Tag Archive | "cent;"

Cotacachi Real Estate Protection


Cotacachi real estate protection and more.

Recent messages have looked at the growth potential of Ecuador real estate.

We have been at this area in Cotacachi where this dirt road is being paved…seeing its rapid progress.

cotacachi-real-estate

We’ll see more of the progress below. First  let’s look more at the process of  how I search for Cotacachi real estate… or actually property anywhere.

The principle of the search is vital because many people who thought of retiring will not be able to do so.  Those on fixed incomes are always those who fare worst during economic upheavals.

The US dollar is at considerable risk due to high US debt.  So too is Social Security.

In addition corporate pension are not looking good.  In the late 1990s our messages voiced a lot of concern about how corporate pensions were dramatically
underfunded.

Then the stock market recovery in the mid 2000s eased this problem.  2002 was  a low point for America’s pension funds.  The top 500 corporations had a combined  pension deficit exceeding $200 billion.   Thanks to a boom in the global economy  which allowed catch up contributions and strong stock market gains, this combined deficit turned into a combined surplus of $60 billion by the end of 2007.

The 2008 market and economic crash destroyed this surplus. It is estimated that the combined pensions of these same 500 company pensions have lost almost $265 billion in 2008.  The estimates are that 200 of these 500 pension funds are now less than 80 percent funded. They have less than 80 cents for every dollar of benefits promised.

The puts corporations between a rock and  hard spot. because The Pension Protection Act of 2006, passed due to a string of big corporate bankruptcies and pension failures in the early 2000s forces companies to fund pensions on a regular schedule.

The funded ratio s important because the 2006 law forces companies to bring their plans up to 100 percent funding in seven years, starting in 2008. They have to be t 92 percent funded this year, 94 percent next year etc.  That’s the rock.

The hard spot.  There are tow. The pensions values are way down due to stock market collapse and profits are now low or non existent.

Companies are asking Congress to excuse them from having to replenish the required amounts now and this is likely to happen.  The business reality is you cannot extract blood from a turnip nor make a corporation to pay money it does not have into a pension.

Forcing pension funding on man corporations will simply push the firms into bankruptcy.

Some firms will be bankrupt anyway and the federal government will have to insure their plans through the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.  This insurance is limited so people can lose benefits.  Yet even the limited benefits are more than America can afford. This puts added pressure on the greenback thus reducing purchasing power of the pensions even more.

Yet what is the choice?  If companies are required to put new money into pensions they will not have the cash to keep business going.

This is  a serious concern for some firms like NCR Corporation, I.B.M., Rockwell Collins, the ITT Corporation, Northrop Grumman and the Pactiv Corporation.  Their pension obligations are five or six times larger than their next biggest liability.

In short pensions are millstones dragging these corporations down.  How can these firms grow and prosper in today’s competitive atmosphere when a huge chunk of their income is sucked into pension obligations rather than growth?

The bottom line…pensions lose.  History suggests they always have. Logic says they always will.

So what does one do?

#1:  Most important… stay fit… body and mind. You’ll have to keep earning your keep and you cannot do this without energy.  Do not just rely on the expensive pharmaceutical solutions either. This is why our upcoming courses have a health element.  See Beyond Logic.

#2: Diversify currencies. Usually the way pensions are ruined is through currency destruction rather than non payment.. Social Security and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will make sure you get exactly the dollars promised.  the only problem us that the dollars will by less.  Maybe much less.

#3: Diversify in global shares. History shows this is always the best long term investment.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s multi currency lesson on why diversifying into global shares now makes sense.

“We have not seen anything like this since the end of the 40s: dividend yields of 5 percent and more, while 10-year US government bonds offer yields of only 2.5 percent!

Will investors be emotionally able to take advantage of the stock market crash of 2008, or will recent losses make them succumb to a bear market psychology? Are there lessons to be learned from historical parallels to today’s markets?

Book value growth is the most important component of long-term stock market returns. It comprises not only the annual earnings growth but also the change in value of a company’s net assets. If the valuation of a stock does not change, book value growth and stock price performance are identical. However, as a rule, stock prices fluctuate much more strongly than the underlying book values due to changes in valuation.


The irrational investor comes into play here, driving prices up during times of euphoria or, as is currently the case, driving prices down during times of pessimism.


