Tag Archive | "San Francisco"

Ecuador Scams


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

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

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

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

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

ecuador-shots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cotacachi-green

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

Learn more about Roberto and his firm here.

The third attorney, Floridalva Zambrano wrote:

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

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

ecuador-beach-prices

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

Learn about Flori’s law firm here.

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

Gary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 17-21 Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Sept. 23-24 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Sept. 25-28 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

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

Oct. 21-24 Ecuador Import Export Tour

Oct. 25-26 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 6-8 IBEZ Ecuador Seminar

Nov. 9-10 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Nov. 11-14 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

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

Retire in Ecuador – Out of Cities


Retire in Ecuador… our wherever…out of town because isolated places may be out of the box bargains.

retire-in-ecuador-remote

Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot from our North Carolina farm.

A reader, wanting to know whether to retire in Ecuador or not sent this note last week:

Dear Gary,

I have noticed that you have mentioned (a few times) that you and Merri are not residents of Ecuador —– and you do not want to become residents. Would you be kind enough to explain what brought you to this decisions? Thank you,

My reply was “Mainly grandkids”.

Yet there is much more.

Merri and I live both in Ecuador and North Carolina because we love the people, the way of life, the land and the value.

We did not choose Ecuador because it is outside the US, nor Ashe county because it is in America.

We chose them because they are both in our opinion great places to be… and they are isolated.

Change alters the value of places.

When I grew up living in the suburbs of Portland Oregon, I could walk miles to school when I was eight.  We let our doors unlocked.

When I was a young man, huge cities were great places to be.  I lived in Hong Kong, San Francisco and London as well as portland… at times walking late at night in many parts of the city alone.  Cities were fun!

Now cities are much more dangerous and crowded and inconvenient.

Traffic from my mom’s suburban Oregon house (the same one for 50 years) to downtown Portland is horrid and she has to double lock all her windows.

Great places bring opportunity and joy in our lifestyles… but great places change and now there are double benefits in Isolation

I have steadily increased my investments in three seemingly isolated places; high in the Ecuador Andes, in a remote Pacific fishing village and in Ashe County North Carolina.

I chose each for the same reasons.  They are isolated but have good internet and reasonable access to a good airport

There are several reasons why change has put a premium on isolation.

retire-in-ecuador-remote

Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot from our Ecuador Hacienda.

One reason is food.  Ecuador is a small agricultural country and as such, huge national distribution systems are not required to feed the population.  The food is fresher.  Preservatives are not as required.

The residents in the Blue Ridge of Ashe county know how to feed themselves as well.  Our farm is dotted with old homesteads where the dwellers lived mostly off the land… not that long ago… so people here know how to create their own food supply if need be.

The second reason is that the cost of living is still low compared to cities in Ecuador or the US.

The third reason is health.  There are no big factories… the air is fresh… water is quite pure… and you are not surrounded by crowds… increased risk of crime and such.

Plus (fourth) lifestyle benefits are great. No traffic jams… not much traffic noise… far less stress.

Fifth, property prices are low compared to alternatives… yet for the reasons stated above… they offer potential of appreciation as more and more people want to get out of the cities and burbs.

At the beginning of this millennium I recommended investing in Ashe County, North Carolina and did so myself.

In the 10 years since, even with the real estate crash, the price of land in the area has risen five to 10 times. Yet these prices remain low compared to other similar areas.

The small towns in the area are safe, the people friendly.   Life is still good.  People still wave when you drive by.

I can now eat a hearty breakfast in Jefferson, North Carolina (our nearest town of any sort) for under five dollars.   Also when we go out to breakfast we can leave the house unlocked and cars, trucks and jeeps parked with the keys in them.

9/11 changed people’s values. Family, friends and quieter, more peaceful life is more important than before.

Having these fine qualities is harder to achieve in downtown Manhattan or Central Chicago or in the heart of L.A.

Life in America is changing due to the difficult economic and social times. There is a return to simplicity and the value of these small towns and their honest core values will grow.

If the economy suddenly recovers and the world’s economy rises, small towns will still not lose their appeal. The world’s population continues to grow.   People always want what they perceive they have lost… freedom from crowds, traffic jams, pollution and the hassle of city life.   I believe these qualities will grow in value.

Today, the portable computer, internet and cell phone have changed all the rules of real estate. The old maxim is still true that the three most important aspects that affect a properties value are location, location, location, but technology alters which locations will have greater value!

retire-in-ecuador-remote

Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot of the land around the village where we have our Ecuador hotel.

Take for example, my own career in writing about international investing.

