

The yahoo chart looks a little different because it is not dollar adjusted, but we can see a bear market pattern, beginning in 1998, similar to one that began in the 1920s and ran though the 1930s into the 1940s.

We see another bear from the mid 1960s that ran through through the 1970s in the early 1980s. The last bull market began in 1982 so it is significant when we see newspaper headlines like USA Today’s December 3, 2008 headline, Auto Sales Fall to 1982 Level. If car sales…stock market levels and economic signs are at their lowest level since the early 1980s, history suggests that the end of the current correction is heading our way….but not quite here yet.

This is why the portion of the Dow graph from 1920 to 1940 is of special interest to me. I see that the sharp 1929 contraction was too sharp. The real correct correction took place from 1929 to 1942 with a strong, last bear market rally from 1932 through 1936.

graph

Everything about this 30 year theory suggests that the bear market will not end until about 2012…and we need a serious human struggle and new technology before we see the next boom. Yet this same theory also suggests one last bear rally which may be a savior for baby boomers who would like to see their pensions and savings recover a bit before they retire.

The current bear trend began in 1998.  The 2005 to 2007 bear market rally led many investors astray. We are now in a late 1920s style market slide.

This has all been pretty predictable…which is why beginning August 2007 this site began recommending a reduction in equities and debt.

In September 2007, this site listed four important facts that affect most investors:

#1: They care too much about day to day volatility.

#2: They care too little about strategy.

#3: The short term process of buying and selling takes too much time.

#4: This short term process leaves too little time to analyze and forecast. We added seven suggestion then about of what to do when there is a market crisis.

#1: Turn on the auto pilot and normally add to your position.

#2: Do not panic.

#3: Do not let feelings influence you too much.

#4: Add some restructuring stories to your portfolio.

#5: Know that a period of high returns will be followed by a period of low returns…and vice versa.

#6: Do not underexpose yourself for the long term.

#7: Risk is your friend or alibi for expecting higher returns. Take risk in good value!

The market outlook at this site then (Sept 2007) was:

#1: Expect moderately higher stock markets at the end of 2007.

#2: Earnings growth will slow further.

#3: Watch out for core inflation and GDP growth. Dramatically lower growth with high inflation is the signal to watch for.

This could create a recession, the worst enemy for equities. We have that recession now. Hopefully you have been following these ideas.  If so, you have been hurt less than most and now we should be thinking hard about a reentry into markets. There are some stunning values developing especially if we engage three bear market rally tactics now.

Bear Market Rally Tactic #1: Realize that some blue chip equities in old industries may see some sharp immediate gains…but are not the wave of the future. If you hold such shares…when they recover…take your profit if the shares begin to be sold at an unreasonable value.

For example, General Motors was a Blue Chip that spiked in the late 1970s bear market rally.  The internal combustion engine was a productivity technology that came out of WWI.  Selling GM in the $40 range in the late 70s was the smartest thing a person could have done. From then forward, if you take the dollar’s fall and inflation into account, these shares have been a bad value and poor investment.

gm-share-chart

The Blue Chips that could peak in this rally are WWII era firms..plastics…telecommunications…TV…computer (not internet)…fertilizers and such.

Dump them if you get a decent price.

Boomers especially will want to use such timing.  If you have to sell shares to for liquidity, sell these Blue Chips in old industries that are not likely to have a bright future ever again.

Boomers, hold your new era investments that have a bold future and can still rise a lot to provide your income later when you are in your 80s and 90s and 100s!

