Tag Archive | "immigration attorney"

Ecuador Visa Report Update Aug. 2012


Here is a FREE Ecuador Visa Report

We posted this  updated “Ecuador Visa Report” August 12,  2012.

When Merri and I first came to Ecuador…. nearly two decades ago…staying on was really easy.   As thousands of expats have moved to this Andean nation the government has progressively tightened the rules.

This is a natural progression. Other Latin countries have become even more difficult to become resident than Ecuador.

One reader for example just wrote:  Gary, We have received your letters for a while and find them very interesting. Thank you. You seem to really love what you do and that shows.

We may be interested in relocating to Ecuador. We have lived in Panama and currently live in Uruguay, which is very lovely, yet the bureaucracy involving residency/passport is hard to take- 2 years and we are still “temporary residents” despite using the “best” law firm in the country for this!

This is why it is important to stay updated on Ecuador visa regulations.

Dr. Andres Cordova speaking to Ecuador Living subscribers.

Ecuador attorney just wrote:  Dear Gary:  I got several emails from the original Ecuador Visa Report made available to your Ecuador Living Club subscribers. I have freshened the original with some Ecuador pictures and a couple of corrections and have made a new report with FAQs. We get lots of repeat questions. I will issue a second VISA FAQs and update report sometime down the line.

Ecuador migration offices have been flooded with visa requests since some time ago and have also undergone some audits. Changes in procedures have taken place and things are much stricter now so strict compliance and overview of each case is important (it’s always been to us). Processing times have expanded too.

Warmest regards,

Andrés

To get this report FREE. Click here.  VISA REPORT AUGUST 2012

Let us help you in Ecuador with our Ecuador Living Club.  Dr. Cordova reduces visa fees by $150 for Ecuador Living Club members.

Learn more about Ecuador Living Club services here.


Ecuador Tourist Visa


Here is a reminder that regulations for Ecuador tourist visa enforcement have changed.

Last week I spoke before almost 400 delegates at International Living’s Ultimate Event in Quito.

Ecuador-visas

We looked at many ways to earn..from exporting flowers… to…

Ecuador-visas

creating unique handbags… like these leather bags in Cotacachi.

Ecuador-visas

Ecuador is a beautiful country with many wonderful income earning and export opportunities.

However conducting business in Ecuador requires time and this requires knowing the visa regulations.

An excerpt from a recent password protected Ecuador Living update shows new enforcement procedures on Ecuador visas.

In the past, visitors could stay for 90 days on a tourist visa and then expect to stay on 90 days more if they left Ecuador for even one day.

The immigration authorities were very lax about this visa and the normal procedure if you wanted to stay longer was to give another 90 days.  This meant you could use a tourist visa to stay in Ecuador up to 180 days a year.

Or you could do as Merri and I did for years… come in for five or six weeks… leave… come back for five or six weeks etc. Each time they gave 90 more days.

NO MORE!

A new type visa has been made easier to stay 180 days BUT the relaxation over the tourist visa has been withdrawn.

Readers discovered this in a very harsh way when leaving Ecuador after spending the Christmas holiday at their condo in Cuenca. This reader had been in and out of Ecuador three previous times in 2009 attending to renovations and furnishing the condo.  No one stay was longer than 30 days.  The between times on visits was a matter of months.  On the fourth trip the total time for 2009 was 104 days. None of those stays was for more then 30 days.

At Quito Airport the reader was prevented from leaving the country and was told by the Immigration official at the exit booth, that the maximum annual stay could be no more than 90 days.

The reader had to pay a fine of $200.

Even worse was told not to return to Ecuador for nine months and that to be allowed back would require a special visa from the Ecuadorian Consulate in the US.

The immigration attorney whom we introduce to our readers explained:

“Usually non Ecuadorians have been able to stay in Ecuador as a tourist for 90 days. After they used these first 90 days, they used to get 90 days more as a tourist if they requested an extension at an immigration office prior of expiry of the first 90 days.

“Several months ago immigration changed its policy. Now instead of renewing a tourist visa for 90 days they grant a 180 day Commercial Acts Visa.

“In a way this new procedure makes it more convenient (though more expensive) to stay for longer periods.

“If a non Ecuadorian wants to stay in Ecuador in any one year for more than 90 days with a tourist visa, they can still apply to the immigration authorities for an extension.  If they leave Ecuador in their first stay of the year before reaching 90 days, BUT anticipate returning in that same year, and that return stay will take them beyond 90 days total in that year, before leaving, they should petition the immigration authorities either prior to leaving the first time, or before returning to Ecuador via a local consulate office near their overseas home (USA, Canada, England, etc).

“These changes in immigration policy are actually changes in strictness of enforcement of the procedures, not the procedures themselves.

“The easiest approach though is for those wishing to stay more than 90 days a year in Ecuador to go to an Ecuador consul and apply for the Commercial Acts Visa, good 180 days travel in a calendar year.  This allows a total of 180 days stay in Ecuador without any extension beyond the 90 day maximum under a tourist visa.

“The fee for the Commercial Act Visa is $230 per person.  Given the growing restrictions and/or increased enforcement on the tourist visa and extensions beyond 90 days, this is a good  option for those who want to maximize their time in Ecuador but who do not with to apply for a full resident visa.”

I have sent5 this reminder because the Commercial Acts Visa provides a period of time.. NOT… a number of days… to be in Ecuador. There is an detailed explanation and more important immigration points to observe in two password protected updates sent to our Ecuador Living subscribers.  Learn how to subscribe here.

You are now updated. Immigration procedures have changed so be sure to plan ahead and make sure your visas are in order if you plan to stay in Ecuador for more than 90 days.

Gary

Join Merri and me March 11-14  for Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

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Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $3,500.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $3,500.  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $3,500 Enroll here

International Club Three Monthly Payments of $1,190

Our Spring 2010 schedule starts:

Apr. 12-15   Ecuador Export Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 17-18   Imbabura Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 20-21  Coastal Mid Coast Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)
Apr. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour ($499 or couple $749)

The multi tour discounts remain effective for the April tours.

Ecuador Legal Checklist


Ecuador Legal Checklist

A recent message about Ecuador Legal scams started when I received this note from a subscriber.

“Gary, When I read your newsletter today, I was hoping you would say something about the cost of a visa.  Unfortunately, there are people who are promising newcomers a resident’s visa for $7000.  I’ve never heard of anyone paying more than $2000 for a resident’s visa, no matter which lawyer they used.

The reader went on to say that one  couple discovered this scam and tried to back out of the contract.  This elderly couple was threatened by a lawsuit.

I did not have all the facts so was not able to know if this was a pure scam… or just really unfair pricing or if more than just a visa was offered, but $7,000 seemed awfully high if all that was provided was just a resident visa.  I immediately wrote to the three attorneys who advise us in Ecuador to check on the price.

I am happy to say that this problem was resolved.  The person offering this service is no longer in Cotacachi.

I asked Ecuador attorney Roberto Moreno, about this and he wrote:   Gary,  Yes, $7000 is absolutely out of range. Depending on the visa we charge from US$900 to US$1200.  Also, it is important to inform the readers that some lawyers will just obtain visas with few requirements, especially in Guayaquil.  The risk is that the visa could be removed later on. We prefer now to obtained all the visas for our clients at the immigration office in Quito.

cotacachi-green

Gary Scott and immigration attorney, Roberto Moreno, at Meson.

Learn more about Roberto and his firm here.

To help our Ecuador Living subscribers better understand Ecuador laws, Roberto shared an Ecuador legal checklist. Here are excerpts from this list:

LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS TO LIVE AND INVEST IN ECUADOR
By Roberto Moreno

DIFFERENT TYPES OF VISAS

Non- Immigrant:
*    to stay for an specific amount of time
*    most common: Commercial Acts visa good for up to six months.

Immigrant (indefinite time):
*    retired
*    investment in Property
*    investment in Certificate of Deposit

*With an immigrant visa you can apply for citizenship after you have lived in Ecuador for three years.

NON IMMIGRANT VISA : COMMERCIAL ACTS VISA
Requirements:
*    passport valid for at least six months
*    visa application
*    personal information form
*    bank statement
*    government fee:  US$230.00 plus US$80 for each dependent

MOST COMMON IMMIGRANT VISAS

RETIREMENT

INCOME OF AT LEAST US $800 PER MONTH FOR PRINCIPAL AND US $100 FOR EACH DEPENDANT
*    passport valid for at least six months.
*    application for visa and form of personal information.
*    official document of support of the retirement pension or permanent income apostille or legalized at an Ecuadorian Consulate
*    certificate issued by the Ecuadorian Consul verifying the income

INVESTOR IN LAND PROPERTY FINAL DEED OF PURCHASE OF A PROPERTY MINIMUM US$25,000 and $500 for each dependent
*     application for Visa and form of Personal Information
*     deed of purchase registered before the Register of the Property
*    actualized encumbrance certificate from the Registry of Property

INVESTOR IN CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSTI MINIMUM US$25,000 for one year and $500 for each dependent
*     visa application  and  Personal Information form
*     time deposit with a term of 365 days minimum
*     To get a Title, Policy or Certificate of Deposit:
– your passport (original and copy)
– bank account in Ecuador
– a letter from your lawyer certifying that it will be used to get the visa

GENERAL DOCUMENTS FOR ANY KIND OF IMMIGRANT VISAS:
*    passport valid for at least six months
*     visa application
*     personal information form
*     5 photos (2×2)
*    Marriage License (wife or husband – dependent) / Apostilled or Legalized at an Ecuadorian Consulate
*    Birth Certificate (for children – dependent) / Apostilled or Legalized at an Ecuadorian Consulate
*     government fee: $350 (titleholder)  $350  (each dependent)

OTHER IMMIGRANT VISAS:
*    GENERAL MANAGER
*     AGENTS
*     UNDEFINED LABOUR CONTRACT
*     RELIGIOUS
*     PROFESSIONALS
*     DEPENDENTS

IMPORTANT NOTE: All official documents coming from abroad should be legalized by APOSTILLE.

BANK ACCOUNTS
Open a bank account locally:
*    prolonged stay
*    if you plan to invest in the future

Requirements:
*    will vary from bank to bank
*    open your bank account with your passport  and  a letter from a law firm

Restrictions:
*    no restrictions to transfer money
*    large amounts (banks will request a licit source form)

DO YOU LIKE A PROPERTY? GO FOR IT!
*    no need of special visa
*    don’t miss a good opportunity
*    to rent be sure of all details  (rental price includes utilities?)

THE IMPORTANCE OF TITLE INVESTIGATION
*    be sure to get the necessary investigation of the property before you take your decision,
*    review previous ownership title before the corresponding authorities.
*    you can get  Title Insurance. (First American Title Insurance provides this alternative)

STEPS TO PURCHASE A PROPERTY
Define:
*    one document purchase (only one deed)
*    a promissory or general deed (first to secure the purchase and  later to finalize the final deed).
*    in your name
*    in the name of a company

Expenses:
*     municipal taxes
*     public notary fees
*     registry of  property

*if you plan to use the property as an investment to obtained your VISA you will need the final deed of purchase.

