Tag Archive | "Florida"

Ecuador & Bank Privacy


Bank privacy no longer exists. Some years ago I wrote about the insidious tactics that the US and other governments have used to erode financial privacy and personal liberty and pointed out that the problem is that the government does not attack the individual but puts the pressure on the overseas financial institutions. The current additional move by the US government to collect tax is just one more small step.

The quote above might make it seem like I was years ahead of the curve writing about the loss of privacy some years ago.

Actually I was way ahead of the curve because that quote comes from one of the earlier articles posted at this site on July  13, 2000. See that July 2000 article.

However,  may I remind you that the sunshine not only always shines somewhere, it always rises everywhere… every day!

Yesterday’s message looked at Ecuador sunrises and sunsets.

The sun also rises here in the USA.  I took these shots at our farm and…

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and near the farm on the way to the Farmer’s Market.

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Glorious.

We live in a quantum world.  Those earthly laws that Newton so accurately described really do seem to work with apples… yet science suggests that our world is not so predictable… every moment… every place contains infinite potentiality for change… something different… something new… something good… or bad.

There are wonderful aspects of living in most places. This is why Merri and I live in Florida, the Blue Ridge and Ecuador.

This is why I have been warning readers since the 1980s to never… ever… hide wealth.  Use legal means of attaining privacy.

These warnings have related mostly to Americans, British and Germans.  These have been the most determined and aggressive taxing authorities.

These warnings have been is a good thing too.  Here is one reason why.

A June 17, 2009 New York Times article entitled E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress shows even deeper concern, explains how bank privacy is really dead.   An excerpt from this article (a link to the entire article is at the end of this message) says:.

The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.

The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.

Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.

In short not only is bank privacy dead… privacy is dead… morte… gone…finito.

These warnings seem to include Ecuador as well.

Two recent messages, one Ecuador & Banking about new Ecuador financial reporting regulations, and the other Ecuador & Social Security US Social Security regulations relating to those who live and work abroad.

These messages evoked a number of responses from readers asking “How would Ecuador’s tax man know what wealth I have abroad?” and  “How would the Social Security administration know  if I earn in Ecuador?”

My reply is “I do not know how they would know… but I do not do it and do not recommend this because one never knows what will happen!”

There are so many ways the future could be revealed us… but let me give you a clue of just one example where someone hiding wealth could be caught.

My last two Ecuador Living updates outlined details about Ecuador Bank ATM fraud where over 40 people had their accounts cleaned out and how the Ecuador banks immediately made the losses good.   See these updates as an Ecuador Living subscriber.

If there was a cooperation between US and Ecuador authorities investigating this fraud… details of earnings in Ecuador could end up in the US (including SS admin) and details of US wealth could end up in the hands of Ecuador authorities.

We are in a new era of privacy that I have watched unfold during 41 years of doing international investing and business.   Half a decade ago, this site sent this warning in an article The Ultimate Form of Financial Privacy

One should not hide money abroad and rely on bank privacy to protect them. Forget about government attacks. These are bad enough but I cannot begin to tell you the horror stories I have crossed in the past three decades in which bank privacy was blown by bank errors. For example, a London bank mistakenly mailed me the secret bank account of an Iranian diplomat who was hiding money in London. A Viennese banker inadvertently faxed me four pages of private information that could have put several people in serious trouble.  Even a Swiss banker once left his client list with names, addressees and account numbers laying on a table at a seminar were I was speaking with him!

In addition to the onslaught of governments to reduce privacy, there are just too many ways for your wealth to be revealed to use secrecy as a wealth protection tool.

Look for legal ways to keep your financial affairs private instead.

This is why, our friend and attorney, Joe Cox,  joined me and Jyske Global Asset Management (JGAM)  at the recent International Investment Seminar in Naples  Florida.

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Last month Merri and I co-hosted this  seminar with JGAM. Here is Thomas Fischer opening the seminar.

This is why Ecuador’s new financial reporting law and why the overseas Social Security regulations do not bother me much. This is just one more issue to deal with in an increasingly crowded and complicated world.

So let me reiterate what I have been writing for decades.

Bank privacy is dead.  Do not try to hide money.  Use as many legal tactics as you can to preserve your wealth…always keep it legal. This is a never ending game and the opponent… taxation authorities play hardball and they play rough.

Here are three valuable contacts who can help you maintain legal bank privacy.

Joe Cox, our friend and US attorney.

Floridalva Zambrano, our friend and Ecuador attorney.

Thomas Fischer, our friend and overseas banker.

You can get more information direct:

Joe Cox: jcox@coxnici.com

Copy Joe Cox’s  assistant April Barza to arrange a free conference call. abarza@coxnici.com

Floridavla Zambrano: FLORIFLORI58@YAHOO.ES

Thomas Fischer: fischer@jgam.com

Non US residents contact Reny Mathys instead of Thomas Fischer: mathys@jbpb.dk

These contacts know of each other and can help you create a coordinated plan between US Ecuadorian and international banking laws that maintains legal privacy and asset protection.

Plus keep your perspective. The sun shines somewhere everyday. It is the sun we should seek… not to avoid the clouds.

Merri and I love our life in the Blue Ridge… the rushing streams and…

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the spring flowers peeking into our kitchen.

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The greatest benefits to living globally  are broadened horizons… larger families, expanded experiences… deeper awareness of the infinite ways that beauty in life can unfold… not tax or privacy benefits.

We love our life in Florida here is a view from one of the houses in our house buying trip.

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Plus we love our Andean family at Meson… everyone of them.

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and the majestic mountain views from our condo there.

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And we love walking Ecuador’s broad beach at our Pamazul apartment

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We take any tax and asset protection our lifestyle brings, but the lifestyle is driven by the seeking of joy and wonderful living. The financial aspects follow.

One gains greater economic opportunity with global investing and business… bigger markets.. more distortions to see… additional trends to emerge.

Don’t diminish all the beautiful  sunshine with clouds of financial worry.

Regards,

Gary

We hope you’ll enjoy a beautiful global lifestyle with us soon in the Blue Ridge or Ecuador.

July 4-8 Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 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.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

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

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

Read the New York Times article: E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress shows even deeper concern, at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/17/us/17nsa.html

Ecuador & Internet Businesses


Ecuador is a great place to operate an internet business.

Having an internet business that lets you go anywhere… in places like this… gives great satisfaction.

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Merri and I just completed our June Shamanic Mingo Tour.   This excerpt from the latest shamanic health report I am preparing for our Ecuador Living subscribers outlines part of the tour that included a trek into this valley.

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Our delegates who joined us…

Ecuador-Business-Fulfillment met with villagers young…

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and old…

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to hike…

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into a deep canyon where…

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there are springs… rivers…

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and a grotto filled with…

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healing waters.  We hiked in to this tiny valley…

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Everyone helped everyone else…

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on the climb down.

Don Julio, a yatchak talked of the keys to good health…

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good nutrition… proper exercise and good sleep.  Then…

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many of the delegates…

Ecuador-Business-Fulfillment took a cleansing…

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The trek was enjoyed by all… the delegates…

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the young ones…

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even our mascot from the village seemed to enjoy the trek.

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You can read the entire report as an Ecuador Living subscriber.

This was an extremely fulfilling tour for Merri, me and our delegates.

The recent, global economic transformation means that the way we work, live and earn will next be the same.  The new era ahead will destroy the financial security of many,  yet bring great opportunity to a few… who adapt and learn how to earn in the new era.

We are enjoying a quantum shift and the way we work, live, invest and do business will never be as before. Many who had not planned to keep working will have to have a way to enhance their pension.  Many will need new sources of income.

One of the great things about this shift is it gives everyone the opportunity to have a business they love, as Merri and I do with these tours.

With an internet business you can do just about anything… anywhere!

Our internet business makes tours like this shamanic adventure possible… bringing dozens of like minded souls from around the world to share this wisdom of the ancients.

The greatest asset we can have in the new era is an ability to serve… to produce a product or service that adapts to the changing ways.  An internet business lets us do this.

A recent special report in Time magazine entitled “The Way We’ll Work” explained this financial dilemma in this way:

Ten years ago, Facebook didn’t exist. Ten years before that, we didn’t have the Web.  So who knows what jobs will be born a decade from now? Though unemployment is at a 25‑year high, work will eventually return. But it won’t look the same. No one is going to pay you just to show up. We will see a more flexible, more freelance, more collaborative and far less secure work world. It will be run by a generation with new values — and women will increasingly be at the controls.

These words could not be more true.  They mean disaster for many who plan to live in the old ways. These words spell great opportunity for those who adapt and enjoy the new ways to earn and live.

Take Merri’s and my business as an example. We are both past retirement age yet continue to see our business and income grow and evolve… in truly fun and satisfying ways.   We have a business that works in Cotacachi, a small Andean village, in Florida, our home and in the Blue Ridge of North Carolina or summer place. Our business can help us earn anywhere we choose in the world.

Our website began eleven years ago as an adjunct to our print business. Today we don’t sell a single scrap of paper.

This is all possible because we have a web based business and we would like to share how you can have freedom, fulfillment and extra income with your own internet business too.

You can learn how to have your own web business from our eMailed Web Business Course… The Tangled Webs We Weave. Enroll here $299

This problem of being able to earn and enjoy the process in the new era is so acute and the importance of having more people do what they love so vital that we created this course…on how to develop your own international internet business.

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.

Yet we saw this rapidly changing economy coming… and had learned that small is beautiful.

We decided to become even smaller… but wealthier and happier!

Money had 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 in 1998.  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).

Here we are playing around building a hut at the Hacienda.

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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 16,234 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%.  Then in the six months of 2009 rose even more!

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 of dollars…sometimes hundreds of thousands each month… way more than our cost of living and we earn it in fun ways… traveling, writing… meeting interesting people.

Here I am at a recent seminar in Naples, Florida speaking, with a panel of economic excerpts from around the world, to 115 people mostly who came from our internet business.

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Here are the delegates.

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We enjoyed walking the Florida beach, talking to these wonderful people and basking in the sun.. yet were paid in two days more than most people make in a month.

