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

May 31, 2013  
-People just won’t quit sending me emails about wanting to become expats in Mexico. Now I do understand that there are over 1 million US expats who have already moved there, but that in itself should tell you much about what you can expect and why Mexicans like gringos for all the wrong reasons- just because they see dollar signs.
-Expats or gringos that say they’ve found (or heard of) first-world-like, high-end sections of Mexico City.. . they talk of perfect places to live, safe parts of town that have charming colonial looks and all the amenities, etc., etc. Well yes, on the surface they’re right but any first world tenderfoots who gush about Mexico or Mexico City are unaware of the serious infrastructure problems (forget about the crime!) that are starting to affect everyone there… rich and poor. And here are some stories from expats who see the bad effects….
-Along with many many other problems, expats and gringos in Mexico are favorite targets for a number of clever scams going on right now. here are a few examples...
-A few words about those well known US real estate franchises that have landed in Latin America (you know who they are) that have a large presence in nearly every city here now. Buyer beware! You should never assume they are out to help you get the best deal. Here are a few examples of how carelessly they operate and how you can use them to find what you want without paying them a commission.
-How the massive gringo influx has turned most Mexican lawyers into blood sucking vultures. Good luck finding a decent Mexican lawyer who won’t try scamming gringos and expats somewhere along the way. Oh, I’m sure there are some decent shysters in a big country like Mexico…. but I just don’t know any.
-How the Mexican government milks gringo property owners. And yes, property taxes are dirt cheap there, but here’s the bad news about the new gringo real estate sales taxes on Mexican properties. Be prepared to pay about a 30% tax on the total sale, whereas the locals only have to ante up about 4% when they sell. So be prepared to bend over, and take it in the er, ...wallet.
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its 3/4 filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 26, 2013  
-Expats and wannbees occasionally ask if it’s ok to hire someone who’s been deported as an illegal from the states. After all, there are many thousands of these guys looking for work down here in every Latin country, and their bound to show up for and interview… especially when they hear that a gringo is hiring. They do have their advantages. These guys and gals generally speak passable English and many have been positively indoctrinated to the gringo first-world way of doing things. With them, your training almost never has to start from ground zero. They can be up to speed in no time and tend to “get it” a lot faster than your average “untraveled” local. Sounds good right? Well its not that simple and here’s why……..
-Did you know that a great many Latin men who are illegally in the US make it a point to try to impregnate a Latin girl in the big city barrio up there? That’s because a kid born in the US is automatically a citizen, and thus offers a good chance that the dad can get himself on the fast track to a green card. But there’s more… a great number of these guys also have a wife and/or kids back in their Latin homeland, a family that they often simply abandon forever...
-An update on the state of illegal immigration to the US, the revolving door, and the new scams and dangers for the Latins that try to sneak in through Mexico
-Some brand new and scary reasons why it is a very bad idea to even consider moving to Panama...
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its 2/3 filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 24, 2013  
-People have a lot of questions about maids and housekeepers. In that regard here are some slippery slopes you should try to avoid and some words of wisdom when you have one.
-A few words for the ladies about the “Gringa Advantage”  and Gringa expats who happen to marry Latin men.
-Some comments on US embassies in Latin America and why you should avoid just visiting them altogether(no matter what propaganda you may have heard to the contrary). What they really are is a tenticle of BB and they just want to keep tabs on you. You should also avoid hanging with or socializing with embassy personnel.
-The locals live on rice, beans, vegetables fruits, tortillas with a little cheap meat thrown in for color. Which means a typical meal like that is quite tasty and very good for you too…, as long as its prepared hygienically. And that means you should not eat tortillas bought from the street stands even if they seem very fresh and you have watched cute little ladies making them right in front of your eyes.
-I was a real old school pre-internet electrical engineer in former life (with two advanced degrees and a doctorate) and knowing what I know (er.. knew) I would never live in a Latin country that had  nuclear power plants on their soil: so that rules out Mexico, Brazil and Argentina (again!) And here’s why….
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its over 2/3 filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 19, 2013  
-Expats and wannbees occasionally ask if it’s ok to hire someone who’s been deported as an illegal from the states. After all, there are many thousands of these guys looking for work down here in every Latin country, and their bound to show up for and interview… especially when they hear that a gringo is hiring. They do have their advantages. These guys and gals generally speak passable English and many have been positively indoctrinated to the gringo first-world way of doing things. With them, your training almost never has to start from ground zero. They can be up to speed in no time and tend to “get it” a lot faster than your average “untraveled” local. Sounds good right? Well its not that simple and here’s why……..
-Did you know that a great many Latin men who are illegally in the US make it a point to try to impregnate a Latin girl in the big city barrio up there? That’s because a kid born in the US is automatically a citizen, and thus offers a good chance that the dad can get himself on the fast track to a green card. But there’s more… a great number of these guys also have a wife and/or kids back in their Latin homeland, a family that they often simply abandon forever...
-An update on the state of illegal immigration to the US, the revolving door, and the new scams and dangers for the Latins that try to sneak in through Mexico
-Some brand new and scary reasons why it is a very bad idea to even consider moving to Panama...
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its 2/3 filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 17, 2013  
-A few words about those famous Latin “Quince Anos” parties. You should know that every Latin 15 year old girl has one of those “quince anos” parties and its a real big deal… a major shindig. Every expat off the tourist trail (who doesn’t hang exclusively with other expats) will surely get invited to more than a few of these boring events... especially if you have a Latin significant other. And if you don’t show up you’ll catch hell and if you do show you’ll probably be the only gringo there.
-A local Latin pharmacist’s take on the Mormon penetration in Latin America.. his pharmacy is down the block from a big Mormon church and he sees the occasional walk-in.
-Deported Latins are everywhere down here. Expats run into them all the time. And after having been ingloriously booted out of Uncle Sam land (some many times.) these guys want to bond with expats and be our friends. Why? Because they feel displaced and embarrassed and not quite at home back in Salvador or Nicaragua… the places they escaped from. They found out quickly that only in the US could a guy with a 6th grade education, no skills, poor hygiene and homemade tattoos have his own a car, apartment, flat screen TV, A/C, hot running water and such. Many male deportees feel they are a notch above their local brethren in the home country  and take every opportunity to warm up to gringo expats to try to be their friends. What should you do when that happens to you? Just be polite, but don’t ever give them your address, email, or real phone number or you’ll have a pest on your hands. Yes they do speak some English, so what about hiring them for your Latin business? Er…generally not a good idea. I assure you, most deportees have picked up some very bad habits in the barrios of Los Angeles and/or on the streets of Cleveland.
-A short primer on crude Latin American street slang
-Every long term expat must be prepared for the eventuality that he/she will be tapped as a godparent to a Latin child.
Can, or should, you turn it down? Well, here’s that story..
-Don’t laugh, but some have postulated that gringos are genetically predisposed to succeed in Latin America. Could that be possible? Let’s talk about it…..
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its over half filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 12, 2013  
May 10, 2013  
-So many new expats and visitors, when traveling off the tourist trail, are surprised to see how many poor folks (mostly indigenous  men and women) and even very young kids wander along the highways collecting loads of newly cut wood and carrying bundles of the stuff on their backs like pack mules. And gringos, until they get used to it, find it hard to believe that about one third of Latin American families cook and heat their homes with firewood like in the Wild West days!
-And now a few stinging comments about dating, mating and marriage from a well-travelled male gringo listener who claims he can actually dance! He’s obviously more than a bit put off when he sees that a good proportion of white, lonely-heart, middle-aged gringos down in Latin America (who can’t dance) are hooking up with young Latinas (who obviously cut a mean rug too).
-Some very frank and un-PC love and romance comments for all of you gringos and gringas who’ve heard certain rumors about what can happen with gringo/Latin relationships in Latin America
-Yes its true (on the tourist trail especially) some Latin women and men are looking to hook up with practically any gringo or gringa just for the chance at that elusive green card and the high possibility (in their minds of course) of having blond, blue-eyed Justin Beiber babies. Latins know they won’t hit that kind of genetic lottery with any of the local Latin talent. But no expat wants to be taken for a ride, so what to do? Well, there are ways of determining, in any budding relationship, the true intent of your prospective romantic partner. There does exist a simple weeding out process for potential gold-diggers that has proven success in many questionable cases.
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its over half filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 5, 2013  
-Is it safe to jog or bike on the open road in Latin America? Are people actually into it in a big way like many folks in the states? Of course there are safe and not so safe areas to hit the road... and the goods news is, there are very few reports of Latin joggers and bicyclists getting assaulted or mugged - even though many of them exercise in polluted, chaotic city centers that I would never recommend for expats.
-Only in Latin America (and maybe Washington DC) will you see this strange phenomena; a lone jogger or bicyclist putting down a public big city road while being closely trailed by a bulletproof luxury SUV that's chock full of bodyguards
-What about outdoor hobbies like mountain biking, skating, scuba, surf and skate boarding, and those extreme sports like hang-gliding bungie jumping, zip-lining, stock car and drag racing and paintball? Are Latins into any of that stuff? If so, what about  secure places do them and shops and stores where you can get all the latest gear? Well, here’s the dope on that….
-Latins have all manner and types of car and auto clubs, even shows and competitions for classic Detroit heavy metal; that is, if your hobby veers to that interest. However, since Latins are not big on the details, your car (I mean a gringo owned and maintained classic) will most probably win all the awards.
- Some additional cost- of- living info reinforcing why, unless you have a hefty pension,  its not a very good idea to expat to either Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica or Chile.
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its over half filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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May 3, 2013  
-Some very recent Latin American cost of living examples.. this time not from me but from a brand new green expat (who knows almost no Spanish). Tom came with fresh boots on the ground and he’s been here only 4 months and got the housing deal of a lifetime… and man, did he do right!
-I get many email questions from gringos and gringas regarding dating, mating, love and romance in Latin America. Things that are very pertinent but that I just can’t answer on the show. So as to not leave many of you hanging out to dry on that important subject… I can now can refer you to the ExpatWisdom.com website where you’ll find a very very knowlegable new blogger named Expat X.. a guy who has interviewed more than 200 Expats on that very subject. I’m sure you will find his take on the subject interesting, useful, honest and un-PC.
-Some thoughts about how to get the vitamins, supplements and the various health-based stuff you’re used to getting up in the first world. There’s the usual suspects like Vitamin C and D and CoQ10 and curcumin, but what about the one-off items like Gary Null’s Green Stuff? How do you get that shipped?
-Tips on bringing vitamins, supplements and/or prescription drugs on airplanes. What are the rules and the problems when  bringing them in carry on or checked luggage?
-The upcoming Expat Wisdom “Latin American Insider Seminar” (well off the gringo tourist trail of course) will be Sunday, June 23, thru Friday, June 28… a full six days. Its over half filled now so be be sure to go to ExpatWisdom.com and click on the seminar link for full details and the earlybird signup bonus…
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private 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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