Tag Archive | "Portland"

51 Year Currency Survival Lesson


We all matter.  Yet has big government, big pharma, health care and big business ever made you feel metaphorically dragged off the plane because it is inconvenient for them to serve you?  Or have you worried that your bank and credit card company are looking to rip you off rather than look after your savings?  Have you stopped with complaints, because no one seems to care whether you are a satisfied customer or not?  Have you had to wait and wait on the phone or in a line to be served by anyone, a government official, doctor or service representative?

Welcome to our modern world, where markets are global, technology replaces people and we have become numbers, rather than human beings.  This is the world where words promising, that we matter, are only that, words.

The biggest broken promise is that of purchasing power in the US dollar and, in fact, all currencies.   See three ways to survive this undermining of our freedoms through currency deterioration.

Merri and I always celebrate special freedoms in May because it was 51 years ago, in May 1966 I joined Prudential Insurance Company to begin learning about investing.

Two years later, May 1, 1968 I left the USA and arrived in Hong Kong May 2, 1968 and have been living, investing and doing business globally since.

passport

Here are some of the pages in my first passport.  (I have used up many more passports since!)

But it was two years later in May 1971 that one of my most important experiences took place then that can help you now have more freedom, less stress and increased profit despite the loss of the dollar’s purchasing power now.

I will never forget this currency survival lesson when the dollar was unpegged from the Bretton Woods Agreement.   I recall it well as in Singapore on May 5, 1971 with a seven day visa, to May 12, 1971.  I still have that passport though it expired long ago.

multi-currency-visa

Little did I know that this was a week that would change the world… for the worse.

The Raffles Hotel was a famous historic site.

raffles

At that time it was colonially faded but offered a great outdoor restaurant just next to the Long Bar (home of the Singapore Sling).   They offered a traditional breakfast with old fashioned pots of thick cut marmalade and slightly burnt toast that stood in racks of sterling silver.  This elegant setting and the quiet service was an easy, wonderful way to start the day.  I felt in place, relaxed and comfortable, part of an ancient tradition, the modern link in a rite that this hotel had offered prosperity for so many generations past.  I sat back feeling that all was well.  I felt in control and on top of that modern era.

However, everything suddenly changed as I was about to learn a serious lesson in international currency safety.

I settled in for breakfast,opened the local paper (the Straits Times) and saw the four inch headlines that declared “U.S. Dollar Devalues”.

That comfortable era had just come to an end.  Currencies around the world were in turmoil.

That day, when the dollar devalued, money changers would not take the greenback.  I couldn’t pay for my hotel.  I couldn’t even pay for breakfast and I was 12,000 miles from home.  I had just moved into a new reality of freedom loss and was scared!

Since that day I have never trusted the US dollar or any other single currency.  This has reaped rich rewards.  Betting against the US dollar (as I have again and again over these five decades) has been exactly the right thing to do.

This is why at our website we continually look for ways to gain protection from the loss of purchasing power in all currencies.

In the last 51 years various currencies have risen and fallen versus one another, but all currencies have lost purchasing power in the process.   This is one of the greatest challenges to our freedom.  Our goal is to share ideas that enhance three basic qualities of real freedom.

The first quality of real freedom is natural health.  None of us can be truly free until we wrest ourselves from the grip of the health care system (aka disease management system) that is dictated by unfair prices charged by hospitals and big pharma.

The second quality of real freedom is the ability to earn through service.  We, the people,  all matter.  We all have value. We all can make our lives meaningful through service.

So many promises, purchasing power of money, savings, pensions, health care, social security, financial security, privacy, have been broken so many times that no promise made by big business or big government can be trusted.  The only true form of wealth is to have some value, to be able to serve (or produce) in a profitable way so we are useful, required and respected in our community.

The third quality is to use mathematics to seek good investment and currency value.   The only clear understanding of value of investments is that derived from mathematical based financial news rather than speculation based economic news.

A continual evolution based on these three qualities have helped Merri and me, our readers and our income continually grow… through good times and bad.

The reason we have progressed amidst never ending change is because we recognize that details and technologies change, but the fundamentals remain immutable.  “Plus ce change plus ce la meme chose”… the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Our business is totally online now… but the basics are the same… “to provide interesting, useful information and contacts that help make people’s lives better as they prosper from change”.

Life is a trip and we have an entire globe to enjoy the ride. Expanding our horizons beyond the education we gained within our local borders can help our visions penetrate the mists of tomorrow so we can adjust to gain opportunity in change and avoid dangers ahead.  This philosophy has reaped millions for Merri and me.  More important, this approach has helped us follow our purpose and feel that we are doing more for the world than just making a buck.

The increased pace of change leaves all of us with a lot to do.

We feel healthier and more energetic than 50 years ago.  I might not be wiser… but am more experienced and seem in a better position than when I took that first trip to Hong Kong 48 years ago today.

We’ll keep looking for better ways to improve our natural health, energy and desire so we can profitably serve and wisely invest for the future.

Merri and I look forward to the year ahead… and we look forward to sharing it with you!

Gary

50th Anniversary


Merri and I always celebrate special freedoms in May, but this May is golden and extra special for us. 

This May is unique in our lives because my global investing and business adventures began, five decades ago, when I joined Prudential Insurance Company in May 1966.

Then two years later, on May 1, 1968 I left the USA and arrived in Hong Kong May 2, 1968.

multi-currency-passport

My first passport.

passport2_25_07_2007_3.jpg

Here is my my first passport  and the first stamp issued May 2, 1968, allowing me to stay in Hong Kong until June 2, 1968.

I arrived in Hong Kong in the night, the tropical air so soft it was a velvet mist.  Thick evening scents in the fragrant harbor and mellow insects purring in rhythm with the cacophony of the great city!  What a an exotic adventure.

Kai Tak was Hong Kong’s airport then and being American born and bred, I knew nothing about investing aboard.

That was my first airplane trip, first time out of Oregon.  Portland to Vancouver, Tokyo to Hong Kong.  I melted in my heavy woolen blazer, was weary and afraid but excited too.  An incredible global investing journey had begun… and continues to this day.

I gained sales training at Prudential and used this to develop sales teams that sold American mutual funds in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.

ecuador-global-investing

Here is one of my first sales teams… this one in Hong Kong led by John So Kwok Kee (far left).   You can guess which one I am!

I was 21 years old and had no idea how that trip would lead me throughout Asia for almost ten years and onto business and investing in Europe, California, London, Isle of Man, Florida, The Dominican Republic, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge and Ecuador.

In the last 50 years there has been a lot of change in our freedoms, and our goal at this site has been to share ideas that enhance three basic qualities of real freedom.

#1: The first basic quality of real freedom is natural health.  None of us can be truly free until we wrest ourselves from the grip of the expensive, big pharma fueled, health care system.

Good health is the most valuable asset of all.  I know because there are some moments, always remembered.  Peak experiences. Never forgotten spots in our existence that become crossroads that forever dictate the direction of our lives.  Sharing such a memory about good health from 30 years ago, may help you gain more freedom and wealth now.

A low rumble, the crowded city below, muffled through thick foliage and vibrated over the thin ribbon of asphalt that winds, flat as a snake, through the jungle ahead.

Warm fogs swept in from the South China Sea and hung like a humid blanket in the air.

Bowen Road, mid levels, Hong Kong 1973.  This narrow path flows through the middle of a thick boscage that looms above the most crowded city in the world. The green, freshness and cacophony of birds brought us here each morning.  Amahs that stretched on bent iron pipe handrails, ancient wrinkled men carrying caged sparrows and all types of early risers moved like shadows against the verdant forest in their motions of Tai Chi.

Me?

I jogged. 25 years old, this was the day when divorce papers were served and I also learned I was broke.

Working from the age of 21 for a new hot company my stock options made me a paper millionaire at age 24.  This unexpected wealth created bad spending habits and without the sense to sell, this portfolio was nothing but paper that became worthless.  Plus the ambition and my month-at-a-time tours to Asia had ruined my marriage as well.

So that day I stumbled, more than jogged, wondering what would happen now!  Everything seemed gone and for the first mile or so, I was just running and afraid.

The second mile absorbed me.  The self-pity and fright began to fade.  During mile three I began to sweat and the trauma literally evaporated.  Finally by the fourth mile I was taking stock.  My two kids were smart, strong and already used to my being away.  My soon-to-be-ex had the house, two cars, the boat, all the furniture and the 14 apartments we had managed to buy.  They would be okay.

So what about myself?

On the fifth mile I analyzed my position… No cash, no way to pay next month’s rent and no job. I  was thousands of miles from home.  Most of my clients were unhappy campers focusing their anger on the only Guello (foreign devil) who had not fled the city (me).

Yet as one foot plodded in front of the other, there were several things I realized that I did have.  Energy and the ability to work.  I had my good health.

I jogged along thinking about my many wealthy customers who had tons of cash and gobs of assets, but were mostly diseased, exhausted and consequently perpetually afraid.  If anything went wrong in their business, banking or the economy and politics, they were doomed.  They could not build again.  Life for them was just the paper they had already accumulated.  They were always bound up by that because they feared they could never last out tough times or rebuild.  They were trapped by their wealth and rotting lifestyles.

Suddenly over the last five miles I felt extremely rich and free!  That was the moment when I realized the basis of real freedom is good health.  Money can come and go, but if we are physically fit, with stamina and good energy we can always rebuild wealth.

That’s the moment I have never forgotten and over the past 40 + years I have kept a continual watch for new ways to be stronger, more flexible, in better shape and more immune from disease, in my global travels.

This search for health, vitality and longevity is one of the reasons why Merri and I moved to Ecuador and lived with an Andean shaman in a remote Andean hacienda for over a year.

Having lived with the indigenous there, Merri and I learned that good health and longevity come from easy, but special exercises, good nutrition and good sleep so our bodies are fit and strong and our minds clear.

#2: The second quality of real freedom is the ability to earn through service.  So many promises, purchasing power of money, savings, pensions, health care, social security, financial security, privacy, have all been broken so many times that no promise made by big business or big government can be trusted.  The only true form of wealth is to have some value, to be able to serve (or produce) in a profitable way.

A multi dimensional micro business brings freedom as it redesigns your lifestyle by bringing profit, fulfillment and  peace of mind, through doing what you love.

The way I maintain freedom and continual lifestyle reinventions is to “Go Try Things”.

gary-scott

Here I am working in the woods on our North Carolina Farm trying to explain the importance of this phrase “Go try things”… which sums up why you not only can but should gain the benefits of an international business.

In the winter, I work at our Florida home instead.

gary-scott-images

I started trying things in Hong Kong 48 years ago.

Then I moved onto Fiji and after a decade found “New Things” living in London.  While conducting London real estate tours, I spotted distortions in the Isle of Man that led to an Isle of Man business.  Years of real estate tours helped me pick up unimaginable profits… because I tried new things.

However Britain’s gray winters soon drove me to the sun.  Merri and I found ourselves in the sun watching sun rays sparkle on the emerald prisms of cool, spring fed pools in Naples Florida and the Dominican Republic where we found more “New Things”.  We conducted Dominican real estate tours but continued to self publish as well.  Then in the process of trying new places and new things, 20 years ago we stumbled onto Ecuador.

We continue to “Go try things”.

Our business has evolved over 50 years from Hong Kong to London to Europe to the Isle of Man to the Dominican Republic to Florida to North Carolina to Ecuador and back to Small Town USA. 

While in London in the 1970s, I wrote my first book, “Passport to International Profit”.

Passport-Internatonal-Profit-gary-scott

One chapter in the book was about the “Concept Conversion Trick” and how it creates the “Soil Defense Syndrome”.