When I began, I had to live in London. This was where all the knowledge and information was held. To give timely advice I had to be there. Then as phone rates dropped and the fax came along, I was able to leave the congested city and move to Naples, Florida, then a sleepy fishing village and still have access to the data I would need. Finally as Naples became crowded, because of the Internet, we were able to move to isolated farms both here and in Ecuador and still have access to any international investment information.

I can call up market details, specific shares, global news, regardless of how remote I am.

retire-in-ecuador-remote

Merri and I have purchased many isolated places.  Here is a shot of the empty beah near our Ecuador beach condos.

Here is the key point.

The primary factor of real estate’s value used to be physical accessibility to many people. This factor is shifting to accessibility of information.

Remote places are gaining a new value if they have access to information.

Ashe county which adjoins Virginia and Tennessee was established and named after Samuel Ashe in 1799. It is often known as the Lost Province because until recently hardly anyone knew of the place.

The county seat is Jefferson and the county has a land area of 426.16 miles but only a population of 22,209 people. This population is wide spread as well. The only towns are Jefferson (1,300 population), West Jefferson (1,002) and Lansing (183).

This is a totally rural area with three commercial crops, Christmas trees, timber and tobacco.

There are several small factories in the county but tourist activities such as canoeing on the new river, scenic drives though Southern Appalachian Wilderness, leaf looking and camping.

Ashe county is isolated but sits almost equidistant from the north and south of the east coast of the United States.  We almost the same distance from Florida and  Maine.

Here are the signs I see that suggest to me that this area will boom:

1. The prices here are a fraction of the counties north and south.

2. The first cappuccino machines have arrived in Jefferson. When we arrived there was nothing like this and it was a dry county.  Now there are smart cafes… wine bars and art gallerys.

3. Prices as mentioned have already risen.

4. The major road from I-77 has being widened to four and even six lanes.

5. Wal Mart built a super store.

6. The first golf course community has been a success in Jefferson.

7. Lowes has open a large DIY store.

There are some other great benefits here. The nearest airports for commercial flights is Tri-Cities Tennessee.   This s one of the easiest airports I have ever checked into…a 15 check in allowee. Parking right at the front door and often the policemen will hel yu haul in your bags.  Yet this regional airport is just over a half hour to Atlanta or Cincinnati.

There is a great college town Boone just 45 minutes away, a chic, resort area, Blowing Rock the same distance and real cities, like Charlotte two hours drive.

Yet as isolated as we are we have great DSL broadband so I am as connected as if I lived in Manhattan.

This makes me more effective than some businesses in the center of major cities, as I avoid the delays from traffic jams, crowds, smog, missed parking places and crowds.

You can take advantage of great isolated places to be by creating an internet business and looking for places like Ashe county north Carolina that are short on people but long on data resources.

Retire in Ecuador because Ecuador real estate is inexpensive.

Merri and I have purchased a lot of Ecuador real estate in remote places as well.

See why at Ecuador Real Estate is Inexpensive

Wherever you plan to retire in Ecuador at home or elsewhere, think about leaving the maddening crowd.  Isolated places may be the bargains of the future.

Gary

Our 2009 course and tour schedule.

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 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.

Buying Tickets To Ecuador


Buying Tickets To Ecuador

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

ecuador-air tickets

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

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

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

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

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

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

ecuador-air tickets

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

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

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

ecuador-air tickets

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

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

ecuador-air tickets

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

ecuador-air tickets

quaint villages like… Cotacachi shown here.

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

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

Here it is:

Buying Air Tickets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.    Don’t buy months out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ecuador-air tickets

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

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

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

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

Merri

Click here for Part Two on Buying Tickets to Ecuador

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

ecuador-air tickets

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

Learn About Ecuador & Speak Spanish in Three Days

Learn Spanish in Three Days ONLINE

The Learn Spanish in three day course is now available online.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few quotes from delegates of the course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It was a very enjoyable class.”

How The Course Works

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

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

Here is the proof.

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

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

See examples of the words you already know below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn Spanish online $79

Here are more testimonials from previous Super Spanish Courses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn Spanish online $79

Gary

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

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

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

Learn Spanish online $79

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beat Recession in Ecuador


One way to beat the recession is to live in Ecuador and enjoy its low cost of living.

How can one earn extra income while in Ecuador?

With an internet business.

In a moment we’ll look at why internet businesses in Ecuador are now easier.

First, why have your own internet business at all?

Yesterday’s message about Ecuador & Longevity showed how your own business can help you live longer and better… when you have a business that you love.

That in itself is a pretty good reason to be your own boss with an internet business.

There is a good chance that this recession will manifest itself in the form of currency destruction..rather than growing unemployment.

Governments are spending trillions of dollars (that they do not have), to kick start the global economy back to life and to create jobs.

This gets the job market rolling again but that money people will earn is likely to lose value. Printing money to create jobs without real production creates inflation.  Inflation destroys the purchasing power of cash.

This means that the best four ways to beat the recession is to invest in real estate… commodities or shares (these are all investments that will rise with inflation) or … to invest in your own business.

Why an internet business?

A Time Magazine article entitled “The New Internet Start-Up Boom: Get Rich Slow” by Josh Quittner helps explain why.  Here are excerpts from that article (see a link to the entire article at the end of this message).

Business Bucking the Recession

Here’s why.

At no other time in recent history has it been easier or cheaper to start a new kind of company.  Possibly a very profitable company. Let’s call these start-ups LILOs, for “a little in, a lot out.” These are Web-based businesses that cost almost nothing to get off the ground yet can turn into great moneymakers (if you work hard and are patient, but we’ll get to that part of the story).

How do you get started? All that’s required is a great idea for a product that will fill a need in the 21st century. These days you’d do best if your idea either makes people money or saves them money.

That’s what John Tayman is doing. He’s an author (The Colony, about a former leper colony near Maui) who lives in San Francisco, where I met him; he wrote reviews for a business magazine I edited. Tayman knew little about technology and even less about business.

Tayman said he intended to build the site on the side while continuing to write for a living. He’d work on his new company only at night and on weekends. Oh, yes, and he had only about $10,000. “Good luck with that!” I thought. Ideas are much easier to hatch than they are to execute.

Tayman went to work with nothing more than his PowerBook laptop. A hyperorganized fellow, he quickly discovered a trove of freebies online — instructional manuals and sites aimed at bootstrappers — that walk you through the process from start to finish.

Within months, Tayman had a virtual staff of 20 employees working for him in five different countries. “In fact, I didn’t even meet the guy who built most of the site until the launch party,” he says.

The article goes on to say that Tayman worked on the site about 10 hours a week and did not spend a cent on marketing or advertising.  The site’s growth is modest but steady: nearly 10,000 people visit each week.

Ecuador Broadband

It is easy and inexpensive to start an internet business. Now it is even easier to start an Ecuador internet business because mobile internet is now available in Ecuador.

Three cell phone operators are now offering an internet connection via a USB connecting modem that receives a data signal via their cell phone networks use.

This modem allows you to hook up to the internet anywhere in Ecuador where there is a cell phone signal.

This means that anywhere in Ecuador where there is even a hint of civilization you can have broadband!

We offer a special service using Porta Cell Modems,  the Ecuadorian subsidiary of Carlos Slim’s America Movil conglomerate.  In a country with a 13 million population there are surprisingly 9.7 million cellphone users (2007) and Porta has 68% of the market.

Porta´s mobile internet service is called ‘Internet Banda Ancha Movil de PORTA’. They are rapidly rolling out the latest 3G technology that allows for faster speeds.

The 3G speed is advertised as up to 1.2 MBs. I have used this service and it allows me to work on broadband almost anywhere, in a cab, sitting in a cafe… like our courtyard at Meson de las Flores. Here is a group in the courtyard on one of our tours.

Ecuador-recession

I can work from the park in Cotacachi’s central plaza.

Ecuador-recession

can work  the beach… almost anywhere… such as here in Bahia where we had a group on a real estate tour.

Ecuador-recession

I can work on an Ecuador bus… and have.

Ecuador-recession

or even on the train there.

Ecuador-recession

I can work in busy cities like Quito.

Ecuador-recession

or in the country.

Ecuador-beach

I can work as I travel and there´s no more worrying about finding a hotel with wireless service (and hoping it works).

The service is less than $80 a month.

The only downside is that an 18 month contract is required.

We have resolved this by buying the modems so our subscribers can use them on a month to month basis without the long term contract.  We add $10 a month for this and charge $90 for a month.

If you have an interest in this service drop me a note at gary@garyascott.com

We are in the worst economic correction since the 1930s.

This creates enormous opportunity and now low cost countries like Ecuador are becoming better, with wonderful people and cheap cost combined with the the convenience of  broadband.

Gary

Learn about our internet course “Tangled Web – How to Have an Internet Business” here.

You can read the entire Time Magazine article “The New Internet Start-Up Boom: Get Rich Slow by Josh Quittner at  www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1890387,00.html

Got Miles?


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

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

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

Merri writes:

Got Miles?

By Merri Scott

ecuador-air-travel

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

Today, I find it easy and sometimes even fun!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I like this a lot.

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

I also like this a lot.

Click on the lowest mile day and just buy.

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

Merri

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

Join us in Cotacachi.

Jan. 16-21 Ecuador Spanish Course

Jan. 22-23 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Jan. 24-27 Coastal Real Estate Tour

Enjoy our chef ad we help at times) for great fresh Ecuador seafood!

Cotacachi-fish

Feb. 9-11 Beyond Logic

Feb. 13-15 International Business & Investing Made EZ

Feb. 16-17 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

Or join us on the coast.

Ecuador beach

See Ecuador’s incredible scenery.

Cotacachi-fish

March 8-9 Imbabura Real Estate Tour

March 10-15 Ecuador Export Expedition

March 16-19 Coastal Real Estate Tour

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

Here is our Ecuador tour schedule for the balance of 2009.

Date                    Course                      Couples Fee

May 21-26  Ecuador Spanish Course         ($999)
May 27-28  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)

June 12-15  Shamanic Mingo Tour             ($999)
June 16-17  Imbabura Real Estate Tour      ($749)
June 18-21  Coastal Real Estate Tour         ($749)

July 2-7       Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)
July 8-9       Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
July 10-13   Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Sept. 17-22  Ecuador Spanish Course        ($999)
Sept. 23-24  Imbabura Real Estate Tour     ($749)
Sept. 25-28  Coastal Real Estate Tour        ($749)

Oct. 21-26   Ecuador Import Export Expedition ($1,499)

Nov. 6-8       International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador ($999)
Nov. 9-10     Imbabura Real Estate Tour          ($749)
Nov. 11-14   Coastal Real Estate Tour            ($749)

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

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

Better still join us all year in Ecuador! See our entire schedule of 27 courses, tours, mingos and expeditions we’ll conduct in 2009 and how to attend as many of them as you like FREE.

The course fee includes meeting at Quito airport (day before the
course)…transportation (by group bus) to Cotacachi and back to Quito.
Course fee does not include air are. accommodations, food or individual transportation.

Small Business Couples


Small business couples can fight inflation, enhance their relationship and have fun.

Couples can defy the laws of math because one plus one can equal more than two in a small business.

Merri and I, and millions of other couples that have a small business they share, have proven this again and again.

I believe that one reason we enjoy success in our internet business is that we answer most of our email personally. This means our readers pretty much reach Merri or me direct. We are able to do this because we share the tasks we get to perform in our business.

This message looks at one more great benefit that comes from having your own small business…enjoying your partners…married or not.

From a practical point of view, two people, working together well get, more than double energy. They can gain synergy (super energy) when their efforts compliment each other.

So perhaps you should look at your partner or the idea of having a partner and ask, “how could we gain from running a business together”?

Here is an unrehearsed (Merri and I did not know it was being taken) photo taken last year by a delegate at one of our courses on the farm. Merri and I were headed to the seminar hall to start a day of conducting a course.

small-business-couples-North Carolina

Last week one of our delegates at the Susan Rotman Business Intuition Course sent this note.

“Dear Gary & Merri, When we first spoke at your place Gary I said that I couldn’t keep up with all of your writings and that you must “have a lot of time”. I now know that we both have the exact same amount of time in a given day and that you CHOOSE to spend some of yours writing. That’s a wonderful thing and fits you well. I also believe that you are one of the better speakers that I have ever heard. I got a tremendous lift from your conference and truly enjoyed almost every participant.

One of the most powerful things that I got though was watching you and Merri interact. You have the utmost respect for one another. In the midst of a working environment your marriage shows up as kind, patient, peaceful, easy and exudes a palpable love. It is a great example and I aspire to do better at creating the same in my own marriage. Thank you for this and for all you did to create a great workshop experience.”

The fact is that Merri and I truly enjoy one another’s company. Having a business where we work together makes our lives better. We get more time together and are able to more closely share our passions and goals. Working together as a small business couple has reaped many rewards. Here we are at a small cottage given to us by an Andean indigenous community after our efforts secured a community water supply for the village. What a thrill!

small-business-couple-Latacunga

Many other couples are making this same thrilling discovery.

A recent MSNBC article by Jason Del Rey entitled “Couples that work together, stay together?” explains how increased numbers of spouses are enjoying benefits of sharing a professional passion. The story tells about a couple who after moving in together moved to Atlanta and both found new jobs. The article says: “The money was good and their careers seemed to be on track. But something was suffering as a result: their happiness. They never saw each other — maybe an hour or two in the evenings so they quit their jobs and used the wife’s experience in pottery and charged $23,000 on credit cards, to open a pottery studio.”

Later they sold this business and started another offering franchise locations. They now have more than 30 franchise locations throughout seven states, with sales of $12 million in 2007.

They realized that they would rather work harder and work for themselves and be able to see each other.

The article states that “According to the National Federation of Independent Business, there were approximately 1.2 million husband-and wife-owned small businesses nationwide in 2003, the most recent year for which the group has data. Anecdotally, family-business experts say that number has only continued to climb.”

The article also points out that wives are getting more involved and now are more entrepreneurial.

Here we are hiking arund a crater lake near our colonial in in Cotacachi

small-business-couple-cotacachi

Another article at Money.cnn says:

“Glenn Muske, an Oklahoma State University professor who has spent the past six years studying the topic, estimates that 3 million of the 22 million U.S. small businesses in 2000 were couple-owned. He doesn’t expect updated figures until late spring, but he and other experts believe that further growth has occured in the past half-decade.

“What has triggered this transformation? Turns out that mom and pop shops have changed in large part because Mom now often has as much education as Pop (if not more), and she’s determined to use it.

“Women now hold 59 percent of all college degrees, and are moving rapidly into traditionally male-dominated fields, such as engineering and computer science, that prepare them to launch scalable companies, as opposed to the stereotypical home-based catering business.”

Some of the positive comments in this article include how they treasure the advantages of their arrangement. When you have to explain to your business partner that you need to reschedule a meeting because your child is in a play, it’s a lot easier when that child is also your partner’s.

Merri and I have found that running our small business as a couple has helped our family a lot. All five children worked for us beginning at age seen or eight. They provided a great, motivated labor force and
learned the value of work as well. Though they are now grown, they all still contribute! Here is a shot the kids took of Merri and me on a business get together at the Pacific.

small-business-couple-oregon-coast

The article includes:

“What’s more, running a business adds another dimension to the relationship and deepens it. Many couples say it’s like raising a child of a different sort.

“A couple creates a haven for children

“Couples love sharing firsts, first-ever client, first really large contract – the shared memories. Running a business together is partly a savvy economic move and partly a lifestyle one,” says Gwen Martin.

“Men and women are seeking work-family balance, and they have more control of their time as owners. Who better to join forces with, they say, than someone you trust professionally and personally – someone you’ve been bouncing ideas off anyway? The potentially favored status of majority-woman-owned businesses by government and corporations assigning contracts is an additional incentive.

“While innovation in information technology has helped propel growth in small business as a whole, it has especially encouraged couple-owned firms to grow more distinctive and competitive. And it has opened opportunities in a stunning variety of new fields that engage the interest of curious, educated, well-traveled married entrepreneurs.

“The e-commerce technology developed in the past ten years has enabled us to grow, because small companies like ours can actually afford it,” says Jessica Kogan, 34, who with her husband launched Cameron Hughes Wine, a San Francisco-based discounter of high-quality surplus vintages. “It’s allowed us to build a customer base outside California.”

“Technology has also encouraged couples to outsource many of their manufacturing and back-office functions, create complex products and services, and adopt a global perspective.

“Kathy Marshack, author of Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, says, “Husband and wife teams are investigating different markets all over the world.”

“In other words, they’re not simply serving pinot noir in a restaurant or selling it in a wine shop, but importing barrels of it from France, outsourcing the bottling, and selling it to retailers such as Costco. Which is precisely what Kogan and her husband, Cameron Hughes, 36, have done.”

Our small business has created a lot of adventure. Here we are with a shama deep in the rain forests of the Llanganatis where vast amounts of Inca gold are rumored to be buried.

small-business-couple-llnganatis

There are of course negatives with every positive as the article concludes when it says:

“Sophisticated businesses and lofty goals can, of course, bring high stress levels – and in a husband-and-wife-owned business, you can’t come home and complain about your business partner.”

Inflation, currency instability and economic shifts are everywhere. For many this spells disaster. For those who adapt, the greater the problem, the bigger the opportunity.

Spouses, couples living together, even friends may want to ask, “can we adapt better together”?

One way to adapt to rapid change and move ahead is to magnify your efforts. Defy the math! Let one and one equal three, four or more with you own small couples business.

Gary

We offer two emailed courses to help you (and perhaps your partner) start a small business.

