Tag Archive | "Internal Revenue Service"

Ecuador & International Banking Update


Here is an important Ecuador & international banking update created by the wonderful world of mobility in which we live.

Our global mobility provides huge benefits… broadens our horizons and enriches mankind through global trade.   Yet being global also creates some problems… one of them is banking.

This site recently posted a message about Ecuador banks that began with, “I do not trust Ecuador Banks.”

This is not a slight on Ecuador.  This statement is a comment on the realities of trying to maintain control of one’s own wealth in an era where almost all governments are increasing control over money.

The banking article was followed by  another article stressing  the importance of diversification in Ecuador Diversified.

Here is a reminder of the importance of this information.  A couple of years ago I purchased a block of buildings in Ecuador planning to resell them.  I am according to plan selling them now and recently received a payment.

My attorney wrote this to me:

They deposited funds in my account last Wednesday to pay for the condo and asked me to send to you.  There is a 2% tax on money going out of Ecuador which was recently established, plus bank commissions.  I will wait for your instructions  to wire these funds to you.

There previously was a 1% tax but it has now been increased to two percent. This increase is not a big deal but a step in the wrong direction and a reminder that we should never trust any one country, currency or banking system.

I just sent our Ecuador Living subscribers an alert about one more Ecuador banking problem.  Ecuador Living subscribers click here.

Learn how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Hence my mantra to have what I call a “Six Point Command Posture” which is to:

Live in one country
Bank in a second country
Invest in many countries
Earn in two or more countries
Use a company incorporated in a fifth country
Take a second residence

Where to Bank

Knowing where to bank is a growing problem… especially for Americans.  Non Americans should read this article any as you’ll see that you are not exempt from this problem either.

Americans are being crushed between a rock and a hard spot.

The Rock. Many US banks will no longer accept Americans residing overseas because they have a foreign address. This has been caused by the US Patriot Act.  Banks have to know their clients so they refuse to accept (or keep) clients with overseas addresses, even Americans who have banked with them for decades, but change their address.  The following banks have been sited as closing accounts with just 30 days notice of long term customers just because they took on a US address: Ameriprise, Bank of America; Bank of New Hampshire; Citibank; Citizens Bank; Edward Jones, St. Louis; E- Trade; Fidelity Investments; INGDirect; JPMorganChase; Morgan Stanley; National City Bank in Riverview, Michigan; Provident Bank, Maryland; Smith Barney; T. Rowe Price; USAA Federal Saving Bank; Vanguard mutual fund; Wachovia; Washington Mutual; Washington Mutual Investment, Spokane; WellsFargo; Zions Direct.

The Hard Spot. At the same time the IRS has created a set of regulations that discourage non US banks from accepting Americans.

Many Swiss and British based banks will no longer accept Americans.

Here’s an excerpt from a 13, June 2009 Telegraph article entitled “Lloyds Bank hit by Obama tax purge” by By Louise Armitstead:   Banking group drops American customers in UK ahead of costly proposals to stamp out tax evasion  Lloyds Banking Group is ditching American customers based in Britain pending a crackdown on international tax evasion planned by President Barack Obama.

This week American private client account-holders at Lloyds’s received letters informing them of an “important change in policy regarding clients who are resident, domiciled or linked to the United States by property or asset holdings”. They were told the bank had “no choice” but to “cease acting as your investment manager.”

One letter sent to Bank of Scotland’s portfolio management division, which is now part of Lloyds, said: “The USA has a mature regulatory environment governed by its Securities and Exchange Commission. These regulations mean that we are not licensed to manage portfolios for US clients.”

The letter added: “Unfortunately we cannot offer an equivalent service from within Lloyds Banking Group.” Clients have been advised to transfer their assets.

One recipient, who has lived in the UK for over 25 years, said: “After all this time, I’ve suddenly been told I must take my money elsewhere and I don’t understand why. Now I’m scared that other banks won’t take me on either.”

The Brits are no the only group shedding US account holders.

A July 12, 2009 USA Today article entitled “Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap”  by Kevin McCoy explains how other banks have booted Americans as well.  An excerpt says: The closely watched Justice Department court fight to get the names of 52,000 suspected American tax evaders from Swiss banking giant UBS has prompted some other foreign banks to drop U.S. clients they once welcomed, tax experts said Monday.

Eager to avoid a similar struggle with federal prosecutors, banks including Credit Suisse and HSBC in recent weeks have notified American clients they must close their offshore accounts or transfer them to the institutions’ U.S.-based operations, where tax reporting requirements are far stricter.

“Overall, the international banking community, and particularly the offshore banking community, has been very friendly to American account holders,” said William Sharp, a tax law specialist at the Sharp Kemm law firm in Tampa. “That changed in the past couple of months as a result of the UBS case.”

The Dutch were early in dropping American clients.

ABN AMRO, a huge, Dutch based, international bank gave all clients  with U.S. passports within 30 days notice in 2008 and then closed their accounts because of the  high costs to comply with U.S. regulations.

Expect this problem to get worse! Beginning in 2010 stronger US reporting rules will force even more overseas banks to stop accepting Americans.  They simply cannot afford to fill all the obligations.

Americans should not feel totally alone…nor should non US investors feel totally safe from being shut out of a banking center.

According to the British Times Newspaper, Barclays Bank used the US anti-terror laws to shut down the personal bank accounts of British citizens who were working for Iranian owned businesses.

The bank enforced anti-Iran sanctions under the US Patriot Act.  Accounts of Iranian owned companies that operated completely legally in Britain were shut.  But Barclays went much further. They amazingly shut down accounts of directors of these companies and even more amazing they shut the personal accounts of ordinary staff members, including clerical officers, computer engineers and bank tellers, just because they worked for an Iranian owned company.

