Tag Archive | "Detroit"

Green Investing & Ecuador Cars


Green investments may have extra value now.

“Green  Cars”  means something different now… than it did when I began to drive.

Today “Green Car” might means this….”Small is beautiful”.

green-investment

45 years ago a “green car” meant something like this!

green-investing

“Bigger was better!”

Thinking about this change can help us cash in on green investing.

Actually buying a car like the GTO would have been a pretty good investment.

Rare cars had really good appreciation for many years… but the green, very non green, GTO above can tell us more about where to invest in “Environmental Green.”   A change in green mentality can show us how to spot special investing value that goes way beyond collecting antique cars.

This was my first car.

green-investments

This was a 1958 Chevy Bel Air.  I bought it in 1963, used… for $895. This forced me to get a job…. busing dishes at a steak house in Portland, Oregon.   That car sort of set my lifestyle for decades… a solid member of the “one car per person” society.

I lived a mile from an isolated levy on the Columbia River… so yes, I drove my Chevy to the levy.

No more!   Bye Bye Miss American Pie is a more appropriate tune since Pontiac is about to die.   What could be more American Pie than a Pontiac?

I know because this was my second car…

green-investing

a 1966 Pontiac Tempest LeMans Sprint.

These pictures from www.cardomain.com brought back fond memories.  I can list every car I have ever owned in order… it’s a guy sort of thing… but this is not the point here.

That Pontiac had a special new Pontiac – built 230 cubic-inch overhead cam six power plant, the only such engine found in an American production car at that time.  This was available in this Sprint option package on two-doors with a four-barrel, high-compression 207 horsepower version,  marketed as an alternative to higher-priced European sport sedans, which had similar OHC engines.

This motor was hot and was fuel efficient!  Here is a picture.

green-investing

Then the idea of smaller more fuel efficient engines was lost.  The gas guzzling GTO with a huge eight cylinder took over and this type of engine became hot.  Europe’s idea of smaller, high performance fell to the idea of … just plain… BIG.

Bigger is better.   Faster is good.   Power is king.  These became  the American ideals and most of us (boomer) guys and gals bought into it.

This led society down an incorrect, unsustainable path of consumption worth mentioning now because of Pontiac’s recent death.

A recent BBC News article entitled “Pontiac RIP” by Nick Holland tells the tale.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The GTO transformed Pontiac into a muscle car brand.

Pontiac has become the highest-profile victim of the crisis in the American car industry.  The decision this week by General Motors to discontinue the brand shocked a generation of petrol heads who fell in love with the all American muscle cars the company developed in the 1960 and 70s.

It is a great shame that one of America’s iconic brands is having to be removed from the automotive scene

We are talking about cars like the Pontiac Firebird, The Grand Am and the GTO.
Like Route 66, roadside diners and baseball all of these vehicles have become genuine artefacts of U.S. culture.

“If ever a car company defined swagger – Pontiac was it,” says Peter DeLorenzo who runs the Autoextremist.com blog.

“Pontiac delivered cars to the market bristling with a maverick, edgy appeal and genuine soul – a commodity so far removed from most of Detroit’s products then that it was striking,” he says.

Things began to change when the company employed John De Lorean, who later founded the ill-fated De Lorean Motor Company, as its new head of engineering in 1956.

Pontiac started test driving a saloon car fitted with powerful V8 engines.

However, the vehicle did not meet General Motors’ corporate guidelines because they were considered too fast and breached an agreement with other manufacturers within the GM group to avoid building performance cars.

Regardless of that, a handful of the cars were built and Pontiac salesman drove them around to test public reaction.  They got 5,000 orders.

Once the board at General Motors found out, the GTO was born.

The popularity of the car encouraged the company to transform itself into a performance brand.

Alongside the GTO the company developed the Grand Prix and the Firebird during the 1960s, all of them muscle cars.

The demise of Pontiac is a clue… the end of a wasteful non sustainable way… plus it’s part of  this economic slowdown that signals huge socio-economic changes.

The global financial correction has pushed equity markets down everywhere and ended as time Magazine puts it, “the end of excess”.

American society revered big. Bigger was better. The more one had… the bigger the house… the faster the car… the greater the consumption… the more a consumer was respected.

Perhaps no more.  Now being environmentally sensitive is cool.

This creates a distortion because green shares have been especially hard hit.

