Tag Archive | "Andorra"

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

Ecuador Capital Gains Tax


Ecuador Capital Gains Tax

Ecuador capital gains tax is not due on occasional property sale profits.

This is another Ecuador earning idea… fixing up properties… like this.

This can be profitable. Plus these profits can be tax efficient as well.

In Ecuador there is no capital gains tax on the occasional sale of real estate… so you can take a property like this…

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fix it t look like this…

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and sell it without incurring income or tax tax liability in Ecuador.

You may still incur tax liability in your country of residence or citizenship. For example if you are a US citizen you may have US capital gains or Alternative Minimum Tax liability.

This is why it is of utmost importance that you consult a tax attorney on such matters.

In fact it now more important than ever to have legal advice (US citizens at least) when you bank and do business abroad.

For year’s we have advised readers of the advantages of investing, business opportunity and banking opportunities abroad.

The main benefit is greater opportunity.  This is the era of the global economy and those who invest globally have the greatest opportunity. This is the story we have been preaching for 41 years this May.

For example right now the US property market is quite slow. Ecuador’s market is strong.

Banking abroad provides access to more experienced global investment knowledge and the ability to execute global investments and business more efficiently.

Another benefit is added asset protection.

I regularly get notes like this from readers who are professionals and in business…

“Gary, I continue to be bothered by an unjust lawsuit that is actually  extortion.  The legal fees are crazy. Such is the legal system now that even when you are totally innocent, you lose even if you win.”

When you invest and do business globally, assets held correctly abroad are safer from seizure via civil action.

However, we have also continually warned of the great risk of doing global investing and business  without good legal advice. Monday’s message looked at the importance of making sure that you use overseas banks in the correct way.

An excerpt from a recent article in the Financial Times entitled “Swiss agree to relax bank secrecy rules” points out the importance of this advice.

The article says:

BERNE, March 13 – Switzerland agreed on Friday to relax its strict bank secrecy rules and co-operate more on tax evasion in a last-ditch attempt to fend off a global crackdown on tax havens that is rattling the offshore banking industry.

In a landmark statement, the Swiss government said it would embrace standards for tax cooperation and exchange of information set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, meaning more information on suspected tax evaders will be shared with other countries.

”Banking secrecy does not protect tax crimes. International cooperation on taxes has become more important given the globalisation of financial markets and in particular against the background of the financial crisis,” Swiss president and finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz told a news conference.

A decision on Thursday by tiny offshore rivals Liechtenstein and Andorra to adopt more tax co-operation has put even more pressure on Berne.

It comes on the heels of moves by other centres, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Jersey and the Isle of Man, to open up.”

An article in the New York Times outlines the focus importance that taxing authorities have placed on tax havens.  The article was about how US President Barrack Obama acted as a mediator during a recent tense meeting between The French President Sarkozy and Chinese President Hu who were arguing about tax havens during the Group of 20 meetings.

The article said:

“Mr. Sarkozy wanted the big communiqué produced by the Group of 20 to endorse naming and shaming global tax havens, maybe even including Hong Kong and Macao, which are under China’s sovereignty. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Hu was having none of it. He appeared angry that Mr. Sarkozy was effectively accusing China of lax regulation, and that the French leader was asking China to endorse sanctions issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a club of wealthy nations that Beijing has yet to join.

According to accounts provided by White House officials and corroborated by European and other officials also in the room, Mr. Obama escorted both men, one at a time, to a corner of the room, to judge the dispute. How about replacing the word “recognize,” Mr. Obama suggested, with the word “note?”

The result: “The era of banking secrecy is over,” the final communiqué said. “We note that the O.E.C.D. has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information.” Hong Kong and Macao did not appear on the list.

In other words, be global by all means… but make sure you have a local attorney who helps you do everything legally and correct.

The attorney I use is Joe Cox.  You can reach Joe at jcox@coxnici.com.

Learn more about Joe Cox here.

Back to the fixer uppers.

If a person spends time in Ecuador  and stays alert, they’ll see many incredible fixer upper bargains.

Just over a year ago, Merri and I bought the four story office building shown above.   We began cleaning it up an converting two floors into condos.

I could sell these for double what I paid… and still have the two downstairs floors… though they are not for sale.

Construction costs are low. Local craftsmen are handy.  They’ll do things you ask.  So we can afford to use great tiles in the kitchen but keep costs down.

This was the third floor… the kitchen especially…

was a mess.

Here is the third floor now.

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This if fully furnished with…

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one bedroom and …

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office/den (or second bedroom)  and…

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balcony.   The kitchen now…

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looks great.  The hardwood cabinets had not been installed when I took this shot.

This was the 4th floor, before…

now let’s head up the stairs and see  it after.

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This is a loft studio with…

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great light and an open feel with…

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full dining area and…

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kitchen.

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These floors are among the highest points in the village and views from both units are the best around.  Morning’s give…

the sunrise over Mt. Imbabura.

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Evenings offer sunset in the east on Mt. Cotacachi.

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Views are great at night with the village alight.

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and you can see the entire village…

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and both mountains during the day.

Where we had huge walls we said…”How about windows with a view?”.   The builder  figured out what height was needed to see Mt. Cotacachi and simply knocked the window openings in the walls. Then he built hardwood window surrounds that frame this view.

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The bathroom includes a full tiled bathtub and spa shower like this.

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The king size sleeping nook has this view also and is fully curtained…

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with full hardwood closets.

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These units are available for rental on a three, six or 12 month lease by the way.

Fixing up has property provided Merri and me with sopme nice extra profit… that is totally tax free in Ecuador. Though our last Ecuador fixer upper profits did create some US tax liability.

In these times of change the best ways to gain opportunity are with real estate, commodities, stocks and your own business.  For those who want to live full or part time in Ecuador and earn extra tax efficient profits, that avoid Ecuador capital gains, consider buying and fixing up Ecuador property.

Gary

Join us in Ecuador.

Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour May 16-17. $499 Enroll here.   $749 For a couple.

Imbabura-Cotacachi Real Estate Tour May 20-21.  $499 Enroll here.  $749 For a couple.

Ecuador Amazon Herbal Tour May 22-24.  $399 Enroll here. $499 For a couple.

Take Two for One. Attend any of the three international business & investing courses below and select any one of the tours above free.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

Sign up for our three May 2009 tours and attend any of the IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web seminar above FREE.

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

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

Learn about our July 2009 Ecuador export tour 2-4-1 deal here.

See our full 2009 schedule here.


International Investing and Business Made EZ & Fun Part II


International investing and business have proven themselves over the past 40 years to be profitable. And even more than the profits are the broadened horizons, fulfillment and fun!

Yesterday’s message International Investing and Business Made EZ & Fun looked at why International investing and business should be a fun filled process…not a dull boring set of numbers.

One reason for this is that those who live a fulfilled, involved fun existence are likely to be healthier…with less need for expensive pharmaceuticals and medical treatment.

This makes life better plus can save huge amounts of cash.

This is likely to become even more important in the years ahead for those who live in much of the Western world.   Existing medical systems are already filled with problems.  Inflation and aging populations will make the problems even worse.

At the turn of the decade, The World Health Organization analyzed the world’s health systems. The WHO used five performance indicators to measure health systems in 191 member states.

The five performance indicators were:

* Fairness of financial contribution.  While private health expenses in industrial countries now average only some 25 percent because of universal health coverage (except in the United States, where it is 56%), in India, families typically pay 80 percent of their health care costs as “out-of- pocket” expenses when they receive health care.

* Overall Level of Health.

* Distribution of Health in the Populations:  the average level – goodness – and the smallest feasible differences among individuals and groups – fairness.

* Responsiveness: respect for persons including dignity, confidentiality and autonomy of individuals and families to decide about their own health as well as prompt attention and access to social support networks during care, quality of basic amenities and choice of provider.

* Distribution of Financing.

The study revealed that U. S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries.  The United Kingdom, which spends just six percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on health services, ranks 18th.  Several small countries – San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore are rated close behind second- placed Italy.

Here is the WHO ranking.

1         France
2         Italy
3         San Marino
4         Andorra
5         Malta
6         Singapore
7         Spain
8         Oman
9         Austria
10       Japan
11       Norway
12       Portugal
13       Monaco
14       Greece
15       Iceland
16       Luxembourg
17       Netherlands
18       United  Kingdom
19       Ireland
20       Switzerland
21       Belgium
22       Colombia
23       Sweden
24       Cyprus
25       Germany
26       Saudi Arabia
27       United  Arab  Emirates
28       Israel
29       Morocco
30       Canada
31       Finland
32       Australia
33       Chile
34       Denmark
35       Dominica
36       Costa Rica
37       United  States  of  America
38       Slovenia
39       Cuba

Most of the readership of this site live in countries where the medical system is not even in the top 15 countries!

This means that many of us, (especially us boomers now in our 60s), may want to rely on a good lifestyle to keep our health…not the medical system.

The cost of this medical system is another reason we want to have independence
rather than reliance on government funded programs.  We’ll see why next message.

Until then, may your international investing and business be good…and fun!