Yet we have been able to add this extra income with a surprisingly small amount of added overheads.  This 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 2007, 2008 and into 2009 they have risen every month on 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 Florida and Ecuador the rest of the year…yet still earn many tens of thousands of extra dollars a month.

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Merri and I walk to our Blue Ridge office to speak with a group about how to have an internet business.

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

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Merri and I work during the winter in the sunny courtyard at the Cotacachi Andean hotel we own and keep profitable due to our internet business.

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

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We often take breaks and visit our Ecuador beach condo, where I can still work because my internet business keeps me earning wherever I am in the world.

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In the summer I can even work in the woods with our hound dog, Ma.

Our growing income is one reason I want to share this course with you.

The economic downturn of 2008 means that more of my readers will need a new way to earn in the years ahead so my webmaster who helped me start this site has agreed to co-write the course with me.

In the course 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.

The course comes is composed of three studies.

Study one of the course is a course in its own right entitled International Business Made EZ

Study two is the course Self Fulfilled How to be a Self Publisher

Study three is “The Tangled Webs We Weave” and looks at all the technical aspects of developing a web based business including:

* How to set up the website.

* How to use shopping carts.

* How to create pages.

* How to develop reader lists.

* How to create electronic products and income.

* How to get good search engine rankings. (See an excerpt on this here).

* How to gain tax advantages from an International web based business.

* How to stay small and yet create big profits.

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!

This 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.

Enroll here $299

To enroll in three courses click here.   I will automatically send you the free Tangled Web course when you enroll.

Ecuador, Organic – Cheese & Wine III


This series, on Ecuador & organic wine and cheese, shows how big problems create big opportunities.

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There is wine and cheese opportunity in Ashe County, North Carolina too…

This is the third message in this series on Ecuador and business opportunity in wine and cheese.  See the first message at Ecuador organic cheese and wine. The second article in the series is at Ecuador organic wine and cheese.

The series began with this point:

We are enjoying a quantum shift and the way we work, live, invest and do business will never be as before.

Governments globally are trying to slow this needed economic transition and their stimulation efforts will most likely cause the loss of purchasing power in most currencies… global inflation.

The best ways to gain opportunity in this scenario is to own real estate, commodities, stocks and your own business.

The greatest asset we can have in the economic era ahead is an ability to serve… to produce a product or service that adapts to the new ways.

Do what you love!

Many of us cannot stop working… by circumstance or choice so why not do something we enjoy… live a life we like that pays its way.

Here are excerpts from a USA today article “Mortgage crisis robbing seniors of golden years” by Stephanie Armour  (link to the full article is at the end of this message).

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has slashed home values and triggered an unprecedented surge in foreclosures across the nation. It’s also taking an especially harsh toll on an often overlooked demographic: seniors who are retired or nearly so.

This population is being hit on all fronts. More than 600,000 seniors are delinquent or in foreclosure, according to AARP. A separate report by AARP found that 25.5 million seniors ages 50 and older have a mortgage. Unlike younger people, many are on fixed incomes and lack the money or job opportunities to catch up on payments when they fall behind.

Even those who own their homes free and clear are finding they can’t rely on equity as a retirement nest egg because home values have dropped severely, especially in retirement-rich areas such as Florida, Nevada and California.

Some seniors who had planned to sell their homes and move into retirement communities have had to postpone their plans because they can’t afford to take a loss on the sale of their current homes. Some older homeowners had been so confident that rising home values would provide retirement wealth that they neglected to save.

Now they face their final years with a dearth of financial resources to draw on. Thirty-six percent of workers ages 55 and older say the total value of their household’s savings and investments — excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans — is less than $25,000, according to the Employee

Many others share his plight. Americans 50 and older represent nearly 30% of all delinquencies and foreclosures, according to an AARP analysis released in September.

The analysis found that more than 684,000 seniors 50 and older were delinquent on their mortgages or in foreclosure. Among those, nearly 50,000 were in foreclosure or had lost their homes.

The impact of subprime lending also has fallen disproportionately on those 50 and older.

Older Americans with subprime first mortgages — those given to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit — are nearly 17 times more likely to be in foreclosure than Americans of the same age with prime loans, according to AARP. For those under 50, the comparable multiple is about 13.

This whole group is going to be hugely dependent on Social Security, and people don’t fully appreciate the magnitude of the problem.

Many younger readers I talk with feel that this is not just a boomer problem.  The generations behind the boomers face educating their children, rising insurance and even less likelihood that Social Security will be meaningful.

Yet many readers write and say they would like a lifestyle like Merri’s and mine… cool natural life in the Blue Ridge during the summer… wonderful spring time Andean weather during the winter.

If you love wine… cheese coffee and organic, here is an idea.

Parts one and two of this series looked at ideas for organic wine and cheese in Ecuador. (The Cotacachi area has great organic coffee too.)

So does Ashe country North Carolina… and there is a special opportunity now.

Somehow through fate wherever Merri and I move… no matter how far into the wild, espresso cafes follow.  When we moved to Naples, Florida… there were none.  Then they came and we left to West Jefferson and Ashe County.  There was certainly no espresso shops there… when we arrived.

Not long after Bohemia Cafe and Art Gallery opened in town… great coffee… excellent cappuccino.   Soon after Back Street Cafe opened with an Espresso machine as well.

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However I never expected a cafe with all the accouterments of Continental coffee to reach Lansing, North Carolina. After all Lansing only has a population of 192 people.

Yet it did.   Anne’s Place.

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At Lansing’s four corners.  It’s…

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a really great continental cafe in the middle of the woods!

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Merri and I rushed in the minute it opened.. actually we were the first customers.  We were so surprised over the beauty, care and thoughtfulness of the cafe.  It rivaled anything we ever had in all our years in London!

The cafe had been opened by Anne and Haskell McQuire.   Anne and Haskel are Ashe country natives who lived all over the world during Haskel’s career in the telecommunications field.

They retired back at home in Ashe and started an organic winery and this cafe.

Now for health reasons,  Anne’s Place is for sale.

Lansing is about seven miles  from West Jefferson and 20 minutes from our farm. This is a really small mountain town and this coffee shop offers an opportunity to live in a low stress environment, with fresh air, clean water and friendly neighbors.

Anne and Haskell did a really great renovation inside and out. They replaced the roof, plumbing, electrical system, put in a new hardwood floor and restored the old tin ceiling.  They added a bathroom and painted everything top to bottom.

This is a great looking and very smart place…beautifully done.

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and we saw that soon after it opened the place was hoppin’, plus…

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There is a place to live upstairs.

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This is a nice opportunity for someone who wants to live in nature and have a small shop… but there is more.

Lansing is awakening. Other new shops are coming in and the town just received a $130,000 grant to stimulate the local economy, plus…

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The wine.

Anne and Haskel started both the coffee shop and a organic vineyard, New River Winery.

New River Winery is the first commercial winery in Ashe County, in Lansing near the headwaters of the New River, one of the oldest rivers in North America.

The winery was founded in 2005 as a cooperative venture of wine lovers with a common tie to Ashe County and the Blue Ridge High Country. Its production facility is in the historic old Lansing School.

They have a tasting outlet at Bohemia Gallery in West Jefferson.

Currently the winery procures grapes from two local sources, one of which is a certified organic farm.

Yet are we forgetting the cheese?  Not a bit.

Imagine this, Merri and I live in two really remote places.   Both have great organic wine, coffee and… yes cheese.

The winery’s second retail outlet, is Ashe Cheese Factory also in West Jefferson.

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Ashe County Cheese is North Carolina’s oldest cheese plant, and has been producing quality cheese since 1930.

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When I talked to Anne and Haskel about the coffee shop sale, I had one question… “Could Anne’s Place be a distributor for new River Winery as well?”

“Yes, of course” was the reply.

There you have it.. . ideas on business with organic coffee, cheese and wine…in Ecuador and North Carolina… deep in the woods… fresh air… pure water… agriculture and a low stress pace.

Perhaps one of these ideas will create a helpful spark in you for a lifetsyle and business you love in Ecuador, North Carolina or both!

For more information on Anne’s Place for sale contact Haskell McGuire at mcguireh@skybest.com

Gary

Join us for our upcoming courses in North Carolina and Ecuador that show ways to earn income in this new economic era. We’ll visit Anne’s Place if it has not sold by then.

Learn how to earn with exports at our July 4-8  and Oct. 21-24  on our Ecuador Export Tour

Learn how to invest and do business globally at our International Business and investing courses.  Join me with Thomas Fischer and Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management and my webmaster David Cross.

In North Carolina July 24-26 and Oct. 9-11  IBEZ North Carolina

We’ll have a New River wine tasting at Bohemia Gallery as we did last year. here are delegates at that tasting.

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Our North Carolina courses in 2009 will be conducted in the new…

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West Jefferson Hampton Inn.

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Just opening this June 2009 with very nice rooms and…

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really great…

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views. I took these from the hotel’s parking lot.

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Plus the Hampton Inn is just down the road from the Ashe County Cheese Factory, Bohemia Gallery and 20 minutes from the New River Winery and Anne’s Place.

In Ecuador Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

See  good value real estate in Ecuador.

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Delegates visit the Cotacachi Ecuador Organic cheese factory.

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

You can read the entire article Mortgage crisis robbing seniors of golden years here.

Ecuador Property Insights


Yesterday’s message looked at insights on patience and value. If  you missed that message click here.

Patience and the never ending quest for value are vital in investing and buying real estate in Ecuador or anywhere.

Value is really hard to understand in the real estate and equity market now because the bubble of 2007 created many false illusions.  This creates the need for even more patience.

The value of a house is twofold… the value of a roof overhead and the value of whatever price it can be resold.

These are unpredictable times.   Basing a potential resale on previous inflated bubble prices can be a great error.

For example,  after months of searching, Merri and I made our first offer for property in Florida.  Our offer is half the seller’s asking price.

This was really hard for me to do, but after looking at everything I had to come in with this price.  Here is the note I sent to the broker with the offer.

We appreciate your help and attach our offer for the property.

In today’s market, value is really hard to determine because of the economic instability and uncertainty of when markets will rebound. History suggests we won’t see a full recovery for six to ten years… but there is no guarantee.   Because our offer is substantially less than the asking price, I have tried to apply some logic looking at this as a value oriented investor.  So here are the seven reasons for our offer price.