As a result, the first decade of the new millennium threatens to provide a negative return — during the first nine years, the return was  – 1.7 percent per year!
This would make it the first decade with negative nominal total returns after the quasi zero return for US stocks in the 30s.

Low valuations and a lack of investment alternatives

Interestingly, these negative returns have yet to reflect poor fundamentals: Over the past nine years, the companies included in the MSCI USA Index had an average annual earnings growth of 4.4 percent, cash flow growth of 6.7 percent, and dividend growth of 6.6 percent.

The decline in stock prices since the end of 1999 is due to valuations falling 50 percent over the same period. Therefore, the problem of low total returns is rooted in the past:

In December 1999, investors were willing to pay 31 times earnings and 5.8 times book value for US stocks included in the MSCI USA Index.

Today’s price/earnings ratio is 13.5 and the price to book value ratio is
1.7. These are not yet bargain valuations in absolute terms. What makes stocks attractive today is the lack of investment alternatives.

In other words, it is mainly opportunity costs, in particular the low yields of fixed-income securities, that make stocks interesting investments today.
The current price/earnings ratio of the MSCI USA Index of 13.5 implies an earnings yield of 7.4 percent (100/13.5). Even if one assumes the depression scenario of the 30s, i.e. flat stock prices over 10 years, and assumes that corporate earnings will shrink 1.5 percent per year on average for the next 10 years, the earnings yield of the MSCI USA Index would still be 6.5 percent at the end of 2018 — 2.6 times higher than today’s 10-year US government bond yields. Such a drastic earnings decline would correspond to the average drop in earnings of the companies contained in the S&P 500 Index during the decade of the depression ending in 1939 — a scenario that is overly pessimistic in my view.

Favorable outlook for US stocks

A more realistic assumption would be for book value to grow in the order of 6 to 8 percent over  the next 10 years. Based on this expectation, the Dow Jones Industrials Index stands a good chance of exceeding, over the next 10 years, its previous high of 14,164.53 reached on October 9, 2007.

From the year-end 2008 level of 8,776.39, this would require an average annual price return of only 4.9 percent (which is below the historical average), with a dividend yield of  currently 3 percent per annum thrown into the bargain.
The risk of losing money with US stocks over the next 10 years is therefore minimal from today’s perspective, while it is a certainty that investors will not earn more than 2.5 percent per annum with US government bonds over the next 10 years.

You can read this entire lesson and Keppler’s entire conclusion as a multi currency portfolio course subscriber.

#4: Diversify in real estate. History shows this is always the second best investment.

#5: Diversify residences and lifestyles… globally if you can.This is why Merri and I live in North Carolina and Ecuador. Each place has some problems and risks…but we have options as events unfold.

Remember globalization is really the way humanity should evolve.  The concept of nations, borders, superior races, cultures and creeds are fictions of the global imagination and liabilities we have inherited from our past.   Modern technology means we should deal with whoever…anywhere in the world serves us best.

As the world has evolved we have progressed but bad times hinder this type of growth. This creates opportunity if we stay focused on reality. Invest in globalization. Sell that which hinders globalization short!

Match your living to your investing.  Go where you choose. I like Ecuador for its sweet people, great weather, natural beauty, fresh food and low cost living. North Carolina offers small town USA benefits were we can enjoy nature and if necessary even feed ourselves in the worst times.  This is why Merri and I are in Ecuador. We love the lifestyle and the real estate opportunity. 

We also love the progress here in Cotacachi.  Here is that paved road today.

cotacachi-real-estate

They have turned the road and a great deal of the cross street is cobbled now as well.

cotacachi-real-estate

This work is done by sweet, humble people who just get to work and get the job done.   There is no crew of four, with one working and three standing round, here.cotacachi-real-estate

Learn more about Ecuador as an Ecuador Living subscriber.

#6: Hold some commodities as insurance.
We’ll probably never need it…but it makes us feel better. I keep more than enough gold socked away and expect my children will inherit it. So far it has been my worst investment over the last 30 years until I add in the value of sleeping well at night instead of worrying…”am I guessing wrong”!

#7: Remember that every day of life is a gift!
We do not need big cars, loads of shopping and new things and expensive materialism to be happy.  Turn your passion into profit and do what you love.  The prospect of working, serving and being useful beyond this age that society has determined we can be and should retire should be fun and exciting.