Here is an excerpt from that chapter:

“The Concept Conversion Trick begins when people agree on a good concept for working and living together.  The people go to work and if the concept is good they will create a paradise.  The government gives them a flag and a song. Then the government pulls the trick.  The government convinces the people that the flag and song are important.  Then while the people are busy watching the flag and singing the song, the government replaces the concept with a set of ever increasing written rules and regulations administered by bureaucrats and backed up by a police force.

“This trick trades people’s individual freedoms for a shiver up the spine when the song is played the piece of cloth is waved.  The Concept Conversion Trick turns spirit into matter.   Like trading love for a beautiful plastic doll.  When the trick has been pulled and the dust settles, the people realize too late what has happened.  Anyone who steps out of line is called unpatriotic or even criminal.  He is swatted down by the bureaucracy or police force, crushed with overwhelming power or made an example of so others will tow the mark ‘for the good of society’.  All this is done in the name of public interest.”

If this writing sounds prophetic having been written over 40 years ago, it was not.  A simple review of any previous great society shows that this trick was part of its evolution.  Like the Roman Empire, things may get better for a while, then worse and then better again.  In the long term, as societies age, they lose their original vibrancy and life.

That book began my self publishing career because I was fascinated by how societies differ, yet are so much the same.

This is how our business continued to evolve, trying things of interest and fascination to us.  Not once did business turn out as we expected… but always there was some success… happy customers…. good deeds…. great service… profit… fulfillment and adventure all originating from just trying new things or doing old things in new ways.

We live in a fortunate era.  Throughout most of history, life expectancy and requirements of work meant that the most experienced sector of the work force was no longer physically able to continue.  In our high tech environment we have a chance to create their most important pinnacle career at a time when previously we would have retired.  This is the first time in mankind’s history when the value of our experience is worth more than the cost of getting it.

Today we have a global income with a self publishing micro-business with readers around the world, but run from our current homes in Smalltown USA.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire with a farm in North Carolina, orange groves and home in Florida.

We have also made each of our homes multi dimensional… a home AND a source of income.  This is important because multi dimensional homes help us escape governments that cannot keep their economic promises.  History is littered with stories of serious national debt and economic problems that ruined pensions and retirees.  The burdens of debt and fiscal imprudence cause governments and societies to lose their ability to keep their promises.  Multi dimensional earnings can help overcome the risks these conditions create.

Starting without a penny… deeply in debt, writing and independent publishing have brought all of these material benefits to Merri and me, numerous homes… many investment properties and millions in the bank… all debt free.

We have lived in some of the most crowded cities in the world (London and Hong Kong) and now choose to live in some of the most isolated wilderness one can find.

Our secret weapon has been a personal anchor of value.

Recently as part of our 50th year anniversary I was interviewed on an investment webinar and the moderator asked me this question:

There are a lot of real estate investors who have been successful buying, selling and holding real estate in their own backyards.  A few have been successful investing in 2-3 markets in the USA.

But it is rare to find a successful real estate investor who has been investing in real estate all over the world.

And even more rare to find a real estate investor who has been successfully investing all over the world for FIFTY (50) years!

You are that guy!  What’s the secret?

My secret to freedom has been to use an anchor of value that I developed to invest in American residential real estate.  Though I created this anchor in the 1960s it has helped me invest in real estate, stocks, bonds and business around the world to this day.

The philosophy behind this strategy and tactics can be used to create your own anchor for investing in shares, bonds, currencies or commodities  as well as real estate.

Let’s look at value first.  The anchor helps me understand that I am investing for profit, not to be right. 

Based on the “profit rather than pride” principle  there are two (and only two) reasons why we invest in real estate.   To rent for income or to resell the property for more than we had invested.

Based on this reasoning, there are three ways to spot value in residential property.

#1: The first way to spot value is based on how much NET income can the property generate after taxes, insurance, maintenance and management costs.

#2: The second method is based on relative comparables.  Calculate how much similar properties in the area are selling for.  Also find out how much similar properties in other areas are selling for.

#3: The third method is to calculate how much a property would cost to replace with new construction.

What is the anchor?

We can build an understanding of residential value by understanding the monthly mortgage payment or rent a buyer or renter can pay.  In the USA, for example, the typical bank limit on monthly mortgage payments is about 28 percent of your gross monthly income.  Banks generally will let a borrower devote up to 28 percent of their household income in a mortgage payment and expenses (including taxes, insurance and HOA dues).

If there are many families in an area who earn an average of $4,000 a month, then this will be a good market for rentals at $1,000 a month.

This simple formula provides a basis from which all dependable value can be measured.   This is the science of the valuation.

Using this approach, years ago, Merri and I have been able to spot dozens of contrasts, distortions & trends in real estate value, everywhere.

An added factor to add into the mix is appeal.  You could call appeal the art of the valuation.

Sometimes an investment can be a really good value, but a hard sell.  The best investments are underpinned by appealing good value products and services.

Investing in what you know (and  enjoy) helps you understand appeal and makes it easier to mesh the art and the science of valuation.

For example, Merri’s and my background have a lot in common.  Merri’s formative years were in Georgia and mine in Oregon.  There were many differences between these states.  Yet as baby boomers we have much in common.  We saw the same shows on TV, Howdy Doody, the Cisco Kid, Ed Sullivan, Gunsmoke. Roy Rogers, etc.  We read the same books in school such as the Bridge over San Luis Rey, the Red Badge of Courage.  We saw the same movies, heard the same radio , listened to the same Golden Oldies, read the same news, the same magazines, so it is not surprising that our tastes are pretty much the same.

The fact we are NOT special gives us the ability to understand appeal.  There are 60 million baby boomers who have that same background.  This gives us confidence that if we like a house, others will like it as well.  This gives us good judgement (from an investing point of view) when it comes to appeal.

Our strategy is to buy houses that appeal to us which have a reasonable potential to return a decent income (and likely appreciate) based on rent in the $1000 a month range.

For example, we recently looked at a nice house just offered and with access to a wonderful lake, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, in very good shape with an asking price of $169,000.  The house fit the $1,000 profile and because it had a very nice guest cottage as well, meant we could likely charge $1,200 a month rent.  Merri and I looked the place over and felt just fine offering $140,000, knowing we could go up to $145,000.

How did we come to such a price?

The math worked like this.  The house will rent for $1,200 a month.  The rental market is strong and at this price it will rent quickly.  That creates an income of  $14,400 a year.  Our target ratio of price to rent is 10%.  We want a 10% cash flow, so $14,400 a year rent justifies a $14,400 price.

First, the area where we are buying is in a bit of a bubble.  Prices have started to rise beyond a reasonable expectation of return.  We did not think the house would rent for $1,300 or $1,400 a month so we were not willing to rise to the $169,000 price.

We did not get that house.  In fact this was the fifth house in a row on which we were outbid.  Because faith is vital to successful investing, we need to stick to our strategy, and our strategy is based around that 10% cash flow.  That percentage is sufficient to give us a reasonable return on our investment.

Just because everyone else is paying too much for houses, does not mean we should make this error as well.

Anchors of value help us remain logical so we don’t invest in trends that are turning into bubbles.  Anchors of value help us avoid giving back profits because we stayed in a trend for too long.

For example, my real estate anchor of value first created in Portland, Oregon in the 1960s helped me successfully understand good real estate trends in Hong Kong, Fiji and London, then the Isle of Man, Naples, Dominican Republic and Ecuador and eventually led Merri and me to invest in Smalltown USA in Mount Dora, Florida.

Real estate has always been in our blood.  I do not know why but by the age 21, I had already built a $2,000 windfall into seven duplexes and a house  on 14th Ave (mortgaged then to the hilt) in the small town of Gresham, Oregon.  I could have continued to buy, sell and rent real estate in Oregon but the wanderlust bug bit me and when I was offered a job to sell mutual funds in Hong Kong, I began to travel throughout Asia.

Owning those duplexes and that house left me with an anchor of value.  I understood rents (at that time the 1960s) from $125 in Smalltown USA to $250 a month in cities.

When I arrived in Hong Kong in 1968 real estate rentals were about the same as in downtown Portland.

Fear had created good value in Hong Kong.  In 1968 there were communist riots and bombs being set off in the streets.  The first day I arrived a motorcycle policeman had his leg blown off by a terrorist bomb.  The Chinese army was massed on the border and there were continual talks about an invasion. Hong Kong businessmen were fleeing.  Real estate was literally being given away.

Life went on.  We all figured out the fastest route to the British and American war ships in the harbor for a quick exit in case the Chinese decided to invade.  We watched out for boxes in the street that could be bombs.  Then we just got busy with life, working and earning so we could pay our rent.

I rented a huge apartment on Shouson Hill Road overlooking the ocean and the village of Aberdeen.  The owner wanted to sell this block of apartments but I had no money or experience then.  He was so desperate that he made a deal.  Instead of paying him $250 a month rent I invested $250 into mutual funds for him.

Then in 1970 the company I worked for sent me to London to spend a year at its headquarters developing a European sales training program.  I rented a nice house near Golders Green tube station on Finchley Road.  The rent was the equivalent of $250 a month.

In 1971 I was moved to work in San Francisco and I purchased a home in Petaluma, California.

petaluma

I bought this house in Petaluma California for $33,000 and assumed a 5% GI mortgage. Payments were about $175 a month.

In 1972 I returned and worked in Hong Kong for another four years.

The early 1970s was a time of serious inflation.  During that time I watched the prices and rents of real estate at the duplexes in Gresham, the house in Petaluma, and especially in Hong Kong rise… a lot!

In 1976, when I moved from Hong Kong back to London and noticed that London real estate was priced about the same as it had been in 1970.  This puzzled me. Why had London property prices remained flat despite inflation?

On investigation, I learned that there had been a huge real estate crash in 1970 continued to distort and dampen real estate prices six years later despite the rampant global inflation.  The British pound had also collapsed dropping 35% versus the U.S. dollar from 2.4 dollars per pound to a new all time low of 1.52 dollars per pound and at one point hit a low of one dollar per pound.  To my way of thinking, London houses, which I thought were already very cheap by world standards, just became 35% cheaper.

london-house

The house in Bedford Park.

I could not resist and began property shopping and eventually bought a five bedroom house in Bedford Park in West London. I made a 10,000 pound down payment and took a 25,000 pound loan to meet the 35,000 pound asking price.

First, I was right. London property had been under priced.  I was able to sell the house four years later for 115,000 Pounds.  I made a profit of 80,000 pounds.  But the currency change helped enormously too.  The pound had risen to over 2.2 dollars per pound.  My 80,000 pound profit was now worth $215,000.

I was willing to make this  purchase because I could rely on a mental anchor of value… a residential property that a working person could rent in the $250 a month range.  I was investing in what I knew and was comfortable with.

Manx real estate came next.  In the 1980s I had an offshore corporate formation business and noticed that Isle of Man overseas companies were as good as Jersey and Guernsey structures, but cost less than half.  This led me to believe that the Isle of Man would increase in popularity as a financial center.  While visiting, Merri and I discovered that a long depression had forced over 2,000 properties onto the Island real estate market (population was only 60,000).  We began taking real estate buying tours to the Isle of Man because rents and house prices were so low.  Some delegates purchased remodeled beach front condos for $12,000.

Then while conducting a seminar in Florida, we saw that real estate in Naples, Florida was much less expensive than on the East Coast of Florida.  Rents in Miami  and Ft. Lauderdale seemed really high to us, but Naples prices were much lower.  Merri had been living in Naples for some time and found a wonderful old large house just off the beach.  We bought it for a song (compared to the price we sold it for!)

Naples prices skyrocketed while we were living there and in 1995 we visited Ecuador.  Merri and I saw Ecuadorian beach front lots that would cost two million dollars in Naples that were selling for $5,000.   We saw we could buy a house on Ecuador’s beach for a price that we understood and were comfortable with.

By 2009 Ecuador prices has skyrocketed and Florida real estate faltered.  We began selling out our Ecuador real estate and buying again in Florida.

In Florida we saw great rental value.  We also wanted to live closer to our children and grandchildren.  We knew that studies had shown that 80% of adults 45 and older believe it is important to live near their children and grandchildren.  Those 60 million people, just like us, were thinking differently about where they would buy and/or rent a home.

We selected Mt. Dora as a small town to buy rental real estate for numerous reasons, but the first feature was its proximity to our daughter and grandson.

I can look back through this 50 year travel and real estate adventure and see that my decisions and investments have all been linked to that original anchor of value.

We live in a turbulent world and can expect rapid change, hidden agendas, huge shifts in communication.  When we are caught in the currents of such rapid shifts, our anchors of value can help us remain steady and secure.

#3: The third quality of real freedom is to have a mathematically based financial information system that repeatedly reveals a diversified selection of good multi currency investment values.

I developed the international investing course Purposeful investing” (Pi) to share ways to reduce stress, add safety and increase profit.  This course is based on my fifty years of global investing experience and aims at creating restful rather than restless wealth.

Slow, Worry Free, Good Value Investing

A golden rule of investing is “there is always something we do not know”.  Investment ideas might have some connection to truth, but never contain the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Every investment is based on approximation.  Investments rise and fall in value, at least temporarily. The fluctuations create  stress, worry and fear, three of an investors’ worst enemies.  These emotions cause the “Behavior Gap”, a trait exhibited by most investors, that causes them to underperform any market they choose.  The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear.  The losses created by this gap grow when investors trade short term under stress.

The “Purposeful investing” course helps learn how to avoid the Behavior Gap by creating easy to use, low stress, safe, profitable strategies that combine good value investments with unique, personal profit goals.

Pifolio – The Pi Model Portfolio

Lessons from Pi are based on the creation and management of the Primary Pi Model Portfolio.  The Pifolio is a theoretical portfolio of MSCI Country Benchmark Index ETFs that cover all the good value markets using my (almost) 50 years of global experience and my study of the analysis of  Michael Keppler.

Our analysis begins with Keppler who continually researches international major stock markets and compares their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return.  He compares each major stock market’s history.

From this research, Keppler develops his Good Value Stock Market Country Selection Strategies.  His analysis is rational, mathematical and does not worry about short term ups and downs.

In my opinion, Keppler is one of the best market statisticians in the world.  Numerous very large fund managers use his analysis to manage funds such as State Street Global Advisers.

The Pifolio uses Keppler’s Country Selection Strategy to construct a diversified, risk-controlled, portfolio that invests in Keppler’s BUY rated stock markets.  The portfolio gives equal weighting to each BUY market.

To achieve this goal of diversification the Pifolio consists of Country Index ETFs.

Country Index ETFs are similar to an index mutual fund but is a share normally traded on a major stock exchange that tracks an index of shares in a specific country.  ETFs do not try to beat the index they represent. The management is passive and tries to emulate the performance of the index.

The portfolio does not contain any individual stocks because country ETFs provide diversification into a basket of equities in the country covered.

The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.

This is an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little management and guesswork is required.  The Pifolio is simply  a diversified portfolio of good value indices.  A BUY rating for an index does NOT imply that any stock in that country is an attractive investment, so you do not have to pick and choose shares.  Investing in the index which is like investing in all the shares in the index.  All you have to do is invest in an ETF that in turn invests passively in all the shares of the index.

The original Pifolio began with 70% diversified into the following good value developed markets: Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

30% of the Pifolio was invested in Keppler’s Good Value Emerging Markets: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Taiwan and Thailand.

The Pifolio consists of iShares ETF that invested in each of the MSCI indicies of these markets.

Developed Value ETFs in the Basic Pifolio:

Symbol         ETF               Country
EWA        iShares MSCI Australia
EWG        iShares MSCI Germany
EWU        iShares MSCI UK
EWQ        iShares MSCI France
NORW    iShares MSCI Norway
EWI         iShares MSCI Italy
EWO       iShares MSCI Austria
EWJ        iShares MSCI Japan
EWH       iShares MSCI Hong Kong
EWS        iShares MSCI Singapore

The Good Value Emerging Market ETFs  (30% of portfolio – except China)

Keppler’s good value emerging markets currently are: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Taiwan and Thailand.

The ETFs we invest in are:

FXI       iShares MSCI  China  (China is given a developed market weighting)
THD     iShares MSCI  Thailand
EWZ     iShares MSCI Brazil
ICOL    iShares MSCI  Colombia
EWT    iShares MSCI Taiwan
EWM   iShares MSCI Malaysia
EWY    iShares MSCI South Korea
ECH     iShares MSCI Chile

When we are in good health and earning income, we also have to protect and increase our savings and wealth.  The only clear understanding of value of investments is that derived from mathematical based financial news rather than speculation based economic news.

Life is a trip and we have an entire globe to enjoy the ride.  Expanding our horizons beyond the education we gained within our local borders can help our visions penetrate the mists of tomorrow so we can adjust to gain opportunity in change and avoid dangers ahead.  This philosophy has reaped millions for Merri and me.  More important this approach has helped us enjoy amazing adventures as we follow our purpose and feel that we are doing more for the world than just making a buck.

Today, entering our 70s, we feel healthier and more energetic than 50 years ago.  I might not be wiser… but am more experienced and seem in a better position than when I took that first trip to Hong Kong 48 years ago today.

We’ll keep looking for better ways to improve our natural health, energy and desire so we can profitably serve and wisely invest for the future.

Merri and I look forward to the year ahead… and we look forward to sharing it with you!

Gary

 

Golden Freedom


Merri and I always celebrate special freedoms in May, but this May is golden and special for us.  Let’s see if we can make it special for you.

There have been celebrations of freedom from winter as early as Roman times. The Romans celebrated the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers.  Ancient northern hemisphere spring festivals may have begun even earlier to celebrate the richness and fertility of this time of year.

A number of countries like Cuba and the former Soviet Union celebrate Workers’ Day on the first of May but May Day has been celebrated even earlier in the USA.  This day began in the 1880s when there was a drive to improve the lot of the working man.  Working conditions were severe.  10 to 16 hour days in unsafe conditions were common.  Frequent workplace death and injury led to books like Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and Jack London’s “The Iron Heel”.

Workers felt that capitalism was for the benefit of their bosses.  The political process had become so controlled by big business and the bi-partisan political machines that tens of thousands of politicians left their parties, rebuffed the entire political process, which was seen as nothing more than protection for the wealthy, and created new groups throughout the country.

The goal was to put an end to the hierarchical structures (including government) that controlled industry and wipe away the bureaucratic political process. The aim was to give workers an eight hour work day and in the 1880s more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first US May Day celebration.

Does that history sound familiar now?  Some things never change.

Politics have not changed all that much either.  The presidential election of 1880  (Republican, James A. Garfield – Democrat, Winfield Scott Hancock) began with the longest Republican convention in the party’s history.  There were three candidates but on the first ballot none were close to victory. After the thirty-fifth  ballot, two delegates switched their support to the new “dark horse” candidate, Representative James A. Garfield.  The bitterly divided Republicans chose Garfield.

The Presidential election was also highly contested but neither party had a clear plank on how they would improve the nation.  The contest was simply “Our man is better than your man”.

The Democrats campaigned on the character of the candidates and attacked Garfield for his connection with an earlier banking scandal.

The Republicans claimed that Hancock was uninformed on the issues, and gave critical speeches regarding his character.

Issues included:

* Immigration. This eventually led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, one of the most significant restrictions on free immigration in US history, prohibiting all immigration of Chinese laborers.

* Racial inclusion. The Republican party’s courtship of black voters threatened the white Democratic establishment.

* Labor rights and trade agreements.  Garfield’s campaigners called Democrats unsympathetic to the plight of industrial laborers, a group that benefited from a high protective tariff.

When all the ballots were counted, fewer than 2,000 votes separated Garfield and Hancock, the closest popular vote of any American presidential election before or since.

As Garfield entered office in March 1881, the Republican party schism that had been patched up for the election tore apart once more.  Within months Garfield was assassinated.

How does that history sound now?  Some things never change.

However many things do change as well, including my life when my global investing and business adventures began, five decades ago, when I joined Prudential Insurance Company in May 1966.

Then two years later, on May 1, 1968 I left the USA and arrived in Hong Kong May 2, 1968.

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Here is my my first passport  and the first stamp issued May 2, 1968, allowing me to stay in Hong Kong until June 2, 1968.

I arrived in Hong Kong in the night, the tropical air so soft it was a velvet mist.  Thick evening scents in the fragrant harbor and mellow insects purring in rhythm with the cacophony of the great city!  What a an exotic adventure.

Kai Tak was Hong Kong’s airport then and being American born and bred, I knew nothing about investing aboard.

That was my first airplane trip, first time out of Oregon. Portland to Vancouver, Tokyo to Hong Kong.  I melted in my heavy woolen blazer, was weary and afraid but excited too. An incredible global investing journey had begun… and continues to this day.

I gained sales training at Prudential and used this to develop sales teams in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines at the same time so a month was plenty of time before I exited.

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Here is one of my first sales teams… this one in Hong Kong led by John So Kwok Kee (far left).   You can guess which one I am!

I built teams from the north in Japan down through Indonesia.

I was 21 years old and had no idea how that trip would lead me throughout Asia for almost ten years and eventually led me to business and investing in Europe, London, Isle of Man, Florida, The Dominican Republic, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge and Ecuador.

In the last 50 years there has been a lot of change in our freedoms, and our goal at this site has been to share ideas that enhance three basic qualities of real freedom.

The first quality of real freedom is natural health.  None of us can be truly free until we wrest ourselves from the grip of the big pharma fueled health care system.

The second quality of real freedom is the ability to earn through service.  So many promises, purchasing power of money, savings, pensions, health care, social security, financial security, privacy, have all been broken so many times that no promise made by big business or big government can be trusted.  The only true form of wealth is to have some value, to be able to serve (or produce) in a profitable way.

The third quality is to mathematically seek investment value.   The only clear understanding of value of investments is that derived from mathematical based financial news rather than speculation based economic news.

A continual evolution based on these three qualities have helped Merri and me, our readers and our income continually grow… through good times and bad.

The reason we have progressed amidst never ending change is because we recognize that details and technologies change, but the fundamentals remain immutable.  “Plus ce change plus ce la meme chose”… the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Our business is totally online now… but the basics are the same… “to provide interesting, useful information and contacts that help make people’s lives better as they prosper from change”.

Life is a trip and we have an entire globe to enjoy the ride. Expanding our horizons beyond the education we gained within our local borders can help our visions penetrate the mists of tomorrow so we can adjust to gain opportunity in change and avoid dangers ahead.  This philosophy has reaped millions for Merri and me.  More important this approach has helped us follow our purpose and feel that we are doing more for the world than just making a buck.

The increased pace of change leaves all of us with a lot to do.

We feel healthier and more energetic than 50 years ago.  I might not be wiser… but am more experienced and seem in a better position than when I took that first trip to Hong Kong 48 years ago today.

We’ll keep looking for better ways to improve our natural health, energy and desire so we can profitably serve and wisely invest for the future.

