Tag Archive | "Italy"

International Investment Gains


Our latest International Investment & Business Seminar here in Ashe County,  North Carolina  looked at International Investment gains that were up 14% in the first six months of this year.

When these seminars begin… there is always a hint of excitement.   Thomas Fisher has flown in from Denmark. Our webmaster, David Cross, has arrived from Oregon and delegates have come from all over the world.

We’ll look at some of the international investments we view (including Ecuador opportunity) but let’s also allow some of the delegates to tell you how they felt about this seminar.

One delegate wrote:

Hi Gary, Merri and David,  Thanks for a great weekend.  As a new club member, I’m looking forward to the next time that we can spend some time together and to reading “Ecuador Living”.  Sincerely,

When our North Carolina international investing and business seminars begin, I rise at dawn on the farm and then…

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we drive into West Jefferson where we conduct the seminar.

We are casual at our international investment seminars but serious.

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Many delegates make international investing and business… even lifestyle decisions based on the economic updates we share, so I and our other speakers, Thomas Fischer of Jyske Global Asset Management, our webmaster David Cross and Merri have spent enormous time getting prepared.

This year our July North Carolina course was conducted at at the Ashe County Arts Center in West Jefferson.

The Arts Center is housed in a historic WPA building featuring a gallery so we share our information amidst local art and crafts, statuary and exhibits from over four-dozen artists.  Here is some of the art we saw.

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The seminar began with a historical review that led us to three places to invest now.

#1: Multi Currency Sandwich in value markets, emerging markets and wellness.

#2: The environment.

#3: Real Estate in the US and Ecuador.

Plus we saw why many of us would need our own business.

The first historical fundamental we covered was a way to predict where markets might go next.  We saw for example that the Dow has moved in approximate 15-17 year up and down cycles for over 100 years.

We viewed how the Dow appears to be in the 10th year of a 15 to 17 year down cycle that began in 1999.  We compared the last two years of this cycle, with the equivalent period in the 1968 to 1982 bear cycle.

We saw an amazing 93% correlation between then and now.

The chart below from Moore Research compares the Dow from 1976 through 1978 to the Dow of the last 18 months. The Blue line is what happened in the equivalent period in the 1970s to now.

global-trends

Here is what another delegate wrote about this seminar:

Hello Merri & Gary,  Now that I am back home and settled into the normal routine, it’s time to drop you a line to say how much my brother Rick and I enjoyed attending the conference last weekend.   Experiencing the beauty of Ashe County and the pleasant disposition of the people who live there contributed to the picture of the place that you paint via the letters and photos sent out to your readers.  Not only was the information presented there of great value, but Rick and I found that all of the other participants we met are great people indeed, just as you’ve mentioned.  Your ability to attract like-minded souls is a service in itself, and one that provides lessons we can all strive to emulate going forward.

Thank you again for providing the opportunity of meeting you both in person; I will begin to make use of the information to enhance my own life and look forward to seeing you both again some day.  Best wishes.

Then we looked at the multi currency sandwich and how you can currently borrow US dollars at 3% to invest the loan in higher yielding shares and bonds.  Pound loans are 4%.

We also saw how the British pound was a potentially undervalued currency versus the US dollar.

We looked at how Jyske Global Asset management’s Low Risk Portfolio with a 100% loan rose 11.4% since 2009 or at 23% per annum pace.

Then we reviewed an 18% six month profit with 4.75% ISS Capital 2010 bond (or growth at 36% per annum pace).

We reviewed a  7.25% Bombardier 2016 bond. that offered a longer duration and higher spread of 3.5%.

This led us to a multi currency sandwich with $100,000 invested and $50,000 US$ loan at 3% and $50,000 loan in British pounds at 4%.

The $200,000 was invested $100,000 in US the 7.5% dollar bond above.  $50,000 was invested in a Pound denominated bond issued by Hungary due 2016 and yielding 10%.  $50,000 was invested in British shares because Britain is one of the best valued major markets at this time.

Here is what another delegate shared about the seminar:

Merri, My wife  and I would like to thank you and Gary for a wonderful course. We thoroughly enjoyed all the information presented by Gary, Thomas and David. And we thank you for your hospitality with having us to your lovely “piece of paradise” in Lansing. The lunch was delicious and your presentation of import/export items was quite interesting.  We look forward to visiting Ecuador in September of 2010. And we look forward to visiting and staying at your hotel in Cotacatchi.

We then reveiwed the best and worst value equity markets around the world and saw that the best valued major markets are now Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore and the UK.

Here is what another delegate had to say about this seminar.

Hi Gary & Merri,  I thoroughly enjoyed the time you so graciously allowed me to attend at your seminar and am not surprised, in the least, that you are getting rave reviews.  You and Merri make such a wonderful team offering these seminars with professionalism and charm, and here in Ashe County, with a unique local flavor.  We all thoroughly enjoyed meeting and getting acquainted with many of your delegates.  As it was last year as well, many of the people you attract with your seminars are well traveled, interesting and very personable.  Thank you for your friendship and generosity,

In another session we looked at the importance of investing in the environment. We saw three ways to gain from sustainability changes ahead.

#1: Adaptation.  Investing in solutions to health problems is an example. Poor food produced in our central food system creates blood sugar problems, so Novo Norsk a Danish company that is the largest producer of insulin makes sense.

#2: Mitigation.  Cleaning up the mess humanity offers profit especially with water. Hyflux, a Singapore company, and Kurita Water, a Japanese firm, both have potential in this field.

#3: Structural Change.   Vestas Wind Turbines is a Danish company and is the largest maker of wind turbines to produce energy.

Here is what anther delegates sent to Merri and me about this seminar:

As a retiree who saw her retirement sustain considerable loss due to the economy, I found the information you presented during the three days to be extremely helpful and showed a plausible way for me to have some recovery.  Besides all of the relevant information, your emphasis on honesty and the importance of not to be deceptive was reassuring.  The bottom line is, that what gave real value to the information we were receiving and what made us feel comfortable was, that we felt you, Thomas and David were all people of good character.  Something that is very important to us.  Thank you, Gary and Merri, for providing a wonderful Seminar. Sincere regards.

On Saturday evening we drove to Lansing and looked at how small businesses can grow as we visited the New River Winery for a wine tasting. The winery is housed in another old WPA building which originally was the Lansing school.

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Here is Haskell McGuire one of New River founders showing us the winery.

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New River’s flagship wines are Bohemia Red and Bohemia White. These were followed by the introduction of signature wines, Back Porch Blueberry.  New River now has several new wines in production including:  Pinot Blanc, Viogner, Hellbender Red, Lansing School White, Big Laurel Blush, and Seyval.

The winery started small and is growing by leaps and bounds. Vineyards and wineries are one of the fastest growing business sectors in North Carolina.

Here is an unedited quite from another delegate:

Dear Gary and Merri:  We so enjoyed attending the IBEZ Seminar this past weekend in Jefferson, NC.  We loved the high country area, the nice people we met and particularly enjoyed the visit and tour of the New River Winery.  We were lucky to sit at a table with four utterly charming southern women, one of whom was Haskell’s wife.  We had a long drive home on Sunday and were sad that we had to leave and not be able to join you and our group for lunch at your farm and sad that we missed Merri’s cooking.  We hope someday in the future we may have the opportunity to visit your property as we heard it is quite beautiful.

Then we began the international business sessions of the course and David began teaching how to use the internet in business.

We started by looking at a Time Magazine quote which said:

Throw away your briefcase: you’re not going to office. You can kiss benefits goodbye. Your new boss won’t look much like your old one. There’s no longer a ladder, and you may never get to retire, but there’s a world of opportunity if you figure out a new path.

On Sunday we continued the course at our farm. Everyone was invited up to the house for lunch.

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We did a review of Ecuador export products.

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Like this leather coat and these baby alpaca sweaters.

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Another delegate wrote:

Hi Gary, Just a quick note to tell you again how much I enjoyed the seminar and seeing your lovely farm.  I spoke to you briefly about deciding that I wanted the web course instead of mult-currency.  Thank you for sending me that instead of the multi-currency.  It may be two weeks, but I am starting to work on that site.  I know from life experience that it is always better to focus on what you want to create instead of what you don’t want. So thank you for the buzz of creativity that you, David, and others from the  group inspired.  I am also interested in featuring the dulcamaras product on my site, along with testimonials.  You mentioned a contact for that product.  I would appreciate that information also. Smiles.

