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

December 30, 2013  
-You may have heard one can buy and sell human hair on certain internet websites for $1000 plus a crack. Although I have never met a stateside person who’s actually done it, down here in Latin America I’ve meet more than a few Latin mothers who have. Nope, it’s not mother selling her own hair either.. its one of the kid’s hair that goes on the chopping block. Sure moms bribe their kids to do it. And once the little tyke with the great locks gets about 14 years old the shearing stops since there can be a fierce mother/daughter yelling match. That’s the age when a buzz cut is just too harsh and embarrassing for any female adolescent to handle…    
 
-What about the question of making money beekeeping in Latin America? The two main things certain people want to know: (1) Have the Africanized bees made it down south yet? (2) Have keepers experienced the dreaded “colony collapse” like up in the states and Europe? 
 
-Getting over the creepy crawly syndrome: When fresh gringos and new expats first get down here they are generally freaked out by the extreme closeness of nature… I’m referring to bugs, bats, snakes and all those nameless creatures you saw only on the Nature channel in the comfort of your lounge chair. But now they're outside scratching at your door!

-For all of you wannabes and gonnabees with allergy meds and inhalers wondering about the allergy and asthma situation in Latin America… get ready for a real eye-opener! Considering there are jungles, forests and masses of vegetation, that means more pollen and spores- not to mention peanuts are grown and consumed all over Latin America too. How worried should you be?  
 
 -My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is almost filled. To get one of the last 2 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
-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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December 29, 2013  
-For those of you who are the high-strung nervous type, it may not be a good idea to arrive in Latin America right around Christmas time or New Year’s. Why? Because Latins are absolutely nuts about fireworks and pyrotechnics. They carry on with their own individual and occasionally massive fireworks displays at all hours and do it right out in the streets in front of their homes. Note its especially crazy starting the week of December 24th beginning at about 12 midnight. That’s when the big explosions begin. And remember, if you’re in the city at that time its absolutely deafening! 
Then it continues the next day at 6pm... and the next... and the next... through New Years. So bring your earplugs or join in the craziness.    
 
-To best enjoy most types of Latin entertainment, you simply have to relax and be willing to lower your critical first-world standards. If you start to make first-world comparisons you’ll be disappointed and may miss out on a good time.  
 
-We all know that Latin America has extreme Christian influences: with 80-90% of the population claiming they are solid, church going Catholics and most of the rest of the professing to be Evangelical Christians. But you’ll never believe how deep that Christian current flows and what a strange effect it has on practically all walks of life… including popular adolescent entertainments like “Heavy Metal” music.       
 
 -My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is almost filled. To get one of the last 2 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 
-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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December 22, 2013  

-The unspoken truth: a good percentage of backpackers eventually get robbed. Most robberies don’t take place on the street or even at knife or gunpoint. In-your-face robberies are rare. The big surprised is that most backpacker robberies occur at cheap, fleabag hostels and backpacker hotels. Its mostly petty thievery. Items like mp3 players, flash drives, pocket water filters, and Swiss Army Knives go missing all the time yet rarely get reported to the management…not that it would do any good. Yes of course passports, credit cards and entire awkward 50 pound backpacks occasionally go missing too… but nine out of ten times it’s the small stuff that walks.                

 
-I’m always being asked about English teaching jobs. Yes, they’re very available and easy to get, but I also know that 95% of gringos who start out with teaching jobs just use them as stepping stones. Eventually almost all expat teachers move on to other more lucrative opportunities as their “gringo advantage” kicks in- it doesn’t take long before the business ideas begin to percolate in our heads. But what about that tiny percentage of expat English teachers who never move on? Some are simply very very laid back and easily satisfied. And some teacher gringos are just NOT entrepreneurs or motivated to do anything else but teach and get a salary, so they keep on make a career out of it. Now, there’s nothing wrong with teaching (other than the crap pay). But a little known fact is there are certain perks for gringos with private school teaching jobs that you couldn't imagine...    
 
-Expats living in detached single family properties often travel, or just go away a lot. If that fits your lifestyle then having an outdoor guard dog of some kind is often a good security measure. It shows that someone is looking after the place. Here are a few words about that, as well as another strange but true story that really will take you for a wild ride!  
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is almost filled. To get one of the last 2 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.ExpatWisdom.com mainpage. 


 

-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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December 20, 2013  
-By popular demand…more tragic expat stories of utter failure. Some expats are sitting ducks! Get ready for some truly unbelievable stories of how expats can get taken advantage of big time. Yes, I get a steady trickle of sad stories like this one .. and 95% of them come from disgusted gringos who settled “on the gringo tourist trail” and got stiffed. I repeat- the overwhelming majority of hard luck tales come from North Americans "ON THE GRINGO TOURIST TRAIL". So it should surprise no one that so many get taken for a ride …
 
-A truly revolting human organ harvesting racket was very recently uncovered in Costa Rica. Worse yet, crooked surgeons were in cahoots with a Greek owner of a pizza parlor- a place where doners were recruited and paid 6 grand or so to give up a spare kidney. Now, if that doesn't make you want to pass on the pepperoni…  
 
-Just a few observations concerning the very wealthy gringo/expat set (there’s always a few very rich gringos scattered here and there). Inevitably, they and their families can’t help but hang out with or get personally involved with the wealthy Latin crowd...especially if the upscale gringos have school-aged kids . Here’s little snapshot of how that scenario can sometimes work out. 
 