Bear Market Rally Tactic #2:  Watch for the next war or struggle and the technology that will emerge. The nature of the battle will have an impact on what technology might emerge. Last year I thought that the war could be in Iran. See why at  WWIV

There are other options. For example a December 2, 2008 CNN article said:

Terrorists are likely to use a weapon of mass destruction somewhere in the world in the next five years, a blue-ribbon panel assembled by Congress has concluded. They are more likely to use a biological weapon than a nuclear one — and the results could be devastating, the chairman of the commission told CNN. “The consequences of a biological attack are almost beyond comprehension. It would be 9/11 times 10 or a hundred in terms of the number of people who would be killed,” former Sen. Bob Graham said. He cited the flu virus that killed millions of people in 1918 as an example. “Today it is still in the laboratory, but if it should get out and into the hands of scientists who knew how to use it for a violent purpose, we could have multiple times the 40 million people who were killed 100 years ago,” he said. Graham warned that such measures would be costly, but were necessary. “The leadership of this country and the world will have to decide how much of a priority … they place on avoiding the worst weapons in the world getting in the hands of the worst people in the world,” he said. “It is not going to be cheap. It is not going to be accomplished without some sacrifices. It won’t be accomplished without putting this issue ahead of some other competing national and international goals. But I think our safety and security depend upon doing so,” he added. It cited testimony before the commission from former Sen. Sam Nunn, who said that the “risk of a nuclear weapon being used today is growing, not receding.” The report recommends a range of measures, including increased security and awareness at biological research labs and strengthening international treaties against the spread of biological and nuclear weapons. “Many biological pathogens and nuclear materials around the world are poorly secured — and thus vulnerable to theft by those who would put these materials to harmful use, or would sell them on the black market to potential terrorists,” the report warned. The commission expressed particular concern about the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, and about Pakistan, which it described as “the intersection of nuclear weapons and terrorism. While observing that Pakistan is a U.S. ally, the report said, “the next terrorist attack against the United States is likely to originate from within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas” in Pakistan. The tribal areas lie in northwest Pakistan where the government exerts little control; the United States says it is a haven for militants from both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan. Congress created the commission to investigate and report on WMD and terrorism in line with a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission, which compiled a report on the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Commissioners heard testimony from more than 250 experts from around the world over the course of their six-month investigation.

This is what it takes…a struggle where all concepts of return on investment go out the window….a no holds barred struggle that must be won. This type of endeavor breaks molds…urges thinking outside the box and changes the way humanity thinks, lives, works and interacts.

The struggle could be against global warming. This would be good, man against his bad lifestyle habits instead of man versus man. What will that struggle and new technology be?

None of us know for sure since we are all afflicted with that human failing of only being able to see the immediate future and (pretty badly) the past.

Yet being aware and watching for both (the struggle and technology) increases the odds of spotting them early and helping you venture into the next winners…that are the ones that can really grow over the next 10…20 and 30 years.

Bear Market Rally Tactic #3: Treat new era investments as high risk venture investments. Buy a little of several hoping to catch the winner.

In the last era for example, as mentioned, computers were the deal…so perhaps you invested a bit in shares of Data General…one of the first minicomputer firms from the late 1960s that due to a series of missteps in the 1980s, including missing the advance of microcomputers led to its decline and demise.

Plus maybe you invested in a bit of Sperry Univac…still in business as UNISYS CORP but only trading at .47 cents a share. Plus perhaps you purchased a bit of  Commodore Business Machines (big in the 80s…bankrupt in the 90s).

And you rounded your diversification by investing in a small company formed by two guys who were writing a program for Ed Robertson and his Altair computer (a first personal computer…in a kit).  Roberts said he would buy the program if he could see it running on the Altair but the programmers didn’t actually have the programs written.  They immediately set out to write them. It took about six weeks and worked.  Those programmers founded a small company in Albuquerque and later moved to the Seattle area.  Their names… Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The company…Microsoft.  Ahhh.

You may have chosen three losers out of four…but the name of the game in venture investing is the huge run up you get when you select a winner. Hold your winners and sell your losers.

We are in an era that we as investors have never seen before.  I began global investing in 1968 and this is the worst correction in those 41 years. This means we have greater opportunity for finding good value then we have had for four decades.

Use the seven suggestions above for investing in a market crisis….especially, take risk in good value!  Watch for the bear market rally and use the three bear market rally tactics to take this risk as YOU START LOOKING FOR VALUE NOW.

Gary

You can get regular quotes on multi currency shares that could do well in a bear market rally from Jyske Bank and Jyske Global Asset Management.