I look forward to sharing this excitement with you.

Gary

Join us in Cotacachi this February.

Feb 9-11 Beyond Logic Keys to More Wealth & Better Health

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

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

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

Ecuador Bond Default


Today, December 15, 2009, we’ll know for sure if Ecuador has defaulted on some of its bonds. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa threatened to do this once before…and did not.

This time I believe he will.

This will be good…for many…because despite the default, Ecuador’s sun will not go away.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will the beauty of Ecuador’s mountains like this one we climbed.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will it stop the smiles of Ecuador’s happy people like these potato farmers we met on the hike.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor will the hard working energy of the crafts people in town like Otavalo (shown here) cease.

Ecuador-bond-default

Nor the richness of the land like this Intag forest go away.

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Nor will the wonder of the longevity valleys like this Intag plain end.Ecuador-bond-default

Ecuador’s bond default may create profits in two ways….one in the global bond market. The other gain will be in Ecuador.

Many readers have sent me a link to last week’s Bloomberg December 12, 2009 article by Stephan Kueffner which says:

Correa Defaults on Ecuador Bonds, Seeks Restructuring.  Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa halted payment on foreign bonds he calls “illegal” and “illegitimate,” putting the South American country in default for a second time in a decade.

The government won’t make a $30.6 million interest payment by Dec. 15, when a month long grace period expires, Correa told reporters in his office in Guayaquil. The $510 million bonds due in 2012 plunged to 23 cents on the dollar from 31 yesterday and 97.5 cents three months ago.

“I have given the order that interest payments not be made,” Correa said. “The country is in default.”

Though Ecuador is a small country, the size of France, with about 11 million people, its bond default may slow the recovery of the bond market during this global economic downturn.

Latin Bonds already have strong yields.  Look at the high yields on medium term denominated in US euro and US dollars!

Currency   Bond                Country             Yield

EUR     8.5  24/09/2012     BRAZIL             7.49%

EUR     7.375 03/02/2015   BRAZIL            8.38%

EUR     11.5   31/05/2011   COLOMBIA      8.17%

EUR     5.375 10/06/2013   MEXICO           7.28%

EUR         7.5  14/10/2014  PERU               9.02%

USD        10.25 17/06/2013 BRAZIL           6.24%

USD     8.25 22/12/2014      COLOMBIA     7.42%

USD     9.875  06/02/2015    PERU             7.57%

Ecuador owes about $10 billion to bondholders, multilateral lenders and other countries…not a lot by global standards…but  Ecuador’s bond default could cause a ripple down in Latin bonds and create even higher yields.  If so, I’ll buy some today.

The bonds and yields above are from Jyske Bank’s bond list of last Friday. These are indications not recommendations.    You can get up-to-date bond information from:

US investors at Jyske Global Asset Management.  Contact Thomas Fischer at fischer@jgam.com

Non US Investors at Jyske Bank. Contact  Rene Mathys at mathys@jbpb.dk

The next opportunity is in Ecuador. Many readers have asked questions like:

Ecuador is defaulting on its bonds. Any problems because of this? Is this good or bad?

This is a question much like, “Is the US federal $800 billion bail out, good or bad?”

The answer is yes and no.

First, remember that Ecuador defaulted on bonds once before in 1999.   Everything fell apart. Bank’s shut down. The country ran out of gas.  Times were terrible.

The country remained a great place to live. The cost of living collapsed. Help was easy to get. You could buy real estate for a song. So the answer to “Is this good or bad?” depends on who you are, how much money you have and where it is invested.

The Bloomberg article points out that Correa says of the default:

“I couldn’t allow the continued payment of a debt that by all measures is immoral and illegitimate,” Correa said. “It is now time to bring in justice and dignity.”

A debt commission Correa formed last year said in a 172 page report in November that the global bonds due in 2012 and 2030 “show serious signs of illegality,” including issuance without proper government authorization. Correa invoked the 30- day grace period on the interest payment last month, saying he wanted to analyze the commission’s findings.

Correa, 45, said the government will present a restructuring proposal in coming days. “We want creditors to recoup part of their money,” he said.

Personally I think this is true, but is the wrong approach.  I have long been a defender of Correa.  He is much like Barrack Obama, young, smart, energetic, from a poor background, who worked his way to the top with a mandate made possible by minorities….based on promises that probably cannot be kept.

He is trying to make improvements..but can he?

Obama cannot change the previous American debt and some of that US debt, in my opinion, is as immoral and illegitimate as can be.  If previous Ecuadorian politicians broke the law and created incorrect loans…Correa and the people of Ecuador should punish them.  They should recoup what they can from those people…but to punish lenders will simply stop lenders from lending to Ecuador.   This will hurt the nation, long term, as a whole.

The Bloomberg article goes on to say:

“Ecuador is moving further into isolation,” said Vicente Albornoz, head of the Cordes research institute in Quito. “The hardliners in the government won.”

“Ecuador is a serial defaulter,” said Arturo Porzecanski, an international finance professor at American University in Washington. “They defaulted in the 1980s, 1990s and this decade. A lot of other countries have had one or two defaults, but Ecuador tops them all.”

Correa, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has said he will not sacrifice spending on health and education to pay the debt. Ecuador’s foreign obligations are equal to 21 percent of its $44 billion gross domestic product. Argentina’s debt, by comparison, was equivalent to 150 percent of its GDP when it defaulted in 2001, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Oil, which has plunged 67 percent since July amid the global financial crisis, accounts for about 60 percent of Ecuador’s exports. Finance Minister, Maria Elsa Viteri, said on Nov. 18 the country’s fiscal accounts remain “strong and healthy.” Ecuador had $5.65 billion in cash reserves as of Dec. 5, according to the Central Bank.

The default was triggered by the combination of the decline in oil with “a ridiculous ideology,” said Claudio Loser, the former director of the International Monetary fund’s Western Hemisphere department, who now is a scholar at the Inter- American Dialogue. “The financial need wasn’t so great that it was forced to declare a default,” Loser said.

The South American country has defaulted six times since it separated from Gran Colombia in 1830, according to “Debt Defaults and Lessons from a Decade of Crises,” a book published in 2007 by Federico Sturzenegger and Jeromin Zettelmeyer.

“It’s a final blow to external investors, and particularly any energy investors that may have retained interest or had future plans to attempt an investment in Ecuador,” said Enrique Alvarez, head of Latin America fixed-income research at IDEAglobal Inc. in New York.

I believe this default will hurt Ecuador’s overall economy…and help expats who live and invest there in small ways. When economic conditions drop, prices become lower. Labor is easier to find. Everyone is more willing to serve and work hard…if you have money.

Merri and I were living in Ecuador when the sucre collapsed falling from 3,000 sucres per dollar to 24,000 sucres per dollar. This roller coaster reduced the cost of food, clothing, shelter, staff, everything local. Wages were down. Bargains were everywhere!

Merri and I were loved because we stayed. We spent. We provided jobs.

Life can actually be better in hard times…especially if you have your income and investments OUT of the depressed country.

There is a caveat. If conditions deteriorate too far, law and order can break down.  Short term this will make Ecuador’s life better. They won’t have the loan to repay…but long term, as they become more isolated from the global economy, this will hurt.

Ecuadorians are basically friendly, non violent people so I do not have any great concern about this. This is based on experience. I have lived in places where people were not quite as easy going, like Hong Kong in the 1960s when there were riots and bombing in the streets.

My belief if that Ecuador will remain a great place to be…especially for now.

Gary

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

Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

We’ll view this hotel if it has not sold. It has a huge front porch.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Large second floor veranda with ocean views.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Beautiful flowered front yard.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.

We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. If you subscribe, you can have this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.

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

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 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

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual
transportation.

Cotacachi Condo & House Rentals


Cotacachi condo and house rentals can vary…a lot in price.

During downturns, it is important to conserve cash and we always recommend that our readers visit Ecuador and rent so they can get to know the area before they buy.

Here is an excerpt from our latest Ecuadorliving.com update on how to find good Cotacachi condo and house rentals.

Excerpt from Cotacachi Rental

A recent Ecuador Living message looked how Lee & Peggy Harper rented this Cotacachi country house for $150 a month.

Casa for Steve003
House with a view

Lee found this on his own by asking around in town. There is no such thing as a listing service in Cotacachi, … or not until I start one anyway! Lee entered a pharmacy and got talking to the owner. He let it be known in his very basic Spanish that he was looking for a place to live.

By the way, Lee gained his Spanish basics on one of our Super Thinking – Super Spanish course and the rest he continues to pick up by not being afraid to try and communicate.

The lady in the pharmacy had a cousin with this house. There were a couple of others Lee was looking at but he thought it would be rude to not accept such a great offer at such a cheap price.

Casa for Steve002

This Cotacachi property is some 4 miles outside.  Lee and Peg used the local bus to get to town for 20 cents a day. The bus runs every 45 minutes but the catch to this cheap rental is that the bus is invariably full.

Then Lee and Peg decided to rent in Cotacachi and hit pay direct again.

There are some condos which were being renovated right next to our hotel. (The boarded up building on the left._

Cotacachi condos

Now…they look like this (the yellow building). Lee and Peg were able to rent a condo there for just $150 a month.  Some downsides about this. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Cotacachi-condos

This is a brand-new 1,200-square-foot apartment and their low rent helps them keep their total monthly expenses around $600. This includes food, utilities, medications and doctor’s visits, haircuts and manicures, laundry bills, cigarettes, a couple of cases of beer, and food for their two dogs.

Rent $150
Food $150
Water $6
Electricty $13
Propane $7
Medications $50
Laundry $24
House cleaning $40
Dog Food $40
Misc. $120.

They love Cotacachi, finding the people friendly and enjoy a real sense of belonging to the community.

Cotacachi sits between two stunning volcanoes…Mt. Imabura

Cotacachi-Imbabura

and Mt. Cotacachi.

Cotacachi-Cotacachi

The area is largely dependent on agriculture which means the food is good, abundant and absolutely fresh.

There is no great night life, but after a day mountain sunshine and fresh air the nighttime is for sleeping.

This lifestyle leaves people feeling good!   Lee says:  I haven’t felt this good in so long I can’t remember.  I used to take pain medication, but here I rarely take an aspirin. I don’t pick up a phone or get on the computer. I used to be glued to all that at home.

Not all Cotacachi rentals are so low. The typical condo is renting for $400 to $500 a month.

For example we rent the house below in Cotacachi at $500 a month with access to internet, free phone calls to the US, Europe and Canada, plus a full served breakfast  (all at our hotel a few blocks away).

This is a rustic, but new, casita.

Here is the cozy living view.

Cotacachi-House-Rental-Floorplan

Peaceful, quiet views from the garden deck. Lots of birds singing the the morning.

Cotacachi-adobe- Property-Rental-garden

Deck chairs in the outdoor lounging place…facing the sunrise.

Cotacachi-Adobe-house-Rental-lounge

Outdoor Bar-B-Q just below.

Cotacachi-House-Rental-Bar B Q

Nice kitchen with all hardwood cabinets.

Cotacachi-House-For-rent-with-kitchen

Light and bright.

Cotacachi-Rental-real-estate-kitchen

Dining for six.

Cotacachi-Rental-real estate-dining-room

Open plan with unique handmade furniture from coffee wood.

Ecuadorian botanical art.

Cotacachi-Property-Rental-two-Bedroom

Really comfortable brand new king size bed and lots of hardwood closets.

Cotacachi-Property-Rental-Bedrooms

Plus a second bathroom.

Cotacachi-real estate-Rental-bathrooms

This unit is about seven minutes walk to our hotel El Meson de las Flores. Rent of the house includes free full served breakfast plus free broadband and free phone calls to US, Canada and Europe…all available at the hotel…not in the casita.

I just sent a full report on why the difference between high and low rentals plus four steps to find the low cost rentals to our Ecuador Living subscribers. You can access this report when you subscribe to Ecuador Living.

Until next message may your living anywere always be good!

Gary

Enjoy fresh Ecuador Christmas roses at your home or send as gifts.

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

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See condos like this in Cotacachi for $46,500.

Ecuador-real-estate-advertising

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

See Manta condos like this one. Delegates are inspecting the 1,000+ square foot patio.

Manta-Condo

The patio has this view.

manta-condo tags

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic-Shamanic Mingo

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

Here is our Ecuador tour schedule for the balance of 2009.

Date                    Course                      Couples Fee

May 21-26  Ecuador Spanish Course         ($999)
May 27-28  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)

June 12-15  Shamanic Mingo Tour             ($999)
June 16-17  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)
June 18-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour         ($749)

July 2-7       Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)
July 8-9       Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
July 10-13   Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Sept. 17-22  Ecuador Spanish Course        ($999)
Sept. 23-24  Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
Sept. 25-28  Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Oct. 21-26   Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)

Nov. 6-8       International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador ($999)
Nov. 9-10     Imbabura Real Estate Tour          ($749)
Nov. 11-14   Coastal Real Estate Tour            ($749)

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

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual
transportation.

Bear Rally Tactics


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

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

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

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

Each boom led to excess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

graph

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

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

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

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

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

#2: They care too little about strategy.

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

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

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

#2: Do not panic.

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

#4: Add some restructuring stories to your portfolio.

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

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

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

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

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

#2: Earnings growth will slow further.

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

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

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

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

gm-share-chart

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

Dump them if you get a decent price.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gary

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

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

Non US investors Rene Mathys at mathys@jbpb.dk

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

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

cotacachi-sun

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

Stroll the sunny Ecuador beach this winter.

Ecuador beach

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us for great fresh Ecuador seafood!

Cotacachi-fish

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

See Ecuador’s incredible scenery.

Cotacachi-fish

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Share some time with Ecuador’s friendly people.

San Clemente-fishermen

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

Ecuador Economic Corrections


Ecuador economic corrections create fear. People retract…shrink and stop doing what they should and…they are wrong.

People in downturns follow the 80% rule. 80% of the people act incorrectly 80% of the time.

We can take advantage of this and use the current economic correction to get ahead.

I know from experience.

Merri and I were sitting at our Hacienda, Rosaspamba, in Ecuador. The time was November 2000. White mists rose over jagged peaks and a huge, multicolored bird suddenly burst from the brush.

I had been bringing investors to Ecuador to show them ways to invest in this economy while it was in ruins. Ecuador had done so many things badly.

There was graft, corruption, political hassles, discrimination and lies that all helped lead the Ecuador economy into shambles. Ecuador had been the first to default on Brady Bonds.

All bank accounts had been frozen.

Two Presidents in a row had been impeached within a couple of years and the public had been demonstrating again and again in the streets.

The worse it got, the more I had advised investors to come with me. The more property I bought myself.

Real estate prices skyrocketed up.

The economy has gained from higher oil prices. (Ecuador is the second largest oil producer in South America.) The new President is looking very capable (perhaps even a little honest) and there has been optimism.

The country dollarized after the economic debacle in 2000.

Real estate prices have risen dramatically. I am hearing stories from investors on how much money they have made in just the past year.

Has the economy slowed where you are? It does not seem to have done so in Manta, Ecuador. Here are shots I took last week of Manta harbor.

manta-Ecuador-harbor

The harbor is packed!

manta-Ecuador-harbor

Luxury boats as well as cargo.

manta-Ecuador-harbor

The beach is thriving.

manta-Ecuador-harbor

On our recent Ecuador coastal real estate tour we met with Pilar Davila, a real estate broker we have worked with for over a decade now.

manta-Ecuador-harbor

Construction is booming…new condos and luxury hotels like this small beach front accommodation where Pilar is standing are up and coming.

We were inspecting this wonderful small hotel in Manta. The central lounge and swimming pool are absolutely beautiful.

manta-Ecuador-hotel

Overlooking the beach and sea.

manta-Ecuador-hotel

Even the business and internet center is filled with charm.

manta-Ecuador-hotel

Pilar reminded me that Manta property that our real estate tour delegates bought in the late 1990s at $.40 cents a square foot is now selling for $9.00 a square foot. Condos that sold for $79,000 during the 1999 depression are $240,000 now.

Here are lots that our Ecuador coastal real estate delegates bought in the 1990s for $2,500. They are for sale now at $17,500.

crucita-Ecuador-land-for-sale

Ecuador real estate prices are still low compared to the US, Mexico or Panama for example…but sometimes I have a hard time keeping my perspective because they are high compared to what they were ten years ago.

Regardless of how bad things appear, there is always opportunity. The sun always shines somewhere.

For this we should be eternally grateful. When events appear gloomy, we should get excited. There is never as good a time to create wealth as when economic conditions are bad. This is especially important to remember as the U.S. economy (which has been feeding global economic growth) slows.

In the months and years ahead our daily publications, newspapers, TV shows, etc. are likely to give us more than our fair share of doom and gloom. Let this be good news! Be thankful. Bad times are the best for making money. If we focus on serving our community, instead of weeping over what newspapers say, it will help us get ahead.

Until next message, may the sun shine for you.

Gary

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

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

On our last coastal real estate tour we viewed this luxury hotel front…

bahia-Ecuador-hotel

and back.

bahia-Ecuador-hoyel

Here are delegates working hard at viewing.

Bahia-Ecuador-Hotel

Plus we saw land and a next door house for sale.

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

We also saw this Bahia Coco Bongo Hostal for sale (the owner says she has $110,000 in it).

ecuador-coastal-hostal-lobby

Here delegates view a 15 room hotel for sale, with an asking price of $60,000.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Plus we saw this potential Bed & breakfast. $90,000 asking.

Ecuador-bed-&-breakfasts

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

Ecuador Bond Failure


Ecuador bond failure may create profits in two ways.

See below how an Ecuador bond failure might make properties like this hotel (for sale right now) worth more.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Many readers have sent me a link to the Bloomberg which says: “Ecuador May Default on $30 Million Interest Payment (Update2)” by Lester Pimentel and Daniel Cancel.

There are two important points we can spot by studying this article…one about global investing…the other about living abroad.

First, let me make one other point, the most important point of all. However you invest…wherever you live, do something you love.

For example, here I am working hard leading our latest Ecuador real estate tour. We are looking at a “hotel” for sale by the sea.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Do you think I am worried about how I am going to retire?

Work hard but enjoy the process! We love looking at places like this Ecuador “hotel” for sale.

The asking price?

You won’t believe it when you see it below.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

The key is to invest in stuff you find interesting…and fun. Find a way to earn and smell the roses at the same time. In this case we are, as we inspect the hotel we smell the bougainvillea and hibiscus.

More on the hotel and price in a moment. Here is point one…about global investing.

The Bloomberg article about Ecuador bond defaults says:

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — Ecuador said it may default on a $30 million interest payment as a tumble in oil erodes export receipts, putting President Rafael Correa on the verge of fulfilling a two-year-old threat to repudiate the country’s debt.

Correa will use the 30-day grace period on the bond payment, which is due tomorrow, to analyze legal opinions, Finance Minister Maria Elsa Viteri said at a news conference in Quito.

Ecuador’s finances have come under strain as oil, which accounts for 60 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged 61 percent from a record high in July to $57.23 a barrel.

Ecuador, which last defaulted in 1999, needs an oil price of $95 to cover all the spending in its budget and a price of $76 to avoid depleting its $6.3 billion of foreign reserves, according to Barclays Capital Inc.

“They are burning reserves,” said Eduardo Levy-Yeyati, an emerging-markets analyst at Barclays. “The question is whether they will keep paying if oil prices don’t recover.”

Ecuador’s foreign debt totaled $10 billion as of September, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. That’s equal to less than 25 percent of its $44 billion annual gross domestic product.

Correa, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, won a landslide victory in November 2006 after promising to rewrite the constitution and boost spending on the poor. He said in September that he’d suspend debt payments before trimming spending on education and health care.

Correa has done this once before in February 2007. He said he would miss a $135 million bond interest payment but then made it.

Before that payment was made, on February 12, I wrote about buying these bonds:

The point is this speculation may be a good value because the premium you are paid to take the risk is higher than need be.

Readers who read this and bought this bond then (before the payment was made) earned 20% over night.

This time the risk premium is even more! I believe there are two reasons for the current higher potential return.

First, Ecuador is more likely to default this time than last. Correa is under more pressure to fulfill promises he has made now than he was two years ago. He had just started office then. Now he is mid term and people expect him to deliver. He may decide to spend the money on education, etc. instead.

Second, bond markets and especially emerging bond markets have been hit by a huge dose of panic. All bonds are priced lower than normal.

The bond issue in question is a $510 million bond maturing in 2012. Prices for this bond have plunged as low as 14 cents on the dollar. At this price, the bond yields over 100%.

Imagine this. If you were to buy this bond now and Ecuador does not default, each year for over three years, you double your original investment. A $50,000 investment might earn over $150,000 of income during the three years. Then you get your $50,000 back.

ON THE DOWN SIDE though Standard & Poor’s has cut the country’s rating three levels today to CCC-. This translates to basket case. If Ecuador does default, you could end up making no profit and perhaps losing part of your original investment…though it is unlikely you would lose it all.

Point #2:

A reader sent this note “Gary–with Ecuador defaulting on its debt–why would one want to invest in Ecuador?”

This reader has probably never lived abroad and does not understand that living conditions can get better when you live in a country where economic conditions are down. Prices are lower. Labor is easier to find. Everyone is more willing to serve and work hard…if you have money.

Merri and I were living in Ecuador when the sucre collapsed falling from 3,000 sucres per dollar to 24,000 sucres per dollar. Ecuador did default on its bonds then.

So what? All this meant was that food, clothing, shelter, staff, everything local cost about 1/8th as much as it had. Wages were down. Bargains were everywhere!

Merri and I were loved because we stayed. We spent. We provided jobs.

Life can actually be better in hard times…

…especially if you have your income and investments OUT of the depressed country.

There is a caveat. If conditions deteriorate too far, law and order can break down.

Ecuadorians are basically friendly, non violent people so I do not have any great concern about this. This is based on experience. I have lived in places where people were not quite as easy going.

I have lived through law and order breakdowns before, first time…when living in Hong Kong. Poverty created riots and bombs in the streets there in the late 1960s.

That was not fun.

Mind you, Hong Kong real estate prices went on to rise higher than almost anywhere in the world. Those troubled times were among the best for buying real estate…ever.

I saw problems with bombs in public places when I lived in London as well. In February 1991 the provisional IRA managed to actually launch mortars from a van 250 yards from the Prime Minister’s home at Number 10 Downing Street. One shell landed behind the residence and blew out the windows of the war office.

Closer to home, the bathroom door of Merri’s and my London house was jarred off its hinges when an explosive device was used to start a raid on the Iranian Embassy in 1980 after it had been taken over by Iranian Arab separatists. The embassy in South Kensington was near our house .

Did this ruin London?  London real estate prices have since risen to be among the highest in the world and Londoner’s standards of living have skyrocketed.

Problems create opportunity! Economic trouble in a country can create opportunity for those who have money to spend and invest.

Another worry that people have is that the Ecuadorian government will nationalize or confiscate property. There is little history to support this and such a seizure would make little sense.

Such concerns ignore the fact that there are all types of confiscation taking place everywhere…at every level…even in the good old USA.

One family at my last course told me how, for decades, they had been buying property to build low cost housing. They have prepared many of the properties so they followed the zoning ordinances so they could build. Now the municipality has changed rules so they can no longer build.

Taxes are increased. New rules are added and fines levied for non compliance of new zoning ordinances. Costs and problems have risen so dramatically that these developers have had to abandon some of their property to the municipality. After foreclosure the municipality has built the same low cost housing…but obviously less efficiently.

The argument here is not that Ecuador is better than the USA or England or Hong Kong, etc.

The argument here is not that Ecuador has no risk.

The two points are that the perception of risk may be overblown and the premium for taking the risk is high as well.

Plus Ecuador is a great place to be…especially in the winter.

Risk is everywhere.

Ask not, “Where is there no risk?”

Ask instead. “How much is the real risk and how much am I paid to take it?”

Find interesting (for yourself) investments that pay high risk premiums.

Find delightful places where YOU want to be where the cost of living is too low.

Until next message, good global investing and Ecuador living.

Gary

This brings us back to where we started working hard…looking at this hotel for sale. Nine bathrooms, about 15 bedroms.

Ecuador-hotel-for-sale

Here is our latest group inspecting the hotel,which is one block from the Ecuador’s Pacific.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

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

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.

We’ll view this hotel if it has not sold. It has a huge front porch.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Large second floor veranda with ocean views.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

Beautiful flowered front yard.

ecuador-real-estate-risk

The building is really rough and needs work…but over 8,000 square feet of building. The asking price is $60,000.

We have sent our Ecuador Living paid subscribers more details on this building on this Ecuador hotel for sale. If you subscribe, you can have this report. See how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Join us for our next Spanish course ad real estate tours.

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

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ
Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition
March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 26 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009.