First, our main goal is as investors and we expect to buy at good value. Since there is so much uncertainty we will err on the low side rather than take risk.  We are in no hurry and there are plenty of houses we have seen that we could enjoy for our winters.  If this offer does not work we have several more houses we are ready to make an offer on.    A really fair value is an important part of our offer and in this market we expect to get one.

Second, this property is valued at an even lower by eppraisal.com at realestate.yahoo.com.

Third, we offered more than the lowest appraisal.

There are two other higher internet appraisals but we have gone with the lower of the three for the reasons above and below.

Fourth, as you can see at http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Eustis-Florida/
The median sales price in Eustis has dropped over 35% in the last year and there are 496 properties for sale.

This page says:  “Average price per square foot for Eustis FL was $71, a decrease of 45.8% compared to the same period last year. The median sales price for homes in Eustis FL for Feb 09 to Apr 09 was $122,000 based on 115 home sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median home sales price decreased 35.3%, or $66,600, and the number of home sales increased 42%.

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Fifth, we are buying into a market with falling prices so prices may go even lower as you can see in the zillow.com estimate below. This chart estimates the five year value of this house.

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Sixth, we are buying into a market with a large inventory.

There are currently 496 resales and new homes in Eustis according to Trulia, including 299 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process.

All of this means that this property could be hard to sell and that any price rise could be a long period of time away.

Seventh, this offer is more than the current debt the owner holds so though it leaves them with a loss on their purchase price, it does provide a mortgage payoff and leaves them with some cash. Otherwise they could be holding this property, and all the expenses,  for quite some time.  In a year’s time the property could still be unsold with a lower value and the owners would have had to outlay more in cash.

This places the sellers’ (who bought in 2004) position in a better circumstance compared to having invested in the Dow Jones Industrial Index.
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As the chart from finance.yahoo below shows had they invested in the Dow instead of the house in 2004 the index was 10,410 then.  The Dow rose to 14,093 by late 2007.  Had they sold then in 2007 they would have gained a 40% profit. Then within a year the index fell to 6,626, 36% below the 2004 level.  A 36% loss in the Dow instead of real estate their investment would be worse then the loss they will take if they sell at the price I am offering.

This stock market comparison is important. As an investor, I have a choice. I can buy property or equities.  If I buy equities they are about 50% less than they were and they are mostly lower than five years ago. 

Now we will be patient.

Before I made the offer, I reviewed the deal with a close friend who has been a real estate broker and developer for many years.

He wrote something worth reading:

“Gary, As a realtor, I rarely find a fellow realtor who has good appraisal methods. The research and valuation methods you have employed in your study are in the 98th percentile of methods used by professional realtors.

If a seller wants to sell, there are three things that do not affect the selling price: (1)What they paid, (2)What they owe, and (3)What they want. Try to explain this to a seller though.

Please stick to your guns because as you pointed out, this is a buyer’s market. Don’t get emotionally attached.  The key is to be ready to offer on numerous properties. As you evidently are. Sometimes walking away and coming back a few weeks later puts the seller in a different frame of mind. Sometimes another property is waiting around the corner.

It is always a good idea to have a neutral party representing the transaction, if not an agent representing your interests only.

Make sure that you choose the title company, not the selling party. This will avoid many conflicts of interest.  Any deposit money should be held in escrow at that title insurance company. Do not give earnest money to any other party. Never give any money directly to the homeowner, no matter what they might request in the contract. Real estate companies should not hold the deposit money because I have seen them try to get a piece of the leftovers if a transaction fails to close. Oftentimes it is not their fault that a transaction does not close. They figure they have already done their work. They still want their fees. Don’t let that become your problem.

Whoever gets the deposit money, ask them specifically if they have any fees due if the transaction does not close. Ask what those fees are. Neither me nor any of my clients have ever paid a fee if the transaction does not close.

This is good advice when you buy property in the USA, Ecuador or anywhere!

Gary

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

July 3-6 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

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it is in a quiet place and it has a garden directly below the house.

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Here are Ecuador real estate tour delegates checking the house.

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We also look at property around Lake Quicocha for sale.

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July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

Buying Tickets To Ecuador


Buying Tickets To Ecuador

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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quaint villages like… Cotacachi shown here.

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

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

Here it is:

Buying Air Tickets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.    Don’t buy months out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merri

Click here for Part Two on Buying Tickets to Ecuador

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

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

Learn About Ecuador & Speak Spanish in Three Days

learnspanish

Learn Spanish in Three Days ONLINE

Instant $110 discount on the course!

The “Learn Spanish in Three Day Course” is now available online.

Read below to see why we are offering our Super Spanish course online for the first time.

Speaking Spanish is a huge benefit on its own.  You can become one of the rare North Americans who can get along in Spanish speaking countries.  You can be one of the special people who can communicate with 10 million non-English speakers in the USA.  Spanish is the second most used language in the USA.  There are more Spanish speakers than speakers of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and the Native American languages combined.  According to the Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language of nearly 50 million people in the US.  This is the largest Spanish-speaking community outside of Mexico. Only half of these speakers also speak English “very well,” and 19% do not speak Spanish at all.

You can tap into all this potential when you speak Spanish.  Yet there are more benefits.

An article in England’s leading newspaper, the Telegraph, entitled “Why learn a foreign language? Benefits of bilingualism” (1) sum up the biggest benefit of learning a second language and increased intelligence.  The article says: “Learning a foreign language is more than just a boost to your CV or handy for traveling.  It will make you smarter, more decisive and even better at English.  Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process.  The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits.”

The article then explains studies that show seven cognitive advantages gained from learning a foreign language.

#1:  You become smarter
#2:  You build multitasking skills
#3:  You stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia
#4:  Your memory improves
#5:  You become more perceptive
#6:  Your decision-making skills improve
#7:  You improve your English

Does it sound impossible to learn Spanish in three days?  Yes, it is impossible when you try to learn Spanish in the old, traditional way.

Though you may choose to take more time using this course to learn Spanish, thousands of our readers have learned at our Spanish courses.

There is a scientific method of learning… proven and described in numerous best selling books that create educational jumps by making education natural, easy and fun.   This course works because it is education without stress!

This method was created and refined by the Bulgarian educational master, Georgi Lozanov, who transformed the entire Soviet educational system to such a degree that this third world country beat the USA into space.

Merri was lucky to be one of a handful of students outside of Bulgaria who were allowed to be taught this system in the early 70s.  She practiced this unique and remarkable form of education for  four decades. It was a delight!

Merri and I began integrating these techniques with other shamanic and educational tactics we had gained in our global travels and then applied them to teach Spanish in three days.

The course has been proven again and again by the thousands who have used this system.  You can read a few of the many raves we have received from delegates who have learned from the Super Thinking Spanish course we created.

Here are a few quotes from delegates of the course.

One delegate from St. Louis wrote:  Hi Gary,  Just ended forty-five years in dentistry last week, and I’m on to a new career.  What is my new career?  Still formulating, but the eye -opening,mind expanding Super-Spanish course last weekend in St. Louis surely shows me the opportunity exists to expand my horizons.

Besides having a lot of nice people to learn our new language; the methods Merri and you developed proved to be just what you said they would be.  We all and I in particular relaxed our way to new learning.  I feel so very comfortable with the basis of my new language skills that I know I will be spitting out great Spanish sentences by the time I reach Ecuador in October.  Last year I spent six weeks in Ecuador and now I plan on conversing with the people.

Today’s excerpt of your newsletter really hit home. You do what you say you will. There are no surprises or hidden sales tricks. The only tricks are beneficial to our learning.  Thank you for a wonderful experience that I was quite unable to grasp how you would pull it off.  You did, however, and I look forward to other courses that you offer, and I have absolutely no doubt they also will work beneficially.  Best regards, Denis Molloy.

Another wrote about the Super Spanish course:   Buenos Dias, here is a testimonial for Super Thinking-Super Spanish.  Please feel free to use all or part in promotions for the course.  In addition, you may give my email address to any prospect “on the fence” about enrolling.  Yesterday, in Cotacachi, Ecuador, I finished Super Spanish.  I had high expectations for the course and they were exceeded.

After three days, I can speak Spanish in complete sentences. In simple conversations, such as buying groceries or ordering a meal, I can make myself understood. I think that’s incredible!

Although I am far from the competence level of a native speaker, I feel I’ve taken a giant step forward in learning Spanish so that I can experience the people and culture of Ecuador.  The foregoing benefits would have more than justified the time and money I invested in Super Spanish.  And learning some Spanish was not the most important benefit I got from the course.

Prior to leaving the USA, I had felt for some time that the pace of life there was unhealthy for me (and for most people) and I did nothing about it.

I’ve thought about the pace issue during the course.  One of the key elements Merri Scott designed into Super Spanish is placing the student in the optimal state for learning.  In class, the past three days, I’ve been re-introduced to guided journeys and introduced to the calming effects of Baroque music (www.sundaybaroque.org).  What a blessing! I’m inclined to make one or both a daily part of my life.   Rob Christi.  Cotacachi, Ecuador

Another attendee from a course wrote:   “I took this incredible class a few weeks ago, and I would like to tell anyone that is interested, that it is an amazing three days of learning with lots of laughs included. You leave everyday wanting to learn more and are so excited to do so.

“Other Spanish classes and tutoring made us feel like it would take forever to get to the point where we could put it into practice, but this method gave us a more fluent use for everyday life almost immediately AND the confidence to use it.  It is a fantastic way to show people how much they know and give confidence to learn and use Spanish creating a momentum.

“They made learning Spanish easy and fun in a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.  I would definitely recommend this course.  Even if you know some Spanish, this helps make it easier because of the less stress that no verb conjugations gives you.  This gives you more confidence in yourself to try and speak it more.

 “The stress free atmosphere and tons of interaction and participation were very conducive to learning.  The relaxation techniques alone are worth the price.  The fact that I can now feel more comfortable conversing in Spanish with my new friends and neighbors is priceless.  Muchas, muchas gracias.”