Here is an excerpt from a June June 6, 2008 Times of London article entitled, “Barclays bank rejects customers to comply with US terror law:”  Barclays began the account closures in February, shortly after reports from industry sources that US Treasury agents had been touring the City of London putting pressure on financial institutions to withdraw from any form of business that might have Iranian links.

One source told The Times that City banks had been warned that they would lose access to the US market if they continued to deal with Iranian businesses. Barclays has extensive business interests in the United States.

Case study: Cast out in the supermarket

Chris was doing the shopping in Tesco when Barclays rang to tell him that his bank account was being closed. Later that evening his wife was told that her Barclays account, which she had held for 25 years, was also being closed.

Chris, 46, works in IT for Bank Saderat, and his wife is in the accounts department of Melli Bank. Both institutions are Iranian-owned. “They said it was because of sanctions but I knew there were no British sanctions on the banks. I asked them if they were responding to US laws and they said they didn’t have to give me a reason,” he said.

The couple opened new accounts with one of Barclays’ rivals but they had difficulty transferring standing orders, especially Chris’s child-support payments. He said: “I know that UK banks are being pressured by America to stop all dealings with Iran but what impact will it have to shut an English bloke’s account with an English bank? The Iranians won’t give a monkey’s. What upsets me is the lack of respect Barclays have for their customers.”

This last comment hit me strongly… the lack of respect many of the big banks have for their clients.

This is one reason I have enjoyed banking with Jyske Bank in Denmark for more than 20 years.  Jyske is big and well managed enough to be very safe, but small enough to provide genuine care and attention to the individual.

This is why I was not surprised that a number of years ago, Jyske made the decision to spend a lot of time, energy and money to comply with US law so they could continue to serve US as well as non US investors around the world.

This shift though has created some confusion. For example a Reader from the Netherlands sent me this note:  Hello Gary, Since beginning of this year we are subscribed to your newsletter. In your articles we read that it is possible to go to Jyske Bank and start doing multi-currency for about 30,000 dollars. We were very enthusiastic about this philosophy and asked the Jyske Bank for information. However we were very surprised when we got information back including the message that we have to start with $150,000 euro. Can you help us and maybe clarify the misunderstanding about this starting amount?  Thank you very much in advance!

The services and minimums required by Jyske Bank Private Bank (JBPB) for non US investors differs from those offered by Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) who serves US investors.

Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) offers Americans managed accounts, advisory accounts and IRA services to US clients.

JGAM’s managed accounts provide Americans with access to international investments in all currencies, traded on all stock exchanges.

There are two levels of managed accounts for US investors:

Mutual Fund Managed Accounts, $50,000 to $200,000.  Accounts from $50-200,000 are mainly  invested in mutual funds and ETF`s in order to get the appropriate diversification.

Individual Investment Managed Accounts from $200,000 up are mainly invested in individual securities as trading costs are not prohibitive for this size of account.

There are two forms of advisory accounts for US investors.

Advisory Accounts for US Residents.  Accounts for US residents are available and provide access to investments in currencies, commodities and US listed securities.

Advisory Accounts for Americans who are resident outside the US.   US citizens who are resident outside the US (proof of residence is required) have access to investments in currencies, commodities and all international investments in all currencies, traded on all stock exchanges.

The minimum required to start an advisory account is $25,000.

Because the minimum annual fee is  $1,000 JGAM recommends an initial deposit of minimum $50,000.

IRA accounts are managed accounts with more conservative investments than those in a normal  managed account.  IRA accounts require a minimum investment of $50,000.

Jyske Bank Private Bank offers the following services to non US investors.

Non US Clients can open accounts with minimum deposit of Euro 150,000 (approximately 220,000 USD), or equivalent in another currency.

JBPB works with six profiles:

Income profile. A low-risk profile, invested in currency accounts (cash) and/or traditional bonds.

Stable profile. A low-risk profile, invested in bonds (incl. high- yielding bonds), a small equity part.

Balanced profile. A medium-risk profile, invested in equities and bonds (main emphasis on bonds).

Dynamic profile. A medium-risk profile, invested in equities and bonds (main emphasis on equities).

Growth profile. A high-risk profile, invested mainly in equities and a lesser share in bonds.

Aggressive profile. A high-risk profile, invested almost exclusively in equities.

There are six managed strategy funds (available only in Euro) for investors who want managed services with minimum deposits of US$ 220,000. These six funds are based on the principles of asset allocation and match the investment profiles above so all investors can attain risk diversification, risk management with even a limited investment.

There is a full Discretionary Portfolio Management service for investors who want managed services with US$ 350,000 and above. This service is also based on the six strategies above. Jyske Bank will invest and manage the clients portfolio in close cooperation with the Bank´s experts and their network of international partners. These strategies are offered in EUR, USD, GBP, DKK and SEK.

Investors, who do not want managed services, and have accounts of US$ 220,000 or more, can wish to engage in an active dialogue with their advisers and be very involved in the decision-making process. based on the client’s investment profile. They can invest in currency accounts in a large number of currencies, all tradeable equities and bonds, mutual funds and commodities.

Here is one huge feature I like very much about both JBPB and JGAM…  No Jyske employees in  management, advisory services or any employee receives any kind of bonus pay. This eliminates any temptation for hidden agendas to exist.  Employees have no incentive give any advice or take any action that is not in the client’s best interest.

Technology has given great mobility to our wealth. This mobility is good for the individual and the global economy… but governments do not like this as they wish to control our finances.  The tension created by this struggle between the individual and the collective has created a never ending thrust and counter thrust of regulations and adaptions to these rules.  It is harder to maintain a diversified global portfolio than it used to be… but the effort is still worthwhile.

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 giving everyone who enrolls in our North Carolina or Ecuador International Business & Investing seminar in October or November our “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course” (offered at $299) free.

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

Join us with Jyske. 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 full articles:

Lloyds Bank hit by Obama tax purge

Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap

Barclays bank rejects customers to comply with US terror law

Retire With Ecuador Real Estate Value & IRAs


One great reason to retire in Ecuador is the real estate value. Plus you can own Ecuador or other overseas investment and retirement real estate with your IRA.

Retirement costs of in Ecuador are low because the cost of a home and utilities are so low.

There is great value, plus enormous beauty in the Andean and coastal countryside.

The wonderful crafts markets of Ecuador create export opportunity to supplement income when you retire in Ecuador.

There is so much beautiful property and…

homes seem so inexpensive like these houses at San Miguel (under $100,000) and…

cotacachi-ecuador-san-miguel

Primavera condos (under $46,000) that…

multi-currency-Ecuador-condos

it becomes easy to misunderstand value. Take for instance Ecuador’s empty beaches.  This is a shot of a wonderful coastal land in Ecuador.

What is this property’s value?  Prices on some Ecuador beach property are really low!   When you find a beautiful piece of property like this at a really low price, how can you lose?

Here is how you can see your Ecuador retirement wealth shrivel.

Our friend Todd Smith recently sent me some photos of a trip he made down California’s coast.

Imagine buying land on the beach in California 30 years ago.

You couldn’t miss.

Right?

Todd’s photos reminded me that you can.  Todd photos was scripted with this text:

If you ever want to get away completely, visit the Lost Coast of California.

retire-in-ecuador-real-estate

In Humboldt County, head south on Rt. 211 from Fortuna, towards the ocean.

You’ll follow a winding, narrow almost-one-lane road for about 30 miles before you reach the Pacific, and you’ll be lucky if you pass a single car.

Be sure to fill up before you go because you’ll be almost completely on your own.
a coastal island in the trees.

The Lost Coast gets it’s name from the fact that Rt. 1 and Rt. 101 completely bypass this section of about 100 miles of shoreline.

Except for signs of ranching and an occasional hamlet you would think you were the only person on this lovely, godforsaken planet.

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See all of Todd’s photos of the lost coast.

What value does this California real estate have…

retire-in-ecuador-real-estate

beyond building a barn?

Real estate has two values… the value for you as a user… and what someone else will pay for it.

If you retire in Ecuador and want to live in an isolated place in the mountains or on the coast… great. You can find some incredible real estate values.

If you buy to resell and plan to profit… beware! Some Ecuador real estate will appreciate dramatically as pressures of modern life shift agricultural land to residential, recreational or commercial.

However some beach property and mountain land like this…

retire-in-ecuador

in 10, 20 and 30 years from now will look like this.

retire-in-ecuador

The value will have increased due to inflation but great appreciation is not likely.

Investors who are ready to retire in Ecuador should look closely at the likely time frame of land appreciation.  Be careful to make sure that your retirement liquidity needs do not come before appreciation.

You can also buy Ecuador real estate through an IRA… if you or your family are not going to live in or use the property.

This site has been helping people retire in Ecuador and to invest their IRAs abroad for years.

You can own real estate in your IRA, including non-U.S. real estate. Over the years, advisers have wrongly convinced many people they cannot own real estate, as well as a number of other alternative investments, inside their IRA’s or other retirement plans. Nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, the IRS allows a great deal of flexibility when it comes to investing the assets of your retirement account.

The trouble comes if you don’t have a “self directed” IRA or if you work with a custodian who imposes his own investment restrictions. Most of these restrictions have nothing to do with the code governing retirement accounts but are instead employed to make life easier for the custodian.

Here is what is allowed:

• Raw land

• Condos

• Office buildings

• Single-family homes

• Multi-family homes

• Apartment buildings

• Improved land

The IRS defines prohibited transactions and self-dealing that you cannot do in your IRA.  Your retirement plan is meant to benefit you at retirement… not earlier so you cannot directly or indirectly, deal with yourself or a family member.

You cannot lend money, extend credit, or furnish goods, services, or facilities to yourself or a disqualified individual. In other words, you can invest in any type of real estate you want as long as it is an investment and not for your own use currently.

However if you find your dream Ecuador retirement home  that you want to live in when you reti you can buy it in the IRA, rent it for now and take it as a distribution from your plan when you retire.

You can have a full report and contacts with a custodians who can help you own Ecuador real estate in your IRA.   Subscribe here.

IRAs at Jyske Bank

It is now easier to invest your liquid IRA funds safely overseas as well.  Jyske Global Asset Management can invest your IRA investments offshore in coordination with GoldStar Trust!

This makes it easier for you to give your IRA International investing and currency diversification.

Here is how the JGAM IRA plan works.   Your US custodian will be GoldStar Trust in Texas. Your offshore custodian bank will be Jyske Bank in Copenhagen (Denmark).  Jyske Global Asset Management will be your asset manager.

This setup is in accordance with IRA regulations. JGAM sends quarterly and annual statements as well as standard IRA statements from GoldStar Trust.

You can get further details from Thomas Fischer at JGAM. Email Thomas at fischer@jgam.com or call toll-free in the USA at 1-866-602-5426

Gary

Join Merri and me with Thomas Fischer at our North Carolina farm this July or October for our International business & investing seminars below. Learn more about early retirement and Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Bank Privacy Gone


The problem of getting Bank Privacy is gone.  Now the problem is being able to get a good international bank at all.

The problem is that Americans have lost control of their wealth.

An insidious form of of loss has been taking place for decades and now we are in the end game.

The theft has taken place in the same way the Nazis robbed the Germans of control.

A German industrialist once explained how the Nazi’s took over when he explained that very few people were Nazis.  However many enjoyed how the Nazis brought back an external German pride.  Most were just too busy to care.  The majority let it all happen at an early stage.   Too late the realization came that the Nazis were in total control.   See how this has happened to your wealth here.

This is what has happened to American wealth.

Now we are in the end game.  I have been warning about this problem of reduced bank privacy for over 2o years… first in my printed books and newsletters… later at my web site.

Here is what I wrote at this site almost nine years ago to the day, July 13, 2000.

More on the loss of bank privacy

Bank privacy no longer exists. Some years ago I wrote about the insidious tactics that the US and other governments have used to erode financial privacy and personal liberty and pointed out that the problem is that the government does not attack the individual but puts the pressure on the overseas financial institutions. The current additional move by the US government to collect tax is just one more small step.

The message below shows that one of our readers does not understand this yet. After his message I put my comments below.

“Gary  How can a non-US institution, and there must be many thousands of them in hundreds of countries, be “forced” to comply with the IRS and become a tax collector for them? I would think that most of them would tell the IRS to stick it. Or simply ignore it. Sounds more like scare tactics for US “taxpayers.”

The problem began in the 70s when the SEC sued an investment manager in the US who was managing an overseas mutual fund which kept all its money in Switzerland. The SEC demand to the Swiss bank (Credit Suisse) that they return the money (it was many millions) to the US. The Swiss bank pointed out that the fund had not broken any law and that they had no legal way to return the money.

The US simply seized an equivalent amount of Credit Suisse’s money in the US. The was the beginning of the end of bank privacy. The simple fact is for an international bank to operate it must hold accounts in the US, England, Germany, Japan, etc. This makes these institutions vulnerable to the authorities in each country.

Now we can see that this bank privacy problem has grown so serious that more and more international banks will not accept US investors.

Excerpts from USA TODAY article entitled “Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap”  by Kevin McCoy shows how far the loss of bank privacy has grown.

The closely watched Justice Department court fight to get the names of 52,000 suspected American tax evaders from Swiss banking giant UBS has prompted some other foreign banks to drop U.S. clients they once welcomed, tax experts said Monday.

Eager to avoid a similar struggle with federal prosecutors, banks including Credit Suisse and HSBC in recent weeks have notified American clients they must close their offshore accounts or transfer them to the institutions’ U.S.-based operations, where tax reporting requirements are far stricter.

“Overall, the international banking community, and particularly the offshore banking community, has been very friendly to American account holders,” said William Sharp, a tax law specialist at the Sharp Kemm law firm in Tampa. “That changed in the past couple of months as a result of the UBS case.”

The owner of an HSBC account in Jersey, one of the English Channel islands, recently received a 45-day notice to close the account, said Robert McKenzie, a tax law specialist at Arnstein & Lehr in Chicago. A client with an offshore Credit Suisse account got a similar notice, he said.

Some foreign banks elsewhere now avoid offshore business with Americans because they know the Justice Department plans “to extend this effort to other jurisdictions beyond Switzerland,” said Martin Press, a tax expert at Gunster Yoakley Valdes-Fauli & Stewart in Fort Lauderdale.

It was a smart move. Overseas banks do not vote and do not lobby in Congress.   US banks of course do not mind the competition getting kicked.

A few writers, (ourselves included) have been sounding the warning… in our case for decades.

Yet we are small potatoes and this never reached the majority of the public awareness.

The freedom to bank abroad has never been removed. Conditions have just been set so overseas banks cannot serve Americans.

Clever.  This leaves US investors with fewer ways to protect against inflation created by irresponsible spending.

The loss of bank privacy is not as bad as the loss of being able to use competent international banks.

Fortunately some banks like Jyske Bank (the Danish bank I have worked with for decades) has taken the time and considerable expense to qualify to serve US customers and actively accept them.

One way to overcome this problem is move.  Live and/or retire outside the US. Retire in Ecuador or somewhere you enjoy… as many Germans who saw what was coming did before the Nazis took total control.

This is one reason why so many Americans are moving abroad. See more at America Moving Abroad.

Gary

Join us at our North Carolina farm this July or October for our International business & investing seminars below. Learn more about early retirement and Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

See the entire article Some foreign banks drop U.S. clients because of UBS flap at http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/banking/2009-07-12-ubs-secrecy-case_N.htm

Ecuador Tickets # 4


Ecuador Tickets # 4

This series on buying tickets to Ecuador began with three articles at this site.  If you missed part one see it at Buying Tickets to Ecuador.

See Ecuador Tickets 2 here.

See Ecuador Tickets #3 here.

Here is a rave from a reader about the series on Tickets for Ecuador:  Great to know about  kayak for Ecuador tickets——had tried it awhile ago but did not realize all the good features thanks so much.     Good instructions, Merri……….and love all those Ecuador pics!

Here is another point about Kayak.com that a reader shared from our previous articles about Ecuador tickets.

One thing Merri may wish to mention about Kayak which I  find tremendously useful, is that you get to choose the currency of your country for the prices. This is absolutely a fantastic feature of this website,  truly international and very cognizant of the global marketplace that the web represents.