Merri and I look forward to the year ahead… and we look forward to sharing it with you!

Gary

Ecuador Investing & Business Idea


Here is an Ecuador investing and  business ideas for Ecuador or anywhere you live.

In a moment, I am going to show you how to own this 16 room hotel in Otavalo for almost nothing… maybe even free.

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First let’s look at a business idea for this hotel… rootlessness… a growing global problem.

Problems create opportunity so there is business opportunity in rootlessness.

Technology has given mankind the ability to work, live and invest globally… a wonderful benefit.   Yet this mobility has created a problem as well.

One of my messages many years ago (2002) outlined that there would be a growing market for friendship in this modern era.

That message said: The market for friendship has to grow because technology has made society so  mobile. I for example have lost nearly every single really good friend from school.  I haven’t seen most of the friends I grew up with for forty five years. I imagine they still live in Portland, Oregon, but maybe not. They might all have become travelers like myself. Out of a six pack of school buddies, Steve is the only one with whom I keep in touch.

When I moved to North Carolina, I visited the local car mechanic named Jay Dee to have some work done on my 1986 Suzuki Samari Jeep. This is the perfect farm car but often needs work.  Jay Dee’s garage is a barn by his house and local people sort of collect around that barn to shoot the breeze, spit a little tobacco and talk over old times. “Remember old Johnny Blevins and that time he threw you in the creek,” one of them might say. “Well darn that must a been fifty years ago.”

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My Samari… 23 years old and only 62,000 original miles.

I love being with these wonderful mountain people and their easy going, friendly ways. They have such deep roots and ties and are comfortable and at ease with their friends. They know who they are, where they are and who their friends are because they have been with them their entire lives. These people aren’t hanging around Jay Dee just to get their cars fixed. They are enjoying a ritual of friendship that has united them since they were kids.

I love this! My friendships are scattered and far flung all over the world. I sometimes don’t get to see my friends for years!

A huge segment (much of the wealthiest) of the population no longer lives where they were brought up. They have lost touch with their roots.  The more technology removes us from our origins, the more the market for togetherness and friendship grows.

Friendship is an extension of togetherness and can develop around many themes. For the mountain folk of North Carolina or anyone who remains rooted in their birthplace the theme is mostly “down home”.

These friendships are tight and if you have ever heard the phrase “You ain’t from around here are ya, boy,” you have experienced the reverse side of this type of friendship. The implication is that with these long term, locally based friendships, the only way to be a friend is to have been there for years.

Some of the years I lived in Gloucestershire, England were spent in a tiny village named Chalford. I lived over  a local pub there, “The Mechanics Arms.” Though I was a newcomer to the area I was accepted as an old timer because of family ties. One man in his sixties, who visited the pub every night however wasn’t quite part of the crowd.

Many of the locals talked about him as the new man in town. I was surprised later to learn he had lived in Chalford for nearly thirty years!  The locals would always view him as less trustworthy because he had not been born and raised there. Childhood experiences were the basis of their deepest friendships.

Many of us will never have this type of long term familiarity friendship.We have moved around too much. This creates markets for many types of new friendships.

Networking is a form of business friendship. The theme of the friendship is scratch my back and perhaps I can scratch yours or we will both be better off scratching each others’ backs. Such friendships can be local, state or country wide or as mine span the globe. They can be very informal or very formal.

The market for formal friendships has already exploded.  Incredible growth of support groups such as AA are a sign of the momentum in the friendship market. Such groups offer a format for formal friendships and range from disease support groups to abused support groups. Each offers an organized way to have friends. The growth of these groups is not because there are more problems than thirty years ago. The growth is because of the increasing market for friendships.

We can see this trend spreading everywhere. For example one telephone company has recognized this growing trend and has successfully built its business around the idea of calling “family and friends.

This thought (that a market for friendships would grow) was correct.  We see this on the internet with one of the biggest trends being social networking sites.

A recent New York Times article, “Invisible Immigrants, Old and Left With ‘Nobody to Talk To” by Patricia Leigh Brown reveals a sliver of this problem.

Here is an excerpt from this article:   They gather five days a week at a mall called the Hub, sitting on concrete planters and sipping thermoses of chai. These elderly immigrants from India are members of an all-male group called The 100 Years Living Club. They talk about crime in nearby Oakland, the cheapest flights to Delhi and how to deal with recalcitrant daughters-in-law.

Together, they fend off the well of loneliness and isolation that so often accompany the move to this country late in life from distant places, some culturally light years away.

“If I don’t come here, I have sealed lips, nobody to talk to,” said Devendra Singh, a 79-year-old widower. Meeting beside the parking lot, the men were oblivious to their fellow mall rats, backpack-carrying teenagers swigging energy drinks.

In this country of twittering youth, Mr. Singh and his friends form a gathering force: the elderly, who now make up America’s fastest-growing immigrant group. Since 1990, the number of foreign-born people over 65 has grown from 2.7 million to 4.3 million — or about 11 percent of the country’s recently arrived immigrants. Their ranks are expected to swell to 16 million by 2050. In California, one in nearly three seniors is now foreign born, according to a 2007 census survey.

Now let’s look at this 16 room hotel in Otavalo that you can have for almost nothing… maybe even free and how it could offer a business that solves this problem.

First, let me detail the hotel and why a fabulous bargain has come up… and how this hotel can fit into the friendship market.

This  is an really good Ecuador income opportunity, a…

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hotel for sale in Otavalo.

The owners have had this on the market for a number of years at one million dollars. We thought this price was too high and never wrote about it.

Earlier this year they dropped the price to $750,000 and offered us $150,000 commission if we sold it. I wrote then:  The owners offered us a $150,000 commission to sell the hotel. We are not brokers and do not take commission so our reply was “cut the price for our readers”!  This would place the price at $600,000… an interesting value.

$600,000 may have been interesting but the owner now just emailed us and dropped the price to $495,000.  This places the price beyond  an interesting value into the bargain range.

Plus the owners again offered us a commission.  We do not take commissions so whatever (how much commission was not clear) amount they would pay could be deducted from this price.

This makes the hotel a real bargain.

At $750,000 the commission of $150,000 was 20%.  We don’t know of course about the commission, and I didn’t want to wait to verify this because this hotel is valuable, beautiful and it could  work out at about $35 a foot on the building and leaves you the land (which right next to Otavalo market is worth a lot).

Yet there is more. I believe you can get the land and the 16 room hotel for almost nothing.

I’ll explain how below.

First: the hotel details. The hotel is right next to Otavalo Market, one of the largest tourist attractions in Ecuador.

The property has these characteristics:  Appx. 30,000 sq. feet of  land and 12,000 sq.  feet of  building in 3 apartments and 16 hotel rooms.

Property Details:  The property consists of approximately 30,000 square feet of land, with trees, gardens and many types of exotic birds.  The gardens…

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are large… well groomed and…

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have a wonderful patio.

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Ma too likes it there.

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There is approximately 12,000 square feet of solid brick and cement construction.

On the property, there is plenty of room for expansion and development, especially in a town where there is absolutely no land left to develop.  The building is built in the old colonial style with finely crafted hardwood arched windows and doors, rustic floor tile and traditional clay-tiled roof.  The building is constructed according to U.S. anti-seismic standards.

The owner claims this is one of the best built constructions in Otavalo—and one of the prettiest in the city!

The building boasts excellent water pressure on all four floors. (Please don’t pooh pooh this quality!) The building has a powerful, propane gas-fueled boiler system capable of producing up to 700 gallons of hot water a day.  With access to the land/building from two streets, the property has frontage on 3 streets, which have been newly paved by the City of Otavalo.

Characteristics:  16 rooms, large social area (restaurant), large working kitchen, two medium-sized apartments, one large penthouse apartment, small building in back (approximately 250 square meters) that serves as a laundry room and storage facility, which also has a full bathroom and a working fireplace.  This could easily be converted into a small rental property.  Adjacent, yet private, to the main property, and which consists of 350 square meters of our total property, is a working area and parking garage (which can accommodate approximately 6 cars), with clothes lines, and general storage area.

First floor: Consists of large working kitchen, with back door exit to outdoor enclosed pantry/food storage room, laundry area and herb garden.  There is a large dining room (approximately 2,500 square feet) with excellent working fireplace, and space to comfortably entertain 60 or so people.

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Reception.

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Restaurant is beautiful also.

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The dining room leads outside onto the tiled patio and garden where there are tables and chairs for serving and relaxing, and this area may be used to accommodate another 30 or so people.  Also on the first floor there are 8 rooms which have served as hotel rooms, each 55 X 45 feet  in size with large bathrooms.

All rooms face out into the garden and the property is in front of Mount  Imbabura.   Hundreds of hummingbirds and exotic birds roam the grounds.

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Patio seen from one of the three apartments.

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Hotel room…

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shots.

Second floor: There are two spacious apartments, each about 1,100 square feet in size, with glass windows looking down onto the garden.

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Apartment #1 view…

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Apartment#1 bedroom.

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Apartment #1 Living room

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and kitchen.

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Each apartment has a large bathroom and a kitchenette with small balconies in the back.  Also on the second floor there are 8 more rooms, equal to the rooms on the first floor, that open onto a balcony over-looking the garden.

Apartment #2 living room

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Bedroom.

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bathroom.

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Third floor:  There is a very large “penthouse” apartment, approximately 2,250 square feet with large glass windows and a large balcony overlooking the garden.  This apartment has one bathroom with a small adjacent room that may be converted into a sauna, large spacious kitchen and living room, two large bedrooms, and a large working fireplace.

Penthouse…

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views.

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Penthouse.

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Penthouse fireplace.

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Kitchen.

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Penthouse bedroom.

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Extra room.

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Penthouse bedroom #2.

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The Roof: The penthouse apartment has stairs that lead to the roof, where there are two 5,000 gallon reserve tanks for storing water (if needed), as well as more storage space.  As stated before, there is excellent water pressure on all 4 floors.  Also includes a solar hot water system which connects into the boiler system.

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Two 5,000 gallon water storage tanks…

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plus solar water heater.

This is an excellent facility with wonderful grounds in a high priced area..

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Let’s look at the owner’s explanation of why they have lowered the price… then we’ll see how to get this hotel for almost nothing.

Hello Merri and Gary,  This is Margaret from Ali Shungu in Otavalo. I have been living up here on the mountain for about 6 months full time, going back and forth to the Hotel.  I feel better up here in my little house with my projects.   I have been recovering from an illness and have been in the hospital in Quito. They said that if this diverticulitis does not clear up, and it has been bad for about 6 months with 3 months of vomiting, fever, etc.,–that I will need an operation to remove it.  I’m drinking all kinds of herbs and aloe vera cactus and only boiled simple foods, and hoping to heal without an operation.  Did 2 rounds of antibiotics, might have to do more…….I will say though, that the hospital bill was not that bad in Voz Andes for all the tests that I had and treatments, etc.   I will now take care of myself more, and do more praying!  I might need intravenous antibiotics but I do not want to go back to the hospital in Quito.

There you have it… a owner whose health no longer allows them to run the hotel nor wait out a high priced buyer.

Here is how to get this 16 room hotel for almost nothing. I believe that the three apartments, if separated from the hotel and sold on their own, are worth near the price of the hotel.   I do not know the Otavalo real estate market so well…but I have seen the apartments and penthouse and they are exquisite.

If they are and if you can buy this for hotel in the $400,000 range… this means the 16 room hotel, the grounds and the restaurant are almost free.

This will require some negotiating, some work and legal work  (Ecuador lawyers are not very expensive)… but could provide one heck of a deal.

We have put our Ecuador Living subscribers in touch with the sellers.  To gain this contact information you can subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

If the hotel is not under offer, we’ll show it on our upcoming October Andean Real Estate tour.    See tour details here.

Merri and I are not involved financially in any way with this offer.  We have not looked at the hotel’s financial accounts, legal situation, titles, nor had an engineering inspection, so be sure to take all normal precautions if you are interested.  Especially look at the labor obligations you’ll absorb.

Our recommendation for those who are interested in Ecuador is to come visit first… look around… rent and stay awhile… before you buy.  One reason for this recommendation is that when you are here awhile you’ll see bargains… like this and I believe for the reasons stated that Hotel Ali Shungu is now a bargain.

Now let’s see how this creates opportunity from the problem of rootlessness.

Americans and Canadians are flocking to Ecuador.  I know.  Our Ecuador Living business is going wild.  The subscription pace has almost doubled recently and the request for rentals in this area has skyrocketed past our ability to keep up!

The demand is especially strong at the lower income level… those who are retiring and can no longer have a decent life in Canada or the US… especially in places where there is winter sun.

There people are isolated… often not speaking Spanish and with little to do.   So Turn this hotel into a residence for gringos. Provide free internet… US papers…. weekly Spanish lessons… a support program… group tours, travel assistance etc.

There is one more value.  Yesterday’s message How to Make Money in this Multi Currency Era explained how, due to the falling US dollar, Ecuador real estate has become a 10% better value since this last February.

Gary

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn globally in many currencies.

This is why we are providing a special three for one offer with our  course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business that can help you create your own internet business.

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

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

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

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

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

Even Better Get All three Courses Free

To make this offer even more compelling,  I am giving everyone who enrolls in our North Carolina or Ecuador International Business & Investing seminar in October or November all three courses, “Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course,”  “Self Fulfilled- How to be a Self Publisher” and “International Business Made EZ” free.

Join us with Jyske Bank and my webmaster David Cross in West Jefferson North Carolina. Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business at the seminar.

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

Or head south to Ecuador!

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

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.

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

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

Read the entire article Invisible Immigrants, Old and Left With ‘Nobody to Talk To here.

Ecuador Longevity & Smalltown US Value


Ecuador has many valleys of longevity… but it is more than just the valley that enhances the long lives there. There are at least three longevity secrets.

Because of big value changes, in a moment we’ll look at real estate value in Smalltown USA compared to Ecuador property.

First, the three Ecuador longevity secrets.

Secret #1 is a restricted diet with a reduced caloric intake.

Secret #2 is live with ritual! Those who live extra ordinarily long lives seem to share this common trait. Whatever they do they do in moderation, in a very similar way and with great gusto. For example, if they drink an ounce of whiskey every day, at six o clock, they do not do this at five some days and eight others. They do not have a half ounce one day and two another. They tend to have one ounce at six p.m. every day. This instills discipline, keeps life simple (very important) and allows the body to get used to doing whatever it is it has to do.

Take Chris Mortensen one of the oldest documented men in the 1990s who at 113 said of his weekly cigar, “If you take my weekly cigar away from I am going to die”. The anticipation and ritual of whatever pleasure he received from this was far more life giving than the stress. The world’s oldest documented woman in the 1990s, Jeanne Clement, at age 122 drank cognac and ate a pound of chocolate a week (but never two).

One good ritual is to do EZ exercises that keep all the muscle groups flexible… such as the sun salute.

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Here…

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are the…

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postures…

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of…

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of…

sun-salute

sun-salute

the…

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Sun…

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Salute.

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You can see another example of the Sun Salute See http://www.garyascott.com/images/sunsalute.jpg

Ecuador shamans also exercise their legs.  One thing  I do when meeting an Ecuador shaman is observe his legs.  My experience is that the most knowledgeable taita yatchaks exercise their legs. They believe them to be man’s root to the earth… channels for the earth energy.

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I also notice that they walk barefoot a lot.

This taita yatchak is very elderly but his leg muscles are still highly developed and he is easily walking on rocks.

So…  whenever we can, Merri and I take off the insulation between us and earth and walk barefoot.

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An EZ leg exercise taught to me by an Ecuador shaman is called the Llama Walk.

This exercise…

LLama-walk

helps strengthen the legs.

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Bend one knee to touch the heel of the other foot, but…

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do not perform too many to start.  Otherwise you may have some very sore legs the next day.

Remember start EZ.

Longevity Secret #3 is to remain independent, challenged, active and needed. One of the most important features found in societies where residents are long lived is that old age is revered.

People at age 100, even 110 can still active and working!

I collect stories of long lived people… such as Max Zimmer of Los Angeles who came to the US from Austria in 1911 with only a two dollar bill. At age 103 he still had the same two-dollar bill and had built and still ran a multimillion-dollar business.

This is one reason why Merri and I focus on turning passions into profit!

Having something fun and interesting to do every day that also erases financial worries makes it fun to remain alive.

The greatest asset of all, is the ability to earn wherever you live, brings everlasting wealth. This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

SmallTown USA

Today’s message was posted much later than the norm because all last week we were in Oregon helping my sister and daughter get my mom out of the hospital system where she has been since April.  We were pretty busy taking her to assisted living homes, buying her new furniture and getting her moved from her house of 42 years to her new apartment.  We managed to get this all in and send my message at its normal time, but finally yesterday the Portland-LA-Cincinnati-Tri Cities trip threw us off schedule.

I mention this because I am sure that many of you who love Ecuador (or the idea of living abroad) have many ties (as we do) here in the US.   So it takes time to make your move or the best you can do is to live abroad (as we do) part time.

Though we have always lived a global life,  last February I wrote in an article Ecuador Shamans & Truth, why Merri and I are redirecting some of our focus back to the US from Ecuador.

Never Fear! The US, especially Small Town USA, is a great place to be.   Fortunately we sold all of our Florida property at the top of the market, in March 2007, so since this spring we have been looking to buy back a winter home.

There have been some substantial changes in real estate value since 2007 as you will see  below.

We find that Florida real estate prices are still falling!

Merri writes about this process and one house we have been tracking.

This house is in Winter Haven, Florida.

On the Road again…

For all of you out there who continue to ask, “Bought anything yet in Florida?”…the answer is NO.

We’ve had a few blips on the screen with necessary trips to Oregon for Gary’s mom and courses that we’ve conducted plus our daughter, Francesca, home from Africa for a visit.  Then Jacob, just finishing up law school, came over to NC for the summer.

It’s been a busy time but a good and productive one…but absolutely no time for house hunting.

We really are serious about buying that home on the lake in Florida…and we do have to have it by November.  I’ve been feeling guilty and a little nervous because there was no time to spend on the search.

Today, I finally had a tiny bit of time and jumped right back in.

Here’s what I discovered, of the original 21 we were considering from April, only one is sold or for some reason is off the market….nothing really lost there for sure.

The others have dropped in price since I’ve been looking $50,000, $70,000, $100,000, $300,000 and one a whopping $495,000!

Hey, I ceased berating myself for not spending enough time on this situation.

Here’s one below which we will not be buying as Gary would rather be on a smaller lake rather than this extremely large lake but wow is it beautiful and look at the price!

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Side view.

We looked at it in April and thought the neighborhood was charming, wonderful for long private walks (Interlaken) and it has a feeling of being a settled neighborhood.  We loved the features of this house with its guest quarters (something high on our list), boat dock, and ambiance.

When I first spotted it, it reminded me of a house that we knew and loved tucked on a hillside in the French Rivieria…charming, low key and so so pretty.  (Actually, I fell in love with this house at its original offering price of $599,000.)

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Lake view and dock.

It’s in Winter Haven in Central Florida which offers proximity to Tampa Airport (an excellent small airport with kindness and frequent flights) and not too far from Orlando Airport.  The town of Winter Haven is filled with lakes and seems very pleasant.  The county boasts 554 lakes and the famous Chain of Lakes…16 navigable together.  Winter Haven is also 146′ above sea level.  SmallTown USA with less than 25,000 people.

The house is situated on huge corner lot with 13,000 + sq.’ and the house (although not huge) has that wonderful guest quarters!

Here it is…straight out of a James Bond movie…at the new this morning’s price of $369,000 which probably could translate into $299,000.

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I believe this is good value.

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View of the lake from one of the patios.

I like the broker a lot, Christiana Bulow, who sent it to me.  She is very good about listening to what you like, and then sending you EVERY single listing in your area of choice that fits your requirements. Also, you can just click on your “Favorites” and she’ll keep those and do exactly what she did this morning, send me one of my Favorites with a Reduced Price!  It’s fun and helpful to just look at each one of them…I saved this one on her easy to use system back in April…also from a distance this helps to learn a lot.

Her service is a concierge service…very unique and interesting…which offers a number of great details including a free moving truck, free termite inspection and a Buyer’s Guarantee.

You can reach Christina Bulow:  Christina-vwbx30547239@centralflhomesnow.com    Her phone # is (863) 207-3929.

smalltown-USA

Maybe you’ll love this one…sorry we do love it and of course Gary loves the price but it’s the wrong situation for us…so I’ll keep looking and report back!  Merri

Here is the change in value we need to consider now. In 2007 the house above would probably have cost a million dollars.  Since 2007 real estate prices in Ecuador have risen as they have dropped in the US.

This is not to say that Ecuador no longer has good real estate value.  More work in finding good prices on Ecuador real estate is required.  For example yesterday’s message South Ecuador Beach Property looks at how to have a beach condo for $35,000.  Yet this is a riskier start up way to own real estate.

This is not to say that Ecuador does not offer a much lower cost of living… better climate… a happier gentler lifestyle… just one must continually examine value… and now Florida real estate prices may be comparable to real estate prices in Ecuador.

Whether you head south to Ecuador or just to Florida we wish you longevity and good value!

Gary

Your own small, global, independent business because this can bring freedom, fulfillment and a longer life.A clear mind and healthy body are vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

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

Here are comments from one group who just conducted a seminar at our hotel in Ecuador wrote about the way we help: Wow.  We had such an amazing time in Ecuador.  That includes me, my colleague Jackie, the instructors, and all of the attendees.  Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, and really, we owe it to you and El Meson for making it all run smoothly.  We felt so welcomed and well-treated.  Thank you.I’d also like to say that both Mauricio and Alberto went out of their way to make sure we felt comfortable.  The bus was always there for us when we were to leave, they hopped to it whenever we wanted to plan something, they made suggestions for things to do in town, and were very gracious and pleasing to be around.  Mauricio was particularly helpful when it came to making trips to nearby villages.  He was open and sharing with information about the ceremonies and ways of life of the Kichwa, and always willing to answer questions.  What a privilege for us, and a real delight. I’m hoping we’ll get to stay at Meson again some time. Thanks again.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

Retire in Ecuador – Out of Cities


Retire in Ecuador… our wherever…out of town because isolated places may be out of the box bargains.

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Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot from our North Carolina farm.

A reader, wanting to know whether to retire in Ecuador or not sent this note last week:

Dear Gary,

I have noticed that you have mentioned (a few times) that you and Merri are not residents of Ecuador —– and you do not want to become residents. Would you be kind enough to explain what brought you to this decisions? Thank you,

My reply was “Mainly grandkids”.

Yet there is much more.

Merri and I live both in Ecuador and North Carolina because we love the people, the way of life, the land and the value.

We did not choose Ecuador because it is outside the US, nor Ashe county because it is in America.

We chose them because they are both in our opinion great places to be… and they are isolated.

Change alters the value of places.

When I grew up living in the suburbs of Portland Oregon, I could walk miles to school when I was eight.  We let our doors unlocked.

When I was a young man, huge cities were great places to be.  I lived in Hong Kong, San Francisco and London as well as portland… at times walking late at night in many parts of the city alone.  Cities were fun!

Now cities are much more dangerous and crowded and inconvenient.

Traffic from my mom’s suburban Oregon house (the same one for 50 years) to downtown Portland is horrid and she has to double lock all her windows.

Great places bring opportunity and joy in our lifestyles… but great places change and now there are double benefits in Isolation

I have steadily increased my investments in three seemingly isolated places; high in the Ecuador Andes, in a remote Pacific fishing village and in Ashe County North Carolina.

I chose each for the same reasons.  They are isolated but have good internet and reasonable access to a good airport

There are several reasons why change has put a premium on isolation.

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Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot from our Ecuador Hacienda.

One reason is food.  Ecuador is a small agricultural country and as such, huge national distribution systems are not required to feed the population.  The food is fresher.  Preservatives are not as required.

The residents in the Blue Ridge of Ashe county know how to feed themselves as well.  Our farm is dotted with old homesteads where the dwellers lived mostly off the land… not that long ago… so people here know how to create their own food supply if need be.

The second reason is that the cost of living is still low compared to cities in Ecuador or the US.

The third reason is health.  There are no big factories… the air is fresh… water is quite pure… and you are not surrounded by crowds… increased risk of crime and such.

Plus (fourth) lifestyle benefits are great. No traffic jams… not much traffic noise… far less stress.

Fifth, property prices are low compared to alternatives… yet for the reasons stated above… they offer potential of appreciation as more and more people want to get out of the cities and burbs.

At the beginning of this millennium I recommended investing in Ashe County, North Carolina and did so myself.

In the 10 years since, even with the real estate crash, the price of land in the area has risen five to 10 times. Yet these prices remain low compared to other similar areas.

The small towns in the area are safe, the people friendly.   Life is still good.  People still wave when you drive by.

I can now eat a hearty breakfast in Jefferson, North Carolina (our nearest town of any sort) for under five dollars.   Also when we go out to breakfast we can leave the house unlocked and cars, trucks and jeeps parked with the keys in them.

9/11 changed people’s values. Family, friends and quieter, more peaceful life is more important than before.

Having these fine qualities is harder to achieve in downtown Manhattan or Central Chicago or in the heart of L.A.

Life in America is changing due to the difficult economic and social times. There is a return to simplicity and the value of these small towns and their honest core values will grow.

If the economy suddenly recovers and the world’s economy rises, small towns will still not lose their appeal. The world’s population continues to grow.   People always want what they perceive they have lost… freedom from crowds, traffic jams, pollution and the hassle of city life.   I believe these qualities will grow in value.

Today, the portable computer, internet and cell phone have changed all the rules of real estate. The old maxim is still true that the three most important aspects that affect a properties value are location, location, location, but technology alters which locations will have greater value!

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Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot of the land around the village where we have our Ecuador hotel.

Take for example, my own career in writing about international investing.

When I began, I had to live in London. This was where all the knowledge and information was held. To give timely advice I had to be there. Then as phone rates dropped and the fax came along, I was able to leave the congested city and move to Naples, Florida, then a sleepy fishing village and still have access to the data I would need. Finally as Naples became crowded, because of the Internet, we were able to move to isolated farms both here and in Ecuador and still have access to any international investment information.

I can call up market details, specific shares, global news, regardless of how remote I am.

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Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot of the empty beah near our Ecuador beach condos.

Here is the key point.

The primary factor of real estate’s value used to be physical accessibility to many people. This factor is shifting to accessibility of information.

Remote places are gaining a new value if they have access to information.

Ashe county which adjoins Virginia and Tennessee was established and named after Samuel Ashe in 1799. It is often known as the Lost Province because until recently hardly anyone knew of the place.

The county seat is Jefferson and the county has a land area of 426.16 miles but only a population of 22,209 people. This population is wide spread as well. The only towns are Jefferson (1,300 population), West Jefferson (1,002) and Lansing (183).

This is a totally rural area with three commercial crops, Christmas trees, timber and tobacco.

There are several small factories in the county but tourist activities such as canoeing on the new river, scenic drives though Southern Appalachian Wilderness, leaf looking and camping.

Ashe county is isolated but sits almost equidistant from the north and south of the east coast of the United States.  We almost the same distance from Florida and  Maine.

Here are the signs I see that suggest to me that this area will boom:

1. The prices here are a fraction of the counties north and south.

2. The first cappuccino machines have arrived in Jefferson. When we arrived there was nothing like this and it was a dry county.  Now there are smart cafes… wine bars and art gallerys.

3. Prices as mentioned have already risen.

4. The major road from I-77 has being widened to four and even six lanes.

5. Wal Mart built a super store.

6. The first golf course community has been a success in Jefferson.

7. Lowes has open a large DIY store.

There are some other great benefits here. The nearest airports for commercial flights is Tri-Cities Tennessee.   This s one of the easiest airports I have ever checked into…a 15 check in allowee. Parking right at the front door and often the policemen will hel yu haul in your bags.  Yet this regional airport is just over a half hour to Atlanta or Cincinnati.

There is a great college town Boone just 45 minutes away, a chic, resort area, Blowing Rock the same distance and real cities, like Charlotte two hours drive.

Yet as isolated as we are we have great DSL broadband so I am as connected as if I lived in Manhattan.

This makes me more effective than some businesses in the center of major cities, as I avoid the delays from traffic jams, crowds, smog, missed parking places and crowds.

You can take advantage of great isolated places to be by creating an internet business and looking for places like Ashe county north Carolina that are short on people but long on data resources.

Retire in Ecuador because Ecuador real estate is inexpensive.

Merri and I have purchased a lot of Ecuador real estate in remote places as well.

See why at Ecuador Real Estate is Inexpensive

Wherever you plan to retire in Ecuador at home or elsewhere, think about leaving the maddening crowd.  Isolated places may be the bargains of the future.

Gary

Our 2009 course and tour schedule.

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 Tour

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

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

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

Buying Tickets To Ecuador


Buying Tickets To Ecuador

There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… miles of sunny empty beach is one.

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When I took my first flight to Hong Kong 41 years ago, I was 21 years old and few on a cheap ticket that was called a student fare.

While in Hong Kong I met a travel agent. Charlie Kwok was his name and he had an office in the Miramar Hotel, Kowloon, not far from the Star Ferry. Charlie was the master of the low cost air fare and over the next half decade he amazed me with some of his great deals…. Especially for people under age  27.

Next decade in London, John Dragonas, a Greek travel agent continued showing the way to get deals. Back then they had VUSA (Visit USA) where prices were really low.

By then Merri and I had met and she became the maven of amazing air fare deals.

In short I have always enjoy incredibly low costs air fares.  However Merri added another dimension because not all low cost air fares are great.

I recall one flight Honk Kong to Portland Oregon that Charlie Kwok arranged… really cheap, because it was a charter with two empty seats and otherwise full of doctors returning from Thailand. What Charlie forgot to mention was that the actual fare went Hong Kong, Seattle, Minneapolis, San Francisco and then I had a connection back to Portland… adding about 24 hours to the flight!

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There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… such as the high Andean lakes.

John in London ignored the human part of travel to get the cost down once as well… a special VUSA fare. Merri and I wanted to fly London, Miami, Chicago, Portland, London.

To get the lowest fare, the actual flight turned out to be London -Denver, Miami- Denver, Chicago-Denver, Portland-Denver, London…or something like that… low fare but not a great deal.

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There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… including wonderful colonial architecture.

It was about then that Merri took over finding our fares and she is good…  Let me be humble and say she may be the best. Recently our son visited us from London, Charlotte, London for $17.  That is correct, seventeen dollars.

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There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… big cities and…

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quaint villages like… Cotacachi shown here.

Recently one of our articles Ecuador Air Fare Update mentioned a $316 Miami Quito fare that Merri found and explained that readers should visit www.farecompare.com

So many readers asked for help on how to get this fare that I asked Merri to prepare an article on how she does it.

Here it is:

Buying Air Tickets

Gary often asks me to write about how I buy airline tickets and especially those to Ecuador…so this is the first in a series of hints including safety, price, ease…

Well, first of all…it’s a tricky business for sure. And to top it all off, it rarely is quick and easy.  I start out with that in mind and sometimes days later I’m still at it!  But there is a pattern that I always use that helps me sort from the beginning the good, bad and the ugly.

Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, “The Outliers, The Story of Success” clearly states that most people are really good at something, really successful after about 10,000 hours.  Well, for sure I have my 10,000 hours in on travel and tickets.  For over 4 years, Gary and I crossed the Atlantic commuting from our home in London to our home in Naples, Fl every three weeks.  It was always different, always a surprise and very often extremely challenging to buy tickets for Gary’s mom, our 5 children to all our destinations all over the world ON A REGULAR BASIS.  We had homes in London, Gloustershire, Naples, North Carolina, the north coast of the Dominican Republic and…oh, it makes my head spin just thinking about it!

Needless to say, just by the sheer act of plotting, planning and finally buying, I’ve learned a lot…earned my 10,000 hours over the last 25 + years of international traveling.

However, all the rules have now changed…it’s often hard to know which way to jump…some people book for instance a conference and tell me to confirm quickly so they can buy “that cheap ticket” that is 6 months out!  Whoa, I reply…that’s pretty risky…sometimes you can now buy a ticket at a week out for the same price or better than a month out.

Airlines are constantly shifting and changing and hedging their bets…so let’s look at a few things that we can count on.

#1. The internet makes it a lot easier than we’ve had it before.  There is plenty of data and solid information that we can gather from 100s of sources instantly.

#2.  The internet also makes it a lot harder than we’ve ever had it before BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY CHOICES!  We have more information so it is essential that we use this information wisely.

Here are a few ground rules that I am currently using that are working now.

1.    Don’t buy months out.

2.    Sit down with those who are traveling and have a general chat on days/possibilities/flexibilities that might be possible.  Right now, for instance, I am buying for Ecuador.  Gary and I will get a month’s calendar, list our IDEAL flight days and then see which ways we COULD be flexible.

3.    For the past year, it is cheaper (yes, cheaper) in most cases to fly from an outlying airport than direct.  I know a lot of people for instance who drive from let’s say Birmingham, Ala to Atlanta and then fly direct from Atlanta to everywhere.  Don’t do this.  CHECK YOUR POSSIBILITIES.

For example, Gary and I fly mainly from NC to Portland, NC to Quito, NC to London and NC to Copenhagen.  Well, we can fly from Charlotte, Greensboro (Triad) or from a nearby TRI Cities TN tiny airport.  I check out each of these easily and quickly to get a handle on the whole picture.  I don’t just assume that one is cheaper or more expensive, etc.

For instance for years, Charlotte has been very expensive to fly into our area than all the others, and suddenly last fall, it all shifted…now it’s the cheapest.  Well, it could be the aggressiveness of USAir after its near collapse that has caused them to price the lowest since it is their hub and therefore Delta, etc. have followed suit.

When flying from Florida, I look at Tampa (our favorite), Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, etc.  Takes only a second and sometimes you can really find an el cheapo winner!

4.    Decide whether you are a frequent flyer who needs to accumulate miles or if you are just an occasional flyer.  We for instance are frequent flyers and use Atlanta as our hub to go to our common destinations…Portland, London, Quito, Copenhagen are our patterns.  Sometimes we fly from NC and sometimes from FL (according to the season)…but ALL of these flights are non-stop from Atlanta via Delta.  So, instead of looking at all airlines/all flights, I really just watch Delta.  We accumulate a lot of miles, use them for free tickets for our children and/or for upgrades.  My advice for frequent flyers is pick an airline and stick with it!  This gets the most bang for your buck…although sometimes I pay more for this, in the long run it works out well and suits us.

If you are lucky enough to be an infrequent flyer, then just look for the best deal!

5.    Frequent flyers can gain a lot from loyalty…although not everything as recently we found out on an emergency trip to Portland!  But usually, we can get what WE determine is important. (not that this might be your choice in the line of fire.)

What is important to us is not just the price but the Duration of the Flight…very, very important you might say!  I’ll pay a bit more to fly a total of 7 hours instead of a lot less to fly the same route with a totally of 11 hours or maybe 23 hours!

Another thing that is important to us is that we can upgrade.  We have logged so many miles and usually have to get off an airplane and go straight to work that over the years we have decided that if we can go first or business class (more or that later) we should.  We feel better if we are not cramped in and let’s face it (although we don’t drink alcohol and don’t eat on planes) there are some good perks.  Very important to us is that there is simply more oxygen up front than there is in the back…so we arrive in better shape than if we were tucked in on the last row.

Other things important to us is that we have a place where we can be quiet and not listen to a dozen cell phone conversations and 7 different TV stations.  We aren’t used to this type of confusion and noise and so we want to have the use of special rooms that airlines provide (Delta’s Crown Rooms) that allow quiet areas.  Often we travel with our service dog, and she too is allowed in these rooms.  We just rest and wait there.  IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

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Merri even makes sure that we have seats so we see the sunset at night and sunrise in the morning.

But on the other hand, we don’t want to pay for this privilege which can cost big change.

How do we achieve this?  Well, each airline has its own gimmicks, but Delta allows a cardholder of AMEX Sky Miles Reserve (which can cost anywhere from $295 up) to have free access with his/her companions to all Sky Mile Crown rooms at no cost.  You can now have a simple Gold AMEX Sky Miles card (sometimes without a fee) that allows more or less the same privileges.  We find excellent light food (that is fresh) and peace and quiet there.  We also find their quiet desk of agents that will do just about anything to make life pleasant (changing flights/redoing tickets/finding lost luggage, etc.). They will even wake you if you fall asleep in your comfy chair.  That same card allows us to have a free Concierge booking service (that means they will REALLY try everything to help you) as well as double miles for most of our travel…and (and this is a big one) the right to Pay with Miles.

And what is Pay with Miles?  Well, let’s discuss that under Award Ticketing later in this series.

Merri

Click here for Part Two on Buying Tickets to Ecuador

Join an upcoming Ecuador seminar or North Carolina Super Spanish course.

ecuador-air tickets

There are many reasons to buy a ticket to Ecuador… like the wonderful people.  This is a dancer entertaining delegates at one of our recent Ecuador tours.

Ecuador Travel Tip


Ecuador Travel Tip

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This time of year is glorious in the Blue Ridge. Here is a shot of our front yard.  Yet soon we head south traveling again to Ecuador.

There is plenty of beauty in Ecuador too.

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I took this shot from near our hotel Meson de las Flores. The difference is this green was in the middle of winter. Cotacachi’s weather is eternal spring!

Ecuador travel is easy from the USA… less then four hours from Miami to Ecuador about five from Atlanta to Ecuador.

However travel is travel and security procedures combined with airline cutbacks have added stress on travel to Ecuador or anywhere.

So I thought the note below about Ecuador travel was worth sharing with all.

Gary,  I know you and Merri must be very healthy to do as much time on airlines as you both do, and many other attendant exposures!  In all the years I have enjoyed your news letters, I have never heard of either of you being “down with the flu or cold”!   Do you eat airlines food?  or do you have any other tips for healthy eating on airlines?  Any other health tips for airlines will be appreciated and put to good use!

The reader is correct… Neither Merri or I are hardly ever ill.  Neither of us has been to an MD (for sickness) in over 20 years. I cannot recall missing a day of work because we were ill.

There are many things we do to maintain our energy and health.  We try to spend  our time and money on health preservation instead of medical insurance.  There are links to numerous health tips below.

Here let’s just look at some tips for health on planes.

In May 1968,  I boarded my first commercial flight Portland, Vancouver, Tokyo, Hong Kong on Canadian Pacific Airlines.

Merri (I did not know her then) at about the same time was headed Atlanta – New York – Frankfurt on Lufthansa.

Over the next 41 years, we’ve traveled to more than 70 countries researching business opportunities, exploring and enjoying new destinations.

We have lived and worked on every continent.

Many of you like ourselves are on the run, traveling thousands of miles and crossing dozens of time zones the year through. We have to perform well on these trips even as we put enormous stress on our bodies.

Here are a few tricks we have learned over the millions of miles we have flown. I hope they help you in your travel to Ecuador… or wherever.

First, avoid peanuts and other hard to digest foods on airplanes. In fact it’s better to avoid salted peanuts completely. Our friend, the Taita Yatchak, who lived with us at our hacienda in Ecuador  was amazed to see us eat roasted peanuts. “High in Uric Acid”, he said.

Our Indian (from India) friends who are experts in Ayurveda (the 5000 year old Science of Life) have also warned us away from peanuts as being very hard to digest. They are known as tomasic (meaning those things that destroy rather than build).

Then imagine getting on a plane and crossing the ocean and a half dozen time zones which will throw off our digestion in itself.

This is a dry dehydrating environment hard on the kidneys. These factors alone are hard enough. To throw in a hard to digest food high in uric acid is like the kiss of death.

Second, avoid alcohol on airplanes. Dehydrating as well, hard on kidneys,and liver. Mixed with roasted peanuts! Ahhhhhh!

Third, sleep when traveling towards the sun. Travel through time zones throw off our Circadian rhythm.

We find that it helps to stay awake when traveling away from the sun. We fly to Europe or South America numerous times every year when I speak at seminars there and to visit our children.

Often I have to get up the day after I arrive and conduct seminars… sometimes for  eight hours. This requires a clear mind and energetic body.  So we need to be sure that the flight has not drained us.

We have flown across the Atlantic with clients and observed as they tucked into cocktails (peanuts!) heavy dinner, desserts and after dinner liquors while we are settling down to sleep through the flight.

We awaken, have only a little breakfast on the plane, and meet the European morning refreshed and ready to have a full day (but we go to bed early the first night).   Those clients are dragging and beat.  “Where on earth do you get your energy?” they ask.

Can’t sleep on planes?

Buy some Valerian tea at the health food store, ask for hot water and make your own tea. It tastes like what I imagine dirty gym socks would taste, but is a natural way to get to sleep.

We also use melatonin to restore the natural melatonin that is lost on endless time zones. Just buy a bottle of liquid from the health food store and take 20 minutes before sleep.

I also bring along my Bose noise suppressing headphones and some baroque music.

Before I leave on a journey, I massage my feet with an essential oil blend.

When essential oils are applied to our feet, they stimulate zones on our feet that “mirror” the entire body. Stimulating these reflexes sends messages to the associated body parts that help reduce tension, improve circulation and help the body deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells… important benefits on a flight.

I use my Essential Oil Blend Chart, created by Candace Newman and massage the oil blend in my hair, put it in my ears up my nose, on my face and on my collar and shirt cuffs.

The oil fights virus and bacteria plus helps balance the flighty feeling on a flight.

Here is Candace’s Essential Oil Blend Chart.

essential-oil-chart

We also avoid airplane water (except bottled).   We add a drop of Rose Otto essential oil.  This makes a tasty rose water that aids digestion and the time transition.

We make sure the oil we use is Rose Otto which is the steam distilled essential oil of rose petals. Otto is the term used to differentiate the steam distilled variety from the ‘Rose Absolute’ and “Rose Concrete”.  The extraction process for both Absolute and Concrete use solvents so Rose Otto from the Bulgarian ‘damask’ Rose, cultivated since the 16th century, is considered to produce the finest quality essence

Rose Otto is bright, alive, richly floral and complex and is more potent than the Absolute and Concrete so smaller amounts of Rose Otto are required.

You can order Rose Otto 4 ml here

We also spray ourselves (head and face and air above us) with lavender essential oil lavender misted with distilled water to combat dehydration and to refresh, cleanse and purify.

In Aromatherapy, mists and hydrosols are generally used to calm our emotions, lift our spirit, cleanse the air, and soothe the skin.

You can make your own mist with Lavender oil.

You can order Lavender  essential oil here 10 ml

Candace Newman has a four mist sampler pack that contains all four of mists.

Candace offers a sample of four 1 oz essential oil mist blends each in amber plastic bottle with zipper carrying case and includes an Essential Oil Mist Chart is included free.

1 ounce Lavender Mist
1 ounce Lavender-Peppermint Mist
1 ounce Lavender-Rose Mist
1 ounce Rejuvenation Mist

Essential-oil-mist

Learn more or order here.

Next we travel first or business class using our frequent flyer miles to upgrade ourselves. There is more privacy and room in this class and because we book as early as possible, we almost always are upgraded.

We do yoga (or stretching) before we get on and off… plus stretch during the flight. This helps keep spinal fluids moving. The spine is often perceived as just a stack of bones in reality it is our gateway of energy and it shifts with every thought we have about life. It is a precise mirror of who we are. With every stress we have, the interrelationships of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves are altered in and through the spine. These deviations are minute, often imperceptible, but no matter how small, the changes in the spine have gigantic effects on the body.

I then use a spinal tuner before and after each flight.  You can learn about Joe Culbertson’s spinal tuner at www.spine-tuner.com

On long flights we also  wear an ionizer around our necks. This purifies the air and  creates negative ions that makes us feel fresher and cleaner.

This is a shot of my well used travel ionizer.

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Mine is old and about the size of a pack of cigarettes.  New ones are in the market for $119. They offer a Corona Discharge Air Purification technology to create fresh air while purifying the air with a stream of charged electrons (Ions) .  This Ionizer is worn around the neck so a continuous stream of ions flows toward the face.  A round magnet rests on the back of the neck to reinforce your body’s magnetic field (which is off balance in high altitudes).  Google the word Chionizer and you’ll see a number of sites offering this product.

We also try to arrive and leave via a small airport. When we are in North Carolina we fly Delta’s commuter partner in Tri-Cities Tennessee to Atlanta or Cincinnati.  Big airports like Miami or Atlanta create a lot of stress… crowds, noise, rudeness and pollution.  This is not a good way to start or end a flight.  By starting at a small airport, there’s not much stress, people remember us and it goes smooth and easy.

Finally we meditate when we get on the plane, often during the flight and before we disembark.

We do our best to eat little or nothing and avoid hard to digest foods on these long hauls…just some pure water, fresh fruit…. sometimes a boiled egg… a few seeds and nuts are very satisfying.  Rest and avoid stress as much as you can on the journey.

Every generation has had its health cross to bear. Neanderthal Man faced the Saber Tooth Tiger.  Medieval  Europe had plagues.  Today we face fast food, stress and long flights!

It is a miracle, privilege and responsibility that we have the freedom to travel almost anywhere on this good earth we choose. This gives us the ability to broaden our horizons and contribute more to the world. These few simple tips  can reduce the negative elements of the great joy of air travel.

Gary

Join us at an upcoming Ecuador or North Carolina conference or tour.

On our upcoming Imbabura real estate tours we’ll look at real estate on all three of the big lakes near Cotacachi. Here is a map of the area.

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June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

We’ll  visit the sacred Quicocha lake for a shamanic study and perhaps a ceremony.

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

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View from San Pablo Lake property for sale.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Lake Yahuarcocha

The lake is a historical site also known as Blood Lake because of a 13 year battle between the locals and Incas.

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.

More Health Tip Links

Natural Health One Step at a Time

Vision and Food

Here’s Incredible Power

Natural Awakenings to Secrets of Longevity

Foundations of Health

Investing Inspired by Raspberries at Dawn

Ecuador Shamans & Purification

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.

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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

Global Investing and Ecuador


My global investing and business began 41 years ago May 2, 1968 and eventually led me to Ecuador.

My background as son of a zoo keeper did not leave me prepared.

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Here is a newspaper clipping of my sister Sandra and me feeding a baby lion we kept at home… one of many lions and tigers we raised.

Let me share 41 years of multi currency investing and a couple of important facts I learned that may help you… including what’s happening with the swine flu in Ecuador.

I arrived in Hong Kong in the night, the tropical air so soft it was a velvet mist.   Thick evening scents in the fragrant harbor and mellow insects purrings in rhythm with the cacophony of the great city!  What a an exotic adventure.

Kai Tak was Hong Kong’s airport then and being American born and bred, I knew nothing about investing aboard.

That was my first airplane trip, first time out of Oregon. Portland to Vancouver, Tokyo to Hong Kong.  I melted in my heavy woolen blazer, was weary and afraid but excited too. An incredible global investing journey had begun… and continues to this day.

Here I was, 21 years old.

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Here is the first stamp in that first passport. That stamp you might say was my first international investment.

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That first stamp makes a point by the way about how to enter and initially work or invest in a country.  That first stamp was issued May 2, 1968 and allowed me to stay in Hong Kong until June 2, 1968.

I worked in Hong Kong for quite some time on tourist stamps… coming in for a month at a time.   I was developing sales teams in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines at the same time so a month was plenty of time before I exited.

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Here is one of my first sales teams… this one in Hong Kong led by John So Kwok Kee (far left – you can guess which one I am).

I built teams from the north in Japan down through Thailand.  One of the salesmen we worked with in Thailand, Brian Tracy, returned later to Canada and has had great success in the sales education field.

Starting a business, investigation or residence with a tourist visa is a pretty good idea. This is usually the easiest, most efficient, practical way to begin so you can be sure what you are doing and how you’ll develop a more permanent stay if you want one.  In many cases… such as mine… a permanent tourist system is simply the easiest and best.

I began my business in Hong Kong this way and for years I also lived and worked in England on tourist stamps before obtaining my permanent residence there.

A reader recently sent me this note about Ecuador tourist visas.

“Gary, When I was staying at the Hotel, someone mentioned that you do not
have a residential visa for Ecuador.  Is this correct?  How do you
spend as much time in the country as you do?”

Here is my rely:

“I spend less than 6 months a year in Ecuador.

“We have heard from others who come stay for 90 days, leave for just a day or two (especially just over the border in Peru or Colombia)  and come right back that there are difficulties.

“Our experience is that every time we come to Ecuador we are given a 90
day visa.  However we do not stress this system. For example we may stay 70 days and then be away for weeks or even a month or so.  Then return for 20 days or so.. then leave for another month etc.   The immigration officers look carefully at the total number of days by the end of the year and to help them, I keep a list of each day we have arrived and departed and the page number in our passport… so they can efficiently see we have not been in more than 180 days the maximum allowed on a T-3 tourist visa).

Be careful not to overstay. One reader reported that having done so he was denied entrance upon his return and were not allowed to return to Ecuador for one year.

We have a full report on Ecuador visas and an immigration attorney who helps our Ecuador Living subscribers.

I am also preparing a report for Ecuador Living subscribers to answer this question from a reader yesterday.

“Hi Gary, Wonderful timing, we had tickets to fly from Guadalajara to Quito yesterday, but were stymied by the fact that Ecuador (and Peru) are refusing passengers from Mexico.  We understand Ecuador’s borders  will be closed for a month to non-residents flying in from Mexico.

We had thought about flying back to the States and then flying to Ecuador, but an electronic scan of our passports would show we’d been in Mexico and we’re not sure what would happen.  Any insights?   Thanks!

You can obtain these reports and answers as an Ecuador Living subscriber. Learn how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Back to Hong Kong.  I began there selling US mutual funds.

When arriving there 41 years ago there is no way I could have known how exciting the next decades would be, how much information, facts, figures, ideas and insights on how to invest globally would be gained. Had I known the mistakes to be made I would probably have run!

Then I moved east again to England and Europe… trying many things.

Thankfully all the trials, tortures and errors were mitigated by much fun and an earnest endeavor to live right and learn.

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Here is a newspaper clipping of me  with a business partner in my London office on Artillery Row selling square inches of Graceland… not really a very good idea.

Later I imported Rolls Royces and Bentleys from England to the US… a better idea.

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One goal at this site is to share basics of global investing and living an international life learned over these 41 years. Global investing has changed so much during this time and is changing even faster now.  I am continually forced to rearrange my thinking strategy and tactics at a faster pace.

We offered health courses at our North Carolina farm. Here I am with our son, Jake, with one tactic we taught… a morning dip in a cold creek after exercise… yes that is snow on the banks and no… this not surprisingly did not sell very well either.

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Our food as medicine courses taught by Merri in her teaching kitchen at the farm had better attendance!

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For almost 15 years now we have been conducting courses in Ecuador. Here I am this year in the meeting room at the Cotacachi museum next to Meson de las Flores on an Ecuador export tour.

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This continual evolution has helped Merri and me, our readers and our income continually grow… through good times and bad.

Yesterday April 2009 for example ended with anoter record month for our internet sales.  Our 2009 sales (April month on month) were up 48.01% over April 2008, which in turn were up 24.04% over April 2007 sales.

Our sales in the first four months of 2009 were up 81.75% over Jan through April 2008 which was up 26.20% over 2007.  Learn how to develop an internet business that can grow like this here.

The reason we have survived and progressed amidst this never ending update is that the little stuff shifts and evolves, but the fundamentals remain immutable.

Investing globally is not a panacea, but expanded horizons are. Life is a trip and we have an entire globe to enjoy the ride.

Two years ago on May 2, 2007, I wrote:

History suggests that this is a time when chances are increased for panic and sudden drops in investment markets. Investors who have proven themselves nervous short term thinkers are highly leveraged, in thin, over purchased markets that are easily sinkable boats treading the dangerous waters of May though October when tradition says the currents will most likely be treacherous and surrounded with lots of storms.

Now, that this risk has proven true, history also suggests that we have a once in a life time opportunity.

The way to cash in on this incredible opportunity is the same way I suggested avoiding the collapse two years ago. I wrote then: “One way to get good international investments is to take a long term, expansive international view.”

My first trip abroad 41 years ago was significant because 1968 was the beginning of a new era for world stock markets. When I arrived in Hong Kong the world of investing was dominated by Wall Street. That was about to end. 1968 was the year when the Hong Kong Stock Market began to explode upwards along with Tokyo’s market. What a ride!

The Heng Seng Index was then 100 and rose to 18,000. Anyone who steadily committed money to this market then made a fortune.

I can sum up my investment basic investing and advice in seven sentences.

#1: 1970s. Invest in real estate, gold, silver Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

#2: 1980s. Invest in real estate, the Tigers, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore Malaysia and South Korea as well.

#3: 1990s. Invest in real estate South America (which led me to Ecuador).

#4: 2000s. Invest real estate, China, India and emerging markets including Ecuador real estate.

#5: Always have an expansive view.

#6: Use stop losses during peaks.

#7: Have an international investment view. Never overextend. Don’t trade too much, just hang on.

This philosophy has reaped millions for Merri and me. Had we been more expansive, we would have an extra $20 million or so.  However our conservative approach to business and investing also protected us during the recent melt down of 2007 and 2008.

This may be time to begin taking advantage of the recovery. Panic is subsiding but values are still high. The huge excesses of the US and other government’s will at some stage begin to seriously erode the purchasing power of currencies.

I remain highly diversified from a currency point of view.  Here is my current currency breakdown in my liquid portfolio that represents 43% of my total portfolio.

An excerpt from a recent Multicurrencyinvesting.com lesson explains why when I wrote about the currency distribution of investments:

Here is my currency distribution:

Danish kroner    24%
Euro                     24%
British Pound      8%
US Dollar            12%
Canadian Dollar 3%
Norway kroner   4%
NZ Dollar             3%
Sweden kroner    7%
Brazil real             3%
Hungary Forint   6%
Turkey Try            6%

With more than a third of my liquid position in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian kroner, my Scandinavian  position is seriously over weighted in terms of global market size.

One reason is because these are such small countries located on the sea.  This means that their histories are composed of  travel and trade.

A nation’s heritage reflects in the value of its currency strength. This fact helped me answer this question from a reader.

“Gary, Will  future strength in DKK be bad for equities denominated in that currency?”

Here is my reply.

Most of the Danish companies you would buy are global companies.

Because Denmark is such a small market any large Danish company is doing most of its business out of Denmark  so a lot of their success depends on the type of business business and where the company actually manufactures and sells its products.

Plus look at the margins built into the product.

One benefit in Scandinavia is their very highly educated population. A recent Time magazine article shows that Finland (not Scandinavian but Baltic and Finland’s currency is the euro – otherwise I would have Finmark in my portfolio as well) ranked number one for educational performance of 15 year olds in math. Denmark was number 10, Sweden number 15 and Norway number 23… all ahead of the US (number 25).

Finland was number one for reading performance of 15 years olds as well.  Sweden number seven, Norway number 10 and Denmark number 16. The US was number 15.

This means that the products produced in these nations will tend to be high value.

For example, Novo Norsk makes insulin.  I suspect that the margins are substantially high.

Ditto for novozymes that makes enztymes for environmental purification.  These are firms where there is likely to be a great deal of value added into their product.

Vestas, makes wind turbines. and may be more affected by a strong kroner if they do a lot of manufacturing in Denmark but are having and sales in the US and especially if their competitors manufacture in the US or other countries where the currency is weak.

I am updating the value of major and emerging markets now at multicurrencyinvesting.com and will be revaluing our green and Danish portfolios in upcoming lessons.  You can subscribe to our Multi Currency Portfolios Course here.

I have increased my Ecuador real estate to 22% of my total property.  The balance is in US property and I am looking to add more US property now in Florida and or Savannah.

If you have real estate in central Florida or Savannah that you would like to swap for real estate in Ecuador… let me know.

I have held a high cash position for over a year but now agree with Warren Buffet who recently wrote about business and opportunity:

Clinging to cash equivalents or long-term government bonds at present yields is almost certainly a terrible policy if continued for long. Holders of these instruments, of course, have felt increasingly comfortable – in fact, almost smug – in following this policy as financial turmoil has mounted. They regard their judgment confirmed when they hear commentators proclaim “cash is king,” even though that wonderful cash is earning close to nothing and will surely find its purchasing power eroded over time.

Now is the time to convert cash into investments that will appreciate with the loss of cash’s loss of purchasing power… stocks… commodities… real estate or your own business.

This leaves all of us with a lot to do after 41 years of a global life.

I feel healthier and more energetic then 41 years ago.   Maybe I am not wiser… but I am more experienced and seem in a better position then when I took that first trip.

Merri and I look forward to the next 41 years… and we look forward to sharing them with you!

Gary

This is the schedule of Gary our 2009 Ecuador information tours, courses and seminars.

May 16-17 Ecuador Coastal Tour

May 20-21 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

May 22-24. Ecuador Amazon Herbal Tour

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.