Here is some Ecuador art that evolved from drum making.

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Delegates came up with many marketing and…

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Business ideas.

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plus we had fun.

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Next time this course will be in October.  This view…

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will look like…

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this!

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As the guests leave… in the dusk… there is always a moment of sadness.  New friends made.  Interesting ideas shared and now we are moving apart.

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Yet we’ll be back together again next seminar.

This delegate expressed it well when she wrote:

Thank you again for a truly life changing and life enhancing weekend. And we also wish your loved ones a speedy recovery and good health. Best regards.

We hope you will join us for our International Investing and Business Course in North Carolina this October or in Ecuador in November like this delegate who wrote:

Hi Gary,  It was wonderful to meet you and Merri at the IBEZ Conference this past weekend!  You both are so warm and caring and have a genuine desire to help the people of Ecuador and others to build a successful business.

The classes were very insightful and jam packed with information and suggestions on how to start your very own web based business. You and David, your webmaster, presented the information in an easy to understand format that even computer dummies like me could understand.

The multi currency investing portion of the class presented by you and Thomas Fischer from Jyske Global Asset Management were very interesting and educational.  It opened our eyes to new avenues of investing that we didn’t have a clue about before.

We also very much enjoyed the Import and Export portion of the class.  The items from Ecuador that you and Merri shared with us were very beautiful.  I especially loved the bird art and would be very interested in importing some of these to sell.  I am also interested in jewelry, leather goods, and the shawls like Fran was wearing in class (they were enhanced with the leather collar and leather applique).  I think that custom made leather goods that are stamped, as you and Merri suggested, have good income potentials. We would like to thank you and Merri for opening up your beautiful home to the class on Sunday afternoon and feeding us such a delicious lunch.  This was the perfect ending to three days of fun and sharing of ideals and suggestions on how to make money from investing in property and multi currency to building a successful web site business and Importing/Exporting from Ecuador for profit.  Thank you and Merri so much for everything.  We look forward to attending additional conferences.  Take care and hope to see you again soon.

Gary

Join Merri me and Thomas Fischer of JGAM and our webmaster David Cross in North Carolina this October and enroll in our emailed course on how to have a web business free. Save $299.

Learn more about global investing, how to have an international business and early retirement in Ecuador at the course.

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

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.

Another delegate wrote:

Hi Gary, Just looked at your website for the first time and couldn’t hardly stop reading all the fantastic topics and the wealth of information you provide.  One of the best website’s I’ve experienced.  Don’t know why I haven’t looked at it sooner but am very happy I finally got to it.  I read as many articles as I could in one sitting with limited time this morning and am anxious to get back to read more.  Your life experiences and expertise is fascinating.  It’s amazing how close your philosophy about life, work, investing, family, etc. parallels my own.  I suppose international living, broad experiences with other cultures, diverse business experiences, etc., culminate in a certain way we view the world.  Anyway, thanks for sharing so much excellent philosophy and expertise.

Retire in Ecuador – Beat Inflation


A good reason to retire in Ecuador or away from your home is to beat inflation.

Yesterday’s message looked at reason why inflation is not a problem now… but it will be… probably in a serious way.

See below three ways to beat inflation.

First… live or retire in Ecuador or any country where the cost of living is low.

These nice houses in Cotacachi were offered at $49,000.  That beats inflation when you retire in Ecuador.

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Costs are low. This fixer upper in Cotacachi has an asking price of $30,000 with…

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a huge yard filled with mature fruit trees and…

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this view.

Second, invest in land or commodities.

A long time friend Steve Rosberg whom I first met when he was my banker in Ecuador recently sent me this note as he operates a timber plantation and real estate development in Argentina.

Gary, During our visit to New York two weeks ago, a friend and former colleague from my banker days pointed out that Latin America had been the perfect training ground to succeed in the current investment environment. I agree 100%.

In case there was any doubt, California’s  issuance of IOU’s to settle short term debt was the final confirmation, and was rapidly followed up by other corollary events, such as banks stating that these could not be accepted as deposits. This would be obvious to anybody thinking about it, but apparently, most people weren’t.

Those IOUs are a different ‘currency.’ They are a currency which you will see more of in the future, as the issuer (the CA government) is still running deficit budgets, and no new voluntary lenders are rushing in to fund them.

Decidedly a  scenario familiar to those of us who have been through a number of LatAm crises. If an Argentine president tried to pass those IOU’s off, nobody would be foolish enough to take them in the first place, and the international press would ridicule the plan as another example of LatAm fiscal impropriety.

Meanwhile, the debate seems to rage between “Are we going deeper into recession? Are we going into high inflation? Are we going into stagflation?”

The answer is yes, absolutely!

How do we position our portfolios to make the best of this without taking on more downside risk?

This is the crux of why we have developed our business as we have:

– to have growth even if there is recession (the trees keep growing, the vineyard too),
– to have value even if there is high inflation (timberland, vineyard, hotel, all real, appreciating assets that will both protect the real value of your initial investment from inflation’s erosion and generate cash flows that will also increase in this scenario),
– to have current revenue originating in the sustainable production of real assets,
– to do so in environmentally responsible ways, and
– to enjoy what we are investing in.

In short, what you want now for the long run.

We continue to believe that debt free assets producing real commodities and generating solid returns are the antidote to portfolios stricken by the poor performance of supposedly safe, “mainstream” assets, and will continue to be so going forward.

Yes, we’re from Argentina, that means we’ve been preparing for these markets for decades. Our customers didn’t lose money last year-they made it.

Visit our website and write back for more information, it’s always our pleasure to be in touch with you.

With best wishes, Steve Rosberg  www.ushay.com

Third, invest in commodity based equities.

The excerpt below is from our Multi Currency course and shows why global inflation is a problem.

A recent article in the Economist showed that the US deficit could be three trillion dollars in 2010.   Half of this would come from borrowed funds.  Normally this would cause the US dllar to fall versus other currencies.

A free fall in purchasing power of all currencies is also more likely than in previous recessions (1970s and 1980s), because then, the US overspent but other major governments, especially Germany and Japan, were still conservative and fiscally prudent.

This is no longer true. West Germany unhinged fiscal common sense when it absorbed Eastern Germany.

Excerpts from a May 14, 2009 article in the Financial Times entitled “Germany set to suffer record deficit” by Bertrand Benoit says:

The German government will record its biggest post-war budget deficit this year as the economic crisis sends tax revenues plummeting, Peer Steinbrück, finance minister, said on Thursday.

Mr Steinbrück admitted the federal deficit would exceed €50bn in 2009 and rise to €90bn next year, more than twice the previous record of €40bn set in 1996 as Germany was absorbing the huge cost of its unification. In contrast, the federal deficit last year was only €11.9bn..

Germany and Japan have both been hit especially hard by this recession because their economies have been so dependent on exports and global trade.

Germany has a huge amount of short-time working and its exports have fallen dramatically.  Like almost everywhere, government income is dropping as spending is on the rise.

If the German economy were to continue to shrink at its current pace, it will be a 20% smaller by the end of 2009.

This means Germany remains in default (as does France, Italy and Spain) of the three per cent limit in the EU stability pact.

All eurozone countries, but especially those with larger deficits, such as Italy and Spain, face a similar problem…  rising costs… aging populations… growing pension and health costs while faced with reduced income.

Asia Troubled As Well

This year, Japan suffered its first annual trade deficit in nearly three decades and business has slowed dramatically there. Global demand for Japanese products plummeted in 2008 and exports were down 16% in the year to March 2009 compared to 2008.

Hong Kong’s economy gives a glimpse into China’s economic soul and here business also contracted at the fastest rate since the Asian financial crisis.

The first three months of 2009 had the biggest drop in more than half a century.

The Hong Kong government predicted that GDP would contract by up to 6.5 per cent in 2009.  Total exports dropped 22.7 per cent in the first three months of 2009 compared with the previous year – the biggest drop since 1954. Overall investment fell by 12.6 per cent and private consumption by 5.5 per cent. The unemployment rate also rose to a 38-month high of 5.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Huge Economic Problems

Huge economic problems create huge investment opportunity and one of the greatest problems facing the world is that education has not evolved as fast as democracy.  Too many poorly educated voters expect their government to do more than they can… or should.  The voter’s desires and expectations are ill informed and generally incorrect… yet their vote is as powerful as an educated one.

This forces politicians to act (spend) more than they have.  This tends to create inflation.   This rather predictable fact has become increasingly global so choosing a strong currency becomes increasingly hard.  Most currencies are at risk to inflation.

This is why stocks, commodities, real estate and your own business makes so much sense now.   There is a caveat.  Always invest in good value in these things.

This is why my attention was really captured when I read about the ALTIS Global Resources Fund.

This is a fund that invests in commodity backed equities and is advised by value guru Michael Keppler.

If you are a new reader learn about Keppler Asset management here.

This creates a powerful combination for opportunity.  The figures below support this.

Michael Keppler recent sent me this note:

Gary, Attached please find the latest Fact Sheet and Performance Review (as of April 30, 2009) for the ALTIS Fund Global Resources, a global sector fund we advise, which was featured in an e-fund journal report of May 4, 2009 as one of the “top 10 natural resource equity funds” based on its 5-year Sharpe Ratio calculated by Lipper.

This fund seeks long-term growth of capital by investing primarily in equity securities issued by companies located anywhere in the world with business operations in the energy, natural resources and precious metals sectors.

You can learn more about this share and read this entire multi currency report as a subscriber to our multi currency course.

Economic fundamentals suggest that the price for ending the current recession will be inflation.

Three ways to fight inflation are retire in Ecuador or some other country with a low cost of living or to invest in real estate, commodities or commodity based investments.

Gary

Join us at our North Carolina farm this July or October for our International business & investing seminars below. Learn more about how to fight inflation and retire in Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

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

International Investing Trick


Here is a global diversification trick that may do well in the likely global economic scenario ahead. Buy good value shares internationally as markets dive during the summer dip.

In a moment we’ll look at some Ecuador health ideas… first the investing trick.

Global equity markets have been in a bear market rally for six months but are now hitting the summer blues due to seasonality.

Share prices will probably drop now. Chances are there will be a strong global equity slump at least through October 2009.

This will create extra value in equity markets and provide good opportunity to pick up high value long term.

The bear market is likely to carry on until 2012-13, but good value shares acquired during dips are more likely to spike early and have extra potential after the bear ends.

Now through October 2009 could be a good time to invest in high value shares for long term appreciation.

But which shares… in which markets?

One way to approach this is to look for extra value created by inefficiencies in markets…to find markets where the values are best.

Statistically this is the best way to be absolutely sure of the best long term returns.

There are numerous investment managers who use very strict valuation criteria (usually based on dividend yields, cash flow, price earnings) to spot the best value markets.  They then try to apply similar criteria to select good value shares in the good value market.

The next goal is to decide how much should be weighted in major market and how much in emerging markets.

Here is a comparison of the Morgan Stanley Major Market versus Emerging Market indices.

The MSCI World Index is a market capitalization weighted index that measures the equity market performance of developed markets.  It includes 23 developed market country indices : Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index includes Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.

MSCI Indices performances.  Total per annum return over:

Major                            Emerging
15 years    4.10%                   5.41%
10 years  -3.85%                   9.11%
5 years    -2.77%                  11.16%
3 years   -10.81%              -00.17%
1 year      -20.81%             -27.53%
3 mos.      14.30%               27.53%

Regardless of the time frame observed,  the emerging equities almost always seriously outperformed major markets… but as a class they also dropped further in the 2008 downturn.

Here is a year-on-year comparison for the past five years.

Major                   Emerging
2003  10.74%           29.63%
2004    6.46%           16.51%
2005   26.17%           54.41%

2006     7.40%          18.23%

2007     -1.66%         25.71%
2008   -50.30%      -37.64%
2009      5.39%         34.79%  3 months

This history suggests that emerging markets deserve a substantial ranking.

However before becoming too aggressive in over weighting emerging markets, we have to keep in mind two thoughts.

First economic thought. The last 15 years has been a catch-up era when the investing world caught on to the idea that emerging markets offered great opportunity.

Second economic thought. A great deal of emerging growth came from debt financed exports to the developed world. This leaves emerging economies holding huge amounts of debt for customers who may not be able to repay the debt nor continue to buy the same volume of goods as before.

The easiest way for investors to invest in good value during dips is via a value mutual fund.

You can select a value major market fund, a value emerging market fund or a value diversified fund.

The benefit of a value diversified fund is that the professional manager decides how much to weight in emerging and major markets.

For example I just sent a lesson to our multi currency subscribers that showed a US traded international diversified value fund that has risen 36.08% in the past quarter ending June 30, 2009.  This fund is 86% in major markets and 14% in emerging markets.

Learn how to read about this fund as a multi currency subscriber.

The most valuable asset we can have in tough economic times is good health. This is why we studied Ecuador health ideas at our June tour.

Cotacachi is considered sacred by the shamans… a place of wonderful mountains that ring the valley.  This is Mt. Cotacachi to the west.

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Mt. Imbabura to the east.

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The valley is surrounded by mountains like these twin peaks…

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creating wonderful, mystic  sunrises.

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The first afternoon of the tour we visited La Mirage Spa and the Shamana Estella.

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She began a theme that the many shamans we visited confirmed.   She said that the three keys to better health, increased longevity, more energy and fulfillment are good nutrition, proper exercise and good sleep.

The purpose of the Ecuador shamanic tour is to learn ways to unlock this healthy  combination in a natural low cost way!

The second day we joined Clemencia, the Shamana of Zuleta and drove 15 minutes from our hotel Meson de las Flores to Otavalo market where we visited the local food market…

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filled with fruits…

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vegetables…

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flowers and …

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herbs.

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Here is the shamana speaking to the group with Merri and Mauricio translating.

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We learned the importance of the herbs to make good teas that hydrate the body are cedron, chamomile and lemon verbena.

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We learned how other herbs relax such as chamomile and valerian root. Plus we were told to boil lettuce in milk as a prebedtime drink for better sleep.

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On the other hand, tea from cinnamon, paprika, cloves and ginger help reduce sluggishness in digestion and to speed the system when we need to be fired up.

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

Gary

We hope you’ll join us and enjoy Ecuador’s or North Carolina’s beauty soon.

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Sunrise from Meson de las Flores.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Or join us in Ecuador and learn more about living and retiring in Ecuador.

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

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.

International Investing & Business Index


Making international investing and business decisions based around an index of happiness can add depth to your international investment and business decisions.

Understanding what will happen globally is important to everyone’s decision making process on where to do business… where to invest and where to live.

We’ll see below that Ecuador is high on NEF’s (New Economics Foundation) Happiness Index (more on the index in a moment)… but this index is about much more than Ecuador.

This index is about the world… the future…. prosperity and poverty… life and death.  We should know it… especially because it is quite hard to believe.

You’ll see below why:

* Seemingly poor countries may have an advantage in the years ahead.

* The richest countries may not be the best places to invest or start a business.

* How to use new techniques to see what the future may bring socially and economically.

NEF is an independent think-and-do tank that tries to analyze real economic well-being.  NEF’s aim is to improve the world’s quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environmental and social issues.

NEF says:  NEF’s report, the Happy Planet Index: An index of human well-being and environmental impact, published in association with Friends of the Earth, moves beyond crude ratings of nations according to national income, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to produce a more accurate picture of the progress of nations based on the amount of the Earth’s resources they use, and the length and happiness of people’s lives.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) strips the view of the economy back to its absolute basics: what we put in (resources), and what comes out (human lives of different length and happiness). The resulting Index of the 178 nations for which data is available, reveals that the world as a whole has a long way to go.  In terms of delivering long and meaningful lives within the Earth’s environmental limits – all nations could do better.  No country achieves an overall ‘high’ score on the Index, and no country does well on all three indicators.

This index is important because everyone is increasingly faced with complicated problems, parts of which are unknown or unreachable.

This index is worth sharing because as I read it,  my first thought was “nonsense.”

Who would have placed the nations of Guyana, Bosnia, Georgia  and Romania above the UK for happiness?  Yet  Guyana is 63rd in the index. the UK 74th.

Here is 63 to 74 on the happiness index.

63. Guyana
64. Belgium
65. Bosnia and Herzegovina
66. Slovenia
67. Israel
68. Korea
69. Italy
70. Romania
71. France
72. Georgia
73. Slovakia
74. United Kingdom

Guyana happier than France and the UK?

I wanted to reject it.

Then it made me begin to realize… the somewhat disturbing fact that as far as potential for happiness goes, Americans are almost at the bottom of this international index… along with the British and most Europeans.