There are many reasons to buy an Ecuador ticket… like this three floor house on the beach for $110,000 asking.

tickets-ecuador

1st floor

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2nd floor

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Modern

tickets-ecuador

Merri’s information on Ecuador tickets continues here.

Award Tickets vs. Pay with Miles

I used to think that the highest thing out there in the “ticket” world was a free ticket!  But look at the cost is of a “free” ticket with Delta!

Our daughter was here for 3 weeks from London before she returned for  a year in Africa, and this was a more or less “instant” decision for her.   Many fares from London were high…and I thought “Oh, let’s go for an award ticket”…

But just to show you how all the rules have now changed, I thought well, let’s make some comparisons…

Here’s what I found…Award Ticket round trip from London to Charlotte:

Mileage required 50,000 and up to 70,000.

Award available on most days, plenty of seats, etc.

Sounds good…right?  A free ticket!  Great for kids as there is no tax advantage and it’s there and red hot!

However, let’s look closer, the requirement for taxes was $316.23!!  Other flights, taxes were $375.10.  Wow!

Well, that’s not really a free ticket is it?

So…then let’s look at Pay with Miles (explanation later in this article):

Same flights, same days…ticket would be $94.43 and 50,000 miles…a big big difference…this includes all taxes and fees.  I could have made it even lower to $40.43  if Gary had an extra 5,000 miles in his account.

Well, what would you rather have?  A “free” awards ticket for 50,000 miles + $316-$375 in taxes or a Pay with Miles for 50,000 miles for $94.43 or even as low as $40.43?

Ecuador tickets will brings you rustic restaurants open air restaurants like this three table authentic pizza parlor complete with dog, cat and dirt floor.

tickets-ecuador

But great pizza

tickets-ecuador

Pay with Miles

How does Pay for Miles Tickets work?  Well, there is a small catch that I discovered after recommending this to a client…she called me back and said “Pay with Miles does not appear on my computer”…

Here is that catch.  It says very clearly that this is for Platinum and Gold Medallion Members.  And of course, only people crazy enough to travel as much as we do qualify…but and this is a big BUT it is available to anyone with a Delta Skymiles number if that person holds an American Express Sky Miles GOLD Card, Platinum or Reserve Credit Card.   I have provided links to learn more about how to get these cards at the end of this message.

The first year, the fee is waived and then can be as low as $55 annually…you’ll save that on your first purchase of “Pay with Miles”.

All of this is a bit lopsided…but as I said before “All the Rules have Changed”…and that means ALL the rules.  When you order this credit card you’ll get a bonus 25,000 miles to start.

Gary and I (as you probably know) abhor debt, so we pay off our credit cards each month but we do love credit cards…because we can easily track our purchases for IRS purposes and also because of the Pay with Miles feature.   It is possible to have free (that is really free) Delta Crown Room Use at all airports by showing your American Express Delta Reserve Card.  This Amex card is a bit pricier but has more benefits because your miles are at times doubled and you have access to a Concierge desk when you really get into trouble (which I often do) and also don’t forget all those quiet times in the private rooms.

You don’t really need to be a road warrior who has hundreds of thousands of miles, you just need that little American Express Gold or Platinum card!  Suddenly those magic words, “Pay with Miles” automatically appear on your screen, giving you a free ticket with no blackout dates, the use of any amount of miles you might have (award tickets have a premium minimum), as well as flexibility, AND no fees.  This can be purchased for a group of people (if on the same itinerary) and can be used as often as you have miles in your account.

Pay with Miles is a great way to use those accumulated miles that is fast, easy, Internet friendly and instant.  I just love bringing our kids from all over the world as we did Jake (on the itinerary and dates he chose) last year for $17!

Ecuador tickets can lead you to fancy restaurants in Bahia like at the Bahia yacht…

Ecuador-Tickets club or…

Ecuador-Tickets

simple affairs like this Bahia Cafe on the

Ecuador-Tickets

or  at La Piedra Hotel in Bahia…

Ecuador-Tickets

where standards are high and…

Ecuador-Tickets views of the estuary…

Ecuador-Tickets

outstanding and food is very reasonable.

ecuador-hotels

Join us at an upcoming Ecuador tour

Learn about the three day Super Thinking + Spanish course

Here is another shot of visit La Piedra Hotel in Bahia. We visit on our Ecuador coastal tours.

Ecuador-Tickets

Learn more about American Express Sky Miles GOLD Card

Learn more about American Express Sky Miles PLATINUM Card

Learn more about American Express Delta Reserve Card

Earn in Ecuador as a self publisher.

Ecuador IRA Tax Break


Here is an great Ecuador IRA tax break. If  you buy an Ecuador house or condo with your non pension money and invest your IRA funds in a second condo… each trip to Ecuador can become tax deductible.

Here is a second Ecuador tax break. If  you live in Ecuador… all income coming from abroad is tax free.

There is a third Ecuador tax break as well. There are no capital gains on occasional real estate sales.

So if you have a pension…  and buy fixer uppers or make good buys in real estate to resell and  make a profit… there is no tax… here.

Plus if you play it right all your travel to Ecuador may be tax deductible.  Be sure to consult with your tax adviser to make sure you do this in the right way.

One IRA administrator that will buy overseas property for IRA’s also  offers a debit card.

Entrust’s IRA debit card provides convenience & flexibility.

The card gives you access to to IRA funds for investment purchases and makes it easy to pay for goods and services or take distributions at ATMs

The Entrust Group  are administrators of self-directed retirement plans and offer this IRA Debit Card together with an IRA Card Checking Account.

