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

January 31, 2014  
-Here’s the lowdown on what happened at the latest January 2014 Expat Wisdom seminar that finished just a few days ago. As usual we had a very intelligent highly-motivated, like-minded group, loaded with excellent ideas regarding expat businesses as well as just about anything else one could think of. Yes the seminar is over but many attendees are still down here exploring and hatching plans and incubating amazing new ideas…. again, as usual! 
 
- No matter how your mother may insist.. no one likes to carry an extra pair of underwear for emergencies, especially in a foreign land! So to avoid uncomfortable and embarrassing situations, here are some general tips to keep you smiling, happy (and regular) while on the Latin American gastronomic trail…     
 
-Have you ever wondered how the third- world video DVD and CD pirates get those great copies of first run movies sometimes weeks before they ever hit the Cineplex? Well listen to this, because the mystery has been partially solved. Even of you’ve never wondered about such things- because you’ve never seen or bought a pirated DVD up there in Milwaueke or Cleveland- here’s another interesting, convoluted and quite un-PC but true expat story that needs to be told.           
 
-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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January 19, 2014  

-Today we're talking Expats doing business again!
I can’t tell you how many emails have come in over the years from folks with dreams of boating down to Latin America from the states and either living on that boat full time and traveling around permanently in the tropics, or docking in some version of paradise and homesteading right there. Others write and ask questions about charter boat businesses, since some want to look into that venture too. The good news is that we can kill two or three birds with one stone today as we hear from a gringo who has recently done many of those very same things himself. He not only brought his sailboat down from the states, he took it through the Panama canal locks, landed on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, and started a successful charter fishing and sailing business there that's been in operation for about two years. Listen to this very neat and daring story.

-Few people know that I had my own charter fishing business experience in Costa Rica some 18 years ago that was definitely NOT a success story. Here's how that went down and the lessons learned...  
 
-You may have heard some very strange things are happening in Venezuela right now, and none of it is looking good for the common people. That said, I sometimes get emails from contrarians reminding me that since conditions are so chaotic and frenzied, and the black market dollar exchange rate now at 1000% of the official rate, doesn’t that signal the perfect time to scout out opportunities? My answer? Its complicated and dangerous, and thanks to Chavez’s negative propaganda machine, Venezuela (NOT Cuba) is really the only Latin country where people are not warm to gringos….           
  
-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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January 17, 2014  
-Man expat wanabees and gonabees want to know if commonly available medicinal herbs and natural plant supplements like turmeric (curcumin) are available in Latin America too. If so, are they are imported, and thus first-world expensive or grown and produced locally. Well, lets talk about curcumin, called “curcuma” in Spanish. 
 
-A bit about the rising popularity of diesel cars in the states and the associated costs, etc., versus buying and owning a diesel car in Latin America.  
 
-Those Prepper TV shows from up in the states have now landed here in Latin America(translated and dubbed in Spanish of course). And the Latins don’t understand what’s up with that concept at all. They don’t get it and think the they are either nutcases or scripted actors. To Latins the world’s great powerhouse, the almighty US dollar and the so-called first-world luxury lifestyle they aspire to could never crash and burn like the Preepesr predict. Latins can't believe US citizens would never sit in the basement with jugs of water, cans of beans, and pallets of ammo. 
 
-More creative business tips and ideas for fresh gringos and expats who need to make a living (or just need a productive hobby) once they've landed in Latin America.
 
-Some folks who land in Latin America, have hopes of starting internet businesses. In fact, the majority of expat wanabees and gonnabees surveyed in our ExpatWisdom expat "wish list" survey expressed just that sentiment. If internet portable busineses are in your future, here’s a very good place to start…  
 
-Brazil is now known as one of the worst markets in the world for consumer electronics items, and here’s why…   
  
-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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January 12, 2014  

-Now for some straight talk about expats and US dollar bank accounts in Latin America. These days practically every large and small Latin bank offers US dollar accounts, though surprisingly enough only about one in 80 accounts are in US dollars.
 
-A streetwise Central American money and currency primer
 
-There are many assorted, beautiful and endangered birds in Latin America. Some businesses, restaurants, hotels and resorts have them as pets and mascots. You even see many of the endangered ones as pets in captivity. So how is that possible? Well the fact is anyone can have one or more of them in the house or garden. But don’t do it. It’s NOT recommended and there are many reasons why…
 
-With all the bad economic news coming out of the first-world on a daily basis: job losses, cuts in hours, benefits lost… you’d think that Latins living in the states would be feeling the pinch as well. But the fact is that for the past 3 years, the remisas sent back to friends and relatives in Latin America have been on a steady increase year over year. So it seems the Latins up north are either getting hired more frequently, their earnings are up, or both. Does that make sense? I shouldn't.
 
-Politically correct language, phrases and terms are just now beginning to creep into Latin society. Even so, us expats and gringos stumbling along in the Spanish language are generally clueless about such things- we just hope to get our basic conversational points across. But there are some hotspot PC things to be aware of.. even if they don’t make much sense to us.          
 
 -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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January 10, 2014  

-We all know that the IRS is an agency that’s been out of control for the last few decades. The tax nazis with with their ungodly 60,000 pages of tax code will snag you if they can. It’s understandable why everyone grumbles about it. That’s why its important to know about huge tax advantages for gringos and expats living outside the USA.

-Some broke, highly bureaucratic Latin countries (the “usual suspects” being Panama and Costa Rica) in their quest to be just like the big tax and spend countries like the USA have been trying to slip in their own subversive first-world style tax bills without open hearings or debates. Here’s the dirt on what’s just happened in Panama…

-For some adventurous folks one of life’s great dreams is to take a cruise around the world and through the Panama canal. Some romantics even dream of taking their own boats through the locks. How might that work out in real life and how much would it cost? This will really surprise you…

-Due to pressure from its citizens, Cuba is slowly opening up commerce and a limited amount of street-level capitalism. But when the government loosens the noose a bit they always seem to dole out a fair dose of pain along with the deal…. as seen by the new 2014 liberalized auto purchasing laws. Now, for the first time since the 1950's revolution, residents can buy a car without waiting years for special government permits. But the hitch is that uncle Fidel has raised vehicle taxes to a point where cars now cost about 400% of their first-world sticker price!

-People often want to know how they can earn a first-world salary in Latin America. Expats who start businesses do it all the time. But some people don’t want the usual business headaches and prefer working for the man… on a first-world salary of course. Yes, it can be done but it’s not at all easy- or everyone would be doing it.

-My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is filled. For those of you who wanted in on that and didn’t sign up in time, you’ll have to wait some months and see if I’m going to do another (maybe, maybe not).

-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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January 5, 2014  


-Whether you’re on (or off) the gringo tourist trail, certain local Latins will try to take advantage of gringos and Expats especially since we don’t know the language, customs or traditions. A Latin who does look to take advantage of people is called an “aprovechado”

Now funny enough, Latins themselves are very attuned to the tricks of ‘aprovechados’ in their own neighborhoods and stay clear of dealing with them. However, we gringos often don’t realize we’ve been snookered… until some local clues us in much later. Now for a few examples..  
 
-Gringos often wonder why Latins are so short in stature. Is it genetics?  Indigenous Latins are especially short…often 2 or 3 inches shorter than the average Latino (who themselves are a few inches shorter than average first-world Americans and Europeans). Why so short? Especially when Native Americans up near Minnesota and Cleveland can be quite tall. Aren’t the Indigenous tribes of Latin America from the same basic stock as their much taller cousins the Native Americans?  Why the big height difference? It doesn't make sense... or does it?    
 
-If you come down, be prepared to see some pretty strange and repulsive hairdos. No, I don’t mean strange doos worn by the ladies… but by adolescent boys and young men! Try not to laugh, but Latin girls don’t like these hairdo's on their young men either. So why then do these young Latin men go in for it? A better question might be…why do young Latin men with just three miserable facial hairs proudly cultivate them? It’s the macho thing of course. It seems that the lower-class Latin boys down here do the same idiotic macho things as their undereducated Latin male counterparts do in the barrios of Boston or Cleveland.   
 
-Thinking of going to the June 2014 World Cup in Brazil?  If you do, get ready for a truck load of grief… financial and otherwise.          
    
  -My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is filled. For those of you who wanted in on that and didn’t sign up in time, you’ll have to wait some months and see if I’m going to do another (maybe, maybe not).  
 
-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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January 3, 2014  

-Here’s an explanation why first world banks (who should know better after their poisonous contribution to the big 2008 financial and real estate blowout in the states) are moving to, and expanding like wildfire, down in Latin America. They are contributing mightily to the huge real estate bubble that seems to be the norm in almost all mid-sized and large Latin cities. Not surprisingly, none of the locals see it coming and they keep scrambling to get in on the next inflated deal(another sign that the bubble is huge). Meanwhile the banks down here reap huge profits...
 
-Yes, online banking has come of age with all major Latin banks but less than 5% of Latins have ever tried it. Though more than 50% of first-world folks do their banking online up north, Latins are more than gun shy about it and here’s why…  
 
-How certain gringos and expats get their Latin American business ideas off the ground.
 
-When off the gringo tourist trail most “boots on the ground” trips never fail to produce unique and exceptional business ideas. The trick is, once a brainstorm hits, you have to strike while the fire’s hot. In other words you have to get off your duff and ACT before another gringo jumps in and does it!
Bottom line: You don't want gringo competition. Latin competion is ok... since its almost no competition at all.        
    
  -My January 2014 “Expat Wisdom” seminar is filled. For those of you who wanted in on that and didn’t sign up in time, you’ll have to wait a few months and see if I’m going to do another (maybe, maybe not).  
 
-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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