There is a reason for this.  A USA Today article entitled “Going green can cost too much green” by Alan Gomez may help explain why.

Here are excerpts from this article:

Going green isn’t easy, especially during a recession.

For two years, the city of Durango, Colo., bought electricity for all its government buildings from wind farms. The City Council ended that program this year, reverting to electricity derived from coal-burning plants and saving the cash-strapped city about $45,000.

“It’s very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said. “Those are the tradeoffs you have to face.”

Across the country, government agencies are either cutting or shrinking programs that use or fund renewable energy projects. Green power — from wind farms, solar power or other renewable energy sources — remains more expensive than traditional power sources.

As budgets shrink, some people have had to scale back their green ambitions.
Pennsylvania passed a comprehensive energy plan last July that included a $100 million program to encourage people to invest in solar energy. The Pennsylvania Sunshine Program would provide reimbursements to homeowners and small business owners who installed solar electric and solar hot water projects.
The program has yet to begin, and the state will start with only $30 million in grants, according to Scott Dunkelberger, executive director of the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which administers the funding of Pennsylvania’s economic development programs. “We just want to take on the debt that we need,” he said.
That has left some in Pennsylvania waiting.

Buyers and investors have been backing off green because of short term financial concerns. Yet the huge long term problems of sustainability have not been resolved. Driving old Pontiacs might be cheaper in the short run then building new energy efficient cars… but returning to “Gitiup Little GTO” will not solve the problem’s of the high energy costs that those dual quads consume nor deal with the pollution coming from the twin exhausts.

Wise investors with a medium and long term view can gain extra value by investing in the value created by distortions in green shares that are vital to society in the long term… but depressed more than the norm right now due to short term economic concerns.

One example of this is that a no car trend is also growing. Excerpts from A New York Times article entitled “In German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars”
by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

VAUBAN, Germany — Residents of this upscale community are suburban pioneers, going where few soccer moms or commuting executives have ever gone before: they have given up their cars.

Street parking, driveways and home garages are generally forbidden in this experimental new district on the outskirts of Freiburg, near the French and Swiss borders. Vauban’s streets are completely “car-free” — except the main thoroughfare, where the tram to downtown Freiburg runs, and a few streets on one edge of the community. Car ownership is allowed, but there are only two places to park — large garages at the edge of the development, where a car-owner buys a space, for $40,000, along with a home.

Ecuador Cars

Ecuador has some green potential in this way because Ecuador has a great import law for cars.  You cannot import used cars to Ecuador.  You can only import new cars only…ie. in 2009 a 2008 or newer.  This helps keep junkers, gas guzzlers and smokey, old wrecks off the road.

Merri and I encourage people to forget the car in Ecuador… for several reasons.

First, it is a hassle.

Second, the taxes are  high for imported vehicles. The norm for taxes for a regular car is near 50% and as the price of the car rises…so does the percentage of tax.  Cars over $100,000 have a 100% tax.

Third, hiring a car with driver (this what Merri and I do) is really inexpensive. Cars used for commerce (i,e. taxis) can be imported into Ecuador tax free. Gas is cheap (about $1.50 a gallon) and drivers do not earn a lot.  These facts often make it cheaper to hire a car with driver than to own a car.

Using a car and driver avoids getting lost.  You eliminate the legal hassle of fender benders and provide employment. Very few of the many people I know who have moved to Ecuador have a car.

Learn more about Ecuador cars at Driving in Ecuador

Owning one’s car is ingrained in the North American mentality. I am reminded of this every time I drive through a city during commuter hours. There are miles upon miles of individuals each sitting in one car.

I understand this… the minute I turned 16  I had to get a car… a big one that was fast.

That mindset was an error that the world (and many individual budgets) can no longer afford… so say bye bye Miss American Pie and so long Little GTO.  Invest in green and when possible do what you can to eliminate one person… one car.

Gary

Learn more about green investing at our upcoming International investing and business courses.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

You can read the entire article “Going green can cost too much green” at www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2009-05-03-greencities_N.htm

You can read the entire article German Suburb, Life Goes On Without Cars at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/science/earth/12suburb.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

Cotacachi Real Estate Rejuvenation


Cotacachi real estate rejuvenation is a great way to profit.

However at times international investments may not seem as safe or hospitable and we may cut our losses too soon. Learn why here to be thankful that we can invest in Cotacachi real estate here.

Here is a humorous story that’s very funny in a way but contains a serious message about why we should always be thankful for what we have.

This story compels me to tell it but as you will see the picture is sort of embarrassing.

There’s a laugh and I hope a powerful message. I missed perhaps the biggest (I mean huge) financial opportunity ever given to me by selling too soon.

Below are some shots of a Barro Viejo renovation of Cotacachi real estate.

Here’s the TV room of the renovation.

First the story.

I spent a lot of time in the 1970s in Hong Kong . While there one of the businessmen I met a man that had a neat little business selling 1 square inch pieces of China . He provided officials deeds all wrapped up in neat little cardboard tubes. Back then China was the bad guy and the idea of owning a piece of this action appealed to tourist. I guess.

Anyway about a decade later I found myself living in London . This is where a little synchronicity comes in because as I scanned this photo I noticed the date it was taken on the back, 24 May 1978, almost exactly ten years after my first trip. The month of May must mean something for me.

I had nice offices in Artillery Row very near Buckingham Palace . They were expensive and business was slow. I was stressed to pay the rent and such. One venture I set up to make money was with a friend (Peter Warner). We started a business because a celebrity had died and we somehow thought the idea of selling square inches of his home would make some sort of sense. We tied up a piece of property in the celebrity’s estate and turned on the publicity machine to let people know that were selling these inches land. We charged one British Pound per square inch.

Our publicity efforts worked right away. The Daily Express came out and took this photo. They brought silly hats and cigars to make us look like cowboys or something. I guess they viewed the celebrity as a cowboy because he came from the south of the US . It’s odd how various cultures perceive one another. Of course the Daily Express is not what you would call understated either. They call themselves the greatest newspaper in the world too this very day. 

Anyway the next day this lovely picture appeared on the front page of the Daily Express telling all about our amazing venture.

I’ll leave you to guess which one is me.

Fantastic, we thought as we sat back and waited for the money to flow in. Was I thankful for this early start? Not a bit. Disappointed is a better word. No calls came. No business resulted except another reporter called examining us about whether taking those pounds out of the country violated exchange control regulations in place at that time.

What a let down. I had held such high expectations of immediate success. So rather than let this be a valued experience and a start to build on I abandoned the project and let my claim on the real estate go.

Probably a good thing as well. No one can make money selling square inches of land. Right?

Perhaps. That is what I convinced myself. But the land did become worth something. The celebrity who had recently died was Elvis Presley and the land we had a claim on, to sell square inches, was a property that at that time no one quite knew what to do with. It was for sale cheap and was called Graceland. Its still called that but its not cheap anymore.

The moral is clear. At times we are given something of such huge abundance that we cannot even imagine. Yet we can get so wrapped up in petty concerns that we forget to see the potential.

If events do not proceed exactly as we expect, (do they ever really) we become frustrated, discouraged and all too often quit rather than look at every aspect of the gift that providence provides.

This Graceland story is a great gift to me for two reasons. First had I held onto that land and made a huge amount of money back then at that young age, chances are I would have entered into a self destruct mode. Second, as it was this gift become the lesson, recalled every time someone mentions the King.

Rumors are still that he’s alive and well in Detroit.

I am thankful for that valuable lesson, for you, and for this opportunity to share.

Gary

P.S. Learn how to see the Cotacachi real estate Ecuador information tours.

We’ll view Cotacachi real estate like this Barro Viejo Cotacachi rejuvenation.

This is an interior shot of a 5,000 square foot Barro Viejo renovation just down the street from our hotel in Cotacachi.

Here is the kitchen of the same renovation

Cotacachi Spa & Ecuador Web Business


Cotacachi’s (perhaps Ecuador’s)  most famous spa is La Mirage and seeing it could help you own your own Ecuador business.

cotacachi-spa

In a moment, there is a link to some great shots of La Mirage by Todd Smith.

However it is Todd’s success with his web business after attending our course that I want to share.

The global economy is going though a much needed cleanse.    A recent USA Today article reports that census numbers show that a record one in nine U.S. housing units are vacant, including about 3% of owned homes. The Mortgage Bankers Association says more than 2 million homeowners faced foreclosure last year. The median sales price dropped 12%, according to the National Association of Realtors — far more in parts of Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan.

This inventory is delaying any kind of housing recovery and will dampen the job market for some time.  This is especially true because of the lack of demand.

One in nine means that 14 million housing units are vacant. USA Today says: That number does not include an estimated 4.8 million seasonal or vacation homes, most of which are occupied part of the year. The combined vacancy rate of almost 15% is higher than during previous recessions: 11% in 1991 and 9.4% in 1984.

• About 3% of owned homes are vacant. In normal times, “maybe 1% should be vacant.”

This means we should not expect to see any economic recovery soon.

A recent New York Times article entitled “U.S. Is Pressed to Add Billions to Bailouts”  by Edmund L. Andrews, Andrew Ross Sorkin  and Mary Williams Walsh says:  The government faced mounting pressure on Monday to put billions more in some of the nation’s biggest banks, two of the biggest automakers and the biggest insurance company, despite the billions it has already committed to rescuing them.

The government’s boldest rescue to date, its $150 billion commitment for the insurance giant American International Group, is foundering. A.I.G. indicated on Monday it was now negotiating for tens of billions of dollars in additional assistance as losses have mounted.

Separately, the Obama administration confirmed it was in discussions to aid Citigroup, the recipient of $45 billion so far, that could raise the government’s stake in the banking company to as much as 40 percent.

The Treasury Department named a special adviser to work with General Motors and Chrysler, two of Detroit’s biggest automakers, which are seeking $22 billion on top of the $17 billion already granted to them.

All these companies’ mushrooming needs reflect just how hard it is to stanch the flow of losses as the economy deteriorates. Even though the government’s finances are being stretched — and still more aid might be needed in the future — it is being forced to fill the growing holes in the finances of these companies out of fear that the demise of an important company could set off a chain reaction.

This means the government is creatng more money then it has and we are likely to see inflation.

So what can we do?

One is buy real estate in California, Florida and some of the other hard hit states. There will be real bargains.  Merri are headed to Florida as fast as soon as we wrap up our March tours in Ecuador.

Start our own business. No other time offers such great opportunity. The old boys network is slashed. Big business cannot compete and labor has not been so abundant in decades.

This is why Todd Smith sets such a great example.

Todd attended one of our courses on how to self publish and has developed a growing, thriving internet business.

See Todd’s latest emailed message about La Mirage here.

Here are two important points about Todd’ success.

First he already had a successful wedding photography business. However hat type of business did not have the upside potential nor offer the freedom he desired.

Second he was not enjoying the business. The hours and the types of photography did not fit Todd’s desires.  He had a passion to earn in a different type of  photography.

So he turned his passion into profit!

Due to numerous successes like Todd’s and because of  the ideal business conditions created by the economic correction, I have developed a new course... The Tangled Webs We Weave…A Web Based  Business Course

Enroll here $299

You own web business provides enormous freedom.  You can like anywhere you desire…  a Cotacachi business is great. This is a quiet peaceful place without much crime, noise or pollution.    Merri and I  have have a web business that works in Cotacachi, the Blue Ridge of North Carolina or anywhere we choose in the world?

The reason we can have this freedom in business is passion.

I am one of the luckiest guys in the world because my children are continually doing things that I learn from.  This allows me to be a bragging dad and actually share a worthwhile point in the process.

For example Merri and I recently were reminded of the most important secret of business success from our youngest daughter, Eleanor.   Here is a shot of Merri and me riding the Virgina Creeper Trail last summer with Ele.

Cotacachi-business

Eleanor is just 27 but has already built a very successful London based business that not only provides her a six figure income, but gives her the freedom to travel the world.  This last year, she visited us twice in the US plus spent time in China  enjoying the Olympics and made numerous other trips.  She has over four months of each year to travel wherever she desires…and earn as she goes.

While she was last with us, we had a great deal of time to talk and she surprised me by sharing a valuable lessons about business.

The first lesson came when she was telling me about her latest efforts at getting some of her students auditions and roles in London West End shows.  Ele started as an entrepreneur early. She owns a performing arts school in London that teaches dancing,  drama and singing.  Here are some of her students in the production of Aladdin they are currently performing.

New-year-economic-lesson

Ele’s school is a franchised operation…one of about 600.  She is one of the youngest owners yet has one of the top ten busiest schools.

One reason for her success is the enormous energy and passion she puts into her business.  Another reason for  her success is she has a growing reputation for getting her students professional roles in the London theater.

She currently has eight of her students working in London’s West End.

Two are in the Sound of Music at the London Palladium on Argyll Street.