TAXES AND SENIOR BENEFITS IN ECUADOR
Income tax rate:
*    individuals:  5% -35%
*    companies: 25%

VAT:
*    12%
*income coming from abroad is not object of withhold

Other legal requirements covered in the entire Ecuador legal checklist include:

* SENIOR BENEFITS including exoneration of all type of municipal taxes, income and vehicle  taxes.

* GENERAL PROCEDURE TO SET UP HOUSEHOLDS

* IMPORTING VEHICLES WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS

* PET REQUIREMENTS

* HEALTH INSURANCE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND PRIVATE INSURANCE SOCIAL SECURITY

* PRIVATE INSURANCE

You receive full access to the entire Ecuador legal checklist plus an internet Ecuador legal address to answer any questions as an Ecuador Living subscriber. Learn how to subscribe here.

Gary

Join us in Ecuador or Florida or Both. See the best Ecuador property for you.  Find the best real estate offers.  Know more of Ecuador. To help you experience a bigger adventure in this wonderful nation, to broaden your horizons, to expand your awareness of all Ecuador offers, we are providing deep discounts in 2010 for those who sign up for multiple tours.

Join us at our upcoming courses and tours.

December 6-8 Blaine Watson’s  Beyond Logic & Shamanic Tour

December 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

December 11-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Join us in 2010. See our winter Ecuador real estate tours below.

Jan.   8-11     Ecuador Export Tour $499 Couple  $749

Jan. 13-14     Imbabura Real Estate Tour   $499 Couple $749
Jan. 21-22     Coastal Real Estate Tour $499 Couple $749
Jan. 23-24    Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749
Jan. 22-23    Cuenca Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749

Enjoy extra savings with our special early bird fees (if you enroll in November 2009)

Join us in February or March.

Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Florida ($749) Couple $999

Feb. 15-16   Travel to and visit Quito
Feb  17         Travel to Manta
Feb. 18-19   Coastal Real Estate Tour   $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Feb. 20        Travel to Cotacachi
Feb. 21-22   Imbabura Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Feb. 23-24  Quito-Mindo Real Estate Tour $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Feb. 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour  $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.

Mar. 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Florida $749 Couple $999

Mar. 15-16    Travel to Quito and Andes
Mar. 17-18     Imbabura Real Estate Tour   $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Mar. 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour      $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Mar. 22-23    Coastal Real Estate Tour        $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.
Mar. 25-26    Cuenca Real Estate Tour        $499 Couple $749 or discounted fee for multiple tours below.

Enjoy extra savings with our special early bird fees (if you enroll in November 2009)

2 seminar courses & tours $949 Couple  $1,399

3 seminar courses & tours   $1199 Couple  $1,749

4 seminar courses & tours   $1,399 Couple $2,149

5 seminar courses & tours  $1,599 Couple $2,499

6 seminars courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,999

(Be sure to show in the comments section which courses and tours you are attending)

International Club attend up to 52 courses and tours in 2010 free.

See our entire 2010 seminar and tour schedule here

Ecuador Scams


Ecuador scams are like scams anywhere in the world… best avoided.

There are enough scams in the world that we have no control over like… Madoff…  like Federal spending… like Social Security… like underfunded pensions.

Yet we can avoid scams  that we would otherwise bring on ourselves.

Decades ago we learned that there are many scams in investment markets which is why we have always focused on working with large, experienced global firms like Jyske Bank.

Here are delegates chatting in the courtyard of Meson de las Flores with Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management during an IBEZ Ecuador course.

ecuador-shots

Yet scams go way beyond the investing community and they are everywhere… including Ecuador.

When one moves to a new place… it is hard to know all the ropes. This is a bit frightening and often leads new arrivals or investors to depend more on other expats.

This can be a huge error… because Ecuador scams… or scams anywhere are promoted as often by other expats as they are by local residents.  

People are not more honest just because they come from the same country you do.

I learned this the hard way when I moved to Hong Kong almost 41 years ago.

I had a really wonderful apartment in the mid levels of Hong Kong on Bowen Road.  “Bowen Do Ng Ho” (Bowen Road #5 – This is the last of my Cantonese!)  We had an extra bedroom we rented to a very nice American woman. She met a guy who became her boyfriend… a redheaded freckled guy I recall. He was an architect… so he said… with a San Francisco firm arriving in Hong Kong to build a skyscraper.  He was a very pleasant fellow… a “jolly chap” my British friends used to say.

Somehow, for the financing, the woman, who rented our apartment, became involved. To make a long story short… the guy (and the financing) disappeared.  Huge bills owing were strewn around town.  The woman, who rented our apartment, was devastated and left on the hook.  We had all been fooled until days after this con artist fled.  We had all felt more comfortable since we were dealing with what we thought was a “known”…someone from our own culture.

So my ears perked up when a reader wrote to me after our latest Ecuador Visa Update.

“Gary, When I read your newsletter today, I was hoping you would say something about the cost of a visa.  Unfortunately, there are people who are promising newcomers a resident’s visa for $7000.  I’ve never heard of anyone paying more than $2000 for a resident’s visa, no matter which lawyer they used.

The reader went on to say that one  couple discovered this scam and tried to back out of the contract.  This elderly couple was threatened by a lawsuit.

I do not have all the facts so cannot be sure if this is a pure scam… just really unfair pricing or if more than just a visa was offered, but $7,000 seemed awfully high if all that was provided was just a resident visa.  I immediately wrote to the three attorneys who advise us in Ecuador to check on the price.

Although we were totally unaware of any of this, it did remind us that all of us should always take care and do our research when we move or visit other countries.  This is what I wrote to the 3 attorneys that we use:

“I would like to inform readers about what is a reasonable amount they should expect to pay for a resident visa.  Could you provide this?  Regards, Gary”

The first reply came from our attorney, Dr. Andres Cordova. He wrote:  Dear Gary:  If this story is true then it’s terrible. Poor people. They can contact me immediately and I will take care of them.  I will review their case for free.  It may be possible that these possible scammers are doing things under the
table, cutting corners. This would be bad, but instilling fear on clients is beyond reproachable.

Lawyers would normally charge between $800 and $1.000 for a visa, including for a family. In some cases where there is an added complication the cost may be a little bit higher.

Some bigger law firms may charge between $2,000 and $4,000 for a visa but normally when obtained of behalf of major investors, corporate CEOs, etc.  I believe $800 to $1.500 is reasonable. We charge $800 to $1.000.  Regarding expenses, they are of about $350 per visa plus some $100 in general, for the whole family.  Best regards, Andres.

This is very kind of Andres to offer free legal assistance. He has helped so many of our readers in the past. See ways he has helped readers here.

Another excellent and reliable attorney, Roberto Moreno, wrote:   Gary,  Yes, $7000 is absolutely out of range. Depending on the visa we charge from US$900 to US$1200.  Also, it is important to inform the readers that some lawyers will just obtain visas with few requirements, especially in Guayaquil.  The risk is that the visa could be removed later on. We prefer now to obtained all the visas for our clients at the immigration office in Quito.

cotacachi-green

Gary Scott and immigration attorney, Roberto Moreno, at Meson.

Learn more about Roberto and his firm here.

The third attorney, Floridalva Zambrano wrote:

Hi Gary, This is a terrible thing!!  Your reader is correct,  the cost of obtaining a resident  visa, including attorney fees,  fluctuates between $1,200 and $2,000, being this last one a very high one.  We usually charge  about $1,300.  Checking with other attorneys  from Quito this is the the standard cost.  Hope this helps!!

Here is one of our Ecuador real estate tours meeting with our attorney, Floridalva Zambrano.

ecuador-beach-prices

Flori is one of the few attorneys with such experience that when she conveys a property, a US title insurance company will provide US title insurance.

Learn about Flori’s law firm here.

There you have it… three very reliable Ecuador law firms charge about $1,200 for a resident visa.  Whether you feel someone charging much more is a scam or not is up to you… but when you move to Ecuador or anywhere that is new… you are more vulnerable so watch out for price gouging and scams.

Gary

One benefit of an Ecuador Living subscription is that we do not take commissions or kickbacks on real estate, legal work, hotel or tour reservations… or anything.  There are no hidden agendas.   We even donated our hotel to a foundation to help promote employment in Ecuador so we do not even make a penny from the income at Meson de las Flores.    Our goal is to help our readers enjoy safe, easy, profitable, low cost journeys to Ecuador.  Learn more about our Ecuador Living Service here.

The greatest asset of all is the ability to earn wherever you live, which brings everlasting wealth.

This is why we offer our course Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business.

A clear mind and healthy body are also a vital assets… plus a second language is a powerful diversification tool.

This is why I am willing to pay you $300 to attend either our Ecuador Super Thinking plus Spanish seminar in September or our North Carolina International Business & Investing seminar in October.  Sign up for either seminar and I will email you our Tangled Web… How to Have an Internet Business Course (offered at $299) free plus I’ll knock an extra dollar off your seminar fee…. to round up the $300 savings.

Here are comments from a reader about the way we help:  Merri, I am sitting here with a smile on my face.  I am always amazed at the turn around that I get from my emails to you.  I know you are busy with all of the projects that you and Gary address on a daily basis and appreciate very much you making time for mine.

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and diversification in Ecuador at the seminar.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina with our webmaster  David Cross & Thomas Fischer of JGAM

October 16-18 Ecuador Southern coastal tour (early sign up before Sept. 1, $499 per person).

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Attend any two Ecuador seminar 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

Global Investing and Ecuador


My global investing and business began 41 years ago May 2, 1968 and eventually led me to Ecuador.

My background as son of a zoo keeper did not leave me prepared.

ecuador-global-investing

Here is a newspaper clipping of my sister Sandra and me feeding a baby lion we kept at home… one of many lions and tigers we raised.

Let me share 41 years of multi currency investing and a couple of important facts I learned that may help you… including what’s happening with the swine flu in Ecuador.

I arrived in Hong Kong in the night, the tropical air so soft it was a velvet mist.   Thick evening scents in the fragrant harbor and mellow insects purrings in rhythm with the cacophony of the great city!  What a an exotic adventure.

Kai Tak was Hong Kong’s airport then and being American born and bred, I knew nothing about investing aboard.

That was my first airplane trip, first time out of Oregon. Portland to Vancouver, Tokyo to Hong Kong.  I melted in my heavy woolen blazer, was weary and afraid but excited too. An incredible global investing journey had begun… and continues to this day.

Here I was, 21 years old.

passport_25_07_2007_4.jpg

Here is the first stamp in that first passport. That stamp you might say was my first international investment.

passport2_25_07_2007_3.jpg

That first stamp makes a point by the way about how to enter and initially work or invest in a country.  That first stamp was issued May 2, 1968 and allowed me to stay in Hong Kong until June 2, 1968.

I worked in Hong Kong for quite some time on tourist stamps… coming in for a month at a time.   I was developing sales teams in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines at the same time so a month was plenty of time before I exited.

ecuador-global-investing

Here is one of my first sales teams… this one in Hong Kong led by John So Kwok Kee (far left – you can guess which one I am).

I built teams from the north in Japan down through Thailand.  One of the salesmen we worked with in Thailand, Brian Tracy, returned later to Canada and has had great success in the sales education field.

Starting a business, investigation or residence with a tourist visa is a pretty good idea. This is usually the easiest, most efficient, practical way to begin so you can be sure what you are doing and how you’ll develop a more permanent stay if you want one.  In many cases… such as mine… a permanent tourist system is simply the easiest and best.

I began my business in Hong Kong this way and for years I also lived and worked in England on tourist stamps before obtaining my permanent residence there.

A reader recently sent me this note about Ecuador tourist visas.

“Gary, When I was staying at the Hotel, someone mentioned that you do not
have a residential visa for Ecuador.  Is this correct?  How do you
spend as much time in the country as you do?”

Here is my rely:

“I spend less than 6 months a year in Ecuador.

“We have heard from others who come stay for 90 days, leave for just a day or two (especially just over the border in Peru or Colombia)  and come right back that there are difficulties.

“Our experience is that every time we come to Ecuador we are given a 90
day visa.  However we do not stress this system. For example we may stay 70 days and then be away for weeks or even a month or so.  Then return for 20 days or so.. then leave for another month etc.   The immigration officers look carefully at the total number of days by the end of the year and to help them, I keep a list of each day we have arrived and departed and the page number in our passport… so they can efficiently see we have not been in more than 180 days the maximum allowed on a T-3 tourist visa).

Be careful not to overstay. One reader reported that having done so he was denied entrance upon his return and were not allowed to return to Ecuador for one year.

We have a full report on Ecuador visas and an immigration attorney who helps our Ecuador Living subscribers.

I am also preparing a report for Ecuador Living subscribers to answer this question from a reader yesterday.

“Hi Gary, Wonderful timing, we had tickets to fly from Guadalajara to Quito yesterday, but were stymied by the fact that Ecuador (and Peru) are refusing passengers from Mexico.  We understand Ecuador’s borders  will be closed for a month to non-residents flying in from Mexico.

We had thought about flying back to the States and then flying to Ecuador, but an electronic scan of our passports would show we’d been in Mexico and we’re not sure what would happen.  Any insights?   Thanks!

You can obtain these reports and answers as an Ecuador Living subscriber. Learn how to subscribe to Ecuador Living here.

Back to Hong Kong.  I began there selling US mutual funds.

When arriving there 41 years ago there is no way I could have known how exciting the next decades would be, how much information, facts, figures, ideas and insights on how to invest globally would be gained. Had I known the mistakes to be made I would probably have run!

Then I moved east again to England and Europe… trying many things.

Thankfully all the trials, tortures and errors were mitigated by much fun and an earnest endeavor to live right and learn.

ecuador-global-investing

Here is a newspaper clipping of me  with a business partner in my London office on Artillery Row selling square inches of Graceland… not really a very good idea.

Later I imported Rolls Royces and Bentleys from England to the US… a better idea.

ecuador-global-investing

One goal at this site is to share basics of global investing and living an international life learned over these 41 years. Global investing has changed so much during this time and is changing even faster now.  I am continually forced to rearrange my thinking strategy and tactics at a faster pace.

We offered health courses at our North Carolina farm. Here I am with our son, Jake, with one tactic we taught… a morning dip in a cold creek after exercise… yes that is snow on the banks and no… this not surprisingly did not sell very well either.

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Our food as medicine courses taught by Merri in her teaching kitchen at the farm had better attendance!

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For almost 15 years now we have been conducting courses in Ecuador. Here I am this year in the meeting room at the Cotacachi museum next to Meson de las Flores on an Ecuador export tour.

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This continual evolution has helped Merri and me, our readers and our income continually grow… through good times and bad.

Yesterday April 2009 for example ended with anoter record month for our internet sales.  Our 2009 sales (April month on month) were up 48.01% over April 2008, which in turn were up 24.04% over April 2007 sales.

Our sales in the first four months of 2009 were up 81.75% over Jan through April 2008 which was up 26.20% over 2007.  Learn how to develop an internet business that can grow like this here.

The reason we have survived and progressed amidst this never ending update is that the little stuff shifts and evolves, but the fundamentals remain immutable.

Investing globally is not a panacea, but expanded horizons are. Life is a trip and we have an entire globe to enjoy the ride.

Two years ago on May 2, 2007, I wrote:

History suggests that this is a time when chances are increased for panic and sudden drops in investment markets. Investors who have proven themselves nervous short term thinkers are highly leveraged, in thin, over purchased markets that are easily sinkable boats treading the dangerous waters of May though October when tradition says the currents will most likely be treacherous and surrounded with lots of storms.

Now, that this risk has proven true, history also suggests that we have a once in a life time opportunity.

The way to cash in on this incredible opportunity is the same way I suggested avoiding the collapse two years ago. I wrote then: “One way to get good international investments is to take a long term, expansive international view.”

My first trip abroad 41 years ago was significant because 1968 was the beginning of a new era for world stock markets. When I arrived in Hong Kong the world of investing was dominated by Wall Street. That was about to end. 1968 was the year when the Hong Kong Stock Market began to explode upwards along with Tokyo’s market. What a ride!

The Heng Seng Index was then 100 and rose to 18,000. Anyone who steadily committed money to this market then made a fortune.

I can sum up my investment basic investing and advice in seven sentences.

#1: 1970s. Invest in real estate, gold, silver Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Hong Kong.

#2: 1980s. Invest in real estate, the Tigers, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore Malaysia and South Korea as well.

#3: 1990s. Invest in real estate South America (which led me to Ecuador).

#4: 2000s. Invest real estate, China, India and emerging markets including Ecuador real estate.

#5: Always have an expansive view.

#6: Use stop losses during peaks.

#7: Have an international investment view. Never overextend. Don’t trade too much, just hang on.

This philosophy has reaped millions for Merri and me. Had we been more expansive, we would have an extra $20 million or so.  However our conservative approach to business and investing also protected us during the recent melt down of 2007 and 2008.

This may be time to begin taking advantage of the recovery. Panic is subsiding but values are still high. The huge excesses of the US and other government’s will at some stage begin to seriously erode the purchasing power of currencies.

I remain highly diversified from a currency point of view.  Here is my current currency breakdown in my liquid portfolio that represents 43% of my total portfolio.

An excerpt from a recent Multicurrencyinvesting.com lesson explains why when I wrote about the currency distribution of investments:

Here is my currency distribution:

Danish kroner    24%
Euro                     24%
British Pound      8%
US Dollar            12%
Canadian Dollar 3%
Norway kroner   4%
NZ Dollar             3%
Sweden kroner    7%
Brazil real             3%
Hungary Forint   6%
Turkey Try            6%

With more than a third of my liquid position in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian kroner, my Scandinavian  position is seriously over weighted in terms of global market size.

One reason is because these are such small countries located on the sea.  This means that their histories are composed of  travel and trade.

A nation’s heritage reflects in the value of its currency strength. This fact helped me answer this question from a reader.

“Gary, Will  future strength in DKK be bad for equities denominated in that currency?”

Here is my reply.

Most of the Danish companies you would buy are global companies.

Because Denmark is such a small market any large Danish company is doing most of its business out of Denmark  so a lot of their success depends on the type of business business and where the company actually manufactures and sells its products.

Plus look at the margins built into the product.

One benefit in Scandinavia is their very highly educated population. A recent Time magazine article shows that Finland (not Scandinavian but Baltic and Finland’s currency is the euro – otherwise I would have Finmark in my portfolio as well) ranked number one for educational performance of 15 year olds in math. Denmark was number 10, Sweden number 15 and Norway number 23… all ahead of the US (number 25).

Finland was number one for reading performance of 15 years olds as well.  Sweden number seven, Norway number 10 and Denmark number 16. The US was number 15.

This means that the products produced in these nations will tend to be high value.

For example, Novo Norsk makes insulin.  I suspect that the margins are substantially high.

Ditto for novozymes that makes enztymes for environmental purification.  These are firms where there is likely to be a great deal of value added into their product.

Vestas, makes wind turbines. and may be more affected by a strong kroner if they do a lot of manufacturing in Denmark but are having and sales in the US and especially if their competitors manufacture in the US or other countries where the currency is weak.

I am updating the value of major and emerging markets now at multicurrencyinvesting.com and will be revaluing our green and Danish portfolios in upcoming lessons.  You can subscribe to our Multi Currency Portfolios Course here.

I have increased my Ecuador real estate to 22% of my total property.  The balance is in US property and I am looking to add more US property now in Florida and or Savannah.

If you have real estate in central Florida or Savannah that you would like to swap for real estate in Ecuador… let me know.

I have held a high cash position for over a year but now agree with Warren Buffet who recently wrote about business and opportunity:

Clinging to cash equivalents or long-term government bonds at present yields is almost certainly a terrible policy if continued for long. Holders of these instruments, of course, have felt increasingly comfortable – in fact, almost smug – in following this policy as financial turmoil has mounted. They regard their judgment confirmed when they hear commentators proclaim “cash is king,” even though that wonderful cash is earning close to nothing and will surely find its purchasing power eroded over time.

Now is the time to convert cash into investments that will appreciate with the loss of cash’s loss of purchasing power… stocks… commodities… real estate or your own business.

This leaves all of us with a lot to do after 41 years of a global life.

I feel healthier and more energetic then 41 years ago.   Maybe I am not wiser… but I am more experienced and seem in a better position then when I took that first trip.

Merri and I look forward to the next 41 years… and we look forward to sharing them with you!

Gary

This is the schedule of Gary our 2009 Ecuador information tours, courses and seminars.

May 16-17 Ecuador Coastal Tour

May 20-21 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

May 22-24. Ecuador Amazon Herbal Tour

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.


Cotacachi & Green


One great benefit to living in Cotacachi Ecuador is that no car is required. This a a great benefit for green living.

Cotacachi is colorful beyond green.  This is the mural on the arts center in the middle of Cotacachi.

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This shot was taken by Dennis Goff and is at his new interactive site for anyone who has been to Cotacachi or wants to find out more about it from other members.

Here is Dennis with us on a trek taking photos.

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There is more about the new site and more pictures in a moment.  First, a Cotacachi business idea.

Many new residents in Cotacachi have bikes and a desire for cleaner living.

Merri and I love to see this happening. Protecting the environment is of such importance.  This is why we are working with our friend, Mark Owen, to take our North Carolina farm off the grid.

Mark recently wrote this article.

Two Wheels or Four?

By Mark Owen

The ever-strengthening desire for the industrialized nations to reduce their consumption of oil has prompted considerable interest in alternative means of transportation. Today, even the Madison Avenue marketing strategists paint a positive image around vehicles with high gas mileage. We all know that a concept has become mainstream when we see it on expensive television commercials and news segments during prime time. We have seen the Toyota Prius on commercials for a long time. Flex Fuel, Hybrid and All-Electric technologies are currently or soon-to-be available to the general public.  The Big Three American companies, Honda, and Toyota all have an all-electric car in development. BMW put a fleet of 700 hydrogen-powered cars in California last year. On the horizon are hopeful technologies such as chassie-free cars framed with carbon fiber bodies, Lithium-ion batteries for Electric and Hybrid cars, and small hydrogen power plants for the average Joe.

All those technologies are gearing toward making cars that are fundamentally similar to the ones we drive now. Designers and manufacturers have determined that consumer tastes change slowly. And these improvements may suffice, and they may come fast enough to make a significant difference. But there are many of you who are eager to push the envelope, live just beyond the comfort of the mainstream, and ponder the logical extremes of the challenges we face.
I like to venture out there once in a while, out there in those logical extremes. So I purchased an electric bicycle. I have owned it for five weeks now, and I am very pleased. Mind you, I live in Florida where the winters are mild. OK, the winters are better than just mild, they are great. The weather has not yet prevented me from riding whenever or wherever I needed to go. I have fitted my new bike with a child’s bike seat to the delight of my daughter. She and I ride to her school on the smaller neighborhood streets almost each morning now. At a relatively slow eighteen miles per hour and with no car encasing her, she enjoys more of her glorious environment. I have also intrigued many of the other parents that watch us drive up to school.

I also fitted the bicycle with a small canvas trailer. It is intended for transporting children, but I only use it to haul groceries from the store or tools to and fro my jobsites. I am a contractor who works out of a small Toyota truck. I usually go to my jobs in my truck the first day and leave all my heavy tools there. The ensuing days I have the option of commuting to that job on my new bike. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, depending on the distance to my jobsite. (It also depends on my mood.)

As you probably guessed, these electric bikes cannot travel far before they run out of steam. They run out of steam even quicker if you are pulling a trailer. Even a ten-pound trailer with skinny bicycle wheels. I learned this on my first commute to work. I got about half way there and the batteries died. I had to pedal the rest of the way there. I also learned that day that I should have brought my charger with me. I made it home for dinner that night, and did not feel the need to go to the gym the next morning, if you get my drift. I won’t soon forget that lesson.

Regarding the range on many of the electric bikes available, most of them can travel up to eighteen miles on a full charge. This varies considerably. The roads in my part of Florida a very flat. So that factor is the same as the “typical” used in most range evaluations. Most electric bicycles are called pedal-assist, so you are supposed to help the motor along by gently pedaling yourself. The weight of the passenger(s) is a factor, as is the weight of any baggage. I also learned that tire inflation and brake adjustment greatly affects range. Under-inflated tires or dragging brake pads will reduce your mileage.

I have found that my commutes to my daughter’s school are a very pleasant six-mile round trip. We can go as fast as she wants, I get a little exercise, and I comfortably make it home to recharge before I turn around to pick her up. Going to my work has proven to be sketchy because I usually drive on busier roads, at higher speeds to keep up with traffic, and the distances have been greater. Splotchy battery performance during my work commutes is what affects my mood some mornings. If I have a lot of work to do that day, I don’t want to also pedal half way home. As a sidebar, a fella gave me two supercharged batteries that he wants me to rig on to my new bike. They will strap into my basket. The electrical connection will be easy enough with a one-dollar connector from AutoZone. These batteries are “glass-mat” type from Harley Davidson motorcycles and have considerably higher amp/hour output than my factory-installed bicycle batteries. If I am crazy enough to do this, my wife or I will report back to you in later issues. That article will be a Must Read.
I will certainly keep riding my electric bike. I like the interest it generates, and the ensuing discussions. I would recommend it, with reservations, to many of you. If you are interested, read on.

I have done lots of research on the various electric bicycles available. Many of them are French or Italian. This concept must be popular across the pond. Most the other bikes (not mine) install their electric motor inside the center of the rear hub. I think this concept will work well in later-generation scooters, but If you run out of battery charge in one of these bicycles, it is very difficult to pedal them the rest of the way home. This arrangement also concerns me because parts for this assembly become very particular, very precise. Improvisation during repairs and maintenance becomes problematic. These European devices, in my experience, seems to be Solid State in that their many curious wires all bundle themselves into the center compartment where there are fuses and too many switches for my comfort. This center compartment contains a motherboard, a very proprietary piece of equipment that could not easily be circumvented. These bicycles are more like a moped than a pedal-assist bicycle. Electric bike technology should not be that sophisticated.

The other main style I saw was a regular bicycle with an electric motor that drives a wheel that you press against the rubber of your front tire for propulsion. This method creates both friction and slippage loss. More importantly, front-wheel-drive in a small car is good; front-wheel-drive on a bicycle is bad. The motion feels un-natural, and the weight of the motor on your front forks is very cumbersome. I felt like I had to constantly worry about endo (end-over-end flipping) or the front wheel slipping out from under me. Besides that, the aesthetics of these vehicles seemed all wrong.

I purchased my bicycle because it was the only one of its kind. It was  second-hand off Craig’s List, and I have no affiliation with the manufacturer. I have looked up their website, though. It is a Synergy Cycle, from Los Angeles, California. I saw yesterday that they reduced their purchase price to only $799.00. This is about half the price of any other electric bike I have seen to date. Their website advertises that a full charge costs between five and 7 cents. I have no reason to doubt this because my bike charges via a small transformer from a regular outlet from empty to full in about 30 minutes. (I will verify electric consumption and report this after I get my new amp-meter for my next birthday.) Either way, this bike has small initial and operational costs. Paltry indeed.

First it is a regular, high-quality, rugged bicycle. It seems they retro-fitted the motor system on after-the-fact. I know, that’s a redundancy, but my old high school English teacher probably won’t see this. And I really want to get this point across. Everything about this bike is as simple as possible. Any bike mechanic can work on most of it. Parts are as easy to find or improvise as any ordinary bike parts.

But then there is the motor/battery system. This stuff is strange to everybody. Who do you get to work on one of these babies? You guessed it…you, yourself, and you. The motor is about as big as a grapefruit, and it is bolted to the right rear main stay. Its got lots of torque and can pull a trailer and me with ease. (Even though extra weight draws more from your batteries.) Its armature runs parallel to the rear hub, about five inches above it. It is connected to the rear hub via a metal link chain and freewheel. This allows the electric motor to operate independent of the manual pedals. The manual pedals can operate independent of the motor, too. One pushes while the other freewheels. Or both can run simultaneous for top speed and longevity.

The motor is wired to the battery pack via two insulated wires that are neatly strapped to the frame. That’s all, just two wires. The battery pack is a plastic case that holds two 12v batteries joined in series to make a 24 volt system. There is a female jack for charging and an on-off switch on the side of this battery pack. The battery pack is removable with one quick-release bolt and one electrical connector. This way you can bring the battery in to your home or office to charge while the bike stays outside. From the battery pack (on the “bike” side of the dis-connector) there runs one cable to a thumb throttle on the handlebars. The throttle is spring tensioned. If your battery pack is switched “on” you may engage and accelerate the motor with a simple push of your thumb. The throttle is spring-tensioned, and its default mode is also “off,” creating a double “off” safety feature. It’s convenient and dummy-proof.

The only wires I don’t like are the two joined at the base of the throttle cable that go to each of the two hand brakes. If you are agile enough to simultaneously push the throttle with your thumb and pull the brakes with your fingers, the action of the brakes will shut down the electric motor. Talk about redundant. I’ve gotta give them credit, though. That is the only fat on the whole machine.

The double kickstand is very stable. It lifts your rear wheel off the ground and allows you to work on rear components while freewheeling, with the bicycle in the upright position. Did I mention the front fork shocks and the double mono-shocks on the main frame? The factory seat is nice enough, but I added a “gel” seat cover I mail ordered off the internet for $15.00. Even at 20mph+ this bike is comfortable and handles nimbly.

As much as I rave about it, though, I am having a hard time convincing my wife about the comfort of my new bike. She compares it to her car, though. And vehicle safety is another issue I concede to her. Like a good mother hen, she asks that I call her the moment my daughter and I arrive at school. And isn’t vehicle safety one of the biggest impediments to mainstreaming small, efficient vehicles? When I saw a new Smart Car pass by me on the interstate, even I think to myself “that does not look safe from here.” It makes me wonder how unsafe my electric bike looks from the vantage of a regular car in traffic.

Even so, my experience with the electric bike has made me ponder concepts such as electric motorcycles that travel at highway speeds. I have already seen children’s electric scooters that hold large batteries under the footrest for a low center of gravity. Could these toys be made a little bigger? Could they accommodate two or three passenger? Is “Two Wheels or Four?” really the only alternative? What about three wheels? I have also pondered safety seats for adults, safety helmets, and 5-point safety harnesses, similar to the features in NASCAR vehicles. I have faith that one of you readers will someday retrofit an electric motor from an industrial fan onto a beefed-up tricycle frame, bolt on a couple of tractor-trailer batteries, and test-drive your prototype at 70 mph. Another one of you might mold a NASCAR seat and a modernistic faring from carbon fiber and add it to the mix. Now that test-drive would be a productive use of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

We are now witnessing the first generation of electric bicycles. They will improve. Maybe this means they will have to look and act more like cars. Some of these bicycles will accommodate themselves to the existing road systems. Some roads throughout the country will be dedicated exclusively for the use of “ultra light” vehicles. Or something far-reaching and un-knowable will happen to this industry. I’m not saying this industry is going to supplant the possible demise of the Big Three, but who knows? Maybe somebody will retrofit one of those French mopeds with solar wings and try to fly it across the English Channel. I will be right there to cheer them on.

We have been looking at business ideas in Cotacachi such as Ecuador export ideas.

Here is a Cotacachi green business idea.  Import or make electric bikes.

For those interested in Cotacachi organic ideas see  Cotacach Organic Gardens here.

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Entrance to Meson de las Flores.

This photo is another at Dennis Goff’s new site. Here are some more shots.

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Gary Scott and immigration attorney, Roberto Moreno, at Meson.

Dennis is a professional photgrapher who spends winters in Cotacachi and saw there is an an ever increasing number of readers at our site who want to connect with people who have “lived the experience” in Cotacachi.
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Ecuador roses at Meson.

Dennis thought it would be fun… and informative to start a light site.

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Start of a parade. Wouldn’t electric bikes be better?

Anyone can join and contribute to the network.  Dennis will monitor content to keep it appropriate.   The intent is to keep it light hearted and fun and a great place for like minded people who enjoy Cotacachi.

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Tour delgates at Meson.

You can visit Dennis’s site here.

Until next message, may your world be beautiful and green.

Gary

Learn  more about Cotacachi business ideas at our July 4-8 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

Enjoy savings by attending our real estate tours at the same time.

July 4-8 Ecuador Import Export Expedition
July 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour
July 10-13 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

We provide discounts for delegates who attend two or three courses and tours in a month.

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.

Plus during the month of April, (this offer expires April 30) enjoy  our extra 2-4-1 savings.

Because Merri and I will not be conducting the July tours, our 2-4-1 offer lets you attend the July 2009  Ecuador export tour free if you enroll in one of our three International Tangled Web Business & Investing Made EZ courses, in July, October or November that we will conduct.

You get two courses for the price of one.  Enroll in any of these courses that Merri and I will conduct below and choose any one of the three July tours free.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

There is no need to  hurry either. If you are not sure about attending two tours,  sign up and attend the July export tour now… then we’ll knock the tour fee off our International Tangled Web Business & Investing Made EZ courses, in July, October or November fee later.

You can also still take advantage of the two or three course discount as well.

For example, if you choose to attend all three of the July Ecuador tours… both real estate and export tours, then you can have the two or three courses discount and still attend a July, October or November International Tangled Web Business & Investing Made EZ course free.

The 2-4-1 offer expires April 30 2009.

We hope to meet you in North Carolina or Ecuador.

Gary