International Business Made EZ

Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher

We provide a generous discount to all couples who sign up together for our seminar at our courses

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour
September 17-20 and November 12-15, 2008 – $599 for one. $849 for a couple.

Our Coastal tours are conducted from Palmazul. Here I am working a Palmazul. Merri’s not pictured because she took the shot.

tranquil-work-at-sea

But after we relax on the beach.

small-business-couple-on-Ecuador-Coast

Our Andean courses below are conducted at our colonial inn El Meson de las Flores. Here we are in the inn’s court yard working as a couple.

tranquil-work-hotel

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course
September 23 to 27, 2008 – $799 for one. $999 for a couple.

Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour
September 28-29, 2008 and November 10-11, 2008.
$499 for one. $749 for a couple.

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina October 3-5, 2008 – $749 for one. $999 for a couple.

Ecuador Ecuador Import Export Course October 14-18
$999 for one, $1,499 for a couple

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
November 7-9, 2008
$749 for one. $999 for a couple.

See discounts for couples attending more than one course.

Ecuador Perceptions


Ecuador perceptions create opportunity.

What’s in a Word?

What can the perception of a phrase like “communist” or “terrorist” mean for us as investors?

There is opportunity in these words because most people never look beyond
the perception that has been endorsed by the establishment.  They react without  thought about the reality of a situation.

Let me share an example.

Merri and I love nature. We live pretty much in the wild. Our farm in North Carolina  is in an area so remote it is called “The Lost Province”.

Our hacienda in Ecuador is even more remote.

Yet our reclusive lifestyle was not always the case.  After spending my college years in downtown Portland, Oregon, I moved to Hong Kong, one of the most crowded cities in the world.

After moving to San Francisco I finally lived many years in London, one of the largest cities in the world.

London.  What a great city. I loved living there.  This was a really fun place and part of the fun was Ken Livingstone, the mayor at that time. He was so left wing we all called him “Red Ken”.

I mention “Red Ken” because many readers write to me expressing concern about the political stability of Rafael Correa and Ecuador.  The three words most frequently in the writing of these concerns are “populist”, “Chavez” and “left wing.”

Many people fear anything that seems to be left wing.

Ken Livingstone was so far left and such an unconventional and controversial politician that during the Cold War era he sponsored such events such as ‘Babies Against the Bomb’,and declared London a ‘nuclear-free zone’.

He not only was a “communist” but also endorsed terrorists.

Livingstone even extended an official invitation to terrorist leaders of the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Féin.  Britain denied entry to the invitees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, so Livingstone met them in Northern Ireland instead.  Livingstone said that Britain’s treatment of the Irish over the last 800 years had been worse than Adolf Hitler’s treatment of Jews.

His actions were so left wing that he acquired the nickname ‘Red Ken’ and one British magazine dubbed Livingstone ‘Leninspart’.

Yet during Red Ken, the communist’s reign, London became one of the most affluent cities in the world.

Another example can be seen when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1968.  The Chinese communists were rioting. The first day I arrived in 1968 a British police officer had his leg blown off by a communist bomb.  We were taught at the office how to spot bombs in the street.  The Chinese army was massed at the border. These were the days of the war in Viet Nam and the “communist” threat seemed real to many.  Investors were fleeing Hong Kong left and right. I and a few others stayed.

Those who invested heavily in Hong Kong then, became some of the richest people in the world.

Those who saw the underlying reality and ignored the noise made by political manipulation and the local press made fortunes.

Another example is in Cotacachi.  Merri and I have been investing and living here for years while the mayor there, Auki Tituaña Males is so apparently left wing, there is a huge photo of him and Fidel Castro together on city hall.  That puts some people off!  Fidel Castro a communist!

Yet we have seen this mayor create a social economic system that has transformed the village into one of the nicest areas we know.  Prosperity has grown by leaps and bounds. What has happened over these eight years is remarkable!

Mostly I ignore politicians and the press and look for the deeper fundamentals that drive economics. i know that economics always drives the politics in the long run… not the other way round. Those who rise above and get ahead of political noise are the ones who profit most when the finances shift the politicians.

Places that have brought me the greatest profit are those where the political words and symbols look shaky but the economic fundamentals look good!

Whether Correa, the President of Ecuador is good or bad…I do not know.  A lot of what he says rings true to me…but I have been fooled before.

Will Correa’s actions have an impact on business in Ecuador?  Of course…but my belief is that his influence will not be as bad as many think.   He may even do some  good.

Thus I see bargains that abound in Ecuador because the majority is worrying about the inconsequential words, the noise, the small stuff and most of all the unlikely.  They argue over the scraps and leave the best for the few of us who look deeper.