The card and checking system provide an innovative, easy, convenient way for self-directed IRA account holders to purchase new, or improve existing, IRA assets, or take required minimum distributions from the available funds in their retirement accounts.  Self-directed IRA account holders can the card whixh is marketed under the Visa® brand, to pay for goods or services wherever Visa is accepted.  It can also be used at ATMs around the world for cash withdrawals.

Unlike other retirement plan-linked cards, Entrust’s IRA Debit Card and Checking service does not have, or allow for, loans of any kind.  Those are prohibited transactions. All available funds must be un-invested in the IRA (minimum $1,000 opening balance).  Any transaction that is not an expense or asset purchase, for the IRA, is viewed as a distribution and will be administered as such.

IRA Card Checking transactions are considered distributions unless proven otherwise.  Account holders have 30 calendar days, following a transaction, to submit the proper documentation to show that the expenditure was for an IRA asset.  If the documentation does not reflect this, Entrust is legally required, and will file, reports to the IRS that indicate the amount of the payment taken from the IRA in question (IRS Form 1099-R).

It is impossible to overdraw on an Entrust IRA Card Checking account because, whether using the IRA Debit CardT or The IRA Checking, an individual is limited to only the funds that have been transferred to their IRA Card Checking account from the un-invested funds within their IRA.  Any transaction that would exceed the account’s limit would be declined.

For people who are of the age that they must begin to take required minimum distributions – starting at 70 ½ years of age – distributions can be taken seamlessly at any ATM, making this the most convenient way for people to access their money.

The Entrust Group has been a provider of account administration services for self-directed retirement plans for over 25 years,

Entrust will speak at Jyske global Asset Managements Naples Seminar. Learn how to gain free attendance at this multi currency seminar and save $499 or $750.

Until next message good global investing and living.

Gary

Join us in 2009.

Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  Here is a special offer on this new course.

You can enroll in this special course for $299. However if you sign up for three courses in any one month.

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

Multi Currency Portfolio Review


Multi Currency portfolios are vital in today’s global and inflationary economy.

Yet its hard for Americans to invest multi currency portfolios abroad.  US authorities place such stringent regulations on banks that have US clients that many overseas banks no longer open accounts for Americans.

This is likely to get worse because a federal has now authorized the IRS to use John Doe summons to request information from overseas banks about U.S. taxpayers who may be using Swiss bank accounts to evade federal income taxes.  These summons are used to obtain information about possible tax fraud by people whose identities are unknown.  This is unprecedented.  How can a bank know if an account holder  has hidden an account from the IRS?

There are still easy ways to invest in multi currency portfolios.

The first is buying shares in a global company that earns outside the US.

General Electric for example has huge non dollar earnings. More than half itscome from abroad.  This is true of many US shares you can buy on a US  stock exchange.  IBM, for example derives 65 percent of its revenue from overseas.  Sch a share is a multi currency portfolio unto itself.

Another multi currency tactic is to buy a mutual fund that invests only in non dollar bonds or shares.

Take the Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX) Fund as an example.

This fund invests in a diversified portfolio of medium-to-large non-U.S. equities. This billion dollar no  load mutual fund had an average annual growth of over 24% per annum over the last five years. Investors can start with $2,500.

Overseas banks still provide extra privacy, asset protection and help investors access the greater currency experience in investing and lending that many non dollar bankers have.

Jyske Bank, Denmark’s second largest bank,  for example has registered a subsidiary (Jyske Global Asset Management or JGAM) with the American SEC so it conforms to US regulations.

This is a tax neutral opportunity. American account holders must report income and earnings just as they would a US account. W9s must also submit if account holders invest in US shares, funds or bonds.

Yet beyond the tax man, investors have their assets away from prying eyes and held in a legal system that offers asset protection.  Banking may be safer as well. Denmark is ranked by Moodys as one of the safest nations in which to bank.

JGAM’s service offers risk profiled portfolios ranging from low risk (LR) to speculative (SP) and with or without US dollar investments included..  JGAM managers use a top down global economic analysis that looks at markets and financial conditions around the world and recommend asset class allocations for each risk level.  Then they select individual shares/mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETF) for these allocations.
In all there are 17 portfolios opportunities each month.  Investors, based on their risk profiles, choose what percentage they want in fixed income, equities, alternatives (commodities metals etc) and cash.

Here for example are JGAM’s latest multi currency portfolio asset allocation breakdowns.

Low Risk Multi Currency Portfolio:  Fixed Income 70%,  Equities 20%,  Alternatives 5%,  Cash 5%.

Medium Risk Multi Currency Portfolio: Fixed Income, 40%,  Equities 50%,  Alternatives 5%, Cash 5%.

High Risk Multi Currency Portfolio:  Fixed Income  10%, Equities 80%,  Alternatives 5%,  Cash 5%.

Speculative Multi Currency Portfolio:  Fixed Income  20%, Equities 60%,  Alternatives 10%,  Cash 10%.

Let’s look at the low risk (LR) portfolio in more detail.

Normally Jyske would recommend that 80% to 100% of low risk portfolios are in fixed income.  Due to global inflation the managers are currently suggesting a tactical shift to underweight bonds, and overweight alternatives (commodities) and cash.

Then the JGAM managers offer a list of good value shares, bonds, funds and ETFs  that investors can choose.

Each equity is ranked as low medium or high risk to help the account holder to further refine their asset allocation.

You can see the low risk portfolio list here.

A similar process is used for bonds denominated in eleven currencies, US dollars, euro, British pounds,  Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Russian ruble, Brazilan real, Hungarian forint, Turkish lira, Icelandic kroner and South African rand.

This system allows investors to have multi currency portfolios that are custom fit to their circumstances and needs.

Now comes the interesting part about banking abroad….multi currency borrowing as well as investing.

For many investors, a multi currency portfolio is enough.  However some want added leverage and Jyske’s system allows multi currency borrowing.

Jyske will accept the portfolio as collateral and lend to leverage the investments at the following interest rates, depending on the amount borrowed:

US$                                  4.125%  to 4.875%
Swiss franc                       4.250%      5.000%
Japanese yen                   2.500%      3.250%
Singapore $                      3.000%      3.750%

Jyske’s current loan recommendation is to borrow 50% Swiss francs, 30% US$ and 20%  Japanese yen. At the median interest rate this creates an average loan rate of 3.58%.   Such loans can have a magical impact on performance even with low risk portfolios.

Say that a low risk portfolio of $100,000 yields 5%.  If $100,000 is borrowed, the portfolio now has $200,000 and at 5% earns $10,000 a year.  Interest costs are $3,580, so the return on the $100,000 is bumped up to $6,420 or 6.42% instead of 5%.

If $200,000 is borrowed the $300,000 portfolio yielding 5% earns $15,000 a year with loan costs of only $7,160. That means the $100,000 now earns $7,840 or 7.84% double the yield without leverage.

When markets are rising such leverage can create spectacular profits in some of the riskier portfolios. In 2007, a Green Portfolio consisting of five environmentally oriented equities, that I created with Jyske’s help, using two times leverage, rose 266.23% in one year!

Plus in many instances a borrowed currency can lose value versus the invested assets so there is an extra forex profit.

Yet forex returns can result in losses as well.   The leverage creates added risk and volatility. That same green portfolio that rose so fast, also dropped 100% in just a month during 2007 before rising again 150% in the next three months. Plus there are extra fees to think about when borrowing so always check with your banker first.  Consider the added risk carefully and never leverage more than you can afford to lose.

You can get more information on Jyske Bank from Thomas Fischer, Senior Vice President at fischer@jgam.com

A rising global population and growing global economy creates stress on world resources and encourages inflation. The same demographic stresses also put downwards pressure on the US dollar and this creates even more inflation.

Fortunately the same technology that helps create these pressures also allows us to survive and prosper from inflation through multi currency investing.

Gary

P.S. Join me with JGAM at our next two International Investing and Business Made EZ Courses.

multi-currency-meeting-in-autumn

Enjoy the leaf change this October and International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina

mountain-view

Or enjoy our hotel in Ecuador in November and International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Many-roses

America Leads the Way


America Leads the way…sadly often in the wrong direction.

Though my name is Scott, I like so many Americans am also Irish, thanks to my Grandma McGee.  In fact though she lived in Oregon for more than sixty years, she never became a US citizen.

Yet I have done nothing about this and remain only a US citizen…nor do I intend to.  First, it’s a lot of work registering that Irish citizenship…getting all the documents together and such.  Yet there are other reasons…we’ll see in a moment.

In a recent discussion with a friend, who was also a dual national,  I learned that he gave up his American citizenship.

His reasons were good but for many this does not make sense.  The second reason I remain in the US…this is one of the countries I know my way around best.  I have friends and family and a terrific support system developed here.

The number one rule for good investing and business is to do what you love. Rule #2 is to do or invest in what you know.

I love the US, this magnificent country and the wonderful people so the US is a good place for me to be.

Too few people who leave the US think of this personal aspect.  They become so caught up in high taxation or the bad parts of this nation’s evolution and want to leave. I do not blame them but recommend that they are sure they know where they are going before they irrevocably leave the US.

While recently visiting friends in Seattle, I was talking with their cleaning lady and her daughter from the Czech Republic.  They told me how they had moved to America to be in the land of the free and to live the American dream.  Now they are going back for better opportunity in Eastern Europe.  Plus they feel they will have more freedom there.

For the Czech couple, this may make sense.  They know the Czech Republic and have more friends, family and support back in their original home.

This is a pretty bad commentary on America where opportunity used to be so good that to was worth giving up the old for the new.

Now maybe it’s not.  So many freedoms have been lost in America.   So many new regulations have been been born.  Life is now so complicated.  America is  burdened with an overworked tort system, a failing health and insurance system and monumental federal debt that has and continues to destroy the dollar.

Many Americans feel stifled.  Many fear things will get even worse.

There can be tax benefits to moving abroad (though new tax laws tax those who leave and any gifts they give to Americans before they leave).  It is certainly easier to open a bank account abroad if you are not a US citizen, plus if one has immigrated, a citizenship elsewhere can make life in one’s new country easier and better as well.

Plus I know from living abroad for decades how one feels out from under the eye “Big Brother”, once you live in another country.

Despite these facts, (this may seem strange for me, as one of the first proponents of being a one man multi national), I have no plans to abandon my US citizenship….nor my residence in the US.

This is a well informed choice.  I have lived for many years in Asia, Europe and Latin America as well as the US….so my choice is based on experience.

This global lifestyle has confirmed one important fact….every country has its great good points and its flaws.

If I know and like the US, have children and grandchildren here…why move?
Why spend the time and resources to make a switch?

I see nothing wrong with changing citizenships, especially for those who earn and live abroad, but except in certain cases, I wonder if the benefits are worth the effort?

Instead I devote my efforts to maintaining flexibility and utilizing options.

To me flexibility in earning and asset allocation are more important than citizenship because change is taking place everywhere.  I would rather be a US citizen and have one or two other places to go if everything goes south here, than abandon one of the places I know best, for somewhere new that could have negative changes as well.