Gary

Learn about our next International Investing and Business Course in North Carolina

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

Multi Currency Problems & Solutions


Multi currency investing becomes increasingly harder as increasing numbers of banks abroad refuse to accept US customers. A recent message at this site shared how the large Dutch Bank, ABN Amro, stopped accepting US customers and gave existing US clients 30 days to liquidate their securities.  If you missed this see Multi Currency Investments Easier

multi-currency-meeting-in-autumn

See below how autumnal colors can help you solve multi currency problems.

Now another large Swiss bank has found it too much to deal with aggressive US regulatory tactics and shut down its US business. Here is what a recent Financial Times article entitled “UBS tells unit staff to avoid US visits” by Haig Simonian says:

“UBS has told members of its former private banking team responsible for rich US clients not to travel to America.  The Swiss bank has also made lawyers available to the more than 50 bankers involved, many of whom have left UBS since it decided last November to wind down its cross-border private banking business for US ­customers.  The move follows the recent indictment of one of the unit’s former senior executives, Bradley Birkenfeld, who US authorities have accused of helping a billionaire client evade taxes. Mr Birkenfeld has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have made no public statement on the matter.”

I am very pleased that Jyske Bank, my banker for about 25 years has decided to stand by its American customers. The bank created a wholly owned subsidiary Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM) that is registered with the SEC.

The changes, however, create many questions which I would like to answer at this site. Please send your questions.

As a financial publisher, I cannot give independent advice.  I cannot even give you a personal reply nor comment on your specific personal investments or portfolio.  I can, however, answer your questions here in a general way.

Here is the first question received.

JYSKE BANK QUESTION

“What is going on with Jyske Bank and their JGAM program which will make it more difficult to do multi currency sandwiches unless one has invested at least 1 million with the bank.  As I understand it, my portfolio will be managed without my input which does not make me feel comfortable.  What is your take on this?”

JYSKE BANK ANSWER

I have spent hours reviewing how JGAM will work with Thomas Fischer.

First, let me clarify several points…the first being that only Americans will use JGAM.  For non Americans it is business as usual at Jyske.  This will have a pretty big impact on my business since I have so many non US readers.  Our site ranks well for visits in Ecuador, Canada, China, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom and Mexico as well as the USA.

This means I’ll have to write everything twice once for us Yanks and once for the rest of the world.

Second, minimums have not changed at all.  For some time the minimum has been $50,000 to open and account and $100,000 is minimum for a multi currency sandwich…not 1 million.

Though JGAM will manage each portfolio on a discretionary basis, the client still has a great deal of input on how they will manage each account.

Jyske has a number of portfolios ranging from low risk – medium risk – high risk and speculative.

These portfolios are then again split into portfolios with and without US securities.

Then the accounts are again split  based on assets under management.

For example, clients with less than $200,000 will have a different diversification than larger accounts.

Every portfolio is monitored and tracked on an individual basis.  There is no specific JGAM portfolio so all investors will have their own regular performance up-date.

The JGAM investment committee will meet once a month deciding on the tactical weight of the asset classes and the underlying investments.

When a client joins, the Jyske account manager will work first to help the client decide on a risk profile. Once this is decided, Jyske will be invested in one of the 16 options above.   Every investor’s portfolio will be designed and will change according to the time of entering the portfolio.

Here are the latest recommendations as of late May 2008 of the speculative NON US dollar portfolio.

Asset type                Recommendation       Tactical weight
Fixed Income                  Underweight                  20
Equities                           Neutral                          60
Alternatives                     Overweight                    20

Cash                                Neutral                            0
Investment                               %
Asset type

FIXED INCOME
USD       7.2% Porsche 01.02.2049                         3%
USD       7.875% Turanalem 02.06.2010                 2%
USD       8.5%  Titan Petrochemicals 18.03.2012    1%
EUR       Var% Bombardier 15.11.2013                     3%
GBP       8.7% Cable & Wireless 06.08.2012             1%
AUD       5.5% Rabobank 27.01.2010                       3%
BRL       12.5% Brazil 15.01.2016                              2%
HUF       6.75% Hungary 12.10.2010                        2%
TRY       15% Intl. Bank Recon 15.07.2009                2%
ISK         8.5% Rikisbref 12.06.2009                         1%
Subtotal                                                                  20%

EQUITIES
CHF                   Novartis                                      4.2%
EUR                   Siemens AG                                 4.2%
EUR                   Adidas AG                                   4.2%
DKK                   Carlsberg A/S                             4.2%
EUR                   EDF Energies Nouvelle                4.2%
DKK                   NKT Holding                               4.2%
DKK                   Neurosearch                               4.2%
EUR                   Bayer AG                                     4.2%
EUR                   L’Oreal                                        4.2%
SEK                    Hennes & Mauritz AB                  4.2%
Latin Equities Mutual Fund       4.0%
Chinese Equities Fund              4.0%
Indian Equities Fund                 4.0%
European Equities Fund             5.0%
Subtotal                                                              60.0%

ALTERNATIVES
USD                    ETFS Crude Oil – CRUD LN         10.0%
USD                    ETFS Aluminium l ALUM LN          5.0%
USD      ETFS Metal Secs Phys. Gold – PHAU LN       5.0%
Subtotal                                                                 20.0%

CASH                                                                       0
TOTAL                                                                 100.0%

This looks like an interesting portfolio, and in future messages we’ll be looking at
the equities in this portfolio.  Plus we will review the other three (high medium and low risk) portfolios.