-There are some very weird subtleties about the Spanish language that never seem to get taught in Spanish language courses. You really have to be in Latin America quite a while to pick up on the strangeness of it all. Though once certain contradictions have been pointed out everyone can have a good laugh… but don't think you'll always be laughing at the locals... sometimes you'll be laughing at yourself!       
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is almost filled. To get one of the last 2 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
 

-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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December 15, 2013  


-One effect Obamacare (the Un-Affordable Care Act) has on Expats permanently living abroad is that they won’t have to purchase the mandatory heath-care insurance. Expats are completely exempt and pay no fine like folks up in the states must do if they don’t purchase a plan. However, what about part time expats and expats who happen to travel back to the states for months or more at a time? Then it gets complicated…  

 
-Unfortunately, most of the ten million plus expats abroad end up filing taxes to support the Big Brother nanny state the no longer live in. So how do expats go about filing their taxes? Expats who live in tourist areas and transplanted gringoized societies like Costa Rica and in the hundreds of guarded retirement complexes in Mexico, etc., have no trouble finding qualified tax preparers when April 15th comes around (when IRS vampires need more blood). However, if you live "off the gringo trail" there can be so few gringos that  it can be quite difficult to find a qualified tax preparer. That makes for other great niche job opportunity for expat wanabees and gonnabees wondering how they might do business in Latin America. In fact, off the tourist trail, tax preparers are in such big demand that almost every expat I know asks for a recommendation. Off the tourist trail there are so few tax guys there’s almost NO competition.
 
-The continuing saga of Expat Eddie… this time he’s got a light new car to sell, cheap. No, nothing ratty about it. Not now. But you’ll never guess why he’s willing to let it go for a song. Like Eddie says, “It could only happen in Latin America!”              
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is more than ¾ filled. To get one of the last 3 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.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.
 


-One effect Obamacare (the Un-Affordable Care Act) has on Expats permanently living abroad is that they won’t have to purchase the mandatory heath-care insurance. Expats are completely exempt and pay no fine like folks up in the states must do if they don’t purchase a plan. However, what about part time expats and expats who happen to travel back to the states for months or more at a time? Then it gets complicated…  

 
-Unfortunately, most of the ten million plus expats abroad end up filing taxes to support the Big Brother nanny state the no longer live in. So how do expats go about filing their taxes? Expats who live in tourist areas and transplanted gringoized societies like Costa Rica and in the hundreds of guarded retirement complexes in Mexico, etc., have no trouble finding qualified tax preparers when April 15th comes around (when IRS vampires need more blood). However, if you live "off the gringo trail" there can be so few gringos that  it can be quite difficult to find a qualified tax preparer. That makes for other great niche job opportunity for expat wanabees and gonnabees wondering how they might do business in Latin America. In fact, off the tourist trail, tax preparers are in such big demand that almost every expat I know asks for a recommendation. Off the tourist trail there are so few tax guys there’s almost NO competition.
 
-The continuing saga of Expat Eddie… this time he’s got a light new car to sell, cheap. No, nothing ratty about it. Not now. But you’ll never guess why he’s willing to let it go for a song. Like Eddie says, “It could only happen in Latin America!”              
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is more than ¾ filled. To get one of the last 3 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.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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December 13, 2013  
-There are Latin cities and places “on the gringo tourist trail” and there are Latin tourist destinations that are mostly for Latin tourists... yet a small stream of first-world eco-tourists and adventurous types somehow discover them. Such adventurous gringos are more worldly than your average tourist and have a somewhat different set of wants and needs. These guys and gals have been to all the usual tourist hot spots and avoid the typical tourist traps and the gringoland scene. Since a certain percentage of these folks tricle off-the-trail to Latin tourist destinations, that means astute expats can do good business catering to these folks. By the way, the “gringo advantage” is also at its strongest in those low-key Latin tourist destinations.     
 
 -With all the talk about pollution and garbage problems in Nicaragua you might think I don’t recommend the place for expats. Well, you’d be wrong. Certain parts of Nicaragua do come highly recommended… but you’d better get in on the action before it gets saturated and expensive. There are thousands of disgruntled gringos who’ve been moving in and  believe or not, most of those migrating are coming from expensive, gringo- saturated, neighboring Costa Rica. Yes, people who’ve have had it with CR gringolandia are pulling up stakes and heading for Nicaragua….   
 
-Normally I don’t recommend the restaurant business for expats no matter what pipe dreams they may have of being the next “Top Chef”.  However, you will find that there can be extremely affordable turn-key restaurants for sale in most Latin towns.. these are businesses that for one reason or another have been neglected, yet are still chugging along, albeit in low gear. Many of these purchase opportunities are tailor made for expat success stories. That said, in this show we post an email from a part-time Texan gringo expat offering just such an opportunity (in a great Nicaraguan beach town too). A nice deal for any motivated expat with more vision than money.           
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is more than ¾ filled. To get one of the last 3 spots available, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.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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December 8, 2013  


-When moving to Latin America, you’ll occasionally have to put up with traffic freezing strikes and demonstrations (99% of them are very peaceful). Generally these strikes (called manifestaciones) are limited to blocking traffic in government districts since the guys going on strike always seem to be goldbricking, lazy-ass government employee unions or groups looking for a raise. By the way: the strikers almost never get what they demand and only succeed in messing up traffic for working people that have real, productive jobs. Sound familiar?    

 
 -The other day the touchy subject of forgotten land mines came up in casual conversation. A fresh, new, gringa expat mentioned she’d heard somewhere that  Latin America is still rife with forgotten (live) landmines dotting the countryside. Her point was that Latin America in the 70’s and 80’s was host to a dozen or so violent revolutions, coups and civil wars. So here’s the real scoop on what became of those leftover mines- mines by the way- our nice generous government handily furnished to US friendly Latin dictators back in the day…now its not mines, just money.   
 
-The good and the bad news about the recent spate of Latin American lake cleanup projects touted in the local Latin media outlets lately. Will these efforts work? Will they have some impact? I’d say using the phrase “naively optimistic” would be wildly optimistic to say the least… 
 
-A report on the glamorous subject of cisterns and septic tanks. Down in Latin America  sewage and raw garbage are treated differently than it is up in Cleveland. In the USA we prefer to bury it or vote it into office(that’s a joke… err, no it isn’t). But down in Latin America, who really cares about cisterns and septic systems? Pretty much no one… but you ad I definitely should!   
 
-If you’re a chicken and/or seafood eater, here are some tips on eating the best quality, natural, healthy, chicken and fish in Latin America
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is almost filled. I've got just 3 or 4 places left. To get one of those last few spots, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.ExpatWisdom.com mainpage.
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December 6, 2013  
- Part 3 of the transplanted first-world seminar and conference business in gullible Latin America: This time a real life very recent example of a well-advertised but bogus seminar that promises that attendees will learn the ins and outs of investing in Wall Street as well as teach them how to make a killing in currencies, commodities, options, bonds, etc…. just like the big first-world boys do it. And why is it obviously bogus? Because they promise you’ll learn all of this and more in just 4 hours… and get a nice fancy “Wall Street” diploma if you graduate (ha)to boot!
 
 - It can only happen in the third-world...some strange and curious aspects of internet service in Latin America that will certainly surprise you.
 
-Personal and business extortion is now the #2 crime in Mexico. Extortion used to be  the common crime in just the dangerous and poor neighborhoods but now the crooks are much bolder and have ratcheted the game up a few notches. Favorite targets now include gringos, expats and first-world holiday makers sitting in what they thought were nice, safe resorts and hotels. So if you’re the type to live, work or hang out in Mexico, you should be aware of the newest twists on the extortion racket. On second thought, if you’re in Mexico you already have a few friends with first-hand personal extortion stories. Most people pay up and don’t report it to the cops (who are usually in on it) so you’ll never know.   
 
-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is almost filled and set to go so. To get one of the last few spots, check out the agenda and the signup details by clicking on the Latin American Seminar link on the top of the www.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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December 1, 2013  

-Some very very bad news coming out of Venezuela concerning retailers and consumers. We’ve heard of strange presidential edicts before but this one takes the cake… and everyone suffers (except the crooked, inept politicians of course).


-The latest breaking news on Uruguay’s liberalized marijuana legislation and how it will affect the consuming public and those who want to it grow at home and as a business proposition.

-Part 2 regarding gringos and contracts in Latin America. Now and again we and our lawyers find ourselves signing contracts for certain standard amenities: like internet service, smartphone plans, alarm monitoring companies or cable TV installations, etc. But what happens if we sign a contract and don’t get what was promised? How easy is it to break a contract? What about buyer’s remorse? Are their some specified time frames to back out or cancel like certain consumer protection laws provide for contracts up in the states?

-A quick update on gringos transferring their old tired-out and saturated first-world seminar businesses down here to Latin America. Lots of dodgy stateside enterprises are finding out how easy it is… unfortunately most taking full advantage of the Latin gullibility factor and that legendary “gringo advantage” in order to make a killing on the locals. Surprisingly enough, even highly educated Latins fall for firsf-world seminar ploys. End even if it rehashed and useless tired-old stuff its all new to them and they walk out happy!

-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is 3/4 full now but I have a few spots left. 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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