For more details on this, US investors should contact Thomas Fischer at fischer@jgam.com

Non US investors Rene Mathys at mathys@jbpb.dk

Join us at a course in Cotacachi or on Ecuador’s coast this winter.

Take a hike with me in the warm Cotacachi winter’s sun.

cotacachi-sun

See how to attend two or three connected courses for great savings.

Stroll the sunny Ecuador beach this winter.

Ecuador beach

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us for great fresh Ecuador seafood!

Cotacachi-fish

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See Ecuador’s incredible scenery.

Cotacachi-fish

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Share some time with Ecuador’s friendly people.

San Clemente-fishermen

Better still join us all year! See how to attend our 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions in 2009 FREE.

Economic Correction Opportunity


The current economic correction is creating some great investment opportunity. Here are three economic correction opportunity ideas I have seen already.

Economic correction opportunity #1: Recent messages mentioned that a golf course on Lake Yaguarcocha, just five minutes north of the city of Ibarra is for sale. This is just a little more than half hour drive along main highways north from Cotacachi. Here is the lake.

Ecuador Day 3 089

There is a ridge which runs between the lake and the city of Ibarra and from a local lookout point you get the view of the lake above and also the city below.

Ecuador Day 3 087

Here is a picture of our last real estate course delegates eating lunch at the course.

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There is 22 acres in total and room to build townhouses along the course. Steve just posted a full report abut this.  Here’s a shot of one of the fairways with the lake and mountains in the background.

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The course includes 44 seat restaurant. (The patio can seat a further 100 people).

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Steve Marchat has posted a full report on the details of the sale for Ecuador Living subscribers.

Learn how to subscribe here.

Economic correction opportunity #2: We just finished our International investing and business course in North Carolina and I outlined why I am now looking at foreclosure property for sale in Portland Oregon. Property prices are down but the potential in Portland is up.

An October 5th Oregon Live article by Eric Mortenson entitled Look our, oregon, for a global warming land rush says: By 2060, a Metro economist said, the seven-county Portland area could grow to 3.85 million people — nearly double the number here now.

Then Lorna Stickel, a planner with the Portland Water Bureau, stood to ask a question. Does the population projection, she asked, account for the possibility of climate change refugees?

That article uses Rebecca Niday, a Realtor from Florida, as an example. She moved to Rhododendron for Oregon’s more moderate weather. Experts speculate that such migration could become more common if climate change causes other areas to dry up, brown out or get increasingly hammered by storms.

The article continues: What if the American Southwest dries up, browns out, and those people now misting their patios in Arizona head to the still-green Pacific Northwest? What if Californians hit the road north in numbers far surpassing the 20,000 who now move to Oregon each year? What if the polar ice melts, oceans rise and millions living along coastal areas — or ravaged by Katrina-like storms — have to move?

What happens, as Oregon becomes more attractive and other places become less attractive?

Property prices will rise and those who buy wisely now will see prices like we will never see again. Look for places that will thrive due to global warming.

Economic correction opportunity #3: Illiquid bonds offer unusual returns. Take a look at lower quality bonds now. Take for example the US dollar 8.5% TITAN PETRO issue that matures 18/03/2012 .  This bond was recently selling at a discounted price of 59.00 so its yield was 26.93%.  Then that discount dropped even more so the issue had a 45% yield. The risk premium is way out of line…much more than the risk.

Some General Motors bonds are paying 70% interest.

We are creating a complete report about these bondsfor our Multi Currency Course subscribers.

Learn how to subscribe to our Multi Currency Portfolios Course here.

This time of economic correction was predictable. So too are the profits that will be made from this shift.

I look forward to sharing the opportunity with you.

Gary

Merri and I love our lives in North Carolina’s mountains but autumn’s frosty bite has arrived. The trees along the creek are golden now.

Ecuador-exports-reason

Instead of sitting in the cold and gray we move to Ecuador’s Pacific coast and Cotacachi, enjoying warm, sunny weather at unbelievably low prices.

Many who join us pay for their trips with Ecuador products they buy and export. One delegate who just visited told us he bought 150 Ecuador shawls at $1.50 and exported them to sell at $19.95. He paid for his entire trip and made a small profit.