America has problems but regrettably as the world’s biggest economy leads the way for other nations to follow.

Take federal deficit spending as an example. For many years it was easy to invest out of the US dollar. The American government was a spendthrift going deeper and deeper into a more of debt.  Other industrial, nations, especially Germany and Japan were much more fiscally prudent.  The the Japanese and German’s learned from the US how to borrow massively every time the economy slowed.

There is a great erosion of freedom in other countries also not just the US.

Let’s look at some specifics.

A July 2 USA Today article entitled “IRS gets OK to request UBS information” says:

“A federal judge in Miami authorized the Internal Revenue Service to request information from UBS about U.S. taxpayers who may be using Swiss bank accounts to evade federal income taxes,” the Justice Department said Tuesday.

“The so-called John Doe summons is used to obtain information about possible tax fraud by people whose identities are unknown. The judge granted the government’s request for a court order a day after it made what a Justice Department spokesman called an unprecedented request for the records. The order ‘directs UBS to produce records identifying U.S. taxpayers with accounts at UBS in Switzerland who elected to have their accounts remain hidden from the IRS,’ the Justice Department said in a statement.”

To me this is a horrible breach of law. How can UBS know if a taxpayer has their account hidden from the IRS?

Yet the US is not alone. Take the UK as an example. I love England was resident there for a decade in this nation and was resident there for many years…but the wonderful freedoms of the Common Law have been eroding just ike in the US.

A recent article at Telegraph.com entitled “Safety deposit box raids yield £1bn of drugs, cash and guns” by Richard Edwards, says:

“Police have seized a potential £1 billion ‘treasure trove’ of cash, drugs and guns in an unprecedented raid on concrete vaults holding 7,000 safety deposit boxes.
Police officers close Park Street in Mayfair before raiding Park Lane Safe Deposit in connection with suspected money laundering operations.”

“Members of the public who have innocently and legally stored their valuables were ‘inevitably’ going to get swept up in the disruption, it was predicted. Police said they could use a freephone number – 0800 030 4613 – to claim back their goods.”

In both cases, innocent parties who have done nothing illegal nor even irregular are going to be inconvenienced at the least.

Let’s look at Canada in another example. Many Canadians are in a fuss over the proposed C-51 laws.  WWW.stop c51 warns Canadians that Bill C-51 will allow government agents to:

* Enter private property without a warrant                    Section 23 (4)
* Confiscate your property at their discretion, at your cost     Section 23.3 a
* Dispose of your property at their discretion, at your cost     Section 23.3 c
* Seize your bank accounts without a warrant                     Section 23 (2)
* Levy fines of up to $5,000,000.00 / 2 years in jail per offense. Section 31.1
* Allow laws to be created in Canada, behind closed doors, with the assistance of foreign governments, industrial and trade organizations     Section 30.7
* Allow ‘Crack house style’ of enforcement on natural health providers
Section 23.1″
Plus the site warns more losses of freedom.

There is a government site that says this law will not create these problems but one wonders.  When income tax was first introduced in the US, it was promised it would never rise beyond 2%!

America has enormous tort problems. Every US business worries about lawsuits,
but before you move to France to escape this problem read this article:

“A French court on Monday ordered the online auction giant eBay to pay 38.6 million euros, or $61 million, in damages to the French luxury goods company LVMH, in the latest round in a long-running legal battle over the sale of counterfeit goods on the Internet.

“LVMH, a maker of high-end leather goods, perfumes and other fashion and luxury products, successfully challenged eBay for a second time in the French court, arguing that 90 percent of the Louis Vuitton bags and Dior perfumes sold on eBay are fakes.

“The court ruled that eBay, which earns a commission on the sales, was not doing enough to stamp out counterfeit sales.”

Change is everywhere.  We should always look for a balance in our living, earning and investing, that fits our lifestyle and circumstances.  We should seek flexibility and options…but remember that problems are everywhere.

Thank God for problems.  Problems are a sign of evolution and problems create opportunity.  Who wants to live in a land without opportunity?

The problems we see from eroding freedoms are not dilemmas unique to the USA.
They are problems of increased populations all trying to do and have more.  Life seems more complicated today because it is more complicated in some ways.

The more moving parts a machine has…the more likely it will break.   Our social systems have more and more people moving faster and governments working to do just that-govern. One definition of govern is: “manipulate b: to control the speed of (as a machine) especially by automatic means.”

Wherever you live…work…earn look for the problems and figure out the opportunity. If part of that opportunity comes in the form of a new residence or citizenship…that’s great. Go for it…yet realize that this is not the best solution for everyone.

Until next message, may all your freedom come from within and all your problems be good.

Gary

Learn ways to increase your earnings options though international business.

Join us on the farm.

farm pond

Enjoy our deep woods hot tub.

Little horse Creek hot tub

Join us and stay at our farm for Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.

farm-view

Enjoy the mountain cool and summer views as you learn.

See more about the farm

Study our online correspondence courses:

International Business Made EZ

“Self Fulfilled”, my Self Publishing Course

Or Join our Ecuador Import Export Tour this October.

Here is what a reader recently wrote about this course:

“We are now generating business from our Ecuador site www.retire-in-ecuador.com. People are responding to go and live in Ecuador. Our imports from Ecuador are also going well. We have only been trading for 6 weeks, and some customers (gift shops) have re-ordered four times. We only need 100 like them and we will have a sustainable business. We are currently establishing about 10 new customers per week, and are in the process of appointing agents for the other states. We will soon have an “Andes Artisans” site operating www.andes-artisans.com. So keep an eye out.”