The Expat Files: Living in Latin America A guide to moving to Latin America, finding work, and settling in.

December 30, 2012  
-Since the Miss Universe pageant was just televised- and as usual the Latina contingent was very overrepresented in the top finalist group-I thought a few words were in order about the way the cards are stacked here in Latin America.
-Folks up in Minneapolis and Cleveland often ask me if expats ever get homesick for anything in particular. Well, some years ago I’ll admit that even the staunchest of expats would occasionally feel a little out of sorts around the holidays. Many missed that good old fashioned Thanksgiving, Xmas and New Year’s spread like mama used to cook in Detroit. But that was then. These days we have many holiday options. And BTW… I bet you can already guess what are expats are the most thankful for- having the good fortune be living in Latin America of course!
-Twenty plus years ago (way before 9-11, the TSA, Homeland Security and the Big Brother state) the majority of first worlder’s who made the decision to become permanent expats in Latin America did so for a very small handful of reasons. basically, they did it to get off the treadmill, lower their stress levels, live longer and to just scale things down a notch or two. But these days there is such a huge, ever-growing laundry list of reasons to escape the first world that I’m hearing new motives for leaving every day
-DYK that for the small percentage of Latins who qualify for real credit cards (not debit cards), the average dollar limit is only $200 to $300 US dollars!
-In past shows I spoke about a few first world 80’s and 90’s “has been” seminar gurus who’ve reinvent themselves in Latin America by giving their tired, old worn out schpeals in Spanish to ever-gullible Latins. Well here’s another slightly dishonest wrinkle on that theme.
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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December 28, 2012  
-I do occasionally have folks ask me if its safe and practical to drive or pull a small camper trailer down to Central America from Canada or the states. Its obviously a great way to explore and save a ton of money in the process especially if you don’t have an exact destination in mind from the start of your expat journey. Well here’s a few harrowing highlights from exactly that kind of trip made by a couple from Canada- the very first folks to arrive for my Expat Wisdom seminar. If you want to know what its really like to make a trip like that (without knowing any Spanish) then you’ve got to listen to this.
-And here’s an example why I never recommend driving in Mexico….
-A brand new Gallop study (150,000 people surveyed) verifying the so called “happiness factor” among the people of 148 nations showed that 7 out of the 10 happiest places in the world are poor, small, Latin American countries like Guatemala and El Salvador. And who came dead last out of the 148 surveyed?.. rich little Singapore!
-Latins are not only the happiest people around, they’re the most “sincerely” polite (not like some Asian cultures whose forced politeness can be quite obvious). But Latins also the most emotional by far - which is sometimes hard for us expats to get used to, since when both the women and the men cry buckets at the drop of a hat, what are us cold Caucasians (who rarely cry even at funerals) to do?
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one

-Two spots have opened up for my January Expat Wisdom seminar in Central America America. Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. I’m holding these two places at the same earlybird price so don’t miss out!

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December 23, 2012  

-Two spots have opened up for my January Expat Wisdom seminar in Central America America. Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. I’m holding these two places at the same earlybird price so don’t miss out!,

-Now part II of just what might be the greatest low, low, low budget retirement deal of all time. Here’s the complete details on how a couple (or single person) can really live like a first world king or queen and get waited on hand-and-foot for the rest of his/her life. Would you want a guaranteed no-brain solution on how to live in luxury 365 days a year on a fraction of your social security check? Of course you would dummy! But what’s the catch? There’s always a catch. After all, when something’s too good to be true….. well, I've seen more than one exception to the rule and here's a doozie....
But hold on! Won’t I kill the golden goose if I go blabbing about it on the radio? Well, no guys. It’s just human nature that you’ll all hear this great stuff with crystal clarity and surely you’ll get all fired up about it for a while… …. just like you did in 2002 when you heard dire economic predictions and were about ready to buy gold at $280 an ounce (or silver at $4.80). Then after few weeks the idea faded and you bought a new furnace or something practical instead, and just kept slogging along ever faster on your treadmill. That’s why when Expat Eddie advised me not to mention this story at all on the Expat Files (and ruin a very good thing).. I told him "fat chance" and not to worry.
And by the way… how much gold did you buy in 2002?
-Why are two paunchy, white trash, over the hill 1960’s Harley dudes from Los Angeles hanging out at a premier Latin American all inclusive resort complex in San Salvador? Why are they way off the gringo tourist trail? What do they know that we don’t?
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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December 21, 2012  
-Many folks have questions about those anonymous S.A. corporations we talk about occasionally here at the Expat Files. One question that often comes up is… “What if you have an S.A. corp and realize after some years that its just been laying dormant and doesn’t have any assets or money movement?” If that happens, you might feel like you’re paying for a dead horse- since you still have something like a $500 to $1500 yearly maintenance fee to keep it active and in good standing- and that's whether it has assets or not. Well here’s the dope on that score…
-After you’ve been around Latin America like me - off the tourist trail- for 20+ years- you think you’d seen all the great deals and opportunities that apply to expat living. Wrong!
I’m here to tell you that after all these years I’ve stumbled on a real game changer; a simply amazing living situation that’s absolutely unknown to any expats or first worlder’s I’ve ever known. And here I thought I was up on things!
Well, as it turns out, a few weeks ago I was startled when I heard of a most fantastic arrangement that expats and wanabees just have to hear about. And at the risk of ruining a very, very good thing, I present the first half of that story…. (the rest next week)
-I occasionally run into former illegal alien wetbacks traveling down here and visiting relatives and such(hail the conquering hero!), who are now perfectly legal in the USA (some eventually get green cards you know). Of course the ones who get green-cards can and do travel legally back and forth to their native Latin countries often come down on vacation too . Every year or so, green-card Latins lucky enough to be making making first world money up in the states, arrive back in their old dirty Latin American neighborhood bearing gifts and treats, acting the part of barrio boys who achieved the “American Dream”.
I recently ran into such a guy at a very nice but dirt-cheap all-inclusive Latin American resort. He cornered me (the only real gringo there) bragging how he now makes $60k a year while his poor twin brother in San Salvador only pulls down $4k. Now this proud and pompous guy- trying so hard to impress me with all the lame USA sports trivia and small talk he could muster- was an NYC garbage man!  And the thing is, this guy was smart enough to realize a 60k salary is a king’s ransom down here (why do you think he doesn’t take his vacation in Manhattan or on Long Island?) And you know what? That makes this guy more savvy than 99.9% of all the first world Americans I know, including the highly educated ones in my own family! And here's the story on that..
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

-Two spots have opened up for my January Expat Wisdom seminar in Central America America. Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. I’m holding these two places at the same early-bird price so don’t miss out!,

-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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December 16, 2012  
EXPAT FILES SHOW #215, 12-16-2012 (SUNDAY)
-Two spots have opened up for my January Expat Wisdom seminar in Central America America. Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. I’m holding these two places at the same earlybird price so don’t miss out!,
-Now a few unspoken words about our favorite sometime fugitive; John Mcafee. All you’ve been hearing about his story so far are first world reports along with second and third hand stuff from so-called expat expats in Latin America - guys who are actually desperate wanabees pecking away at their keyboards in places like upstate New York. And by the way, some of these Latin expat blog authors are pretty clever- I know of one pretentious NY expat pretender who actually borrows a Guatemalan mailing address so at this mailing list “thinks” he’s down here with boots on the ground nosing around for himself! Nice touch. huh?...what some tenderfoots won’t do to get attention.
-Expats and gringos, be careful if you like to hang around seedy bars. If you do so in Latin America.. its not that you’ll be in any real danger.. but its just that because of your “gringo advantage”,every bad boy in the place will want to be your new friend. And that can be a real problem- as I’ll explain.
-The trials and tribulations of driving your car across different Latin country boarders. You may have heard that the laws and the officials are very flexible down here, well lets just say its not at all like popping over to Canada from New York for the weekend…
-You’ll find that  throughout Latin America (off the tourist trail)that the “gringo advantage” is alive and well, but you’ll also find in some cases that there’s one thing that works even better and faster than that - good oldfashoned female sex appeal! Here’s a real life example… with who else but Expat Eddie!
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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December 14, 2012  
-Two final spots have opened up for my mid January Expat Wisdom seminar in Central America America. Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. I’m holding these two places at the same initial price so don’t miss out!
-Do you know what the Mayan phrase 13 Baktun is or means? Well, you’re not a very savvy new age wunderkind if you don’t. But that’s ok. The phrase “13 Baktun” is on a million T shirts down here, yet probably not on a single one in Cleveland. And guess what? I didn’t have a clue either, until I asked an indigenous lady with her own “13 Baktun” T shirt and a basket of tomatoes on her head (she was simultaneously holding a baby and talking on a cell phone too!).
-A few words on Health and Fitness Clubs in Latin America.You have 3 distinct classes to choose from: (1)completely first world, (2) barely mediocre, (3) and just plain disgustingly awful.
-Would it surprise you to know that I’ve been flooded with emails over my recent  ahayuaska show. Seems people came way out of the woodwork to comment on that one. Some listeners described their secret desire to try it themselves while others had done so already and were dying to share their own vomitous experiences for us anonymously.
-Folks are always asking me which is the best most convenient and cost effective portable water filter- the one(s) I recommend you use when traveling and are on the move. My most recent best pick is one that J.C. from our own Expat Wisdom team has found and has given excellent reviews. Its only $25 and will purify 100 gallons (about 4 liters at only 25 cents a gallon)... that compared to the local untested/unknown bottled water that can easily cost a buck for a 500ml bottle. We’ll put up the product link on the ExpatWisdom.com website.
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one
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December 9, 2012  
-Many expat wanabees want to move to Latin America but have lingering high school and college memories of revolutions, coups, Noriega, Ortega, Castro, Colombia’s FARC and the burnt-out hulls of cars- as seen on the six o’clock news. How much has it really changed? People want to know the truth about the political situation and how safe their investments will be.
-How and why Latin governments work (err… don’t work), and how the revolving door of corrupt imbeciles in power continues unabated.
-Now for yet another blatant Latin govt. corruption angle you’ve never heard before…
-And just when you thought you’ve heard everything- here comes another astounding true story that proves beyond a doubt that expats and wanabees should have no fear of the Latin political system. And if you doubt the veracity of this particular story… there were three very reliable eyewitnesses!
-More bad news out of Argentina:.  the utility companies are cutting off power to selected cities and municipal districts one by one. And its not because of brownouts or rolling blackouts. Turns out, certain bloated local govts with ever-shrinking tax bases have run out of money and have not paid their utility bills for over a year and a half! And of course the usual idiotic solution is to raise taxes and hire more govt employees. (and by the way, how delinquent can you be before they cut your power, one month maybe?)
-Actually I’ve saved the best (er,.. worst) news about Argentina for last.... did you know that Argentine import taxes are now so high that buying a common Toyota RAV4 there ($24,235 in  the USA) will cost you $42,600- almost double? And don’t think you can ship a used vehicle down and slip through the tax cracks. If you ship you’ll pay 80% tax on the book value of the car plus about $3000 in shipping costs. Bottom line…regarding Argentina… the guys who've invested big bucks there ( like investor/newsletter writer Doug Casey),  thinking it was an off-the-map "Galt Gulch" style paradise, are fooling themselves.
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one

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December 7, 2012  
-Credit card lunacy in Latin America: “lag time” effect is about 20 years late on that score and down here its all about how much plastic you can stuff in your wallet (and flash around of course). Yup, down here some things never change (its all about the show)
-What you need to know about expats and credit cards in Latin America and why you might need just one card issued on a US bank (though you’ll never have to use it)
-Expats in business will have their employees working mostly on the books (legit and registered with the govt for tax purposes, etc.) However, expats will almost always have a few employees working completely off the books for cash- like your cleaning lady,gardener and maintenance guys. So here’s the scoop on the employee benefits you’ll be dishing out for both your “legit” and your “under the radar” help.
-As far as employee benefits go, the most troublesome for employers (and the one that sometimes bites them in the ass) is the so-called mandatory termination pay. Here’s exactly what expats should know about that mess.
-Many expat teachers and other professionals like engineers and geologists (and radio hosts) get offered jobs on a independent contractor basis. That way Latin employers don’t have to deal with all the govt rules and regs normally required for regular employees; like vacation pay, Christmas bonus, termination pay, taxes, pensions or social security. When expats are offered contracts like that there are some tricks you need to know to make it legal. And by the way, deals like these are almost always great for expats
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve also put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.
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December 2, 2012  
-There’s a baby boom going on right now here in Latin America, which is why there is still a never ending stream of poor mojados (wetbacks) sneaking into the USA for their piece of the “sueno Americano”. The so called “American dream” (to be middle class first world style) is pretty much an unachievable fantasy these days- but the Latins don’t know it yet. They actually believe that 7 bucks an hour (US minimum wage) is the American dream! And why not? Since they only make a buck or so an hour in Nicaragua or Honduras, making US minimum wage is an instant 700% raise!
-You’d think that the wealthy upper 3% of Latin American women have had all the luck. Why not? They have the money, cloths, jewelry (real-not plated), bodyguards, beach houses, shopping trips to Miami, etc., etc. But there’s a dark hidden side to their lives. Its been reported that a fully 20% of them (1 in 5) live in constant fear of being physically abused by their philandering husbands. A few of these ladies are just now starting to come out of the closet on the subject, and here’s the scoop…
-A Latin guy who plays around on his wife is called a mujeriego. But did you know there is no analogous word for Latin women who cheat? However, there is a slightly derogatory term for a woman who likes to flirt- coqueta
-Food/price inflation in the US versus Latin America. By popular demand- more Latin cost of living news.
-The do’s and don’t’s of shopping at the big, chaotic, central produce market- an absolute must for expats on a budget. And believe it or not, some expats go there just because they like the energy and the buzz of the place- that giant flea market atmosphere.
-MY JANUARY 2013 LATIN AMERICAN SEMINAR IS OPEN FOR REGISTRATION: Go to www.ExpatWisdom.com to get complete details. There may be one or two spots left, so don’t miss out.
- A quick update for loyal listeners; please consider joining our growing social media community. Just search for Expat Wisdom on Facebook or Twitter, and you’ll never miss a breaking report or an important expat update."
-I’ve put together a mixed media program specifically for expats and wanabees called the 'New 5 Flags'. Just head over immediately to ExpatWisdom.com and get all the details. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a consultation with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, now you and I can talk about your situation one on one.

ut your situation one on one.

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