At our Ecuador exports course we look at how to combine ideas and products to make them worth more. For example here I combined Ecuadorian carpets with Ecuadorian carved wood frames to make Ecuadorian art.

Ecuador-exports-art

Our Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course is a great place to do your Christmas shopping and learn how to have an Ecuador export business in the process. The course has one space left. See more here.

Learn this November more about Ecuador and emerging bonds. Join Merri, me, Steve, Kjetil Haugan and Peter Conradsen of Jyske Global Asset Management in Cotacachi Ecuador. We’ll review economic conditions, Ecuador real estate, my entire portfolio and investing and business ideas for the months ahead.

Nov 7-9 2008 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Stay on for our Imbabura real estate extension. See wonderful condos for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi with beautiful hardwood interiors like this.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo-bedroom

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy Ecuador’s coast and see condos for $89,000 on Ecuador’s Pacific with views like this.

Ecuador-exports-view

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour;

The coastal tour includes a free one day Quito Real Estate Tour November 16, 2008.

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Economic Labyrinth


Follow the money three words that form an economic labyrinth and have the potential to destroy the world.

Actually those words create an economic maze not a labyrinth.

Labyrinths are often confused with mazes, but a maze is a  puzzle that confuses the path and direction; Labyrinths have only a single path to the center that are unambiguous ways to the center and back. Labyrinths are not designed to be difficult to navigate.

The Western economic model of working mainly for money to have lots of things and to eventually retire is flawed.

So too is the social concept that having more is better.

The combination of these flaws have hurt the environment…perhaps badly…not to mention our social order.

Now the entire concept is falling apart because bigger is not better.

Correcting this will create some fortunes for those who see ahead.

Environmental investing is one area that is and will continue to prosper.

Shifting China and the US to European/Japanese conceptual models of “smaller is better” will help as well.

A July 7, 2008 USA Today article entitled “New cars will skimp on fuel but not on amenities” by Sharon Silke Carty gives an example when it says: “Automakers are working as fast as they can to meet a new consumer landscape: Buyers want not just fuel-efficient cars but also the same amenities they had in their hulking SUVs.

“It’s a change from how most cars have been set up in the USA.

“If gas prices stay high and demand remains strong for smaller engines, auto executives say the U.S. market will start looking more like Europe’s, where what is considered a small car here is seen as a family sedan.

“People are starting to look at their four-cylinder cars like they did their luxury cars, with leather seats and creature comforts,” says Mike DiGiovanni, General Motors’ executive director of global market analysis. ‘Think about this: The price of fuel in Europe is $7 a gallon, and the industry has survived nicely with smaller vehicles that are loaded up.'”

Automakers that shift fastest to this euro model will clean up.

One way to prosper is to look at how crowded Europe and even more crowded Japan deal with the different supply and demand. The US, Canada, Australia and China all have learned to squander having huge natural resources and space.

No more.

However there is another flaw in the relation to work, fulfillment and living. The idea of having the biggest house on the bloc and “he who has the most toys wins” isn’t working so well anymore.

Bonsai is an example, a Chinese invention that became big in Japan…perfect for limited resources and space.

The Japanese rock or Zen garden, often small, containing sand, gravel, rocks, and occasionally grass and/or other natural elements, with the sea symbolized not by water but by sand raked in patterns that suggest rippling water. Compare this with the large water consuming grass lawn requiring plenty of gasoline to mow.

The Japanese tea ceremony is another…lots of pleasure from limited resource expenditure.

Global shifts in resource supply and demand are creating new lifestyles via economic crisis that will bring a post consumer society.

This shift will be easier than most realize because it is human nature to feel best when working with a sense of purpose. Current shifts are so profound that societies will have to live more purposeful lives.

We try to watch for, adapt to and reflect these shifts in everything we do in our work, play, business and social interactions.

Yet it is not always easy to change after 61 years of doing things one way!

This is why we are busy here at the farm making a number of changes. One was to enhance our labyrinth.

The history of labyrinths dates back into the mists of time, but their religious and spiritual aspects became most noted during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries when many Christian gothic cathedrals installed them in England, Italy and France.

Labyrinths help connect the spiritual side of consciousness in a physical way.

Walking or tracing a labyrinth unites the physical with the spiritual. It brings the inner spiritual life into the outer physical world. We operate in a more holistic way when these inner and outer worlds are united.

Labyrinths represent an easy to follow series of twists and turns from the outer to the inner and back..200% of life, in spirit and material wealth.

Environmentally speaking, labyrinths are great places for exercise as well. They provide the longest amount of walking in the smallest possible space.

We have had a seven circuit classic labyrinth carved in one of our upper, hidden meadows for a numbers of years, but it had grown a bit worn and the meadow overgrown

So Richard and I jumped in my 22 year old Suzuki Samari and headed to the meadow.

samari

We cleaned up.

old labyrinth

Then we called our friend of decades, Chuck Hunner, a master labyrinth builder who had laid out this labyrinth in the first place.

Chuck drove up from his home in Asheville and the three of us enhanced this labyrinth…a lot…including with another good and essential friend John (Deere) putting a heavy stelae in the center.

stellae

The labyrinth is beginning to look better!

labyrinth-taking-shape

You can see the entire process and many pictures of our Merrily Farms Labyrinth being created in Chuck’s Labyrinth Journal.

Chuck is a craftsman with 38 years of experience making art with his hands. For the last 10 years he’s made labyrinths.

His ‘career’ in labyrinth making started when Richard Anderson taught him to
scratch the labyrinth pattern on the beach. The first time Chuck walked into
the pattern he immediately felt the same effect that 15 minutes of deep
meditation gave him.

He makes labyrinths because he knows that they can influence the way people think and feel…this has been for hundreds of years. Walking a labyrinth automatically balances and enhances the way we think. Labyrinth walkers report feeling calm, clear headed and focused. Some experience a catharsis moving old emotions out so that they can see new solutions to the confines of their past. Breakthroughs are almost automatic.

Chuck says he loves labyrinths because they free up his own creative process. A long walk in this small space gets the creative juices flowing and allows new ideas to bubble up into awareness. Ideas come and make life better.

Man working with the environment. Logic uniting with intuition. Work becoming part of play.

There is huge change coming. The change is good. Understanding and adapting to it can help bring profits and help make life better as well.

Gary

Join us and stay at our farm. Enjoy the mountain cool and summer views as you learn.

Or sit at our waterfall.

waterfall

Walk the labyrinth with us during Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.

Or walk the Labyrinth during the splendor of the Blue Ridge leaf change as you learn at our October 3-5, International Business and Investing Made EZ North Carlolina Course.
Labyrinths…lots of walk…little space…uniting the mind, body and emotion. They are springing up all over the US …another sign of how the Western world is changing.

You can see many permanent labyrinths in hospitals, churches and schools near you. Chuck Hunner has helped create many. Try a long walk in a small space.

Labyrinths are another sign of how Western concepts are changing.

Here is a list of Labyrinths that Chuck as worked on in the past few years.

Yanney Park, Kearney, Nebraska
Memphis, Tennessee Cancer Survivors’ Park
Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, Utah.
Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church, Lafayette, California.
Trinity United Methodist Church, Ruston, Louisiana.
Labyrinth at Bright School, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton, Illinois
First United Methodist Church of Ventura, California
First Presbyterian Church, Livermore, California
Central Park Labyrinth, Burlington, Ontario,Canada.
University of Redlands, Redlands, California.
All Saints Cemetery, Salina, Kansas.
Boone Medical Center, Columbia, Missouri..
Church of the Good Shepard, Augusta, Georgia.
Maxey-Gregg Cancer Survivor Park, Columbia, South Carolina.
Trinity Episcopal Church, Santa Barbara, California.
St. Dominics, Houston, Texas.
Danville Labyrinth Project, Danville, Kentucky.
Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Dolores, Colorado – Sophia Retreat Center

See pictures of these labyrinths