Two are in Rodger and Hammerstein’s Carousel at the Savoy on the Strand.

One is  in Disney’s  Lion King, at the Lyceum Theatre on Wellington Street.

One is in Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue.

I was a bit surprised at this success and asked her “what is your trick”.  She replied:

“This is very simple.  I give the children who have extra talent free lessons. I bring them to my home and work with them there.”

When I questioned the wisdom of giving away her services as being part of a good business model, she replied:

“This is not about the money, Dad. The thrill of hearing those kids when they call me and tell  they were selected is worth every minute I put into this. I love those calls so much,  I am happy to devote my time and effort.”

This is the secret. Do what you love and figure out how to make money in the process.

In Ele’s case, she has profited indirectly…but the profit is not the purpose.  This is a matter of fulfillment and of the heart.

This has always been an important idea, but grows in importance now.  Our message about the upcoming 2011 disaster showed an economic distortion that is so grave it will force many of us to continue working… or  to work more then expected or… to start working for oneself when an existing job is eliminated.

This problem is so acute and the importance of having more people do what they love is so vital that we have decided to write a new course…on how to develop your own international internet business.

I have now started this course and before I launch it to the public want to make a special offer…that gives you this course free…or more.

Years ago, Merri and I  had 23,000 print readers…micro sized in publishing terms….but very, very profitable for us.  We made millions from this business.  We believe that in this rapidly changing world…small is beautiful.

When money stopped mattering as much, our children were grown, finished with university, we sold our print business and took a year off…lived with a shaman high in the Andes.

Then we morphed into an internet only business.  Our readership began small, with  about 1,600 email readers.  We expected to slow down and smell the roses more.  We even bought an isolated hacienda high in the Andes called Rosaspamba (Place of roses).

As crazy as it seems, we could actually run a business with this small readership and make a profit because our readers are so wonderfully responsive.

Why?  How?

This is what the new course I am creating will teach you….how to have a small, safe, profitable global internet business by creating wonderfully response, fun to be with, like-minded customers.

How small?

Today, our business remains micro sized but we have grown from 1,600 readers to four  main subscription lists consisting of 16,782 subscribers.

How safe?

The downturn of 2008 has not slowed us a bit.   In fact we  are growing faster, in number of subscribers and income, than ever.   December 2008 was our busiest month on the internet ever…by about 50%! January and February 2009 were up 226% over January and February of 2008.  This March we have almost surpassed March 2008 sales in the first ten days.

This is all at  a time when many say the world is economically depressed. Yet our sales are way up and growing almost every month.

How profitable?

Our list and sales are still tiny compared to many of our competitors and associates who make millions a month.   We make tens of thousands…sometimes hundreds.

Yet we have been able to add this extra income with a surprisingly small amount of added overheads.  This number works perfectly for Merri and me…a fun sized readership. In our opinion, this should be the key in business… satisfaction… fulfillment and fun…through service along with the profit.

Yet, profits do matter. Almost every month our internet sales have been rising. In 2008 they rose nearly every month and created a new record for web based sales for us.

These internet sales alone have given us the freedom to live in an isolated Blue Ridge farm during summers and in Ecuador the rest of the year…yet still earn many tens of thousands of extra dollars a month.

Now you can learn everything I do to create this extra income and have fun and fulfillment in a micro publishing business.

The syllabus of this course will help you learn how to find something that is fun, fulfilling and profitable for you to do.

Our growing income is one reason I have decided to create this course.

Second, the economic downturn of 2008 means that more of my readers will need a new way to earn in the years ahead.

Yet the third reason was the straw that made me decide to do this….my webmaster who helped me start this site agreed to co-write the course with me. Merri and I explain what we do in the business.  The writing…the marketing…the product planning and such.   Our webmaster outlines the technical part. How to chose a server…set up a shopping cart…create pay per click systems…send thousands of emails a day.

Though we like to remain small, this does not mean all of our students will.  Our webmaster started with us first but since has grown to be the chief internet consultant for several much larger internet marketing companies that send over a billion emails a year!

We are explaining in the course in detail as we develop it over this year…what I will share and what my webmaster will share as well…how the course will help you.  We are at chapter eight now and I honestly do not know everything what will be in the course.

Previous courses have always evolved as they are written because of the questions that are asked as the lessons are sent.

This is why I want to offer this emailed course (which has not yet be written) now so you can grow with the course as it evolves.

Here is a  special offer.

This new course entitled “Tangled Webs We Weave – How to Have Your Own Internet Business” is available at $299.

This is a bargain. Merri and I have been traveling and doing international business for 41 years. We have had a web based business for over ten years. You can share everything we have learned for just $299.

Plus we provide our standard full guarantee. Enroll.  Try the course for 30 days. If not satisfied we’ll give you an immediate, full… no fuss refund.

However if you sign up for any three of our in person courses below, you can have The Tangled Web course free.

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

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

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour
June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course
Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

Enroll in Tangled Web here $299

To enroll in three courses click here.   I will automatically send you the free Tangled Web course when you enroll. You save $299 more.

Got Miles?


Ecuador travel costs can really be low if you have got miles!

Merri and I both took our first international flight in 1968. Since then, we have both travelled more than a million miles and have learned a lot about getting the best air deals.

Merri is the grand master at finding low cost..comfortable deals. For example you’ll see below she recently brought our son from London England to Charlotte North Carolina  for $17.85…including tax…round trip!

Merri writes:

Got Miles?

By Merri Scott

ecuador-air-travel

In the past, buying airline tickets and trying to use miles for airline awards has been a tricky,  mind blowing, frustrating experience.

Today, I find it easy and sometimes even fun!

Gary and I crossed the Atlantic every three weeks year in and year out, and hosted seminars all over the US and the globe…so I’ve been at this business for more years than I care to remember!

Back in the 80s in London, we had a way out Greek travel agent…he once sold us a huge packet of tickets for a string of one day conferences all over the US…Gary loved the price!

But, when I looked at the schedule, well, every other day, we had to return to Detroit…it was LA back to Detroit, then San Francisco back to Detroit, Cincinnati back to Detroit, Chicago, back to Detroit…it was cheap, yes but so horrible that on the last segment as we returned one more time to Detroit, we burst out laughing.

From that day forward, I pay attention before I buy.

Each flight is important and I look at the total number of hours for a trip not just the price.

The Internet has revolutionized ticketing.  It is kind of fun on www.kayak.com because they instantly show the number of hours for the duration of each flight.  I look at this before I even look at the price. Very important.

But today, I was searching and researching.  I saw for  a friend a flight to Quito from an airport only 40 minutes away from her usual departure point and saved her $400.  You can do a lot of fiddling with the help of websites.

For instance, the calendar pops up on Kayak and lets you see which is the cheapest fare for which day…sometimes all of us can be flexible and when we can…well today for Atlanta to Quito it varied over $300 from day to day…very interesting, quick and easy to spot.

“But Miles, how about miles?” Gary asked.  “How easy are they to redeem in this market?”

Miles are far, far easier than in the past. It used to be a weary chore with a representative on the phone for hours asking “What about this date, what about that date, how does Thursday look instead of Friday?”  Today, it’s down right easy…and all spelled out on most sites with a calendar….you can spot the best deals quick and easy.

First of all, we don’t ever use miles for ourselves
.  We try to make our trips tax deductible events so we use our miles for our kids.  Also if miles are used for ourselves, it messes up our elite rank.  We’re not much for being elitists, but believe me our travel weary bodies dearly love to be upgraded, spread out, relaxed and able to breathe better in business or first class!

For instance, miles on Delta.  It is wonderfully simple…just hit the key on the search for reservations.  (Always if it is possible on your upcoming trip, check the flexibility box for dates…this can help in lowering the number of miles needed.)

I know an awful lot of people with a great accumulation of Delta miles…us included.  When good ol’ Pan Am went out, Gary and I had over 250,000 miles each.  We gnashed our teeth for a few weeks, only to be surprised that Delta sent a notice that they would gladly honor our miles.  Ah, we swooned and have been loyal for years.

One trouble with all these miles, often there is a black out date or some sort of restriction.

You can beat these problems with one simple step. Just do this, (if it is Delta miles) upgrade yourself (or use the card if you already have it) to a Gold and/or Platinum Delta Miles Amex card.  You’ll get a double bonus, earn a bunch of miles as well as get bonus miles for each segment PLUS (and this is a big one) have an automatic key on your delta.com account site. This key is PAY WITH MILES.

You are allowed to pay with miles, money and/or any combination.

Two weeks ago, I bought our darling grandson and his mother a last minute expensive ticket to a holiday event…$20 for the two of them.  How? Well, I signed on to Gary’s delta.com account.  (He’s a platinum and I’m only a gold!)  Those little precious 3 words “Pay With Miles” popped up.

I didn’t need permission on the phone, I could instantly and easily scroll down,  choose the number of miles and presto…$20 bucks.  “Quick, buy those tickets”, I thought.

Our son came from London for the month in August…and at the last minute…so I perused all the flights/deals and then went to Gary’s account…and those same 3 little words gave me a round trip ticket from London to Charlotte for $17.85…inlcuding tax!

If you use just award tickets, you might be surprised to see an awfully high surcharge as a tax…but these little “pay for miles” don’t have those huge add ons…plus no black outs…just scroll down, click, buy and you got it.

I like this a lot.

For Amercian Airlines, I don’t see any of these options, but I do see a clear cut easy way of judging the amount needed for an award ticket by the days of the month (outbound and return) clearly shown on the calendar.  You can see availability and the number of miles required.

I also like this a lot.

Click on the lowest mile day and just buy.

Got Miles?  Use them.  Head out of the winter weather for the Land of the Sun, Ecuador!

Merri

Got miles?  Use them to join Merri and me for a course or tour in Ecuador this winter.

Join us in Cotacachi.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Enjoy our chef ad we help at times) 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

Or join us on the coast.

Ecuador beach

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

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 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.

More Multi Currency Terror



A recent message was about perceptions and terror and how understanding perceptions could help us be better multi currency investors.

You can read this message at Ecuador Perceptions.

Many readers enjoyed the thought.

One reader wrote:

“Good Morning, Gary, Good thoughts clearly stated, couldn’t agree more. Thanks. Steve”

Another said:

“In reference to your newsletter I cannot agree more about investing in what is perceived by the masses as ‘risky places’. Especially with this market turmoil everyone is scared about credit crises, bank failure, socialist and communist philosophy, and whatever is the problem of the day. Problems are big today, therefore you can buy a home in California (San Diego Area) for $400,000 when the same home was sold in 2005 for $750,000. Average Detroit homes are going for $20,000, yes twenty thousand dollars! Buy low sell high. Dario”

Yet another reader proved the point of the message when he wrote:

“Take me off your mailing list, These emails have become a comfortable reminder of a world I once knew and I actually was planning on attending one of your functions. I have listening with some patience to your gnashing of teeth at the Bush government’s actions and various defenses of left-wing – yes, leftwing – causes, and I’ve had enough. I’m a PhD in the field of International relations, so I know a little of the subject at hand, and I simply can’t stomach any longer your false moralizing over the actions and resultant systemic structures that allow you to be who you are – a capitalist. You have made your fortune precisely because of a system held in place by the actions of a US hegemon, and I shudder to think how you would be treated in Equador or anywhere else if you did not have the most benign imperium the world has ever seen virtually next door to you. I don’t know how this escaped you over the years of your life, but international relations based on flower power and smiles don’t work and never have, mythologies about Ghandi notwithstanding. Scott”

This is exactly the proof of the pudding. The message was not defending left wing policies at all. In fact the message was about looking for good capitalistic fundamentals in places that could be perceived as left wing…such as London under red Ken and Hong Kong under a communist treat.

The reader above shows us how the majority are so caught in their perceptions, like deer in a spotlight, that they cannot even move. This reader did even worse than shoot the messenger. He shot the messenger that was essentially bringing him good news because his perceptions so clouded his view.

So I repeat the message: Look beyond perceptions at the realities. Ignore the noise in the daily media and do not trust the manipulation of information by governments.

Look at underlying economic realities. These,not headline stories designed to sell newspapers, are the forces that move what move the world!

Gary

join us October 3-5 for the Blue Ridge leaf change.

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina

samari

Ride around the farm with us.

Or enjoy one of our courses or tours in Ecuador

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour

Ecuador-Cosatal-view

See $79,000 condos at this clubhouse.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

spanish-course-coffee-break

Let our wonderful staff in Cotacachi take care of you.
Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Ecuador-acreage-for-sale

See this 150 acre property with two houses for sale at $50,000.

Ecuador Import Export Course

Dozens-of-roses

Learn how to import roses, textiles and much more.

International Investing and Business Made
EZ Ecuador

See discounts for attending more than
one course.