Reading this index made me realize that we cannot use old standards of the past to analyze what will happen in the future.

About the time of this thought, a page from an old John Sanford novel, “The Hanged Man’s Song” came to light.

The prime person in this fiction is a computer hacker… a very logical, scientific thinking person… but who also from time to time uses a totally unscientific way to process information… tarot cards.

The story says:

So I got the cards out, my tarot cards.  I’m not exactly a scientist – I was trained as an engineer-but I have studied the philosophy of science and I’m a true believer.  The tarot as a predictive system is superstitious nonsense. The deck is useful as a gaming device, though and that’s how I use it.

Like this: we are forced to deal with complicated problems, when some facets of the problem are unknown or unreachable, we deal with them in terms of our past experience. That’s almost inescapable. But approaches that are useful with some problems don’t work with others. The tarot deck, when used as a gaming system, pushes you outside past experience and encourages you to think of new ways to deal with it.

Say for example, you are involved in a complicated business transaction and that the group you were involved in a complicated business transaction and that the group you were dealing with, the opposition,consisted of five men and a women. You begin doing the tarot spreads and see a number of indications of female influence.

This does not mean that the deck correctly predicts female influence in the transaction, but suggests that you should sit back and think about the woman on the other side, who might otherwise seem to be just another functionary. Why is she there? What specific influences does she have? Is there a way to approach her that would help the deal?

This has nothing to do with supernatural-it’s simply a human way, and a fairly subtle way to game a problem.

This started me looking at the index more.

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Sustainability and cost of happiness are a part of the index. This is why we grow some of our own crops at our farm… like the lettuce we harvest around our backyard pool.

The Happiness Index pushes us beyond our past experience.  This international index does challenge mainstream thinking.

Imagine Haiti is 41st on the list.  Denmark 105th.

99. Uruguay
100. Ghana
101. Latvia
102. Australia
103. New Zealand
104. Belarus
105. Denmark

That started me thinking for sure.

NEF is composed of some very intelligent people so their approach does have  logic. NEF calls it a new global measure of progress, the ‘Happy Planet Index’.

The NEF logic factors in the short and long term cost of happiness.

Mainstream thinking uses measurements like growth of GDP… but ignores the relativity involved. If GDP rises 10% this is considered good.  Traditional thinkers do not ask what is the cost of this growth to our environment. How much will we, our children and grandchildren have to pay in the future for this current growth?

Nor does the mainstream paradigm compare the happiness efficiency of a nation.

The NEF Happiness Index takes into account whether a culture is using more than its fair share of the Earth’s resources.

This creates a new international ranking of environmental impact and well-being and reveals a very different picture of the wealth, and poverty of nations.

Environmental Efficiency

NEF’s view is that Happiness Efficiency is a phrase and concept worth knowing and using in consideration of the overall (long and short term) success of a nation.

We all know the benefits of efficiency. Now we have a way to measure a really important long term efficiency.  We could call it the “cost per smile” or “laughter earning ratio”.

This really makes sense because it is the inherent nature of all living things to strive for happiness and satisfaction and avoid stress.  If the population of a nation needs to do and spend a lot to attain it… that nation is likely to have economic problems due to its lack of efficiency compared to other nations.

NEF’s index combines environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which countries provide long and happy lives.

The results are surprising, even shocking.

The index shows a very different hierarchy of success than we normally assume.

For example, the US is a disappointing 114th in happiness ranking behind  countries like Mongolia, Malawi and Chad.

106. Mongolia
107. Malawi
108. Russia
109. Chad
110. Lebanon
111. Macedonia
112. Congo
113. Madagascar
114. United States of America

NEF’s report also says:

“It is clear that no single nation listed in the Happy Planet Index has got everything right. But the Index does reveal patterns that show how we might better achieve long and happy lives for all, whilst living within our environmental means. The challenge is – can we learn the lessons and apply them? Governments the world over have been concentrating on the targets for too long. If you have the wrong map, you are unlikely to reach your destination”, says Nic Marks, head of NWF’s Centre for well-being.

The HPI shows that high levels of resource consumption do not reliably produce high levels of well-being (life-satisfaction).  This suggests that it is possible to produce high levels of well-being without excessive consumption of the Earth’s resources.

The report also shows that a culture can have a long, happy life with a small environmental impact.   America and Germany have similar life satisfaction and life expectancy. Germany’s Ecological Ecological footprint is barely half that in America.   This means that Germany is twice as efficient as the USA at generating happy long lives based on the resources they consume.

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Sustainability is important for long term happiness which is why we bought a farm with lots of spring fed water, like this stream that flows in our backyard.

How can we use this index in business and investing?

I am not sure how accurate this index is or how important it will be.  Accuracy is not all that important though because, if nothing else, this index is a thought process put together by intelligent people that can help us see and think outside the box… something we always need to do.

We must always ask, what comes next?  This index might help us answer this question by adding one more small light that reflects of what might be in the days ahead.  Now we can see better how a country is doing now plus how the cost of the current success may affect the future.

Thinking outside the box is almost always a criteria for long term success. For those who believe this, NEF’s Happiness Index will help make them happy!

Ecuador is 25th on the index.  See the top 25 countries on the index and more about Ecuador’s Index here

Gary

Join us July 24-26 in the cool Blue Ridge during the hot summer and save $299.

We hope you’ll share our beautiful lifestyle in the cool Blue Ridge with us this summer. July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Enjoy the farm and our pools.

internet-business-idea The Cabin pool.

Enroll in our July 24-26 seminar and I will enroll you in our course Tangled Webs – How to Have an Internet Business free. You save $299.

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

investing-course

cool, green forest.

We invite delegates to the farm for lunch and we’ll take a walk through the woods with delegates who would like to…

investing-course

enjoy nature and the views.

We’ll have a wine tasting of Blue Ridge organic wines. Here are delegates at the tasting last year.

investing-course

I have just sent our multi currency email course subscribers a report on coffee related shares that now have a strong upward trend.

Enroll in our July 24-26 seminar and I will enroll you in our course Tangled Webs – How to Have an Internet Business free. You save $299.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

Read the NEF  report at www.neweconomics.org/gen/m1_i1_aboutushome.aspx

Ecuador Shaman Tip for Spring


Ecuador shamans are not all that aware of the impact of seasons on health.

ecuador-shaman-health-tip Candace Newman is an expert in essential oils has spend considerable time with us and the shamans and yatchaks in Ecuador. Here she is at the indigenous market checking spices and oils.

In Ecuador there are not seasons as we know it.  Once an Ecuador shaman visited Merri and me in North Carolina during the winter. This was his first trip out of Ecuador and when he saw the trees, his eyes really opened. “They are all dead!” he exclaimed in horror. “No, just asleep” I told him.

Slowly he understood.

However, the shamans are very aware of differences in altitude, dryness and wetness and what these differences can mean to health.

Ecuador has this all when it comes to lifestyles, mountains, valleys, deserts and rain forests.  The biodiversity in Ecuador equals a range from the Arctic Circle to the Equator.

Here is Candace with our daughter, Francesca, a Taita Yatchak and friends at Machu Pichu.

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So Ecuador shamans know about wetness and the dark side of weather we know as spring. The dark side to this time of rapid growth is an upswing in suicides.

Here is Candace at Lake Titicaca (dry) and…

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Here she is at our Hacienda Rosaspamba…

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a damp cloud forest.

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Lifestyles in each place require different foods, spices and oils.

Despite popular myths that suicides are highest in the winter, particularly around the holidays, statistics show that suicides are highest in Spring.

“In one study of suicide in 28 countries, suicide deaths were lowest in winter and highest in spring. They reached a peak in May in the Northern Hemisphere.

“But the researchers found that the peak existed only in temperate climates — places with distinct seasonal changes in weather. The link was strongest in agricultural societies and weakest in urban areas.”

winter-sun

Spring depression is not such a problem in Ecuador because there is little seasonal change. Here I am with Ma in the dead of winter!   Yet there are rainy seasons and there are places where is is continually damp and spring like.

Extra depression in spring or continually damp places is not surprising.

Ancient  disciplines of health view good health as  a balance between three physical elements “air and motion”,  “material and physical”  and “digestion and fire”…air, water and fire.

These disciplines also view the seasons as an important factor in this air, water and fire balance.

Winter is dry and brittle and aggravates air.  Summer is hot and increases fire.

Spring is wet and increases depression.

