Tag Archive | "travel agencies"

Multi Currency Trust


Multi currency trust is really important now. A huge multi currency stock market and property correction could be just ahead.

This correction can bring unprecedented value opportunity. But how do we know who to trust?

If our multi currency investments are in what we know and with those we trust…our investing is always one step ahead.

For example, below you will see a breakdown of my total multi currency position and why I have made money this last year when so many have lost.

One important point to note is that the largest increase in my multi currency portfolio is in Ecuador real estate. This is because I am involved in Ecuador every day and have a feel for what is going on. Plus I know people in Ecuador that I trust.

Take for example the Vitazul Ecuador beach condos built by Kjetil Haugan.

One reason I made an investment there is because I have worked with Kjetil for more than a decade and I trust him. I first met Kjetil when he had just moved to Ecuador and was beginning to develop business there. Now, just over a decade later he has one of the largest Spanish schools in Ecuador, one of the largest travel agencies in Ecuador, two boats that tour the Galapagos, a hotel and he is building 63 condos. Here is Kjetil at the condo construction.

multi-currency-condo-builder

Over the decade Kjetil has surprised me with what he gets done again and again. So when he contacted me last November and told me about the condos and the clubhouse-hotel he was building, I immediately became interested.

Last November when he contacted me the condo clubhouse looked like this.

multi-currency-condo-hotel

and the clubhouse swimming pool was…

multi-currency-condo-beach-pool

Yet he told me that he would be operational for the new year.

He was.

I drove down from our home in the Andes shortly (January 20 to be exact) after and was the first condo investor because of trust AND WHAT I KNOW ABOUT ECUADOR. This is on the record. See what I wrote in January 2008 about this project at Ecuador Beaches.

Here is the club house now…less than a year later.

multi-currency-condo-clubhouse

and the pool.

multi-currency-condo-pool

When I arrived nine months ago, the land where the condos were to be built looked like this.

multi-currency-condo-site

…just nine months ago. Here it is now.

multi-currency-condo-construction

In nine months…in Ecuador…on the coast…amazing!

Yet I was able to invest at the beginning before inflation started to really bite. Investing in what you know and in those you trust pays.

Prices have risen on these condos, but still offer an incredible value, plus until October 1, Kjetil is offering the original price (a $10,000 savings) to Ecuador Living subscribers.

For details on the units below contact Thor Anderson at thor@sanclementeecuador.com

Before you invest anywhere, however, let me please exclaim loudly…proceed with care.

We may be seeing a systemic cleansing similar to the 20s. Even if we are not, this is a time when investors can do everything, that in the past, was right and still lose. This is one reason why I like investing in real estate (US and Ecuador) now. I know and trust real estate. Real estate is a multi currency inflation hedge. Real estate is a hedge aganst a falling US dollar. Government bail outs create inflation. Real estate is an inflation hedge.

You can see the increase of real estate in the breakdown of my own portfolio this year

Many indicators suggest that this is a time when most investors believe the market will be down, but it actually will rise…perhaps a lot. So looking for value in equities and real estate make sense now.

Invest now? Does this sound crazy? Probably no crazier than in August 2007 when everything looked so fantastic and I warned readers to reduce debt and I unloaded most of my equities, moving into cash, Ecuador real estate and bonds instead.

As you can imagine I am pretty happy about this right now. I am reviewing my exact portfolio with my multi currency course subscribers at this time. Here is a portion of what they are reviewing, the breakdown of my personal portfolio a year ago and where it is right now. The percentages are rounded.

October 2007 Total Cash 9.7%

October 2008 Cash 10%

October 2008 Foreclosure Cash 3%

October 2008 Total Cash 13%

October 2007 Equities 6%

October 2007 Emerging Equities 1.5%

October 2008 Equities 5%

October 2008 Emerging Equities 1%

October 2008 Total Equities 6%

October 2007 Bonds 31.7%

October 2007 Emerging Bonds 8.5%

October 2008 Bonds 24%

October 2008 Emerging Bonds 10%

October 2008 Total Bonds 34%

October 2007 US Farmland 21%

October 2008 US Farmland 31%

October 2007 US Commercial Property 19%

October 2008 US Commercial Property 6%

October 2007 Ecuador Property 3%

October 2008 Ecuador Property 10%

First, let me clarify that this portfolio is not totally accurate. All the property is shown at cost. Much of this was purchased as long as a decade ago and could be sold for much more than shown. Both US and Ecuador property.