I believe that Multi currency investing is a must in these times of inflation.   Using international investment managers still has main advantages.  First, this provides some excellent asset protection. This also provides access to more experienced multi currency managers with different points of economic and world view than anywhere in just North America.

This also provides some privacy.

May I add one more word on privacy?  If you are a law abiding citizen then an overseas account gives you as much privacy as you need.  If you break the law and have almost any government looking for your financial data, then no system or structure you use is enough.

I have not touched on this subject for years because this is such old news…but knowing we have many new readers…let me repeat what I shared with readers clear back in the 1990s.  “Bank privacy is dead”.

Here are just a few of my articles at this site in the archives  from the 1990s and early 2000s.  Please read them carefully.
https://www.garyascott.com/privacy/77/
https://www.garyascott.com/privacy/50/
https://www.garyascott.com/privacy/167/
https://www.garyascott.com/privacy/60/
https://www.garyascott.com/privacy/59/

Yet here is one more brand new story….about what is known as the most private place in the world…Liechtenstein.

Here is a direct quote from a February 22, 2008 BBC article entitled
“Liechtenstein fury at German tax snooping”  by Steven Rosenberg

“Liechtenstein also has the reputation of being one of the most secretive tax havens in the world.

“Just ask the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“This financial watchdog says Liechtenstein is one of only three states left on its blacklist of ‘uncooperative tax havens’ (the others are not a million miles away – Monaco and Andorra).

“Liechtenstein this week attacked the authorities in Berlin for buying information on German businessmen clients that have bank accounts in the tiny Alpine principality.

“Germany has launched a tax evasion investigation using the data, which was supplied by an anonymous informant who was reportedly paid 5m euros (£3.75m; $7.3m). “

So I will say this again.  Please for your sake, don’t break the law anywhere…anytime.  This could come back to haunt you in unexpected ways.

Here is an example.  The data the German authorities obtained about accounts in Liechtenstein covered people from around the world…not just Germany…so the Germans began sharing it.

According to my European banking sources, only one European tax authority turned the data down…the Danes.   They believed that since this data had been illegally obtained it should not be used.

One reason I have banked for so many years with Jyske Bank is the same reason why I live half the year in Ecuador.

I like Jyske’s services, their very reasonable fees and their solid banking foundation…but in addition I like the Danes…feel an underlying honesty, sense of fair play and sound judgement.  The have never let me down which is why I am not surprised that they worked for several years setting up this structure so they can continue to serve Americans…when so many other banks have cut us Yanks loose and run.

I expect that the service JGAM will provide is still a work in progress and have noted the people there questioning, adapting and smoothing out a new system.

Everything I have seen to date suggests that I will be happy with this new program
because the people there like I have always seen seem focused on giving a service that is safe, wealth preserving, ground breaking and easy for the customer.

I’ll be adapting our multi currency course to reflect the changes and will keep you informed about new ways we can continue to learn about this mysterious, interesting and profitable world of multi currency investing.

I am not paid a penny for writing this about Jyske Bank and have always been able to write that I keep them as my bank simply because I like them the best of all banks I have used.

I can continue writing this and hope until next message that you find all these qualities with whomever advises you on your finances, savings and wealth.

Gary

You can join me with Thomas Fischer of JGAM at our October 2-5 lifestyle International Investing & Business Made EZ North Carolina

We have selected these dates for our next course because this is traditionally the weekend when the fall colors are best.  We’ll meet here for a meal multi-currency-meeting-place

at our house on the farm.

Here is Thomas Fischer talking with a group at a previous course.

multi-currency-meeting

You can still  make to our June 19-21 Ecuador Shaman Tour

See dates for our Autumn courses and tours:

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour

Ecuador-beach-meeting

We’ll see properties in this developmet and stay at and walk that beach below.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See houses for sale in the San Miguel development
Cotacachi-real-estate-for-sale

like this.

cotacachi-house-for-sale
Learn about this Imbabura real estate for sale at Cotacachi Real Estate at San Miguel

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador

See discounts for attending more than one course.