Our farm is beautiful in spring….but wet!

farm-spring-shot

Imbalances in these elements affect emotions.   Excessive anxiety suggests an air imbalance. Too much anger means too much fire.

Too much water creates depression.

Fortunately the wisdom of the ancients also tells us what to do to maintain balance in the face of seasonal change.

Here are three balancing tips for spring.

Tip #1: Categorize foods into six categories, sweet, salt, bitter, astringent, sour and pungent.

Each category either pacifies or aggravates an element.  For example sour and pungent aggravates fire (the digestive element) which is sensitive to heat. Sweet and bitter on the other hand pacify air.

So during the depressive days of spring take additional care to live and eat in a way that stops a buildup of water.   Pungent and astringent flavors help resist  water imbalances.

During this sluggish time our bodies need to be stimulated and warmed up. Light, dry, warm foods reduce water. Use minimal amounts of fats and oils. Sweeten foods with honey, but never cook or bake with it. Grains such as barley, buckwheat, and rye are the best during this time, as are light, dry fruits, such as apples and cranberries. Low or nonfat milk is good, but minimize cultured dairy products. Eat more spices and herbs but be cautious with salt. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds and all beans, with the exception of the soybean, are excellent.

Tip #2: Exercise more.  Yoga and walking (best after meals) can especially be helpful at this time.

Tip #3: Use water reducing essential oils such as lemon oil.

A scientific study on this oil says:

“Lemon oil vapor causes an anti-stress effect via modulating the 5-HT and DA activities in mice”

This was written by Migiwa Komiyaa, and Takashi Takeuchib, graduates of the  School of Veterinary Science  at Yamaguchi University in Japan.

The abstract of the article says:

“We examined the anti-stress action of the essential oils of lavender, rose, and lemon using an elevated plus-maze task (EPM), a forced swimming task (FST), and an open field task (OFT) in mice. Lemon oil had the strongest anti-stress effect in all three behavioral tasks.  Moreover, the lemon oil significantly accelerated the metabolic turnover of DA in the hippocampus and of 5-HT in the prefrontal cortex and striatum. These results suggest that lemon oil possesses anxiolytic, antidepressant-like effects via the suppression of DA activity related to enhanced 5-HTnergic neurons.”

In short, one’s mood may be improved simply by using lemon oil.

Upon reading this, I immediately contacted our friend Candace Newman and asked her to tell us more. Candace  wrote:

Lemon Essential Oil – Citrus limonum

Sometimes I call Lemon the “Good Morning Oil”. It is bright and uplifting like the sun. What a great essential oil for springtime and summer…cooling and refreshing. There are hundreds of essential oils, and I place Lemon in the top ten for its ability to help us feel better and be balanced in so many ways. Its clean, clear scent helps relieve fatigue and mental overload. It is uplifting to the mental and physical state, so it can also help with depression.

Lemon is stimulating and energizing and helps move the rivers in the body. It is great to use when we feel fatigued, congested, and slow. This is one of the best oils for improving circulation, and can relieve aches and pains. Lemon’s clean “cut-to the quick aroma” is good for concentration and focus. Inhaling directly from the bottle of pure essential oil, can assist in coffee and cigarette withdrawal. It has been known to help with addictions.

In Aromatherapy it is well-known for its antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, anti-gout, and anti-arthritic qualities. It serves as a tonic for the nervous system, promotes a healthy immune system, and simply lifts the spirit with its cheerful aroma which can also help with depression.

How to Use: Use it straight for inhalation and in a diffuser. Combine it with a base oil (like Jojoba) to rub on your skin. A palm-full of base oil and 1-2 drops of Lemon is a good start….or add this palm-full to your bath after you get in the water. Lemon oil straight on the skin can irritate and burn. Lemon is photo-sensitive, so should not be used directly on the skin prior to sun exposure. Dark brown spots may occur. Enjoy the freshness of this joyful oil!

Candace offers exquisite pure Lemon Essential Oil from Italy
10 ml (1/3 oz) is $11.95.
lemon-oil

You can order this lemon oil from Candace here.

Until next message, may your spring be successful and bright.

Gary

Learn more Ecuador shaman health tips on our Shamanic Mingo Tour.

June 12-14 Shamanic Mingo Tour

June 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

June 18-21 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.

Other 2009 Ecuador Courses & 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.

ecuador-risk

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.

ecuador-risk

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.

ecuador-risk

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 & Global Business Curves


Ecuador & Global Business Curves

Ecuador and global business ideas are important because the economic downturn has thrown many curves at most investment and business plans.

For years my advice to young people who have asked me for a good way to earn in a business has been to buy a fixer upper… fix it, live in it for two years and sell it on.  Then do this again and again.

US tax law allows for an exemption of $250,000 on one’s residence  ($500,000 for couple filing jointly).  Where else can you earn up to $250,000 a year tax free?

I double checked with my friend and tax attorney Joe Cox to make sure this exemption still works.   He replied:

Gary:  You are correct.  One or two projects at a time will not make them a
“developer”.   If they have too many projects, at the same time, they can become a developer and would be subject to ordinary income tax.   There is a $500,000 exemption.  There is  capital gain tax on excess.  This is still lower than ordinary income tax which maybe is going to 39.5%.   Joe

There are some excellent additional tax benefits for those who conduct genuine business abroad.  You can read details in my “International Business Made EZ” course which comes free with our “Tangled Web… How to Have a Web Business” course.  See how to get this course at the end of this message.

My advice to retirees who wish to live in Ecuador is live on your pension and overseas income which is not taxed in Ecuador. Then if you need extra income buy, fix up and sell a bit of Ecuador real estate.  This is tax free income as well… if like in the US you are not involved in too many projects… and become a developer.

For example, on our last real estate tour we saw these houses in Otavalo… brand new.  This Ecuador real estate ranges between $65,000 and $95,000 for very nice houses overlooking Otavalo.  New import regulations in Ecuador and inflation mean that like in the US new homes will cost substantially more.

cotacachi-real-estate

The house we visited was 3.5 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, two dens, living, dining and kitchen areas plus small back yard. The one we saw was of a very high standard,  about 2,300 square feet and had a $95,000 asking price.

ecuador-business-hotel

Here is our group inspecting the kitchen. There are also great views.

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This is the type of Ecuador house you could buy and live in, or rent, then sell for a profit in a couple of years. I suspect that if this is your residence there would not be US tax (up to $250,000 or $500,000 for a couple filing jointly) either.

You can get direct tax advice about this the US tax law and benefits of an overseas business from Joe Cox at JCOX@COXNICI.COM

In addition we recommend that everyone become involved in a business that they have a passion for. Here is an example of a reader who moved to Cuenca Ecuador and is doing just this.  He sent me this note. 

Hi Gary,

The last two days of columns about Ecuador and the dollar have been extremely informative and I believe accurate.  That is not just because I agree with you.

We are doing very well in Cuenca.  We have recently become 40% non-operating partners of the local CURVES franchise which went into the black in its first month.

Next month sees the opening of VILLA NOVA INN, located on Avenue Third of December on the city side of the Tomebamba River.  It is about 20 yards  from SAKURA SUSHI, the best Japanese restaurant in Cuenca, perhaps in all of Ecuador.   This is  a new 12 bedroom hostal in which we are 25% non-operating partners that will open next month.

VILLA NOVA INN will have two suites w. cable TV, 9 double/single rooms, and 1 dormitory w. 4 bunk beds.  Prices will range from $8 a night for a bunk bed to $45 a night for a suite.  There will be cable TV and high-speed Internet in the lobby.  The entire hostal overlooks the Rio Tomebamba and has a large outdoor deck with tables overlooking the river.  Breakfast is included in the price of the room or bunk.

You can get more information on the inn from Fernanda Cueva at fercuevav@hotmail.com

These small cash generating businesses along with fully paid for condos in Cuenca and Puerto Gaviota, an adequate amount of gold & silver coins and bullion, and government secured US pension funds make us feel very secure and capable of handling whatever the present financial/economic crisis throws at us.

Like you, I believe that Ecuador is actually one of the few ideal places in the world that will handle this crisis with relative ease and grace.  To support that belief we are looking for additional small local business investments.

All this investment activity helps support our South American Fund for Enlightenment which in addition to supporting students in Ibarra has just completed its first significant project in Cuenca.  We recently completed the delivery of 12 new full sized computers to Escuela Adbdon Calderon.  The computers with 17″ flat screen monitors were assembled by skilled local labor right here in Cuenca.  The project which cost just over $5,000 was a wonderful joint effort by contributors from the United States along with ex-pats and locals here in Cuenca.