I have been in Ecuador fourteen years and see little difference in the political noise today than when we arrived. the president then was a mad man (they called him El Loco) changing the constitution. Today we have another President changing the constitution. This President is not so crazy in my opinion.  Is he good? Only time will tell.

I have learned my lesson from London and Hong Kong!  Bring on the words that scare. They create opportunity.

Merri  and I really enjoy living in Ecuador.  When we look through the political noise, we see huge progress in living conditions, sweet non violent people, a wonderful climate…an abundance of sunshine and excellent food.

So we are buying as much real estate there as fast as we can based on our experienced view.

Had we been worry warts for the past 14 years because this or that might have happened we would have missed amazing good fortune…wonderful people…great weather…low cost living…excellent investments…and an amazing lesson that Ecuador’s rich culture has to share.

Of course there are others who are more afraid of George Bush, the US economy, the falling dollar and the American system. There are no guarantees here either.

Our advice on investing and business is to always look first for a place or task you love.  When you find it, go for it!  Take your chances.  Whatever we do, wherever we go, there is risk…so enjoy the process and look for places where fear, due to words and not fundamentals create extra opportunity.  What is within is usually more important than what is without.

We feel as safer or safer in Ecuador as in the US.  Only the future will tell which place will turn out better.  My guess is that both will be great.  I am quite happy with being double lucky but fully accept that no one can predict the future.

However, we expect to invest even more both in Ecuador and the USA. We love both places so we will enjoy the process whatever the outcome.  I look forward to sharing with you what we do and what happens.

That is our perception.

Until next message, may all you perceptions be clear.

Gary

Join us in the cool Blue Ridge while much of the U.S. burns up this summer.  We enjoy cool nights (mid 50s) sleeping under blankets without screens (translation-there are no mosquitoes here). Rarely does it reach 80 during the day and if it does a quick dip in the creek cools us right down. We have farmhouses, cottages, cabins and cottages you can stay in and enjoy. Rockers on the front porch (best for watching fireflies at night and eating sunny breakfasts), quiet pools to chill watermelon, waterfalls in which to soak, horses to chase, chickens and ducks to feed and we would enjoy meeting you.

Everyone who comes wants to come back and right now we can treat you to some fresh blackberry pie!
Cool-mountain-retreat

During breaks in the course join me for a hike in the woods.
We have a space left for you to join us this August 15-17, and learn about intuitive investing at Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.

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

autumn-leaf-change

Enjoy the autumn leaf change in October.

Or enjoy one of our courses or tours in Ecuador

Ecuador Coastal-Quito Real Estate Tour

ecuador-beach-restaurant

While others worry about politics our tour groups find opportunity and enjoy wonderful seafood lunches at open air restaurants like this.

Ecuador Super Thinking + Spanish Course

Ecuador each hammocks

The future cannot be predicted but this is here…now.

Ecuador Imbabura Real Estate Tour
Ecuador beach house

Here is a house we inspected on our last coastal real estate tour for sale at $25,000.

Ecuador Import Export Course

International Investing and Business Made
EZ Ecuador

See discounts for attending more than
one course.

Multi Currency Investing Value in Change


Multi currency investing in change creates opportunity if you stick to value as well.

We have a great rooster here at the farm.   Beautiful.

Blue-Ridge-rooster

So now we also have some new chicks!

Blue-ridge-chick

What fun!

Watching them started me thinking about multi currency investing cycles and evolution.

If we look, we can see mankind and our multi currency, global economy evolve in ways that make sense.

Yet the shift are often hard to see.

On a recent trip Merri and I were stuck next to a TV (we do not have this at the farm) and the show was called Mad Men…about ad men in the 50s.  The smoking everywhere, three martini lunches, incredible sexual harassment, gender, religious and racial bias.

Wow, consider how much we have progressed!  Perfection now? No.  Better than before…I think so and we are making progress.

How can we spot, and position ourselves for change?

The economic doldrums of today will create the life styles of tomorrow. High rising costs of energy…food and essentials are creating a more spiritual world.

People are learning to look within for their fulfillment rather than relying on the shopping cart of the material market place to bring them joy.

They are more likely to spend more time in their church, mosque, synagogue or other place of religious worship than in Wal Mart.

Is this bad?

They may enjoy more friends, family and their social community.  Perhaps spend more time hiking and in nature or contemplating…slowing down to enjoy life more.

Think, if nothing, else of the environmental good.

How do we prepare our lives, our business, our finances for this new way?

During the 40 years I have been investing abroad, I have observed seven golden investing trends.

#1: 1970s Gold & Silver.

#2: Japan , Germany , Switzerland , England , Australia and Hong Kong .

#3: 1980s. The Tigers, Taiwan , Singapore Malaysia and South Korea , & Turkey .

#4: Early 1990s. South America (which led me to Ecuador).

#5: Late 1990s and 2000s. China , India and Eastern Europe .

#6: Invest in Real Estate Throughout.

#7: Bet Against the US Dollar Throughout

Now an eighth powerful green trend is in force.

How do we tap into this new economic wave?

Good value investments in water, alternate energy and environmental salvation offer incredible opportunity…if you maintain a good sense of value.

Like with all huge shifts, there will be scams and over priced investments.

An article by Alex Williams entitled, “That Buzz in Your Ear May Be Green Noise” touches on this when it says:

“DESPITE the expense and the occasional back strain, Mary Burnham, a public relations consultant in San Francisco, felt good about the decision she made a few years ago to buy milk — organic, of course — only in heavy, reusable glass bottles. For the sake of the environment, she dutifully lugged them back and forth from the grocery store every week. Cutting out disposable paper cartons, she reasoned, meant saving trees and reducing waste.

“Or not. A friend, also a committed environmentalist, recently started questioning her good deed. ‘His argument was that paper cartons are compostable and lightweight and use less energy and water than the heavy bottles, which must be transported back to a plant to be cleaned and reused,’ she said. “I have no idea which is better, or how to find out.”

“Ms. Burnham, 35, recycles religiously, orders weekly from a community-supported farm, buys eco-friendly cleaning products and carries groceries in a canvas bag. But she admits to information overload on the environment — from friends, advice columns, news media, even government-issued reports. Much of the advice is conflicting.

“To say that you are confused and a little fed up with the often contradictory messages out there on how to live lightly on the earth is definitely not cool,” she said in an e-mail message. “But, heck, I’ll come out and say it. I’m a little overwhelmed.”

“She is, in other words, a victim of ‘green noise’ — static caused by urgent, sometimes vexing or even contradictory information played at too high a volume for too long.”

Green is good but as mankind learns and evolves, there will be plenty of spin. There will be more than enough turmoil and confusion about what is best and what will succeed.

The true guide that can guide you through the noise that is created during new economic waves is value.

For example investments in wind power make sense. T.  Boone Pickens has just announced that he will make a huge investment in wind power.

An NPR article said: “After decades investing in oil, T. Boone Pickens is now pouring billions of dollars into what he calls America’s biggest wind farm. Pickens envisions putting up 2,500 turbines in Texas to generate 4,000 megawatts of energy — enough to power 1.3 million homes.

“Pickens says America is living with oil prices of more than $140 per barrel and gasoline topping $4 per gallon because it didn’t plan for its energy future.

“The mistake was made because we didn’t have the leadership that stepped up and said, ‘We cannot continue to import foreign oil,'” Pickens tells Steve Inskeep.

“Wind currently generates a relatively small percentage of the nation’s power, with most coming from coal, nuclear and natural gas.

“Pickens says he would like to use more wind for power generation and shift natural gas for use as a transportation fuel.

“We’ve got plenty of natural gas,” he says. “That’s the beauty of it. Natural gas is cleaner, it’s cheaper, it’s abundant and it’s domestic.”

“He notes that the United States, with just 4 percent of the world’s population, uses 25 percent of the world’s oil supply — most of it imported.

“Pickens says he wants the government to extend a production tax credit for wind power for a period long enough to encourage investment in the technology.

“The federal government recently issued a report forecasting that 20 percent of U.S. power generation could come from wind energy by the year 2030. Pickens says that’s too long from now — he’ll be 102 years old.

“This has to happen quicker than that,” he says. “We’ll be broke if you wait for this to all take place by 2030.”

Wind investments may be good, but not all wind investments all the time. Yet not all wind investments may be good.

Jyske Bank recently placed a sell recommendation on one of the most successful recent shares we have tracked, Vestas, the wind and turbine maker. See why here.

Green is good now. Paying too much for an investment, regardless of its color is never good.   Even when you ride the wave always keep your eye on value.

Learn more about how to spot good value investments at

Until next message may all you values always be good.

Gary

Join us, stay at our farm and learn about intuitive investing for Susan Rotman’s business intuition course.
Or join me with Jyske Global Asset Management to learn more about value investing.

International Investing and Business Made EZ North Carolina

International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador