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

November 29, 2013  
-Some very sobering business news coming out of Argentina (again). The news this week is we’re seeing reports of big, well-known foreign companies closing up shop and leaving the country left and right. They just can’t deal with the restrictive business climate, the unions, the 25% plus inflation rate and the currency controls.     
  
-Some surprisingly innovative “world’s firsts” coming out of Latin America, something we would never expect.
 
-Expats with first world skills can land teaching jobs at Latin Universities that pay 50 to 100 bucks an hour! Sure it might only be part time work, but that means teaching but 5 hours a week means very big dough by Latin American standards ($1k to $2k a month part time).  But you do have to be an expert in some technical, artistic or business field to land a job at a university. By the way, you won’t need to know any Spanish either…  but…you just can’t blunder in thinking you’re gonna teach because you have a useless degree in communication, sociology, psychology, art history, drama or journalism (even an advanced useless degree). Latin folks with worthless degrees like that are a peso a dozen (like in the states). However if you have a track record back in the states, like an inflated wiki page or an unsuccessful book…one your mother bought the ten copies sold … well, the gringo advantage rides again!   
 
-Soon after landing, new expats will be confronted with various multiple page contracts (in Spanish). You simply can’t avoid them. You’ll get a contract when you rent, get internet cable, smartphone service, cable or TV satellite…. even when you sign up for Mailbox Etc. Here are a few tips on how to maneuver in that contract minefield….   
 
-The real scoop on cable and satellite TV in Latin America. How to get all of your favorite channels… in English   
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so... and 3/4 filled. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
-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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November 24, 2013  

-Don’t expats miss big holiday get togethers with traditional turkey dinners American style with all the tinsel and trimmings? Well some years ago yes, but not anymore. These days there’s no lack of holiday parties or big traditional spreads put on by any number of bars, clubs and local pro-USA organizations. You'll find gringo holiday parties in nearly every city in Latin America . Not to mention big international hotels also offer their versions of extravagant holiday gringo buffets. But note: there are some club-sponsored holiday events I would never go to myself…


-A report on how Latin governments perpetuate corrupt road and infrastructure construction practices.Hear how they celebrate badly-done completed projects and how they put together new batches of badly-conceived projects they can milk (while partying at 4-star first-world hotels)

-Latin couples have about 101 different “terms of endearment” they use when referring lovingly to each other. The funny thing is, if we used some of these same terms (translated to English of course) on our significant others stateside we’d be in the dog house for sure…

-What about "Smart Meters" on the houses in Latin America? Just wait till you hear this take on them from a power company insider!

-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is 3/4 filled and all set to go. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the  ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.

“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”, That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
-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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November 22, 2013  
-Now some partial answers to questions I get asked repeatedly (especially from folks at my seminars). People always want to know about money transfers and how to do them in the most anonymous (and legal) way possible. Why? Because its nobody’s business where you send your money or assets or do business. And by the way: what’s considered illegal in one country is often legal in another… that’s why Bank havens have always been popular ..or were popular till the NSA started illegally collecting data on everyone and the abusive FATCA laws forced foreign banks to give up their US account holders.
 
-Illegal hardwood logging in Latin America: There’s a very very good chance the wood in your beloved bedroom or dining room set was obtained by hook and crook.     
  
-Its nearly always the same when us gringo expats get invited to upscale Latin parties. We soon find each other (since we all look alike) and end up congregating and sharing our weird Latin stories. Like our famous stateside Christmas/Thanksgiving parties- where ladies eventually congregate in the kitchen, and men end up glued to the sports channels in the den- we gringo expats congregate together at parties too. Why? because even if our Spanish is pretty good, soon enough we get bored with the superficial Latin blather. But wait!… Then there are the rare times you run into a so-called Latin “intellectual” socialist (a Public  university professor for example) who tries to hammer on any first world person he can find about the gringo imperialism bit (not that I’m denying it). With guys like that you can actually have a little fun…        
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”, That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
-Follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private consultation. 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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November 17, 2013  

-We all know that in most of Latin America(especially in the dozen or so countries off the gringo tourist trail) the personal, business and corporate taxes are extremely low compared with first-world rates. But knowing that there are corrupt, megalomaniac politicians in power, what can we expect from them in the future? Might the tax situation worsen and become a bad copy of the truly hideous first-world tax structure? After all, Latins do love everything first world…
 
-Where do Latin country debt levels stand right now and how do they compare to first-world debt? Are Latin debts serviceable and sustainable or are they (like the USA, Ireland, Greece and Japan) in dangerously uncharted waters?    
 
-Some expats say that Chile has two big things going for it;
 
 #1- some say Chile is the cleanest and least polluted Latin American country. I fact, even the poor uneducated lower classes seem to have the good manners to pick dispose of their garbage properly as well as beautify their yards and streets as best they can.    
 
#2 – some say Chile is considered to be the least corrupt country in Latin America. Meaning most cops and politicians won’t take bribes (note I said most). However, many long term expats believe cops taking bribes is actually a backhanded advantage- being that it’s a huge time saver. The fact is, when expats first arrive they’re appalled at being hit up for such bribes… while others come to appreciate how a little "mordida" slices through the calcified bureaucracy. You’ll just have to come down and make up your own mind.
 
-And now, a telling email from a love-lorn nerdish gringo who has reasons for wanting to come down to Latin America that are not quite usual and customary…  
   
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the  ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”, That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
-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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November 15, 2013  
-Part 2 of how young Latins are abandoning (more like forgetting) their long standing iconic Latin figures and old time revolutionary heroes like “Che” Guevara and uncle Fidel. It has a lot to do with the internet, smart phones, Facebook, Twitter and pop-culture media saturation in a generation that no longer sees Che as relevant to them. Not to mention that Latin kids are showing shorter attention spans just as we’ve see in our first-world adolescents and young adults.
Bottom line: In Latin America, Iron Man is the new “Che”
 
- TV channels in Latin America: the cost, availability, quality, selection and general state of cable, satellite and internet TV.  
 
-Some answers to questions about hard water, fluoride, water softeners, reverse osmosis units and more.  
   
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”, That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
-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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November 10, 2013  

-Part 2 of Nuclear Power in Latin America with some little known and very hard to swallow facts about nuclear power generation here. Latin governments are in total denial about nuclear power and you’ll understand more when you hear more about the three countries that presently have nuclear power plants: Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Bottom line:those three Latin governments are way over their heads, like children playing with dynamite… even so, other Latin countries are all lining up trying to get into the act.

-Most Latin countries have a four- tiered electrical consumer and corporate rate structure that’s highly subsidized to keep very poor folks (50% of the population) pacified and to dissuade them from tearing down the power poles and ripping out the transformers. Most of them pay an electric bill of more than five dollars a month! But NOT you and me!!

-One of the most coveted government jobs in Latin America is an administrative post at the local “aduana”…translated in English as the “port tax authority”. Its where imported items are checked through the border and taxed (haphazardly). The aduana is well known by all Latins as a place where a tremendous amount of corruption and skimming goes on… and all workers get a piece of the take according to their rank. That’s why everyone wants the job and why administrative guys making $1000 a month are seen driving new SUV’s and live in huge haciendas. And by the way, its obviously a cockeyed situation but the aduana guys almost never get caught or prosecuted. Though occasionally they get fired and simply retire wealthy. Its a fact that no one wants to blow the whistle or talk “off the record”. It would ruin the goose that laid the golden egg…

-A word about a few seminal, but quite disparate, iconic Latin figures: “Che” Guevara, Bob Marley and Micky Mouse
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.

“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”, That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).

-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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November 8, 2013  
-Part 2 of the shadowy story on how hazardous medical waste and medical nuclear waste are handled (and mishandled) in Latin America. Once hazardous waste gets trucked away from the hospitals and clinics its anyone’s guess where it ends up...
 
-If you are of the temperament to help a poor, needy, Latin or two… instead of donating to a high sounding NGO or wasteful, corrupt, organized charity (we expats see how well-manicured organizers tear around the country in shiny Range Rovers and bunk at first-world hotels) here’s a general suggestion that will make a difference to someone who really needs it.
   
-It’s a fact that many newbee green expats suffer initial culture shock. In the first few months many expats have moments of doubt and insecurity regarding the move and wonder if it really was the right thing to do. That’s why so many of us foreigners initially gravitate to other gringos and expats who are in the same boat. Just remember… if you don’t kick off the training wheels you’ll never get your bike up to speed.   
 
-As a first-world gringo or gringa, you can bet that at some time or another you will be asked by some Latin acquaintance (or co-worker or neighbor) to be godparent to one or more of their kids. This step should not to be taken lightly. In Latin America the godparent role carries much more responsibility than the uncomplicated, basically ceremonial role it has in the states. If you refuse the “honor”down here, its an insult to the family and may just cool the friendship forever. Note: there are few ways of getting out if it without too much embarrassment or permanent damage to the friendship…
 
-And now some little known and very hard to swallow facts about nuclear power generation in Latin America and some comments on the three countries that presently have operational nuclear power plants: Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.                 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is over half filled now. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
-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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November 3, 2013  
-Part 2 of the continuing story of gringos and expats who are on the lookout for great farmland deals. Yes, many of the best land deals are found in the Latin outback but you do have to keep your eyes open at all times! Such deals are almost never cut and dried so keep two firm hands on your wallet and don’t jump in quickly. Nothing moves fast in Latin America, especially in the boonies, so try not to push it.      

-Things you need to know about land squatters and Latin squatter laws. Down here in Latin America squatters have certain land rights too! In fact in places like Costa Rica many many squatters have become very wealthy by certain dumb luck.     
 
-An updated history, the present state and breakdown of nuclear power plants in Latin America (Did I say breakdown? Now that’s a Freudian slip if I ever heard one)  
 
-Yes, unfortunately all hospitals and clinics produce medical waste. And most diagnostic facilities produce their share of low-level nuclear waste too. With so many hospital facilities throughout Latin America… wouldn’t you like to know where all that waste goes? Remember this is the third-world… so sit down and get ready for a shock.  
              
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so. Its over half filled now. Check out the agenda and the signup details by just clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the  ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
“AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”, That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
-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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November 1, 2013  
#1- I know for a fact that you guys and gals concerned about retirement (the over 45 crowd) have gone at one time or anther to one of those minimum retirement earnings calculator websites and plugged in your age, yearly income, etc,. You all want to to know the magical lump sum savings needed to retire- without taking a lifestyle cut. The news is pretty depressing, huh? And worse yet, did you know there are dire projections that only 10% or less of all Americans will have accumulated that magical calculated amount when they hit retirement age? Not to mention fully 60% of Americans will be living on NO SAVINGS and just Social Security alone? As a result, most working people approaching retirement are either in denial or scared stiff. Well just know that if you prefer stay in NYC or Cleveland the day of retirement reckoning will come. However, if you’re in Latin America you can just laugh at those ridiculous first-world retirement calculators and let everyone up north stress out and do the worrying.  
 
#2- Here are some of the most important do’s and dont’s for any expat thinking of buying farmland and/or undeveloped acreage in the Latin American outback. Outside of the cites and urban areas its can be a game of who’s really got the legal title to the land you want to buy. Why? Because occasionally someone (usually a bad neighbor or pissed off-relative) might pop out of the woodwork to dispute a claim with his own handful of ancient worm-holed paperwork. And remember on certain big plots of land there are sometimes age-old unwritten deals for grazing and water rights that have been granted in perpetuity for neighbors, friends and their cows. That kind of stuff might never show up in any deed or contract. And you might not find it out about it for days or months…  when suddenly a heard of cows mozey up to your driveway and fertilize it.   
 
#3- Things you need to know about Latin lawyers, courts, judges, bribes and how a crooked system works. What happens if you, an expat, end up in court?                  
 
#4- My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is all set to go so. To check out the agenda and the signup details just click on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the  www.ExpatWisdom.com main page.
 
#5- “AN EXPAT’S GUIDE TO FIRST-WORLD  HEALTHCARE IN LATIN AMERICA”That’s the name of my long awaited free report. It’s finally finished and will be available for a time at www.ExpatWisdom.com. Grab a copy and than compare how 21st century Latin American healthcare stacks up to your Heathcare in the states. Read it and weep! And remember the report is free(at least for now).
 
#6- 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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