The Fund is now working to raise the final $1,500 which will supply the Escuela with a much needed copier and projector plus a couple of printers which H-P locally will toss into the mix.  We hope to finish this aspect of the project before we take off to spend the summer cruising the Greek Isles, driving around Greece and Italy and finally spending most of July and August in our condo in Puerto Gaviota.

All the best to both you and Merri.

Turn your passion into profit… earn extra income… become independent… and do more then just make money…do some extra good as the reader above is.

The four ways to profit in this economic downturn are to:

#1: Invest in shares.
#2: Invest in real estate.
#3: Invest in commodities.
#4: Invest in your own business.

This reader and his wife are doing all four recommendations.

Here is one more point about Cuenca. After a decade of searching, Merri and I settled on Cotacachi and San Clemente as the places where we would live and focus.   However, many want a more urban atmosphere and the city we find our delegates like most is Cuenca.

Cuenca is a forty minute flight south of Quito and there are to 2 to 3 flights a day, although no late evening flights. It is some 8 to 12 hours south of Quito driving depending on the state of the roads. It is a beautiful drive that Merri and I have taken many many times. For many years, Cuenca was isolated from the rest of the country so it has followed its own course all these years, which gives it a unique flavor. Here is Cuenca.

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Cuenca (the actual full name is Santa Ana de los cuatro ríos de Cuenca) is the third most populous city in Ecuador and is the capital of the Azuay Province.

It sits at about 8,000 feet altitude and is a most beautiful small city. The center of Cuenca  is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its may historical buildings.

The readers above purchased a spacious and modern condo in Cuenca within walking distance to the historic colonial city center.

Cuenca condo building

They bought their Cuenca condo pre-construction three years ago and I expect have seen a nice rise in their property value.   They upgraded their condo from the original specifications, adding hardwood floors and fittings and extra lighting.

Cuenca condo living room

Cuenca condo hardwood finishes

Their 1,690 square foot condo only cost $84,800 with the extras pushed the price to around $90,000.

Cuenca condo studio

There are great  views and…

View from Cuenca condo

spacious…

Cuenca condo master bedroom

rooms.

Cuenca condo kitchen

A great boutique hotel in Cuenca is the Boutique Hotel Mansion Alcazar.

Boutique Hotel Mansion Alcazar is a beautiful sample of the unparalleled Ecuadorian Republican luxury style. The 19th-century house was restored to its original splendor and has been designed to be a home for visitors staying in the city for business or for pleasure.

The hotel looks a lot like our hotel Meson de las Flores from the outside.  Here is Meson.

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Here is Boutique Hotel Mansion Alcazar.

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But Boutique Hotel Mansion Alcazar is much more luxurious inside.

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This is true luxury.

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Our good friend of over a dozen years, Jorge Espinosa (one of the owners of the Relais & Chateaux La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa) used his talents to renovate this charming hotel.

Ecuador Living subscribers can enjoy a discount. More details on how to subscribe are here.

The global economy may throw you some curves… but there are ways to hit economic home runs anyway. We look forward to sharing ideas for profits in this new economic paradigm with you.

Gary

To help you learn how to earn income anywhere,  I am making a special offer that ends tonight, April 3 at midnight. (I extended this deadline due to our web site crash).

You can have the “The Tangled Webs We Weave”…our course on how to have a Web Based  Business… FREE..

I launched this course earlier this year and am making a special offer…that gives you this course free…and more.

Now you can learn everything that I do to create income and have fun and fulfillment in a web based micro business.  Here is a  special offer.

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

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

However when you sign up for Tangled Web in March 2009, I’ll include two of my other emailed courses, How to be a Self Publisher and International Business Made EZ  FREE as well.

PLUS…

My webmaster is joining Merri and me at our two North Carolina courses this year for our first Tangled Web seminars.

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina + Tangled Web

Nov. 6-8  IBEZ Cotacachi + Tangled Web

If you have ordered Tangled Web, I will reduce any of these course fees by $299!

In all you receive the emailed “Tangled Web” course, International Business Made EZ” and “How to be a Self Publisher”,  FREE when you enroll in either the July, October or November seminar.

Enroll here $299

or enroll for any of the three courses above. I’ll send all three emailed courses free right away.

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.  This offer expires at midnight April 3, 2009.

The American Dream Goes South at Florida Investment Seminar


I’ll focus on how the American dream is heading south at JGAM’s multi currency seminar in Florida this May.

If looked at one way… the American dream is dead. Let’s ramble through economic history for a moment to see why.

In the early 1980s the US had a challenge… a severe recession from July 1981 to November 1982.  Inflation was high so the Fed  slowed the rate of growth of the money supply and raised interest rates. The federal funds rate rose to 20% by June 1981. The prime interest rate, at the time a highly important economic measure, eventually reached 21.5% in June 1982. Businesses went broke by the drove… 50 percent over the previous year.  Especially hard hit were farmers and real estate developers.

The recession was the most serious recession since the Great Depression.

This was tough but inflation eased and the economy rebounded.  Growth took off again… real growth without bad inflation because the real estate overhang and subsequent bankruptcy of the Savings & Loan industry was dealt with by the Resolution Trust Corporation.

RTC liquidated via auction and a massive sell off to private business, the real estate that had been assets of savings and loan associations that were insolvent.

The US government had the sense then not to try and control these assets.  Entrepreneurs bought the assets for pennies on the dollar and turned the property into viable deals in ways that no government agency ever could.

Japan then had a serious recession and the same opportunity.  There was a real estate and stock bubble in Japan in the 1980s.   Then in 1989 there was a massive withdrawal of confidence. Investment collapsed, causing the Nikkei index to fall more than 60 percent.

The Japanese government however decided that it could provide a fix. the Japanese felt they could not let big Japanese businesses go broke.  Between 1992 and 1995, Japan tried six spending programs totaling 65.5 trillion yen. They cut  taxes in 1994. In 1998 they cut taxes again and launched stimulus packages worth more than 40 trillion yen.,  A year later… another stimulus program. In 2000 11 trillion yen more was spent to stimulate the economy.

Over a decade the Japanese government provided 10 stimulus packages worth more than a 100 trillion yen.   The main result was to ruin the Japanese government’s credit with public debt that exceeds 100 percent of GDP. This is the highest percent of debt of all major nations.

Any other results?  Here is evidence… the main Japanese stock index the Nikkei 225 from 1989 till 2009.  Japanese society is indebted for life and the stock exchange has fallen from over 35,000 to  7,600 in 20 years.

Wow that really worked well… so

power-investing

now the US government has decided to do the same thing.

Last week the government  offered another $30 billion in funds to A.I.G. insurance.  This is the fourth round of aid to the American International Group. The government already owns nearly 80 percent of the insurer’s holding company. How much more can they buy?

This sounds like a good investment since the insurance giant was about to report a $62 billion loss after the government has already given a $60 billion loan, a $40 billion purchase of preferred shares and purchased $50 billion of the company’s toxic assets.

Behind this, the government has invested $50 billion in Citigroup… $45 billion in Bank of America.  The Us auto bailout could cost another 100 billion. More on that in a later message.

This is all taking place as the US economy spirals down at an accelerated pace.

Yet the current administration is basing its spending on calculations that suggest vigorous rates of economic growth in years to come.

They have suggested this economic growth will come in 2010.

I wonder?

There seems to  a disconnect between the Federal projections and fiscal reality.   Current conditions are not yet at the level of the 1980s, when unemployment exceeded 10 percent, but they could be soon.

Moody’s chief economist now places the odds of “a mild depression” at 25 percent. In that view, the unemployment rate would reach 10.5 percent by the end of 2011 — up from 7.6 percent at the end of January — average home prices would fall 20 percent on top of the 27 percent they have plunged already, and losses in the financial system would more than triple, to $3.7 trillion.

Yet President Obama calls this a “once in a generation” opportunity and proposed a 10-year budget that overhauls health care, arrests global warming and expands the federal role in education.

How to pay for it?   Tax more corporations and the wealthiest taxpayers.

Wrong!  Higher tax will simply kill business or drive it abroad.  What a  good idea to chase away the last of the success.

The President said  he would shrink annual deficits.  His explanation is that he will increase revenue from rich individuals and polluting industries, reduce war costs and assume a good rate of economic growth by 2010.

The rich will stop working or leave the US.  The polluters will move to Mexico or China or wherever.   The high rate of economic growth will not appear.  Stopping the war will help… but not enough.

Technology means that politicians can no longer ignore the global market and tax its citizens to death.

Take for example what is happening in Ecuador.  Remittances sent by  Ecuadorians who work abroad fell 22 percent in the last quarter of 2008.

$643.9 million was sent from October to December 2008. This is $181.7 million less than in Oct.to Dec.2007.

A similar drop was experienced in the third quarter of 2008 and is caused by the global financial crisis and especially the economic slowdown in the United States, where it is estimated 1.5 million Ecuadorians live and work.

The U.S. employment rate has crashed especially in manufacturing and construction which employ a large number of Ecuadorians.

The same is true in  Spain – where 600,000 Ecuadorians live. this is the second-leading destination for Ecuadorians.

This means that there are more Ecuadorians to serve for less in Ecuador.  This forces the Ecuador cost of living down down.

So if you are an American who is about to be super taxed… where would you choose to live?  Our farm manager sent us this note recently, “We had 4 inches of snow in China Grove.”

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Would you rather live there and pay more tax or…

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enjoy open air dining as Merri and are doing here in our Cotacachi hotel courtyard with Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins or…

multi-currency-investing-florida-course

would you rather enjoy a mountain train ride as these…

multi-currency-investing-florida-course new Cotacachi residents are doing…  passing through green mountains  and blue skies.  Getting a sun burn.

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The is the train from Ibarra to Salinas Ecuador.  Would you rather be taxed extra to be in this pool or…

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be here on Ecuador’s coast with tax advantages?

multi-currency-investing-florida-course

Which view will the rich prefer?  This in the US or…

multi-currency-investing-florida-course

this… especially if this San Clemente Ecuador ocean view costs much, much less?

multi-currency-investing-florida-course

Where would I prefer to walk with my hound?  Here in sub zero temperatures or

multi-currency-investing-florida-course

here in Cotacachi Ecuador…especially if I am taxed less and the cost of living is much lower and government interference in my life is less?

multi-currency-investing-florida-course

Technology and the global market gives us as individuals enormous power to live where and as we choose that politicians can no longer ignore.

The government’s attitude to increase taxes on those who work hard could turn the existing brain drain from the US into a brain torrent.

In short there are many reasons I see that suggest the economic mess will  last for years in the US,  just as it has in Japan.

Recently, Warren Buffett wrote in his company’s annual report that “the economy will be in shambles, throughout 2009, and, for that matter, probably well beyond.”

This is not the picture we expect of the American dream.  However the picture is not bad for all.  Not all Italians became poor when Rome fell.  Italy is still a great place to live.  There are still millions of Japanese who have thrived over the past 15 years of Japanese recession.  The end of the America dream does not have to be the end of your dream.

In the US we can expect the rich to get richer… the poor poorer.   We can see why from our study of Power Distance Index.  We looked at PDI, and what it is, in a recent message about JGAM’s multi currency seminar.

There is more about Power Distance Index at http://www.clearlycultural.com which says:

Hofstede’s Power Distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

For example, Germany has a 35 on the cultural scale of Hofstede’s analysis. Compared to Arab countries where the power distance is very high (80) and Austria where it very low (11), Germany is somewhat in the middle. Germany does not have a large gap between the wealthy and the poor, but have a strong belief in equality for each citizen. Germans have the opportunity to rise in society.

On the other hand, the power distance in the United States scores a 40 on the cultural scale. The United States exhibits a more unequal distribution of wealth compared to German society. As the years go by it seems that the distance between the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’ grows larger and larger.

The trick then is to not accept the PDI from the lower end. Let me explain.

Excerpts from 2007 article by a Stefan Bach , Giacomo Corneo  and Viktor Steiner at www.voxeu.org entitled German income inequality outlines an idea.  The article says:

Paul Krugman frequently mentions that America’s super rich make the 19th Century wealthy look poor. “We know what John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in Gilded Age America, made in 1894 … $1.25 million, almost 7,000 times the average per capita income in the United States at the time.” Krugman wrote. ”But that makes him a mere piker by modern standards … James Simons, a hedge fund manager, took home $1.7 billion, more than 38,000 times the average income.”

Surely such extremes cannot happen on Continental Europe with its social market economics and social solidarity. The authors of Policy Insight No. 4 shows that although income inequality in Germany is a long way from reaching US proportions, the trend is in that direction. Germany rich are getting richer, and its super-rich are getting super-richer.

In other words as a society progresses, those with power get richer while the majority of  the population become poorer.

Note above that power is determined  from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.”

Power is an illusion that keeps most investors and business people depressed while a few gain from this social falsification.

The internet destroys this illusion. The web gives us all power!  Today we have as much opportunity as the rich to gain from the changes that this economic correction will bring.

This is why Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  More on this in a moment.

First what you can do as an investor or with your own business.

One answer we saw above is to live in a better lower cost environment like Ecuador.

Another answer is to be a multi currency investor. Despite America’s government spending , the dollar has been gaining, particularly against European currencies. The euro slipped to under $1.26, nearing a two-year low and down from a high of almost $1.60. This is caused as fearful investors jump into 10-year Treasury bonds… which have been shown to be terrible long term investments.   All the US government spending means that the US dollar will fall. But against what?

The euro is not a trustworthy currency now. A March 1, 2009 New York Times article by Steven Erlanger and Stephen Castle entitled “Growing Economic Crisis Threatens the Idea of One Europe” explains why.  Here is an excerpt from that article:

The leaders of the European Union gathered Sunday in Brussels in an emergency summit meeting that seemed to highlight the very worries it was designed to calm: that the world economic crisis has unleashed forces threatening to split Europe into rival camps.

With uncertain leadership and few powerful collective institutions, the European Union is struggling with the strains this crisis has inevitably produced among 27 countries with uneven levels of development.

Whether Europe can reach across constituencies to create consensus, however, has been an open, and suddenly pressing, question.

“The European Union will now have to prove whether it is just a fair-weather union or has a real joint political destiny,” said Stefan Kornelius, the foreign editor of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. “We always said you can’t really have a currency union without a political union, and we don’t have one. There is no joint fiscal policy, no joint tax policy, no joint policy on which industries to subsidize or not. And none of the leaders is strong enough to pull the others out of the mud.”

Thomas Klau, Paris director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, an independent research and advocacy group, said, “This crisis affects the political union that backs the euro and of course the E.U. as a whole, and solidarity is at the heart of the debate.”

“All of that is in doubt if the cornerstone of the E.U. — its internal market, economic union and solidarity — is in question,” said Ronald D. Asmus, a former State Department official who runs the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund.

If the the euro is a good currency for diversification, which currencies are?

Our multi currency course helps you learn how to diversify into safe currencies.  Our studies currently suggest that the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian kroner and Canadian dollar make sense. For example beginning in March the Swedish kroner hit a new record low. The Eastern European problems are having an adverse impact on the Swedish banks.   Also the Norwegian currency is a good technical buy.

You can join us to understand why these currencies make sense by subscribing to our on line multi currency course.

You can also join us for a currency review at JGAM’s Naples Florida investment course May 29 to 31, 2009.  This course is $499 ($750 for two) but free to those who have subscribed to our on line multi currency course.

Another way you can attend JGAM Florida seminar free is to subscribe to our course on how to have a web based business.   You can enroll in this special course for $299 and attend the JGAM course in Naples free.

Here is a special offer on this course “Tangled Web – How to Have a Web Business“.

Or join us for an upcoming course in North Carolina or Ecuador.

Gary

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Multi Currency investment Seminar Naples Florida

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

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11 IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

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 Beach Restaurants


Ecuador beach restaurants offer wonderful variety, excellent food and really low prices.

Sunday lunch is great, so here are some of the wonderful Ecuador beach restaurants where you might find Merri and me enjoying a Sunday meal.

In Manta for a quick bite we visit the Oro Verde cafe.  The Oro Verde hotel is in the center of Manta.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Bread and pastry, as a general rule, are not Ecuador’s best specialties. Not true at the Oro Verde!  Merri and I have lived in many countries including places with great pastry such as France, Germany, Austria, Swiaterland and Italy.

The Oro Verde has pastries as good as any we have ever enjoyed. The Sundays papers and these pastries go well together.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Sadly the Oro Verde coffee is the terrible, machine made Nestecafe cappuccino.  I put up with it though to enjoy the croissants and especially delicious cinnamon rolls.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

For good… quickly served, fresh, no frills seafood we visit Manta’s  beach and…

ecuador-beach-restuarants

the Oh Mar restaurant.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

A great seafood meal is about $6… or for something special… like this lobster for $12.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Moving north to Crucita… we enjoy the cafe at the top of Balsamaraqua gated community.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Open and airy, you can spend a Sunday afternoon enjoying this incredible view.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Further north is San Clemente where we live and stay at Vistazul.

Here restaurants range from the high quality restaurant at Palmazul…

ecuador-beach-restuarants

where a Sunday dinner can run $17… but with a view.

Right on the beach…

ecuador-beach-restuarants

for special occasions and fine dining Palmazul is the place.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

When feeling more casual we amble a couple blocks to the Submarine beach restaurant…

ecuador-beach-restuarants really on the beach.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Where a meal is $4 to $5. You cannot beat the location.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Here we are with our friends Bob and Barbara Humphrey…

ecuador-beach-restuarants and Ma

ecuador-beach-restuarants

After a great seafood meal we stroll two blocks back to Palmazul on this beach.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

One really excellent, evening restaurant on the San Clemente beach…right next to Vistazul is Gabriel  Graziani’s  tiny beach shack restaurant.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

He serves delicious pizza and lazagna.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

in his hand made oven.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

He collects all the fresh ingredients and makes the food while you are there.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Gabriel is the real deal when it comes to  Italian Pizza. See him preparing at  our You Tube

Further north is Bahia and there are several great places there starting with Casa Ceibo.

ecuador-beach-restuarants Elegant but pricey…by Ecuadorian standards.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

Well worth it once in awhile.

For snacks the cafe in la Piedre hotel cannot be beat…here I am with Kjetil Haugan as we overlook the Chone Estuary on a warm breezy afternoon.

ecuador-beach-restuarants

If you like value and seafood, this part of Ecuador from Manta to Bahia will serve you well.

Until next message may you enjoy your Sunday meal.

Gary

Join us in Cotacachi and on Ecuador Coast in March.

Merri, our webmaster and I have created a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  Here is a special offer on this new course.

You can enroll in this special course for $299. However if you sign up for our three courses in March 2009, I will send it to you free. You save $299.

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

March 16-19 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

Bob Shane will be at our March courses and will be available to provide health balancing.

Get our web based course FREE if you join us in Ecuador this March.

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

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

Future 2009 courses

May 29-31  JGAM Global Asset Strategy Seminar

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

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

July 24-26 IBEZ North Carolina

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

Oct. 9-11     IBEZ North Carolina

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Expedition

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

.

Cotacachi Mayor’s House


Recent messages looked at how Merri and I search for Cotacachi real estate.

The road paving we have been tracking is now done.

cotacachi-real-estate

In two directions…

cotacachi-real-estate

in less than two weeks.

We keep our eyes open every day and the search pays off.

Today, near Primavera II condos…

cotacachi-real-estate

Around the corner from Cotacachi’s Mayor’s house (which is for sale) …

cotacachi-real-estate

we spotted two old houses for sale.  This one is $25,000.

cotacachi-real-estate

and this, $36,000.

cotacachi-real-estate

These fixer uppers have huge lots, in the center of the village. They may be real sleepers.  We’ll see as we’ll inspect them on our Imbaburra real estate tour that begins tomorrow.

You can gain Cotacachi real estate information and Ecuador real estate contacts as an Ecuador Living subscriber. See details here.

Speaking of sleepers, this excerpt from today’s password protected multi currency course shows why European shares may be sleepers as well.

Here is the excerpt:

This multi currency update has three portions. First we see anther inflation indicator. Second we update our search for value. Third we end with some answers to questions from lesson one of our new updated primer course.

Recent inflationary events include the support by US authorities of Bank of America with a guarantee of liquidity and capital. B of A faces losses of up to $118 billion dollars.

The government gets shares in the bank worth $20 billion.  In other words the government stumps up about $88 billion (that it does not have).  This is inflation.

Citibank in trouble as well.

Jyske Global Asset Management wrote in its last market update three days ago:

Fears of further credit losses and rumours of another large US bank being nationalized dragged the international stock market down this week. The New Year rally last week is already forgotten, and investors are anticipating new lows in 2009.

Citigroup Inc. posted an $8.29 billion loss, only a few days after the announcement of their plans to sell the control of Smith Barney to rival Morgan Stanley.

Sales at U.S. retailers dropped in December for the sixth consecutive month (first time since 1992) and the most in three years.

S&P cut Greece’s long-term credit rating to A- with a stable outlook, due to its public and private debt and the budget deficit. The downgrade makes Greece the lowest rated country in the Euro zone.

Market participators are now speculating whether a Euro exit may become an option for some members of the Euro-bloc, analysts view Greece as the weakest economy within the Euro zone.

The European Central Bank (ECB) Thursday cut the Euro zone interest rate to the lowest level in more than 3 years.

As expected the main policy rate was cut by a half percentage point to 2%. The Danish Central bank followed the ECB with an even bigger cut of 75 basis pts to 3%.

#1: Falling interest rates are indicators for increased activity in share markets.

#2: Combine this with the fact that stock funds saw huge redemptions in 2008.

#3: Add in the next fact that international equity funds were among the most redeemed losing about a fourth of their total assets in 2008.

U.S. stock funds only had redemptions of about 10% of their assets.  Bond funds on the other hand experienced positive flows in 2008.

This increases my enthusiasm for international shares…especially in Europe.

Low interest rates plus markets that are oversold plus inflation all bode well for shares.

There are four ways to fight inflation; real estate, your own business, commodities and equities.   So depressed international equities in an atmosphere of low interest rates spells opportunity.

These three factors are the elements that create value because value investors are generally bucking the trend.

This is why last year my biggest equity position was in the Jyske Invest European Equity fund.  I picked a fund that was invested mostly in markets that Michael Keppler of Keppler Asset Mangement viewed as having the best value.

Keppler has changed some of his rankings this month so let’s review the change and see if my position still makes sense.

Let’s look at the geographical breakdown of the Jyske Invest European Equities fund I hold now.

This fund has departed quite a lot from the synchronicity it enjoyed with Keppler’s top values when I invested two years ago.  The fund’s portfolio is spread here now:

UK  24%
Germany 16%
Switzerland 13%
France 12%
Spain 7%
Netherlands 4.5%
Sweden 4%
Spain 4%
Finland 3%
Italy      2%
Greece 2%
Denmark 1.5%
Norway 1.5%
Luxembourg .5%
Ireland  0.5%
Austria 0.5%

The fund’s managers report says:

There are prospects of uncertainty in 2009. The world economy is struggling
and the optimism has turned into pessimism. Central banks and  governments have been busy introducing rescue packages and  interest-rate cuts. The help has been offered, but is it sufficient and when will it begin to show an effect? We
expect that 2009 will bring wide swings in the equity market. A lasting upturn is not likely to be just around  the corner. We are still looking at a longer period characterised by uncertainty before the optimists outnumber the pessimists.

For the fund we prefer cheap shares with prospects of earnings growth. That type of shares has historically yielded the best returns.

Though this fund no longer has the same value synchronicity with Keppler that it previously had, I’ll continue to hold this as I plan to increase my equity position. I can balance this fund’s holdings to better match Keppler’s rankings by adding Hong Kong, Singapore, Italian and other funds or ETFs.

You can learn more about Keppler’s market updates and the ETFs we use in our multi currency portfolio as a multi currency susbcriber.

Until next update, good global investing

Gary

Join Merri, me and Peter Laub of Jyske Global Asset Management at OUR INTERNATIONAL INVESTING & BUSINESS COURSE IN ECUADOR. We review economic conditions, Ecuador real estate, my entire portfolio plus investing and business ideas for the months ahead.

Gary

Your own business is a  good way to secure purchasing power. This is why Merri, our webmaster and I decided to create a new course on how to build a web business with a webmaster.  There is a special offer on this new course that expired to the general public last Tuesday…but is still available to you.  See the offer here.

Get this course FREE if you join us in Ecuador this February.

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

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

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

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

Or join Merri, me and Thomas Fischer of Jyske Global Asset Management, July 24-26, 2009 in North Carolina for International Investing and Business Made EZ