“I loved the relaxed environment.  I picked up quite a lot of new vocabulary.  I found this course very informative about how the language works, how I can make sentences and understand others better!  Muchas Gracias!  I had a call from Telcel (the local phone company) after our second class and I was able to speak and understand them for the first time. Despacio (meaning slowly) … a great word!  Everyone should take this course before they pick up bad habits.”

“I liked how simply the course was organized and the positive attitude about learning.  Thank you so much for helping me to learn Spanish!”

“I liked the laid back yet professional approach.  I highly recommend this new, relaxing method of learning Spanish,  I feel a lot more confident in the delivery of my words and sentences. It was taught in an excellent and very professional way.

“It was a very enjoyable class.”

How The Course Works

The first tactic is to use Baroque music in the learning process.  At least three best selling books, “Superlearning”, the “Mozart Effect” and “Superlearning 2000” have revealed insights about how to learn and think more powerfully based on systems drawn from the Bulgarian educational master, Dr. Georgi Lozanov.  Merri Scott was among just a few who learned directly from Lozanov.

The second tactic uses 17 unique lessons to provide Spanish fluency in a short time.   Let me prove to you how this tactic works by teaching you hundreds of Spanish words in less than 30 seconds.

Here is the proof.

“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently.  For example action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”

There you have it.  How long did it take you to read the sentence?  You now know hundreds of Spanish words that you will never forget.

See examples of the words you already know below.

How long would have taken you to memorize all those words?  How soon would you have forgotten them?

This is just one of seventeen Spanish lessons in the course.

The next lesson teaches how to pronounce each of the nouns.

Then, the third lesson teaches almost as many verbs, almost as quickly.

The fourth lesson shows how to avoid conjugating verbs by sticking with the infinitive (far easier than it sounds).  This simple lesson leaves a person sounding like a Spanish professor without ever conjugating a verb.

Lesson five shows how to sound infinitely polite and yet get almost anything desired in Spanish.

Lesson six gives valuable connectors and the seventh lesson triples the Spanish capacity with three words for “yesterday,” “now” and “tomorrow”.

By the end of three days you feel comfortable speaking Spanish.

Plus the system is Impro-Dynamic.  This means your Spanish keeps getting better even though you do not seem to be studying… practicing… or speaking Spanish.

I was amazed by this as I traveled back and forth from the USA to Ecuador.  The longer I was away from Ecuador… the better my Spanish became.  My second language was automatically improving The self improving feature comes because you learn to create Spanish sentences rather than remember them.  The portion of the brain that creates is more powerful than the portion that recalls.  When your mind creates something… it owns it!  You do not have to remember .

During the course you learn 4005 Spanish words that you already know .  

You then learn how to create Spanish sentences from these words.

Throughout the course you learn how to pronounce the sentences you create.

When the course ends… the mind keeps working… and creating… so next time you begin to speak Spanish you’ll be surprised .  You improve even though you have not actively worked on your lingual skill.

Due to the difficulty of getting groups together to learn this valuable technique, we created an online program for subscribers to use the Super Spanish course at home.  Normally $149, this is available at the highly reduced price of $79. Simply use coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout.

I’ll be in touch personally via email with each person who signs up for this course to see how it works or what is required to make it better.  Once this test is complete, we plan to offer the program on a larger scale and at a much higher price.

The ONLINE course has our, full satisfaction or money back, guarantee.  Try Super Spanish for 60 days.  If not fully satisfied, simply let us know for a full refund.

Learn Spanish online $79 – using coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout to immediately save $110 off the regular price of $149

Here are more testimonials from previous Super Spanish Courses.

Maggie wrote: It didn’t really seem possible that we would be speaking and understanding Spanish in only 3 days but the course made it happen in a very supportive learning environment.  I would highly recommend this course for anyone wishing to learn “practical Spanish”.  The teaching methods, use of relaxation, the use of native Spanish speakers for pronunciation and the teachers themselves who were approachable and helpful and always positive made this a very valuable class.

This course improved my self confidence in my ability to learn and retain a language.  It was presented with genuine enthusiasm, great energy and the style of learning is very effective. Gracias!  It was a great experience.

Nadine wrote: “Just spent the last 3 days in the most wonderful learning environment learning Spanish.  What an amazing learning experience!!  First day out of class and I could not stop thinking in Spanish WOW!!  I am amazed by how much I learned, retained and how much more is showing up now that I am out of class.  And the best part is THERE WAS NO STUDYING!! Indeed this is Super Thinking!!!  I would highly recommend this to anyone that has ever had a desire to learn another language or learn anything in record time.

And a few days after that ….  As I went through my day, just hanging out with my son, I could see myself starting to think in Spanish.  At first I thought it was amusing but as it continued and increased I thought “My goodness this is really remarkable amazing” It was really an effortless unfolding.  I wasn’t at any point “trying” to think in Spanish, just words I knew would fly across the screen in my mind.  And then this afternoon, my son cuddled up on the couch to watch some cartoons on his ipad and was watching Peppa Pig in Spanish…hmm coincidence?  I think not, I’m radiating Spanish so much that my son is being influenced!  Thanks a million again.  This weekend the best learning experience of my life!!

If you have ever had a desire to learn Spanish this is the way to do it!  By the end of the first day I had more confidence and more practical ability than I had from any previous courses I had taken.  It was fun and relaxed and full of laughter.  You will leave this class excited to use what you have learned.  Rather than leaving overwhelmed with how much you have yet to learn and master, you are equipped with the knowledge and know how to go out and communicate as well as the excitement to do it!”

Gary noted:  “The whole approach is positive and conducive to learning at a level that benefits ALL participants.  It is not intimidating and does not set up a pass/fail atmosphere.  The presenters are terrific and the results unbelievable.  It was relaxed, informal, friendly and effective.”

Twila said:  “This class provided a very refreshing and relaxed way of learning.  The atmosphere felt very safe to say the words you were practicing.  I learned a lot in a way that will make it easy to apply.  Starting with conversation is way more fun.  How quickly you can learn!  It was a great group, great instructors and great stories.

The atmosphere in the classroom was so relaxed that learning Spanish felt like a breeze and not like a painful task.  The relaxation exercises are really conducive to language learning.  We learned A LOT in a short time and it was fun and the environment was non-threatening.”

Brigitte sent this:  “Buenos Dias, Suzanne. su clase de espanol es excelente! Muchas Gracias!  
I have already done what you suggested and went into the program listening to the music and going over the lessons.  I know: Repetition……reinforcement…..thinking in the new language….it’s all part of it.  I loved your course and will certainly recommend it to friends.  Who knows….I might feel the urge and have the opportunity to repeat it at your beautiful place in Puerto Aventuras…..Quien sabe? Hasta otro dia y saludos a su familia.”

Marie wrote:  “I would highly recommend this course.  The amount covered in 3 days is amazing!  All with no stress.  The correlation lessons and pronunciation practice has greatly reduced my anxiety to go out and use my Spanish.  I really enjoyed the whole process and thank you for the take away tools.”

Learn Spanish online $79 – using coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout to immediately save $110 off the regular price of $149

Gary

Here is the English translation of a few of the many Spanish words you now know and will never forget.  How long would it have taken you to memorize them?  How soon would you forget?

“Most words in English that end in ION are almost identical, just pronounced differently.  For example, action is accion, education-educacion, manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”

Some more of these words:  Combination, Attrition, Education, Vacation, Petition, Lotion, Motion, Construction, Abduction, Pronunciation, Concentration and a ton of others!

Learn Spanish online $79 – using coupon code SPANISH110 at checkout to immediately save $110 off the regular price of $149

(1) www.telegraph.co.uk Benefits-of-bilingualism.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ecuador Flower Longevity


Ecuador’s flower longevity is one reason why Ecuador rose and Ecuador lilies make such a great gift.

See how to order Ecuador Roses here

See how to order Ecuador Lilies here

Recently I wrote how my order of 25 Ecuador lilies actually gave us almost 100 blossoms. There are three or four blossoms on each Ecuador lily.

I arranged three full vases of Ecuador lilies. Here is one…

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two and…

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three.

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These arrangements lasted over two weeks!

Then we traveled to our daughter’s home for a visit in Florida and some of the Ecuador lilies we sent her for Easter still looked good… even though they were two weeks old.  Here they are.

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Now I have been able to see a good example of Ecuador rose longevity as well.

For Mother’s Day, I sent my mom red Ecuador roses.  They were delivered Tuesday May 5th.

Regretfully mom was then hospitalized.

We flew out to Portland May 11th.  Some of the roses had been brought along to the hospital where they did not receive any care… sitting in direct sunlight…not put in water immediately and then this was water stale.  They were almost gone.

Fortunately on May 12 we brought mom home (yea, she said!) and I dragged these wilting Ecuador roses along.  I snipped their ends and put them in fresh water.

We saw amazing results by the next day.

On the way back I also stopped at Safeway and bought a dozen yellow roses from Colombia.  Thus we can compare.

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I took this photo on May 14, nine days after these mistreated Ecuador roses were delivered.

They still looked great.

I added in a couple of the super market Colombia yellow roses for comparison. The yellow roses were two days out of the store.

You can see the difference in the size of the heads.

History suggests that the Colombian roses never fully open and that the Ecuador roses will last two or three times longer.

The Ecuador roses cost $1.59 per stem delivered to mom’s doorstep… including over the one fourth of the price ($20 of the $79) being donated to Land of the Sun to help the poor of Ecuador.

The Colombia roses were .83 cents a stem at the store.

Plus the Ecuador roses are environmentally certified.

In short the 365 days a year of direct sunlight mean that Ecuador flowers are bigger, longer lasting and brighter than most roses you’ll find in any super market… plus thanks to Fedex they can be delivered directly to your door.

See how to order Ecuador Roses here

See how to order Ecuador Lilies here

Learn more about how to earn income with Ecuador flowers at Ecuador Flower Income.

Gary

Learn more about Ecuador, Ecuador flowers and how to  earn in Ecuador on our courses and tours.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

Ecuador – Florida Lake Property Comparison


Ecuador and Florida real estate offer value that can help turn the economic correction into profit.

Recently Merri and I found ourselves becoming more focused on investing in Florida. I explained why at Ecuador Shamans & Truth.

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Ecuador and Florida property on lakes can offer great value.  Our recent real estate tour visited this Ecuador lake.

We have zeroed in on several areas all around Lakeland,  Florida (our son-in law-daughter and grandson are there). We will be looking again at the end of the month.

Our main goal so far has been visiting… feeling…. looking a a few properties and lots of numbers to understand where the real estate market is now.

This search has given us a chance to compare Ecuador real estate with Florida real estate.    Both appear to have great value… but Ecuador real estate is still much much less expensive.

Take for example one Florida lake house that looks especially good to us at this stage.  It is a troubled property, 3,200 square feet on three acres on a lake in a very nice area.

This 20 year old house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, fireplaces, hardwood floors, barn, 10 years old, tile roof cathedral ceilings, spa room, salt water swimming pool, and rental apartment inside house, balconies overlooking lake, all fenced irrigation system, mature trees, sandy beach, a nice 2 bedroom guest house and a barn.   The land has 160 feet of superb lake front.

This house was on the market originally at 1.4 million dollars and was offered at auction for 1.3 million in October 2006.  There was no bid at that time. The property has now been foreclosed and is bank owned.  The last listed price was $850,000.

What a bargain… barely its original sales price.

Compare this with the Ecuador lake house that I recently wrote about.

The Ecuador lakefront property for sale sits on  5.43 ares with a 2,895 square foot 1970s built house on San Pablo Lake in Otavalo.

The land is zoned for business, home, or a lake house and is fully furnished and was built in the 1970’s  with  4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 living rooms, 2 dining rooms, kitchen/nook area, game room, porch and balcony. The  caretaker quarters are attached, plus a garage (for boats and car). The land includes 900 plus feet of lake front.

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Compare Ecuador lake property:  2,895 square foot house on 5.43 acres on San Pablo Lake, Otavalo with 900 feet of lake frontage at $250,000 asking…

with the Florida lake property: 3,200 square feet on 3 acres with 160 feet of lake frontage at $850,000 asking.

Ecuador real estate offers twice the property at a quarter the asking price

This Ecuador lake property has fruit, pine, eucalyptus and palms.

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B-B-Q  on San Pablo Lake property for sale .  The asking price is $250,000.

CONTACT:

Mrs. Monica Arcos
Orlando, Florida
Telephone: 407-328-4777   (leave message)  or

e-mail: pportb@hotmail.com

or

MonkeyArcos@Gmail.com

In these times of change and turmoil understanding real value is harder than before. Comparing Ecuador lakefront property with Florida lakefront property can help us see value within value so we can turn the current downturn into opportunity.

Gary

See Ecuador lake property on our upcoming Ecuador real estate tours.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

Ecuador Lake Property for Sale


Ecuador Lake property offers opportunity.

Yesterday’s message looked at Ecuador & Water and some Ecuador lakes.

One of the great aspects of Ecuador is its Andean lakes.

One of the nicest lakes in Ecuador is Lake San Pablo near Otavalo and Cotacachi.

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San Pablo Lake.  San Pablo Lake has always been a source of these reeds which are made into reed sleeping mats.

Otavalo is two hours north of Quito and is perhaps the most prosperous area outside of Ecuador’s big cities.

Otavalo is an Indigenous city on the Pan-American Highway and this town sits on San Pablo Lake… about 15 minutes from our hotel Meson de las Flores.

Views of …

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San Pablo Lake which is…

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1,400 acres of surface and reaches 210 feet in depth.

This region is cradled between two volcanoes — Imbabura (15,026 feet) and Cotacachi (16,292 feet) and in Indigenous terms is one of the most sacred areas in the Andes.

This area enjoys a perennial springlike climate, with daytime highs in the low 70’s and nighttime lows in the 40’s. Flowers bloom year-round and farms get two or three crops a year.

There are two dry seasons, June through September and about a month at Christmas.  The two wet seasons however are not really all that wet.  Even in this wet season, weeks can go by without rain.

Otavalo market is the largest indigenous market in South America featuring… wool, cotton  and alpaca scarves and sweaters, homespun cotton pants, blankets and almost anything else that can be made on a loom was for sale, as well as simple wooden toys and handmade stuffed animals.

San Pablo lake is one of the largest in the area and is  less than two miles southeast of Otavalo.   Mt Imbabura rises from the San Pablo Lake on the opposite side of Otavalo in a succession of steeply pitched farm fields, topped by rocky slopes that disappear into the clouds.

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View from San Pablo Lake property for sale.

The Lake runoff forms the Peguche River which flows a short distance until it feeds Peguche Waterfall. This waterfall is considered sacred in pre-Inca times and used today for infant baptism. This then flows through a park eucalyptus grove into the  weavers’ village of Peguche.  The falls are  still celebrated at the beginning of “Inti Raymi”, (sun festival) when thousands of people visit them to take the “Baño Sagrado” or sacred bath as part of a purification ceremony.

Merri and I have been conducting real estate tours in this area for a decade and rarely do we find properties on San Pablo Lake for sale so I was delighted when this request for advertisement came through.

“Dear Gary,  My name is Patricia Portilla Boling, I read your emails with great interest as I am originally from Quito, Ecuador, but have lived in the US,  since my father accepted a job with the World Bank in Washington DC.   Though we have been in the US for a long time, we kept few properties in Ecuador. One of them is on San Pablo Lake, Otavalo. This is water front property and is very beautiful.    We are interested in selling this property and ask if it is possible to adevrtise this property with you.   I hope that this finds you and your family doing well that I hear back from you in this regard.

Here are the details of this lakefront property for sale.

22,000 square meters (about 5.43 ares) with house. The land can be used for business, home, or a lake house.

Located 58 miles from the Capital, Quito which is 4 hrs. by plane from Miami, Florida.

There is fishing, hunting, boating, sightseeing, camping and hiking in the area.

THE PROPERTY HAS A COMPLETE INFRASTRUCTURE

The house is fully furnished and was built in the 1970’s  with 2,895 square feet construction in 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 living rooms, 2 dining rooms, kitchen/nook area, game room, porch and balcony. The  care taker quarters are attached, plus a garage (for boats and car). The land includes 900 plus feet of lake front.

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2,895 square foot house on 5.43 acres on San Pablo Lake, Otavalo for sale.

TREES:  Fruit, pine, eucalyptus and palms.

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B-B-Q  on San Pablo Lake property for sale .

Bordering neighbors:  YACHT CLUB and Imbabura Mountain.

NEGOTIABLE  Could be included:  3 boats and all furniture.

CLOSE BY ATTRACTIONS: Otavalo City, Indian handcrafts’ markets; Yaguarcocha Lake (Car Racing Track); Cuicocha Lake, located inside a volcano; City of San Antonio: Wood Crafts; City of Cotacachi: Leather Crafts.

The asking price is $250,000

CONTACT:

Mrs. Monica Arcos
Orlando, Florida
Telephone: 407-328-4777   (leave message)  or

e-mail: pportb@hotmail.com

or

MonkeyArcos@Gmail.com

Gary

See Ecuador lake property on our upcoming Ecuador real estate tours.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

Ecuador Risk


Ecuador has risks.

As does everywhere.  In fact our world has more risk then ever before.

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Are quiet Ecuador streets like this Cotacachi avenue at risk?

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The young Ecuadorian children who go to school early, alone don’t seem to feel much risk.  Yet?

Change creates risk and we live in an era of increasingly rapid change.

Those who welcome this fact are those who have the best chance of success. ahead.

This is the era of rapid change… the era of  extra risk.  The current time period within this era is of accelerated change and risk.

This is an important message about how to manage risk in Ecuador or anywhere.

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Even young children play alone in the Cotacachi Ecuador streets without much risk

Yet we must always take care.

Take for example the US travel advisory for Ecuador… read  without perspective. Ecuador risk would seem high.

Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Ecuador:

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The U.S. Embassy in Quito advises caution when traveling to the northern border region of Ecuador, to include areas in the provinces of Sucumbios, Orellana and Carchi, northern Esmeraldas, and southern Esmeraldas, south of Atacames.  U.S. government personnel are under limitations with respect to traveling alone and over-nighting in these areas due to the spread of organized crime, drug trafficking, small arms trafficking, and incursions by various Colombian terrorist organizations.

CRIME:  Crime is a serious problem in Ecuador, and visitors should be alert and cautious.  Non-violent crime is common: hundreds of Americans are robbed every year in Ecuador.   Incidents of rape have increased, even in well-traveled tourists areas and when the victims traveled in groups for safety. Shootings, kidnappings, and carjackings are still relatively rare, but American citizens have been victimized by those crimes.  The Ecuadorian government has increased police patrols in tourist areas, but travelers should remain alert to their surroundings and maintain constant control of personal belongings.

Criminals sometimes use incapacitating drugs such as scopolamine on unsuspecting tourists in order to rob them.  These so-called date rape drugs are put into drinks in order to drug the unsuspecting victim.  This drug can render the victim disoriented and can cause prolonged unconsciousness and serious medical problems.  Never allow a stranger to “buy” you a drink and never leave your drink unattended.  Several American citizens have reported thefts of property following ingestion of such substances.

Does Ecuador sound risky?

Ecuador sounds risky until you read the travel advisory for Italy.  Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Italy:

Some travelers are victims of rape and beatings.  There are incidents of drinks laced with drugs being used by criminals to rob, and in some cases, assault tourists.  Many of these incidents occur in the vicinity of Rome’s Termini train station and at major tourist centers such as Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona, as well as in Florence and Naples.  Criminals using this tactic “befriend” a traveler at a train station, bus stop, restaurant, café or bar in tourist areas, then eventually offer a drink laced with a sleeping drug.  When the tourist falls asleep, criminals steal the traveler’s valuables.  There are also instances where the victim is assaulted, either physically or sexually.

Petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, theft from parked cars, and purse snatching are serious problems, especially in large cities.  Clients of Internet cafes in major cities are also targeted.  Tourists who have tried to resist petty thieves on motor scooters have suffered broken arms and collarbones.

The U.S. Secret Service in Rome is assisting Italian Law Enforcement authorities in investigating an increase in the appearance of ATM skimming devices.

Organized criminal groups operate throughout Italy, but are more prevalent in the south.  They occasionally resort to violence to intimidate or to settle disputes.

Italy could seem risky as well until you read the travel advisory for Spain .  Here are excerpts from the US travel advisory for Spain.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:     Spain and Andorra share with the rest of the world an increased threat of international terrorist incidents.  Like other countries in the Schengen area, Spain’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity.  Spain’s proximity to North Africa makes it vulnerable to attack from Al Qaeda terrorists in the Maghreb region.  Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

In the deadliest terrorist attack in recent European history, in March 2004, Islamist extremists bombed four commuter trains entering Madrid, causing 191 deaths and over 1,400 injuries.  Spanish authorities tried the suspected terrorists and their co-conspirators in February 2007 and convicted in October 2007.

The Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization remains active in Spain.  ETA has historically avoided targeting foreigners, directing their attacks against the police, military, local politicians, and Spanish government targets as well as attempts to disrupt transportation and daily life. However, foreigners have been killed or injured collaterally in ETA attacks.  Two examples of this are the Barajas Airport bombing in December 2006, in which two Ecuadorian nationals were killed and the bombing at the University of Navarre in October 2008, in which 17 students were injured including one American student.  In addition, bombs have been used as part of criminal extortion of businesses, particularly in the Basque region. The risk of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time” in event of an ETA action is a concern for foreign visitors and tourists.  U.S. tourists traveling to Spain should remain vigilant, exercise caution, monitor local developments, and avoid demonstrations and other potentially violent situations.

Street crimes against tourists occur in the principal tourist areas.  Madrid and Barcelona, in particular, report incidents of pick-pocketing, mugging and occasional violent attacks, some of which require the victim to seek medical attention.  Although crimes occur at all times of day and night and to people of all ages, older tourists and Asian Americans seem to be particularly at risk.  Criminals frequent tourist areas and major attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, outdoor cafes, Internet cafes, hotel lobbies, beach resorts, city buses, subways, trains, train stations, airports, and ATMs.

Thieves often work in teams of two or more people.  In many cases, one person distracts a victim while the accomplices perform the robbery.   Spanish authorities warn of the availability of so-called “date-rape” drugs and other drugs, including “GBH” and liquid ecstasy.  Americans should not lower their personal security awareness because they are on vacation.

We could go on… in Europe…  in Asia… or anywhere.

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Parents in Cotacachi Ecuador do not feel much risk when they let their children play in the parks.

Mostly, places are not the cause of risk.  The causes of risk  are within,  our awareness, our actions, our  patterns and habits.

If one becomes aware of change and adapts accordingly… there is no risk.  There is opportunity instead.

Early adapters are called risk takers.   They are not.

Real risk takers are those who do not  adapt because…  we know…  there is change.

The real risk is living by OLD rules in a NEW world.

The real risk is believing in General Motors for example… because it is the biggest… oldest… so it must be safest.

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Young lovers in Ecuador can meet safely in out of the way places.

The world is new every day and each day, some old rule no longer works.

The old rules used to say that the Western world was safe… and the emerging world riskier.   The old rules said that the Western world had low crime…  the emerging world had high crime.

Yet look at excerpts of a recent New York Times article entitled “Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid” by Solomon Moore (See a link to the entire article below) says:

One in every 31 adults, or 7.3 million Americans, is in prison, on parole or probation, at a cost to the states of $47 billion in 2008, according to a new study.

Criminal correction spending is outpacing budget growth in education, transportation and public assistance, based on state and federal data. Only Medicaid spending grew faster than state corrections spending, which quadrupled in the past two decades, according to the report Monday by the Pew Center on the States, the first breakdown of spending in confinement and supervision in the past seven years.

This suggests that the US has quite a lot of risk… both in crime and health.

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Ecuador people are by nature, caring, friendly and warm.

Sometimes I get letters like the one below from readers who have been victims of crime in Ecuador.  This reader lost her computer and camera when she forgot them in the business lounge at the Radisson hotel in Quito.

Dear Gary,  Can you believe, the Quito police, working with the Radisson hotel, found my  briefcase with the computer and other small items and had them sent by Federal Express to me.  I had provided them with the receipts of all the items stolen, for the items they were not able to send me  (camera and cellular phone) I was reimbursed via bank transfer. I still can’t believe it.  This was a good ending and so unexpected.  send you all love, and good thoughts. Laura

New rules about risk are being written every day and our daughter Francesca shared some thoughts on this when she recently visited us here.

Fran is quite a traveler.  Here early studies were in England… Gloucestershire and Birmingham.  Then she spent more for more than a year in Spain and Costa Rica, and moved to Naples and Delray, Florida which were bases for her to  manage real estate tours in Argentina, Belize, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay.

She worked for several years doing human rights training in Geneva, Switzerland before returning to get her Masters degree at London School of Economics.

Then  she worked in London for the Crown Agents where she was assigned
as a project manager and consultant to governments in Nigeria,  Peru, Sierra Leone and South Africa.

She has worked the last several years  as a development planning, monitoring & evaluation consultant in Swaziland and is returning there now on a contract with the United Nations.

As a young, single woman (now married) she has had to be aware of risks traveling everywhere from Florida to London to Lagos.

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Here I am with Francesca on her wedding day.

Fran & Sam rode to their reception in Richmond Park on a bicycle built for tow.

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Riding a bike through London traffic… now that is risky!

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Here are some common sense thoughts that Francesca shares about living with risk.

Living with Risk by Francesca Scott

We’re living in risky times; from the economic collapse, to swine flu, to erratic weather conditions.  It sometimes surprises me when people ask me if I’m not worried about living in Swaziland (my current home), because, they say, Africa is such a dangerous place.  I figure that when I return to London, my risk of being attacked in a terrorist attack skyrockets.  And I am still dumbfounded by the fact that children are screened for guns at schools in the United States.  By the way in England for the first time screening for knives has begun in some inner-city London schools.

The issue of risk came to mind recently, when I was visiting my Grandma. One evening over dinner, the discussion turned to the security situation in Swaziland, and I mused that in certain ways I feel safer in Swaziland than I do in parts of London. My Grandma commented that gangs were increasingly becoming a problem in Portland, her home city, and that she didn’t feel that safe these days.  The next day, as we stopped at the local bank, I was surprised by the thick wall of bullet proof glass completely separating the staff from the general public. They don’t have that in banks in London, or in Mbabane, Swaziland’s capital city.

I began thinking about how easily we adapt to different risks within our local environments. In many countries, one would be crazy not to have bars on lower windows. In central London, I hold my bag very close to my chest – I value my purse and cell phone too much. My mother-in-law, who lives in Australia, actually leaves her keys in her car when she stops at a store to pick up groceries (gasp!).  Sadly, I doubt that will last for much longer.   So does my Dad in NC.  They have a policy on the farm that all keys remain in all vehicles…just in case someone needs to jump in one!

Each country has a different risk profile, from pick-pockets, to pollution, to drug barons.  I am not saying that Swaziland does not have its dangers – my house has been broken into several times, and I drive much more defensively than I would in the US or the UK (mostly to avoid wayward cows that have drifted onto the road).  The important thing is to be fully informed about the risks.  This might sound obvious, but sometimes people are scared off by unfamiliar risks or misinformation.

It’s also worth remembering that there are often a variety of ways to mitigate those risks through effective prevention methods, so long as you know the rules. Most of us are guilty of exposing ourselves to unnecessary risk as a result of ignorance at one time or other, and are lucky that we’ve lived to tell the tell. I was threatened at knife point by a drug addict in a park in Spain, when I lived there as a student.  When I recounted my story to my Spanish roommate, she told me that I was a fool to be in that park in the first place, ‘…didn’t you know that it’s the favorite haunt for heroine addicts in the city?’  Well, no, obviously I didn’t know at that time, but it was a valuable lesson for me about the importance of knowing the rules.

I must admit to being a little scared before I went to Swaziland.  After all, it’s in one of the poorest parts of the world, and only three hours drive from Johannesburg, a gang-ridden, violent city. I also couldn’t shake off all those awful images of Africa I’ve seen on the evening news. I told myself that I would try it out for six months (I figured I could survive for that length of time in an underground bunker living off tinned corned beef and bottled water if it was that bad), and make a decision from there about whether or not it was for me. Two-and-a-half years later, I still thoroughly enjoy living here and am very glad that I resisted my initial anxieties.

For those considering buying property, or even moving to Ecuador, or any other country – developed, developing or downright poverty stricken for that matter – I would recommend to take the time to become fully informed about the types of risks you might face.  You can find out a lot from the internet and books, but it would be a shame to be scared off by some of what you read or by the well intentioned comments of a neighbor who hasn’t ever lived away from their home town.

Everyone comes from a different starting point, and everyone has a different risk threshold.

Also, the dramatic stories tend to be more interesting to tell.  While reading around can certainly offer you a variety of different and valuable viewpoints, it’s also important to talk to people who have lived in the country. Locals can be an invaluable source of information, while ex-pats may be more appreciative of the kinds of risks unanticipated by a foreigner, risks that may seem glaringly obvious to a local. Also, find out what you can do to mitigate those risks. Often you can reduce your exposure significantly using the appropriate precautions. If you think that the benefits outweigh those risks, then go down and check out the country for yourself.  That’s the only way you can really know if the level of risk is one that you could tolerate.

It might be that the risks are in some countries and in some places, in fact, just too high, pushing you beyond your comfort zone, or that the restrictions necessary to reduce your risks would make you feel stressed and claustrophobic. It’s no fun lying restless at night at night because you’re worried over a break-in, even though you have an alarm, or resent the lack of privacy from having a guard permanently outside your house. If you’re looking for the exact replica of your own community, with the same level of risk, and a Starbucks around the corner thank you very much, then somewhere like an emerging country really may not be for you. There will inevitably be new and different risks in poorer countries, some to which you, as a foreigner, could be at much higher risk than a local.

But take a moment to reflect on the risks that you face in your daily environment back home, and you might find that such risks are relative. While some risks will be new when you move abroad, you will also leave some behind. Therefore, before making any decision of moving to a country other than your own, I recommend making sure that you are informed by the reality on the ground, not some misconception fed by the media or well-intentioned homebodies. Only with that information can you gauge whether you’ll be comfortable with the type and level of risk you might face. For an adventurous soul, you may well find that the benefits of living in a new culture, the fun of exploring a foreign terrain, make everything worthwhile.

Risk assessment is a vital part of survival and success in today’s world.

This has always been true so always consider risk… but when you evaluate danger… don’t  just look at the places where you will be.   Review your thinking, your habits and patterns to see how you can turn risk into opportunity.

Gary

Join us here at our hotel Meson de las Flores.  Learn more turning risk into opportunity at our courses and tours.

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June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 4-8  Ecuador Export Tour

July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

See the entire article Prison Spending Outpaces All but Medicaid at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/us/03prison.html

Ecuador Food Value


Ecuador food has a big impact on Ecuador property value.

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Quinoa is the high protein grain…

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of the Andes.

While writing about Ecuador beach property I have been searching for Florida property as well.   This has given me a chance to compare many aspects of Ecuador property value with Florida.

Merri’s and my decision has a lot to do with the age and location of  our grandchildren and we’ll remain Ecuador real estate owners as we add Florida real estate as well.  Both areas offer enormous value now but there are numerous  arguments that make Ecuador property values look strong.

Yesterday we looked at the argument of price.  If you missed that message see  Ecuador beach price value.

Today let’s look at the argument of food.  Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments Merri and I face when we return to the US from Ecuador is the food… in three ways.

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The first disappointment is availability and quality.  Many varieties of fresh, really ripe US fruit and vegetables are hard to find.

Ecuador is a small agricultural country and as such, a huge national distribution system is not required.  The food is fresher.  Preservatives are not as required.

Ecuador’s land for producing food is rich.

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Food is produced in every nook and cranny.

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and available in markets and every village.

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Corn, beans and potatoes are the basics in the Andes. Here are some shots from Cotacachi Ecuador…

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market.

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Fresh vegetables are everywhere with no…

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plastic wrap!

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The second Ecuador food benefit is cost. Prices are really, really low compared to the US.

For example fillets from these just caught Dorado cost me $1 a pound in the San Clemente fish market.

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A bag of avocados or apples or pears or grapes cost a dollar.

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A fresh croissant in the bakery is 12 cents.

or mangoes or these blackberries will cost a dollar… big bags.

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Because there are no seasons in Ecuador many types of fruit are…

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available…

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all the time…  like berries and papaya. These would cost about 50 cents.

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Dairy products are great.  The grass so rich,

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like this… to feed these cows.

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We buy fresh, raw milk by the pail full… creamy to make our own butter.

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There is great fresh non fermented (queso fresco) cheese in the markets.

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The basic starch in the Andes is corn and potatoes. On the coast it is plantains and bananas. In the Amazon yucca root.

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easy access to fresh low cost food helps maintain good health and makes it easy to enjoy life more on a budget.

The third important argument for food is that Ecuador can feed itself without high technology.  The Western world is so dependent on high tech farming and global distribution that it will have a hard time feeding itself if the immensely complicated global economic structure fails.

For example Dr. Joseph Mercola recently wrote an article entitled “Could-Monsanto-Be-Responsible-for-One-Indian-Farmers-Death-Every-Thirty-Minutes?”

An excerpt from this article (see how to read the entire article below) says:

Genetically modified plants and foods are, from my perception, one of the largest threats that we have against the very sustainability of the human race and a healthy future existence on earth.  Let’s face it, how long can your descendants survive if there isn’t any food to eat, and Monsanto’s “suicide gene” starts spreading to other native plants so they won’t reproduce naturally?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, more than 182,900 Indian farmers took their own lives between 1997 and 2007. It estimates 46 Indian farmers commit suicide every day. That equates to roughly one suicide every 30 minutes!

Monsanto’s Role in Farmers’ Suicides

Over the past decade, millions of Indian farmers have been promised radically increased harvests and income if they switch from their traditional age tested farming methods to genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton seeds. So, they borrow money to buy GM seeds, which need certain pesticides, which requires more money. And when rain fall is sparse, the GM crops fare far worse than traditional crops – a fact that these farmers oftentimes don’t learn until it’s too late and they’re standing there with failed crops, spiraling debts, and no income.

Ecuador has so many really poor small farmers that this is not as big a problem in Ecuador…yet. Let’s hope it never is.

I have been thinking about the importance of having an Ecuador food haven after reading the novel “One Second After” written by bestselling author, William R. Forstchen.

The story takes place in a small North Carolina town after an electro magnetic pulse is detonated by terrorists over the United States.   The electrical grid and anything using a computer stops working.

Without central communication and distribution, mass devastation and chaos ensues immediately.   The agony is terrible and life almost unfathomably complicated. What makes this fiction meaningful is that the book really documents and details the West’s dangerous reliance on technological systems which are so extensive that no one even recognizes them any more.

Adding to the terror of this book is a forward by Newt Gingrich and and afterword by Captain Bil Sanders (USN) one of the foremost experts on EMP. His comment  on how an EMP exploded over the US would create the Compton effect and how it would have “devastating consequences on our country”  should be understood.

Ecuador is at the Equator with 365 days a year of sun… plenty of water…. rich soil… a biodiversity equal to the equator to the arctic circle and reliance on old ways…

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can feed itself.

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There have aways been fishes and loaves here…

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and always…

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should.

Gary

Let’s share ways and lifestyle alterations that protect as they provide joy, satisfaction, better health and enhanced wealth.

Ecuador Agricultural Expedition

Ecuador Agricultural Property Expedition by Jean Marie Butterlin.

May 14-15-16, 2012

Sept 17-18-19, 2012

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See Ecuador agricultural property by four wheel drive.

Merri’s and my first property purchase many years ago was agricultural land… over 900 acres… formerly in sugar cane, citrus, pineapples and avocados… the top soil deep and rich.

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Here is a photo of Merri feeding one of our horses.  We still have that hacienda land, Rosaspamba, (the place of the roses).

Plus we have added more agricultural land… and are looking to add more.

An excerpt from a recent message entitled Beating & Benefiting From the Economic Crash explains why: In the seven years before its peak in July 2006, the US home-price index surged 155 percent. Since then, it’s fallen 33 percent.

This creates a huge opportunity. Economic history since before WWI suggests that we’ll see the final crunch of this 15 year bear in 2011 and perhaps 2012.  Then the light at the end of the tunnel will appear… slowly at first but picking up a head of steam aiming for the next bubble of something like 2030.

The way to beat this crunch is to set your affairs so you do not lose during the next crunch and have liquidity to take advantage of the low prices and high value the crunch could bring.

There are numbers of reasonably safe pockets of opportunity.  For example inflation during these difficult economic times has helped profits on agricultural property.

Excerpts from a May 31, 2011 article “Farm boom missing Main Street” by By John Gaps III, of The Des Moines Register show what I mean:  GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa – Fifteen miles northeast of here, a quarter of a square-mile of farmland sold for $1.3 million this spring.

Farmers can lock in about $6.73 a bushel on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for corn they will deliver to market in December, nearly twice the price a year ago.

The sustained surge in corn prices has driven the average value of an acre of Iowa farmland to $5,708, according to a March survey by the Realtors Land Institute. That’s up 19.7% from the previous six months and up from $1,865 in March 2001, according to the Institute’s Troy Louwagie. The land northeast of Guthrie Center— where fields are flat and the soil is black — sold for $8,600 per acre, according to the county assessor.

“The rural economy is very good right now despite signs of a peaking commodities market and concerns about drought creeping north from Texas, flooding along the Mississippi River, and rain-delayed corn planting in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. American farmers who grow everything from rice to sugar beets have enjoyed a year of historically high prices, said Don Roose, a trader at U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines.

It’s not just towns surrounded by crop farming that have declined amid high commodity prices.

In heavily forested west central Alabama, the town of York has suffered as the timber industry has consolidated, said Auburn sociology professor Conner Bailey, president-elect of the Rural Sociological Association.

That’s despite steadily climbing timber prices since the middle of 2009 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

This is why in the last several years I have been writing about and adding agricultural real estate to my portfolio.

There are few places with as much agricultural potential and diversity as Ecuador. It is not surprising that many readers ask us about Ecuador farmland or agricultural property there.

Our first reply to anyone asking is… agricultural land is hard to find and get it!   Finding our hacienda took us well over a year of dedicated search.  Searching for good farmland is not like viewing a batch of properties in a town or village.  First, it often takes hours just to get to the land.  Secondly, it almost always takes hours inspecting the land.  You do not do quick walk throughs on  100 or more hectares.  One is lucky to be able to see one property a day unless you can be really very organized.

Then once you find something that looks good… the hard part begins.  Of course there is always the price!

Then there is the research.  One seemingly great property we looked at “had great water rights”  we were told.  “Then why does it have cisterns all over the place?”  we asked ourselves.  A deep check of the deeds and talking with neighbors unveiled the fact that what’s on paper does not always match precedent and reality.  There were water rights on paper, yes, but they were disputed by numerous neighbors who had for years continually cut the water lines every time the current owner installed them.  It was just pure luck that we were suspicious and turned down this property, which still has not sold.

Buying agricultural property is not like buying urban property from a title point of view.  There are no rural land registers, so deeds have to be carefully researched by an attorney.

Finally if you buy it… what’s next?   Who do you hire. What do you grow… who buys the crops?

Yet because there has been such interest, I challenged Jean Marie Butterlin to create an Ecuador Agricultural tour.   He has been working hard at this for over 6 months, and I am proud to announce that he has set up an excellent program for those who are really interested in farming in Ecuador.

Here is what Jean Marie has explained about the Ecuador real estate tours he has created and conducted.

When I was 40 years old and told my friends that I would retire at 50, they were laughing.  They are not laughing anymore!

My name is Jean Marie Butterlin and I live on one of the nicest, most affordable coasts of all South America with my wife Pascale and although I consider myself retired, I still like to work… but only at what I really like.

How did I achieve that ?

I had a plan.

Part of that plan was to move to a nice area where it was less expensive to live and much less stressful than Europe.   I found that place after traveling and inspecting most South American countries.  We chose Ecuador and more specifically Bahia as our home.

We live now as well on $2,000 a month in Bahia than we did in Europe on $10,000 a month.

When you are planning to retire and live the good life, you should look at both parts of the equation, expenses and what you can earn.I have been able to lower my expenses considerably by living in Bahia.  We live in front of the Malecon enjoying the sun 320 days per year.

But the key to retirement is really in the INCOME part of the equation.   How can you generate income without working too hard?

The answer is to have an “outside the box”  plan.  If you do what everybody else does, chances are you’ll earn what everyone else does.

A lot of younger clients on our real estate tours ask  “How can  I generate a little income in Ecuador”?  They say they would move down immediately if they could. This started me thinking  about how to show a few select clients a chance to be part of that world of retirees in Ecuador who work only at what they like.

I have put together a special plan for those seeking to move and earn in Ecuador now!

Here is the plan and here are the facts:

* Every economist is currently saying that agriculture will be the next place to invest because :

  • God is not making more arable land.
  • The world is running out of food.  China has been buying and leasing arable land all over Africa and in South America for example.  A lot of the smart money is going into arable all over the continent.

* Ecuador has some of the cheapest yet best agricultural land in all of South America.  The climate is best for growing as well with 365 days a year of direct sunlight.  In many parts of Ecuador, farmers can get 3 and even 4 harvests per year, depending on the water available on the property.

* However, most Ecuadorian farmers have not yet learned how to produce and manage a farm. They are lacking higher education and management skills as well as equipment.  Some Ecuador farmers still plow with oxen.

*  Many Ecuadorian farmers do not know how to sell and do not treat the farm as a real business.

There is a great opportunity that lies in this combination of cheap, arable land, the geographical place of Ecuador on the equator and lack of good agronomical skills.

Here is the chance to attend the first agri business expedition, planned for October 17, 18 and 19.

This is a tour for those who want to have an active agricultural business in Ecuador and have $100,000 minimum to invest.

This tour will be conducted over three long, jam packed days to provide you a low cost efficient way to inspect Ecuador agricultural property that is legitimately for sale at a reasonable price.

Day 1 – 9 am to 6 pm: Detailed presentations by agri engineers and specialists of several type of agri businesses. These presentations  include costs, types of soils for each type of crop, risk analysis, potential profits, timing, where to find the buyers of crops,  introduction to buyers  looking for specific crops.

On the tour we look “outside the box” at crops that can for example produce “biofuel”. We’ll look at land where one company in Manta will buy every available crop at market price.   We know the owners of that company and you will be introduced to them.

Day 2: Visits farms for sale.  Here is one farm we inspected on our first tour.  This agri property has 203 hectares (507 acres) divided into:

28 hectares (70 cares) of balsa trees.  In 5 years these will fetch $30,000 a hectare.

30 hectares (75 acres) of African palm trees in production (the nuts fetch $250 per ton).

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– 140 hectares (350 acres) of pasture sufficient for 200 head of cattle or other crops that can produce an excellent return.

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– 3 small

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and one large river along the property with water availability.

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– Close to the main road

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– $6600/hectare ($2,640 an acre) asking including a small casita for caretakers.

Day 3: Q&A’s with the agri specialists…with round table discussions. We break into small groups to discuss in more details each business its costs and potential profits.

We have inspected and investigated all properties prior paying special attention to three special issues:

* water on site
* access roads
* good port close

We only show land that has water in Manabi province near Manta the second largest port in Ecuador.

We have investigated electricity, pricing and title plus will have speakers during breakfast and dinners who will discuss these  issues and the legal matters pertaining to agri businesses in Ecuador.

These experts will be available for consulting during the tour and later… covering technical matters on which crops are best suited for each soil and what times of the year are best for planting and harvest.  The tour pays special attention to reviewing the marketing aspect of each crop and where to find buyers.

We use our contacts with local people were born in the area… who know the land owners… who know what the “market” price should be and we do not show farmland where the seller is asking an unrealistic price or if there are any doubts about ownership or clear title.

We also provide administration, accounting and legal consultants who will answer questions about owning and running a company in Ecuador, a civil code country and very different from the US and Canada which run on common law.

Included in the tour fee:

*  Agri engineers who can help you start your business, provide services and the follow up.

* Legal experts in incorporation, administration accounting etc..

* Experts in marketing agricultural crops.

Although we do not advise being absentee owner, we can provide all the services needed to run the business with our agricultural team.

If your agricultural knowledge is limited, we have the experts who will help you through the learning curve.

The big Question is “How much can someone make in agri business in Ecuador?”

The Answer:  We will not show any businesses that do not produce on a regular basis at least 10% net return. Many agri businesses you will see can pay off land costs within 1 to 2 years.

The Agri Business Expedition fee is $1,990/single $2,990 couple.

For efficiency and logistics, this tour is strictly limited to 16 people… 4 persons per four wheel drive vehicle.

Jean Marie

Ecuador has many Agricultural Advantages and we have been recommending the idea of investing in Ecuador agriculture for years.

Here is an excerpt from an April 10, 2007 message  at this site entitled “Ecuador Agriculture”: Ecuador agriculture can offer a better lifestyle and opportunity as good prices rise. Sometimes we forget the importance of life’s basics…such as food. Until those basics cost more.

Ecuador agriculture is important because Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal included an article that began: “Prices of farm goods are climbing – in part because of demand for crop-based fuels – pushing up food prices around the world and creating a new source of inflationary pressure. The rise in food prices is already causing distress among consumers in some parts of the world — especially relatively poor nations like India and China. If the trend gathers momentum, it could contribute to slower global growth by forcing consumers to spend less on other items or spurring central banks to fight inflation by raising interest rates.”

This is one of the wonderful benefits of Ecuador agriculture, the extreme supply of excellent but low cost food.

Ecuador is a Garden of Eden and here is a fact you probably did not know. The inhabitants of this region developed more than half the agricultural products that the world eats today. Among these are more than many varieties of corn and potato. These foods also include squash, beans, peppers, peanuts, popcorn, yucca and quinoa.

They even learned to use freezing night temperatures and warm days to freeze dry potatoes and create potato flour.

At the market, three blocks from our hotel where we shop.  Open air restaurants in the front of the market offer excellent meals, vegetarian, or chicken, steak, fish or pork for about $1.

There are numbers of  fresh picked vegetables offered by happy friendly people.

And every type of fruit you can imagine, from pineapple to coconut, papaya, mango, apples, pears, bananas, berries and numerous other tropical fruits all at bargains prices by Western standards and ripe all year round.

Many exotic spices at a 1/20th the cost in the US or Canada. This makes life especially wonderful and inexpensive.

This creates opportunity as well.

Ecuador’s geographical location gives it a distinct advantage in agricultural production. Its exports include asparagus, bananas, broccoli, cocoa, coffee, flowers, hearts of palm, lentils, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, plantain, mango, red beans, and tomatoes. Ecuador has mainly an agricultural economy, though oil is its largest source of revenue, and industry has expanded. Agriculture employs 32 percent of the workforce. 6.4 million acres is used in agriculture. Permanent pasture covers 17 percent of the total area and forests nearly 43 percent. In the highlands subsistence agriculture and the production of staples for the urban areas are predominant (corn, wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, and various vegetables). In the coastal lowlands tropical crops are grown to export. Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas in the world and among the largest exporters of shrimp and roses.

Merri and I have been recommending Ecuador for almost 15 years…we have been recommending investing in agricultural property for even longer. Agricultural property in Ecuador makes excellent sense for those who like both ideas.  We are very pleased that Jean Marie has created this excellent tour.  We are happy to share this opportunity with you.

Gary

Tour price includes local transportation to the farms but does not include domestic airfare from Quito to Manta and lodging.  Meals are NOT included.

The Agri Business Expedition fee is $1,990/single $2,990 couple.

For efficiency and logistics this tour is strictly limited to 16 people… 4 persons per four wheel drive vehicle.

Who Will Benefit From This Tour

Attendees on this tour will range from those who want their own sustainable organic farm like Neverlands Farm in Loja to those who want a small agricultural property to enhance existing income… to those who want to run medium and larger agri businesses.

Small – Organic  – Sustainable

Neverland Organic Farms is a great case study of people creating an isolated sustainable organic farm

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See about the organic farm here

Income Supplement – Beautiful Way of Life

A good case study for those looking for a way of life and income supplement is this  six acre organic tomato farm that delegates on on a real estate tour visited.   This shows a perfect little Ecuador retirement operation, so where should we start?

I think it is with the guinea pigs…

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The farm has many of them in these cages.

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Clover on the farm feeds them.  Their manure helps organically fertilize the corn.

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The corn husks are mixed with manure to be used as fertilizer and the corn feeds the…

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pigeons…

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chickens and…

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pigs.

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All of these animals create more organic fertilizer that this farmer uses to grow tomatoes.

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Here is the Ecuador organic farmer with our driver Jorge, Alberto Verdezoto and Peggy Carper.

Tomatoes grow quickly here it seems.  These newly planted organic tomatoes will be ready in three weeks. I find this hard to believe but this is what the farmer said.  Though my Spanish has been known to miss on occasion.

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These will look like…

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this and…

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provide

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income that…

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would provide a nice retirement income… $25,000 a year we are told.

Other benefits include farm fresh eggs.

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Trout are in the ponds next to the pigeon coops.

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A good case study for a specific and large Ecuador agri operation is the farming operation set up by Young Living Essential oils.

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After creating a marketing system for the oils and farming in the USA, Gary and his wife…

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moved to Ecuador… began a large farming operation as well as…

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there own processing and a health spa.

Ecuador is a perfect place for many types of agriculture… large and small.  Find your farm in the safe and efficient way on an Ecuador Agricultural Tour.

Included in the price is all transportation from the hotel to the farms.  Airfares to, from and within Ecuador, hotels and meals are NOT included.

The Agri Business Expedition fee is $1,990/single $2,990 couple.

For efficiency and logistics this tour is strictly limited to 16 people… 4 persons per four wheel drive vehicle.

Learn about the Ecuador Farm Management Program here.

Read the article Could-Monsanto-Be-Responsible-for-One-Indian-Farmers-Death-Every-Thirty-Minutes at  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/05/05/Could-Monsanto-Be-Responsible-for-One-Indian-Farmers-Death-Every-Thirty-Minutes.aspx