Second, even without trying to estimate a real estate value the portfolio rose…just a bit…about 5%. That is less then half the performance in 2007, but for this last year I am pleased. Not losing in 2008 is good! In addition to maintaining the portfolio’s capital, I feel especially well positioned to capitalize on current events. My cash position has grown and and many of the existing bonds mature this next year. This gives me plenty of liquidity to pick up bargains created by the market correction.

Third, I did little buying or selling of equities this year. The reduction of equities in the portfolio is entirely due to drops in price of the equities held.

I mostly looked for bargains in real estate…mainly in Ecuador and picked up several.

The same is true for bonds. The reduction in bonds in the portfolio is due to
maturities and the increase in emerging markets is due to currency strengthening of the bonds held.

Last year I felt a bit like a spider sitting in its web watching the fly come closer.

Now I am ready to bite! I have committed 3% of my portfolio to buying US real estate foreclosures.

Plus I am watching equities. The time to buy may be near. You can learn why as a multi currency course subscriber

Until next message may everything you believe in be worthy of your trust.

Gary

I’ll review my entire portfolio and all this thinking next weekend. October 3-5 in North Carolina at our International Investing and Business Course. Why don’t you join me.

The course was fully booked but we had many late applications and have have moved to a larger meeting room so still have space.

Join me with Thomas Fischer of Denmark’s Jyske Global Asset Management, who was a currency trader for years to review our multi currency portfolio thinking for the year ahead.

To help our subscribers meet and learn, we are giving all delegates at the North Carolina course a FREE year’s subscription to our online multi currency course. This is a $249 value.

This will not be all work-no play. We selected this particular weekend as the most likely to be beautiful with the autumnal leaf change. The colors are glorious.

autumn-gold

Here delegates at a previous course chat during a coffee break.

blue-ridge-leaf-change

Gary

Join us in North Carolina next week end October 3-5 and save $249. Enroll here.

Or join us in November to inspect Ecuador property for sale

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-model

Our September 17-20 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour was sold out as was our September 28-29 Imbabura Real Estate Tour was sold out.

Our Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course only has a couple of spaces open.
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-import-and-export-tour

We still have space in November

Join us in Cotacachi at El Meson de las Flores.

cotacachi-daybreak

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

See these condos at $46,000 in Cotacachi.

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estat

Dine with delegates at the Vistazul clubhouse.

Ecuador-fishng-view-4

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

Ecuador Beach Condo Savings


Ecuador beach condos in San Clemente offer special value now for seven reasons shown below.

Bahia, is in my opinion, one of the nicest towns on Ecuador coast. Pacific Coastal condos in San Clemente, only thirty minutes, away offer some of the best value that Merri and I have found.

These San Clemente coastal condos are called Vistazul and they offer an even more special opportunity now. Here are delegates on our last Ecuador coastal real estate tour going over to look at the Vistazul model which is 75% complete.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos

Merri and I are back from a quick trip south…to Cotacachi and to visit our Ecuador coastal condos in San Clemente. These Ecuador coastal condos are special, value wise, for seven reasons.

First, over ten years ago, Merri and I drove almost the entire length of Ecuador’s coast with our Norwegian friend, Kjetil Haugan. This trip included a visit to San Clemente which is a tiny fishing village on the Ecuadorian Pacific.

We saw that San Clemente Ecuador offered special value for Ecuadorian beach real estate. This was one of Ecuador’s best beaches, but just 45 minutes north of Manta and only a half hour to Bahia Ecuador.

Here is the San Clemente beach.

Ecuador-Coastal-Beach

Kjetil bought 12 acres of land on this beach in San Clemente…then…ten years ago. This is the first reason why the Vistazul Ecuador Coastal condos offer special value now. A recent message outlined how we conducted real estate tours and urged readers to buy Ecuador beach property around Manta over ten years ago because land on Ecuador’s coast now is still a terrific value. Yet especially around Manta, land has appreciated as much as 800% in the last decade. Many of our readers and real estate tour delegates of a decade ago purchased ocean view house lots at $2,500. These same lots as resales are now selling at $17,500.

Kjetil can offer really great Ecuador beach condo prices because he bought the land at rock bottom prices years ago.

Many Ecuador coastal properties are popping up now but most developers are buying land to develop…at current, much higher prices.

San Clemente is catching on. Already we are told that one of our readers purchased a large beach front property (to develop I assume) just a few hundred yards from the Vistazul project. This reader cannot compete with Vistazul price wise because the current price paid for the land is so much higher.

The second reason there is special value there is that Kjetil has more than a decade of business and Ecuadorian experience. His wife’s family have long been involved in construction. His father in law is an engineer who has great experience at building on the coast.

Here is Jessica Haugan, Kejtil’s wife, who operates the Palmazul Spa welcoming our delegates to inspect the model.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-inspection

Here is Kjetil and his father-in-law, Julio, showing delegates the roof garden on unit #207 (the lowest view and price).

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-builders

Third, the Vistazul beach condos offer special value because Merri and I do not charge commissions. We do not make a penny when people buy Ecuador real estate.

Our readers have purchased many millions of dollars of Ecuador real estate in Galapagos, Mindo, Cotacachi, Quito, Vilcabamba, Cuenca, on the Pacific Coast, and elsewhere around Ecuador. Merri and I may have helped more gringos buy Ecuador real estate than anyone else. Yet we are not real estate brokers and do not take commissions for this.

The fact that Merri and I liked, felt confident in and invested ourselves in Vistazul, means that Kjetil has been able to sell two thirds of these coastal condos without paying a penny of the normal sales commission. This has saved him as much as $500,000. This does not mean Kjetil has pocketed this extra cash. I asked (and he agreed) to pass this savings onto buyers of Vistazul who are Ecuador Living subscribers.

Here is the Palmazul Spa and the clubhouse for Vistazul. This is where our coastal real estate delegates stay.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condo-clubhouse

Fourth, Kjetil built the beach condo club house first…last year…when cement and concrete prices were about half they are now. Plus he made a very intelligent decision to run the clubhouse as a hotel…Palmazul.

Three buildings with 19 units are under construction. We were pleased last week to view th progress.

Here they are. You can see each level of construction. The 63 units are set out on the 12 acres so no building blocks the view of another.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condo-totals

Fifth, we center our Ecuador coastal real estate tours around the Palmazul club house which means we send hundreds of guests there. This provides substantial income so condo owners do not have to bear as large an expense to maintain the club house.

Front door of a Vistazul unit.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-frontdoor

Sixth, Because Merri and I understood the project, we were willing to invest up front. Our many years of work with Kjetil have created a bond of trust. Because of this Merri and I, plus one of our friends and two of our daughters bought the first twelve units. In other words, nearly 20% of the Vistazul project was sold before Kjetil even began to break ground.

Here is a Vistazul ground floor interior…looking back.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-interior

And front with our friend from Telluride, Bob Humphrey.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condo-inside

Seventh, Kjetil also has one of the largest Spanish schools and travel agencies in Ecuador. This provides marketing clout and gives Kjetil the ability to help bring condo renters to San Clemente.

Staircase.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-stairs

In summary Vistazul has many excellent value features:

* Low land costs.

* Infrastructure competed before inflation.

* Two thirds of the units sold.

* Construction experience.

* Low cost marketing for sales and renter.

* Perfect on the beach location.

* Master Bedroom looks over the sea.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-masterbedroom

This is why I have been encouraging readers to look at Vistazul. There are 63 units to be built. 42 of these Ecuador condos have sold since I first wrote about these condos just nine months ago. Now Kjetil is also offering ten year mortgages at 8.5%,. I expect the remaining 21 units to sell quickly.

Ecuador coastal delegates inspect roof garden and lowest view.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-Front

Due to inflation, Kjetil has raised his prices, but due to our original agreement with him he has still been offering a discount to our Ecuador Living subscribers.

That offer expired after our last Ecuador Coastal real estate tour but I asked him to continue the special until October 1, 2008.

This is significant because I always advise readers to never buy Ecuador real estate sight unseen. Kjetil, in his agreement with us, allows those who make a deposit 60 days to come down and visit the condos on the beach. This means that those who make a deposit before October 1 can hold their unit until our November 12 – 15 Coastal tour when they can inspect the property.

Here are the remarkable values on these Ecuador beach condos.

There are three levels of condo.

All units are identical…except for a few options available in tile, cabinets, doors, counter tops etc. Price differences relate to view. The higher on the hill, the higher the price.

Coastal tour delegates on roof garden of lower unit.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-top-floor

For details on the units below contact Thor Anderson at thor@sanclementeecuador.com

Lower level units available are #: 104 – 205 – 207 – 302 – 305 – 503 – 506.

Price is $89,000 or $22,250 down and $828 a month.

Ecuador Living subscriber price available until October 1, 2008 is $79,000 or
$19,750 down and $735 a month.

Medium level view.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-panorama

Medium level units available are #: 602 – 603 – 604 – 605 – 801 – 805 – 806.

Price is $115,000 or $28,750 down and $1,068 a month.

Ecuador Living subscriber price available until October 1, 2008 $99,000 or $24,750 down and $921 a month.

Upper level view at sunset.

Bahia-Ecuador-coastal-condo-views

Upper level units available are #: 901- 902 – 904 – 1101 – 1102.

Price is $139,00 or $34,750 down and $1,293 a month.

Ecuador Living subscriber price available until October 1, 2008 $125,000 or $31,250 down and $1,163 a month.

To obtain the discount you must be an Ecuador Living subscriber.

For details on the units below contact Thor Anderson at thor@sanclementeecuador.com

Vistazul kitchens have marble cabinet tops. The cabinets are not yet installed in this shot and there are breakfast bar height options.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-breakfast bar

For details on the units below contact Thor Anderson at thor@sanclementeecuador.com

Until next message, may all your values be good.

Gary

Join us in November to inspect Ecuador property for sale.

Vistazul-Ecuador-beach-condos-model

Our September 17-20 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour was sold out as was our September 28-29 Imbabura Real Estate Tour was sold out.

Our Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course only has a couple of spaces open.
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-import-and-export-tour

We still have space in November.

Join us in Cotacachi at El Meson de las Flores.

cotacachi-daybreak

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

See these condos at $46,000 in Cotacachi.

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estat

Dine with delegates at the Vistazul clubhouse.

Ecuador-fishng-view-4

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour

Ecuador Currency Tip


This Ecuador currency tip can save you big bucks in Ecuador or any time you need a foreign currency.

I recently spoke at a seminar in Mexico and realized that I have become lazy about carrying multi currencies. Ecuador’s currency is the US dollar so no currency exchange is required coming or going.

I maintain British pound and Danish kroner investments so when I travel to Denmark or England, our two most frequently visited places after Ecuador, I already have the correct currency available in cash.

So when Merri and I arrived at Cancun airport, I realized Mexican pesos would be needed! Ouch. Avoid converting currencies at airports. The forex exchange rates are usually bad.

If you are frequently exchanging currencies the costs can be high, so here is a multi currency, conversion tip sent to me by a trusted friend.

“Gary, It costs me about $1500 a year just to send money to the UK and Sweden in bank and FOREX charges! A friend in Australia recommended www.ozforex.com – you select a buy and sell currency and beneficiaries (destination bank accounts). So far it looks like I’m going to more than halve the annual costs of sending money and their rates seem much better. For example $1500 with current method gives £794.74 but with OZForex, £842.25 – 6% better rates and only A$15 transfer fee.

Ecuador Cash Tips

The US dollar is Ecuador’s currency. Paper money is identical but both US and Ecuador coins are used. Ecuadorian coins minted in Ecuador are the same in size, weight, workmanship and color as US coins but have different reliefs and are only legal currency in Ecuador.

You can bring dollars with you. They work well except $100 dollar bills. These are accepted only with caution. Outside major cities sometimes it is impossible to cash $100 dollar bills. There is a lot of counterfeiting of $100 bills in Colombia, so the Ecuador Central Bank issues a list of valid $100 bill serial numbers. If the serial number of your $100 bill (even though it is real) is not on the validated list, you may not be able to use it in many places.

Bills that circulate in Ecuador are the $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. The coins are the penny, nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cent piece. Plus the one dollar coin is very popular in Ecuador. I always wondered where all the Susan B. Anthonys went!

Ecuador prices are low and vendors are poor. They do not have a lot of change. When Merri and I go to Ecuador, we take rolls of quarters and a lot of $1, $5, $10, $20 bills.

Ecuador Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are not accepted at this time. You usually need to go to the forex houses or banks to cash them. The commission charged varies between 1% and 4%. And often banks will no longer accept these checks as South America is inundated with forgeries. In Cotacachi, no one will accept a traveler’s check

We never even had an ATM card in the US but found that this is a good way to access cash. We also have a safe in all our rooms in Meson de las Flores and Hotel Quito offers free safety deposit boxes so when we arrive, we just put all our cash, wallet with credit cards and passports in our safe box. Then we just have a bit of cash like $20 or so in our pockets.

Ecuador ATM’s

Merri and I live off of ATMs in Ecuador.

ATM’s are in almost every village in Ecuador and are compatible with international credit cards.

Visa credit cards work at ATMs operated by Bank of Guayaquil, Pichincha, Produbanco and Banco Pacífico. Each ATM shows the logos of which cards can be used on that machine. We use our regular ATM cash card issued by our Florida bank at this Bank of Pichincha branch in Cotacachi.

Ecuador-multi-currency-atm

This bank is on Cotacachi’s second smaller plaza.

Ecuador-multi-currency-plaza

The plaza is pristine because it is maintained by the bank.

Ecuador-multi-currency-atm-sign

The bank is next to the police station and the second smaller Cathedral.

Ecuador-multi-currency-atm-cathedral

There are two Cathedrals in Cotacachi and one bank…a nice ratio.

However there are two Cotacachi ATMs. The second is on the main street 10th of August.

Here is a map of Cotacachi.

cotacachi-atm-map

Our hotel, El Meson de las Flores, is by the Cathedral insignia. The bank and ATM are marked by the red box.

We are allowed to take $500 a day from the Pichincha ATM and $300 a day from the other.

When using an ATM take the same precautions you would anywhere. Merri and I do not withdraw cash alone at night. We keep our password hidden. We observe the people around and make sure the machine is working correctly. If we were to note anything odd in the surroundings or the machine, we would not use our card.

This has never happened. We have never had a problem but still always take precautions. The safest ATM’s are those that are found inside banks and shopping centers.

Ecuador Credit Cards

Credit cards can be used at most hotels, restaurants and in most shops, but not in the markets. Places that are recommended for the use of credit cards are first class restaurants, hotels, gift shops, shopping centers and travel agencies. Not all places accept credit cards. Ask before buying if you do not see a Visa or MasterCard sign. Amex is not seen much outside the major cities.

Vendors are gouged by the credit card companies. Some businesses charges extra, up to 12% to cover the cost of this fee they have to pay…so you can often bargain by offering cash.

Money transfers

Bank transfers take at least three working days. The bank sending the money charges a commission for the transfer, usually $30 to $60. Western Union offers quick and efficient money transfers but is much more expensive. For example a Western union wire of $1000 to Quito, may cost $85.

Merri and I do not have a bank account in Ecuador even though we live there half the year. There is one excellent bank that has a US subsidiary and the subsidiary has offices in Ecuador so you can bank in the US but access cash in Ecuador. We are compiling a complete report on “How to Bank in Ecuador” for our Ecuador Living subscribers now.

You will receive this report free when you subscribe to Ecuador Living.

Until next message, may all your money be easy to access and good!

Gary

Our September 17-20 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour is sold out.

Our September 28-29 Imbabura Real Estate Tour is sold out
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

Our September Spanish Class is sold out.

Oct 14-18 Ecuador Import Export Course has a few places left.
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-import-and-export-tour

We still have space in November.

Nov 7-9 International Investing and Business Made EZ Ecuador
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/international-business-made-ez-ecuador

Nov 10-11 Imbabura Real Estate tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-real-estate

November 12-15, 2008 Ecuador Coastal Real Estate Tour; Quito Real Estate Tour
https://www.garyascott.com/catalog/ecuador-coastal-real-estate-tour