Tag Archive | "Congress"

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

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

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

cotacachi-sun

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Ecuador beach

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Cotacachi-fish

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See Ecuador’s incredible scenery.

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San Clemente-fishermen

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Cotacachi Safety Facts


Here is some important information about Cotacachi Ecuador safety facts.

A recent message outlined a Cotacachi robbery and this note expands on this as I would not want anyone to miss the beauty of Cotacachi because they were concerned about crime. Here is the entrance to one of the safe Cotacachi hotels (Rancho Santa Fe) you will see listed below.

rancho-santa-fe-scene

I mentioned the Cotacachi robbery in a message entitled Cotacachi Crime.   One Cotacachi resort owner read and wrote about that message:

Gary, I read with interest the report which your man in Cotacachi STEVE MERCHANT wrote you with concern to crimes in Cotacachi. Two points, which I believe ought to be considered for correction.

One is the fact that he is referring to a robbery AT A RESORT of about $ 40,000. That statement could be  damaging to any hotel owner, you mentioned that a “resort” was mentioned but not by its name, Lueva.  The owner of Lueva however, was in Mexico at the time of the robbery.

The other statement is that when Steve  went to the police in Ibarra  to report the robbery of the chicken farm, and had the opportunity to view the police book referring to about 180 or so crimes. But when writing it to you it sounds that 180 crimes were committed in or around COTACACHI since no reference is being made to the capital of the province. At least that is the way I was interpreting his writing.

The murder he is referring to within an indigenous community (caused by the fact that after a party where everybody got drunk, they started to attack each other with machetes and while one died several others were taken to the hospital for treatments) But the way Steve describes it to you sounds like the person was murdered for another reason and that might scare people away from Cotacachi.

You might not agree with my observations, but I thought I would give it a try anyway.  Best wishes from Cotacachi to the two of you. Take care.

I could not agree more with this resort owner and wish to add three important points about Cotacachi safety.

Here is another shot of Rancho Santa Fe.

cotacachi-rancho-santa-fe-hall

The first point about Cotacachi safety is about the geography of Cotacachi.  Cotacachi village which I normally refer to in our messages is just one of many communities in Cotacachi Canton (county). The village is just a small area of about 7,300 people. The county is a much larger geographic area and covers about 1,000 square miles in Imbabura Province (state) .

The village of Cotacachi in my opinion is very safe…as are the hotels and resorts there. These resorts and hotels include our hotel Meson de las Flores, the La Mirage Spa and Garden Hotel, El Arbolito and Rancho Santa Fe. These are the accommodations where we usually book our readers and seminar delegates.

cotacachi-rancho-santa-fe-rooms

We feel safe walking to and from any of these hotels and resorts and any others that are in the village, day or night in Cotacachi Village. Meson de las Flores is right in the center of town (across from the police staion by the way).  This courtyard is enclosed.

cotacachi-meson-de-las-flores-courtyard

La Mirage is in a wonderful area and has 10 acres of fully walled exquisite gardens.

Cotacachi-la-mirage-gardens

There is bird life of every type at La Mirage, from peacocks to hummingbirds…safe and serene.

Cotacachi-la-mirage-path

The spa is one of the best in the world…and at excellent prices.  See some of the treatments here.

Cotacachi-la-mirage-pool

Here is the pool at La Mirage.  Merri and I have been friends with the owners for over a decade and take weekly spa treatments there, which are in our opinion the finest in the world.  We always walk to and from these treatments, enjoying the town and the walk.  We hold La Mirage to be the most beautiful, most delightful and healing place that we have ever known worldwide.

This leads to the second point… the place that was robbed is some distance outside Cotacachi village.  I normally do not make negative comments about any particular place so left out the name of this spa on my last message about Cotacachi crime.  I have not visited the spa for some years and did not even know it was still open.

This third point I hope puts Cotacachi safety in perspective.

The area of Imbabura is almost the same geographical size as Multnomah County, Oregon where I grew up in middle class suburbs between Glisan and Stark Street. My 86 year old mom still lives in the same house (for 48 years).   Merri and I were just there visiting mom.  During our short visit…three murders occurred near by.  I copied a December 1,  2008 article from the  Oregonian…Portland’s leading newspaper.

When Portland detectives began to canvass the neighborhood after the Nov. 23 fatal shooting of a 35-year-old man in a Southeast Stark Street apartment, they interviewed Roland Jackson Dir, who was walking to his home about a block away.

Six days later, on Saturday, homicide investigators were called to investigate the violent death of Dir, 54, whose body was found in his apartment at Southeast 155th Avenue and Stark Street.

The proximity of the two homicides, following the unsolved stabbing death of 37-year-old Amatha Mendive-Boyle, discovered Nov. 14 behind a nearby church, has area residents on edge.

Three murders in two weeks in just an area near the safe suburbs where my mom lives…all unsolved.  Police say that the murders are probably not connected which to me is even worse!

Compare this to one robbery outside Cotacachi village in an area that we do not consider safe…one murder from a group of drunks fighting in an area and situation where few westerners would ever be and 183 crimes in the entire county.

Merri and I feel safer walking in Cotacachi village than in our hometown suburbs. Yet I feel safe there in Multnomah County as well.  I would have no hesitation recommending that you take a stroll along any of the Portland sidewalks and bicycle paths.

There are growing number of bicycle paths by the way thanks in part to a fellow high school student…Earl Blumenauer.  Earl was two years behind me at Centennial High so as a lowly sophomore when I was a senior we did not speak much.

Earl went on to great stuff…becoming an Oregon Congressman who has pushed cycling as transportation.

When he moved to Washington, D.C., 12 years ago he decided to ride his bike to Congress every day.  He states that he has burned over 300,000 calories and saved $94,000 in car costs, 206 gallons of fuel, and 4800 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Through his efforts Portland has expanded its bike lanes and routes throughout the city so people in Portland use their cars much less than the American average.  Blumenauer says this translates into savings of more than $2500 per year per family and that there should be a bicycle master plan for cities large and small.

There is speculation that Earl Blumenauer will be the secretary of transportation in an Obama administration. If so, expect even more biking.

One word of warning about this and walking around Multnomah county…nude cycling.  Here is a report, also from a recent issue of the Oregonian.

A Multnomah County judge has cleared a Northeast Portland nude bicyclist of criminal indecent exposure charges, saying cycling naked has become a “well-established tradition” in Portland and understood as a form of “symbolic protest.”

Judge Jerome LaBarre said the city’s annual World Naked Bike Ride — in which as many as 1,200 people cycled through Northwest and downtown Portland on June 14 — has helped cement riding in the buff as a form of protest against cars and possibly even the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

This is not an activity that is kind to the human form…so when you can find a sunny day to walk in Oregon, a greater worry than crime may become the shock from seeing a nude cyclist!

As an added note, one of the facts Merri and I are most proud to see is that not one of our many readers who have moved to Ecuador has purchased a car…we all walk or ride a bike…but not nude!

The point I hope you will see is that reports about crime get so blown out of proportion that you can let them ruin your life if you want.   There are so many things we cannot predict.  I could never have expected that crime would grow as it has where I grew up…or that one of the fellow students at my school would become a bike riding Congressman and maybe even a cabinet member…or that people would ride bikes nude in Oregon.  So live life to the fullest.  Keep in mind until last week, the 137-year-old Leopold’s Cafe, on one of Mumbai’s main shopping thoroughfares, was long a favorite place for tourists.  There are no guarantees and no way to predict how safety will change.

Crime is everywhere…know it and avoid it.  If you know where to go…most parts of the world have plenty of safe havens.  So whether you travel to Portland Oregon, Cotacachi Ecuador…or wherever..enjoy the journey, but also take care.

Until next message, may all your journeys be safe.

Gary

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

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Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic-Shamanic Mingo

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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.

Economic Safety in Troubled Times


Learn about economic safety in Ecuador, the Blue Ridge and North Dakota.

These troubled economic times create wonderful, investment opportunity. The corrections in the stock market and depressed real estate prices combined with global inflationary pressures are developing a lush field of investing values.

Yet investors looking for economic safety need to exercise care in how they harvest this financial crop.

Troubled times create distortions. Distortions create problems. Problems create opportunity. Opportunity creates economic safety and financial profit, if you look carefully for value and make sure your liquidity remains safe during the search.

This is one reason why Merri and I love Ecuador. The people are peace loving. The people are independant. Ecuador’s population have a history of caring for themselves. They know how to farm. The food supply is abundant. Ecuador is oil rich. Ecuadorians do not have the expectation that the government should supply their every want, need and desire. There is less likely to be violent civil unrest in troubled times.

Here in the Blue Ridge there is also a history and connection to independence. Heating and food is plentiful. People know how to survive tough times.

One great pleasure in our International Investment and Business Courses are the people we meet and friends made. People always enjoy each other. Merri and I do as well. Some delegates have been coming to our courses for decades, so we were delighted at our course last weekend when one delegate and good friend from North Dakota who has attended many times over the past 20 years was with us.

He told me a some things about North Dakota that started me quickly searching.

First, the Bank of North Dakota, located in Bismarck, ND, is the only state-owned bank in the nation. The bank has over $160 million in capital and is in partnership with over 100 other North Dakota financial institutions. More important because the bank is owned by the state, it has a credit rating of AA.

The main deposit base of the bank is the state itself. Sate law requires all state funds and funds of state institutions to be deposited there. However deposits are accepted from any source, including private citizens.

The bank is not a member of the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation. The State of North Dakota guarantees all deposits regardless of amount (over $100,0000) in the bank. So this is quite a safe place to hold liquid funds.

Do not expect free irons, dinner plates or special incentives to open accounts. Though individuals can open accounts at the bank, this is not the main business so it offers fewer retail services than most commercial banks. The bank only has one office and does not try to compete in consumer banking.

So, how good is the guarantee of the State of North Dakota?

According to an October 7 2008 article at KXMCTV in Minot, North Dakota, the
state has a pile of money. North Dakota is one of the few states with a budget surplus, estimated at a billion dollars.

The state also has some good economic fundamentals. First it is rich in agriculture, beef cattle, milk, hogs and honey producers rank North Dakota among the leading producers.

Wheat is the leading farm product in North Dakota, ranking second in production only behind Kansas. North Dakota grows more durum wheat (used for pasta) than any other state.

North Dakota also leads all other states in the production of barley and sunflower seeds and is a leader in the production of flaxseed (linseed oil).

North Dakota is among the leading states in the production of canola seed, honey, navy beans, oats, pinto beans, rye, soybeans and sugar beets.

Hay is important, grown for livestock feed.

That bodes well for the state in inflationary times…but there is more…energy.

Just beneath its surface North Dakota has a 1,000-year supply of coal. The third largest gasification plant in the world is here. This is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States. North Dakota power plants have 4.5 gigawatts of electric generating capacity and are some of the most efficient and reliable in the nation. Energy, real estate costs and taxes are some of the lowest in the country.

Then there is oil. North Dakota has a lot of it. Brigham Exploration Company alone says discoveries suggest 42 million to 71 million barrels of oil.

Brigham shares sell on Nasdaq under the code BEXP.

North Dakota could become one of America’s leaders in energy production. The state has near limitless supply of coal, incredible potential for wind, ethanol and biodiesel production, and increasingly productive oil fields.

Congress has extended several renewable energy tax credits for wind and biodiesel projects, small ethanol and biodiesel producers that will help North Dakota’s economy.

North Dakota is the sixth-largest energy producing and exporting state and has more potential for renewable energy growth.

According to North Dakota’s Department of Energy’s Wind Energy Program, “North Dakota has the potential to supply 36% of the electricity of the lower 48 states through its wind supply alone.” Wind development in North Dakota is taking off, over the past year throughout the state.

North Dakota’s Senator Kent Conrad recently met with T. Boone Pickens as he has developed a New Energy Reform Act, which includes some of Picken’s ideas. The Pickens plan aims to reduce dependence on oil by increasing the amount of clean energy like wind power and solar power.

An ABC news article entitled, “The Backyard Economy: North Dakota
A Look at the Peace Garden State’s Economic Issues” by Christine Byun says:

“Surging commodity prices and a weaker dollar have enhanced North Dakota’s economic strength, leading to stronger growth and continued investment throughout the state.

‘The chances of a state recession are incredibly low,’ said David Flynn, an economist at the University of North Dakota. ‘The most likely scenario would be for North Dakota to continue to grow.’ State Fiscal Management Director Sheila Peterson said state revenues are 13 percent ahead of forecasts, which she partially attributes to ‘solid growth’ in the tourism, energy and agriculture sectors. The state’s bountiful crops play a big part of its exports; agricultural products pulled about $170 million into North Dakota in 2006. Last year, the state’s fertile farmlands produced the most wheat and barley in the nation, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

North Dakota is not solely dependent on agriculture. It also exports machinery and crude oil products. The energy industry — both oil and alternative sources — is expanding, according to state labor market analyst Kevin Iverson. The natural resources and mining sector added 4,000 jobs to their payrolls since last March.

“Oil is an absolutely booming industry in the state,” Iverson said, noting that the western portion of the state has benefited as companies direct their attention to the Bakken rock formation as a potential oil reservoir.

“The dollar’s declining value to foreign currencies has is also spurring economic activity in North Dakota. While the state sells almost half its exports to Canada, savvy shoppers from north of the border are crossing in to Grand Forks and Minot to take advantage of what are essentially reduced prices for them and in the process, driving up retail trade.

“A potential weak spot for North Dakota is the state’s lower than average unemployment rate. Economists worry with fewer people looking for work, companies interested in doing business in North Dakota could potentially bypass the state because of the tight labor market and lack of available workers.”

Bank of North Dakota’s website is www.banknd.com

There you have it…places that may be safer than most…places that may offer more opportunity and economic safety in troubled times.

Gary

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

Nov 7-9 2008 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

See the wonderful balconies in the Primavera condos at for sale at $46,000 in Cotacachi.

multi-currency-Ecuador-condo-interior

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estat

Then travel to the coast. Enjoy the Vistazul swimming pool on Ecuador’s Pacific.

Picture 9

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

See discounts for two or more of these courses and tours

Ecuador Interesting


Ecuador is interesting but what is below is more interesting than most messages about Ecuador. You will see why below.

You may have read in the news about the problems of Ecuador in recent days and wondered why I am investing in Ecuador. One of our goals is to help our readers get Ecuador news beneath the news.  The problem today with popular media is that it has to cater to the lowest links for the sake of volume. Sex, scandal, death and destruction sell and in the mad scramble to fill every issue with as much attention grabbing horror as possible, most media make over small bits of the most horrifying events of the day and little more.

Our goal is to dig deeper. In this case I turned to several Ecuadorian friends for their views. One is a powerful Guayaquil businessman connected at the highest political levels. The second is an attorney from Quito. I chose these two because one problem in Ecuador is the continual struggle between the populations in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil. As one Guayaquileno once put it, we make the money here in Guayaquil and they (the politicians) spend it in Quito. The cities have existed for centuries in a state of mutual distrust.

The third is a foreign businessman who has lived in Ecuador for many years and has a very successful business, the fourth an indigenous leader.

The first reply is from my friend from Guayaquil. For reasons that will be obvious he remains unnamed. He is connected at the highest levels of business and government in Ecuador.

My friend writes:

“Ecuador is still under the spell of gloom that befell about two years ago. I saw it one year before that, but I did not know what to do about it, and I did not want to believe it either.

“Now the opposite has happened. There is a small light showing at the end of the tunnel. It is small, but steady. God bless it. We must not talk about it – too much. It is called Manta.
“Manta did not exist in colonial times. The pirates and sea robbers made it unthinkable to have a port facing the ocean. The nearest port had to be thirty miles in, at least.

“I was in Manta, I had not been there for ten years at least, it has improved a lot in that time. There is so much that can be done. Manta is like a little baby. In Manta, the help can come in little ways, totally invisible to the public that is not “in”. Hospital, schools, Univ., urban development, you name it.  As I said, all this is very small right now, but it is moving ahead in the right direction.

“This is all very complicated, I hope it works for the best. Unfortunately, it brings us close to our President, and that is not what we want, we want to keep him away.

“There has been an Indian rising. They have gained attention but unfortunately they do not have a plan, or people, or anything. It was just a rising of “down with everything”. Down with the President. Down with Congress. Down with the Judicial. This is a typical rising of communal soul formation, or soul development, it is basically downs versus ups.

“They are however much better organized and have clearer objectives, and words than they had, say fifteen years ago. Of course they still need another time to be at par as an ethnic group. It will come if you give them time, fortunately.

“The unfortunate part is that it is all taking place at a moment when their negativity can cause a lot of damage, they also say down with dollarization.

“The new President? He is my personal friend, a great guy, but not the right man for the crisis, as he is too flat footed. Everything the previous man has done is wrong.”

Another Viewpoint

The second insight on Ecuador was sent from Dr. Andres Cordova. Dr. Corova is the grandson of Ecaudor’s past President and his law firm provides legal counsel for many financial institutions. The firm works with foreign banks established in Ecuador and otherwise and is legal counsel for the Central Bank of Ecuador, the Superintendency of Banks.

Some of the members of the firm have participated in the making of some of Ecuador’s monetary and banking decisions and one of the senior partners has been Superintendent of Banks on two occasions.

Though the firm acts as counselors to many of Ecuador’s finance and banking entities, they advise on specific areas, upon request, and do not represent, in any way, the institution’s position on different subjects so they can offer us an unbiased view.

The firm has information and views from inside Ecuador’s finance and banking fields and great contacts so they can prepare reports, furnish helpful information, and answer inquiries promptly for any member who wishes to retain them for any specific project.

Dr. Cordova writes:

“We had quite a recent scare. During the past several months the people of Ecuador had become increasingly infuriated with the President’s conduct of governmental affairs.

“We had a situation where very little support was given either to President or to this military insurrects. A Constitutional solution had to be applied.

“As much as I believe the president to be corrupt and incompetent, I was deeply angered and saddened by the whole situation.

“The bottom line is that there was some sort of democratic solution to the crisis. The Country is calming down. There is this bitter feeling about the whole situation, but who knows, maybe it was for the best.

“What is going to happen? Well, first of all, most of the country sees this outcome as the proper one, given the circumstances. This is a good thing, for it somehow reestablishes the faith and tranquility we all need. Also, it brings stability, for all major players in this social and economic machinery are in favor of the outcome.

“The international community, represented by the different States, has manifested its approval of this Constitutional solution to the crisis, and is currently supporting Ecuador (at least rhetorically) in its struggle to shape up.

“The new President is regarded to be a good, honest man. He has changed most of the different Ministers and Secretaries of the Government and it is likely we are somehow facing a fresh start. Maybe it’s a little bit of wishful thinking on my part.

“These past days we have seen a very good attitude in most of the industrial sector. The have committed to lower some prices and to raise the wages. Somehow a feeling of responsibility and that we are all part of the solution is surfacing. I sure hope so.

“The crisis is very deep and we still have some rough years ahead. I would want to believe that we have nowhere else to go from here but up.

“I think after this episode the Country is going to try and move forward with more enthusiasm and drive. The new President is going to be in power for the next three years. This will help stabilize the country, for no one will be speculating on the elections, as if they were to be held in a few weeks or month’s time.

“This new President may do a much better job than the last one. Most of all because he does not come into power all tainted by strings-attached political supports and contributions that he needs to pay back. He can freely conduct the government without having to pay back all sorts of favors. Also, he is apparently an honest man.

“The Country is well aware of this and there is some sense of peace after all. It is still too early to tell how all of this will affect the country in the following months or even years, but it is safe to say that Ecuador still offers good and safe investment opportunities, provided they are well reviewed and screened.

“I understand many foreign investors may view Ecuador as an anarchic country which is falling apart by the day, where their investments are in no way safe. This is not true.

“In this crisis, many good investment opportunities exist. Real estate, for example, offers very nice investment opportunities. This kind of investments are, of course, better on the mid to long term.

“When the better times arrive, hopefully some two to three years from now, and then on and on. As exports grow and the economy improves, the new flows of cash and the economic recovery and good health will make it more difficult to find good deals on certain areas.

This may be a signal to buy now.” Andres

The Third Viewpoint

The third reply is from my friend, the European businessman who has lived in Ecuador full time for the last six years and has many business interests and real estate holdings:

“The last president seemed to be a better man but he had done too many dirty deals with the political and specially the financial sector to be trustworthy.  The current president seems to be a very honest man with no such connections and that may be what the country need now. 80% of the people still want to dissolve the congress, mainly because of the corruption.

“I do however believe that the president will face huge demonstrations again this summer when they will have to increase the prices of gas, propane, electricity, etc. The country is said to spend US$ 700 million on subsidies this year if they do not increase the prices. This country may be impossible to run.

The final rely may be the most important of all as it is the Indiginistas that (quite rightly) have been making the fuss.
“I appreciate dear friend that the international news are very alarming; but the reality is very different since here in Ecuador everything follows with tranquillity and in the direction of the improvement of abundance and peace.”

This is why I have already started taking investors to Manta, Ecuador, a major seaport (350,000 pop.). The flood of Americans will make the town boom. Timing to make money could not be better. Check www.garyascott.com for more details.

There you have it…an article that seems to explain why Ecuador makes sense as a place to invest.

So Ecuador is interesting.  Here is why this article is more interesting than most messages about Ecuador.   This article was written April 15, 2000, over eight years ago.  You can see the original message in our archives at https://www.garyascott.com/2000/04/15/1266.html

The daily news is sensational and incites worry.  Those who look beyond it have a definite investing edge. Had I let worries reported in the news stop me from seeing the true fundamentals of Ecuador’s potential a decade ago, I and hundreds of my readers would have missed fortunes.

Ecuador still offers good opportunity now.

See why Manta makes sense now

Until next message may your news be positive, true and good.

Gary

Join us October 3-5 for the Blue Ridge leaf change.
International Investing and Business Made EZ  North
Carolina

Or enjoy one of our courses or tours in Ecuador.

Manta Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

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International Investing and Business Made
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International Investing & Business Made EZ IV


International investing and business have proven themselves over the past 40 years to be profitable. This series is looking at how important it is for the international investing and business process to provide fulfillment and fun!

The last two parts of this series reviewed that the Western medical model has many flaws, and they are about to get worse.

Because fun is healthy, having a healthy having a fun international investing and business process can help us spend less on pharmaceuticals and expensive medical treatment.

To support this notion a reader just set this note.

“Gary, a New York Times article says:

“Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress on Monday that health spending would ‘rise relentlessly’ unless lawmakers overhauled the health care system, and he recommended an eclectic approach,” The New York Times reports. “His remarks opened a daylong bipartisan symposium convened by the Senate Finance Committee to lay the groundwork for what leaders of both parties predict will be a major push for health care legislation next year.”

This articles is at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/business/17fed.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Until next message may your health always be good

Gary

Learn International Business Made EZ online.

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International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador