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

December 30, 2014  
-Things to know if you hire Latin locals for your expat business... are they going to be working “on” or “off” the books? It makes a big difference, to both you, the employer and the employee. Of course the legal (but not necessarily correct) thing to do is to hire people according to the labor laws of the country you’re in. However, many prospective employees will insist on “cash only” and will refuse to sign on as “official’ workers. Why? Because then they will have to get a tax number, have a percentage of their salary withdrawn for taxes and their version of social security, chip in for the failed  national health program, etc., etc. All of those extracted sums which are either misspent or stolen by politicos and govt slugs… sound familiar? So... what else is new.  

-One of the truly amazing things about living on Latin America is that you can trim out your home and/or business with the wood from amazingly beautiful rainforest hardwood trees for the cost of clear pine (available at your local Home Depot up in Cleveland). But wait a minute… what about all that reported clear-cutting and deforestation going on down here … and the rumors of forest depletion and even extinction? What can or should you do if you want the best world-class wood and can’t stomach the crap synthetic wood look?       

- What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? Last Chance, the clock is ticking….
If not- it’s your last chance to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.

 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
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December 26, 2014  
-Get ready for the festivities! Latins like to celebrate the holidays hard and heavy…up to two months before the big event. Nope, you’ve never seen or heard anything like it (lots deafening bombs and fireworks) nor have you seen people so happy about spending what little they’ve got and going into debt over it. 

-You’d probably celebrate for a month or more too if you were given an extra month’s pay every December 15th. That’s one big perk all Latins (working on the books and paying taxes) are entitled to by law. It’s called Alginaldo”.

-Get ready for what might be the most unlikely holiday story you’ll hear all year. It’s a true story of weird and crazy things that can only happen to gringos like me who work as Latin American radio hosts. Try topping this one! 
 
-When gringos bring up kids in Latin America they always want to send them to the best bilingual K thru 12 private schools… and there are some very very excellent ones. But look out. Your whole plan of having educated well-rounded kids can easily backfire. Being that much of child’s personality and demeanor is shaped by the kids they go to school and hang with, at those high end schools your kids will mingle with a high percentage of entitled, spoiled, superficial, materialistic brats- with unlimited allowances and armies of nanny’s and bodyguards. Are you ready for that? Unfortunately, no gringo ever is! 
    
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
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December 21, 2014  
-Art and Artists in Latin America: there is so much very, very good (and very crap) art in Latin America. But did you know that almost no Latin artists- even the best ones- make what you’d might call a standard first-world style middle-class living at it? The Latin visual artists you occasionally see in the media, ones who have frequent gallery shows: those artists you might normally consider successful (meaning that don’t live at home with mommy anymore) usually owe their popularity and success to the patronage of first-world gringos and tourists…. 

-The sad, desperate state of public libraries in Latin America: they’re on par with everything else the public gets when lazy, corrupt Latin governments are in charge…

-Here’s a commentary on the state of women’s rights and the feminist movement in macho Latin America- including stark quotes from the most widely read Latin female author. She writes realistic, gritty novels about Latin women and highlights certain things Latin men don’t want to discuss… much less read about.

-The art of telling lies in Latin America, and how people call each other out on falsehoods in the Spanish culture.

-There are hundreds “Call Center” jobs off the tourist trail in Latin America. These big companies will hire just about any real gringo that walks through the door. Here’s a story about one fresh expat gringos who walked right in, got a job almost instantly and in 4-6 months became a “trainer” (basically a proper English teacher for the tele-grunts) for double the money he started with …

-Expat Eddie is in a tough spot again… this time it’s because he’s always been a soft touch for a hard luck story. Even when he was broke he’d give a bum the shirt off his back. But down here in Latin America that kind of generosity can sometimes have the parasites crawling out of the woodwork…            

 What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.

 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
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December 19, 2014  
-In Latin America, cell phones are not only communication devices they’re also heavily associated with personal self-esteem and social status. Today you’ll hear what long time (Spanish speaking) expats have observed about cell phones and their fellow Latins who own them… 

-Explaining the conundrum of extraordinarily high levels of happiness in Latin America: There are a lot of theories, and I have a few of my own, but I recently heard the best explanation of the Latin high-happiness factor so far. It came from a long term gringo (ex-backpacker) who has been teaching English for many years at a high-end Latin “helicopter” schools. He’s seen the high-happiness factor face to face just about all Latin socioeconomic classes: but surprisingly, he says such high happiness rarely exists in the wealthy gringo wannabee classes! Does that ring a few bells? 

-As with everything else first-world, after a bit of “lag-time effect” Facebook has now become all the rage in Latin America. Now unfortunately, as with all social media, Latins are even more clueless than gringos. They’re quite willingly give up pretty much their entire life story, photos, and all their excruciatingly mundane details on practically any website they visit. That said, it’s no surprise that sites like FB are presently being used by numerous bad guys and no-good-nicks in order to sift out the whereabouts of wealthier Latin kids for extortion schemes, kidnapping and worse. And as you might expect, following on the heels of lame US gringo parenting examples, wealthier Latin parents continue to remain clueless about what’s really going on in their entitled kids’ lives. So what else is new?    
       
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.
 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
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December 15, 2014  
-The trials and tribulations of driving your car through Latin America:
1.      What’s it really like driving a car through Latin America?
2.      How are you treated on the road and at country borders if your Spanish sucks? What about if you speak decent Spanish?
3.      Will the cops and govt. border crossing slugs mess with you or try to hit you up for bribes?
4.      How is it going through those Latin country borders with your own car?
5.      What’s it like to drive on the famous “Pan-American Highway? You might remember from 7th grade geography that (if you have the cojones to chance the trip) it’s about a three or four day straight shot by car from Alaska to the southern tip of Panama.
6.      What’s the deal with all the rockslides, the pointless road blocks and checkpoints, vehicle fumigations, inspections and fruit/vegetable confiscation points and general delays?  

-       Belize is basically the only Latin American country where all people speak English. But is that a good enough reason to Expat there? Certainly not. For one thing, since they import everything (except certain foods) its first world expensive, not to mention it can be unbearably hot, electricity bills are very heavy and the list of negatives goes on and on….         
 
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.
 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
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December 12, 2014  
-Looking at a map you’ll see that Colombia and Panama are ostensibly friendly, adjacent, neighboring countries. But did you know that the majority of Panamanian women have an active distrust, even hatred, for Colombian women? Now, a female Panama resident might never admit that fact to you, a gringo, but it’s a well-known and touchy phenomenon within Panama society. Here’s why...
 
-By popular demand: a few words for those who think they’ve found (or are searching for) the Colombian or Venezuelan girl of their dreams on one of those Latin mating and dating websites. There are lot of slick sites that are strictly aiming at lonely-heart gringo males. Talk about minefields…   

-Today the general Latin sense of humor once again comes into play as this time a Latin immigrant to the states (a legal immigrant for a change) tells his story. This guy, good English skills (at about 80%), tells of his own missteps along the way trying to get the “American” sense of humor. As hard as he tried, for the first year or so he just could not understand why gringos laughed at things Latins simply did not find funny at all.    

-And now, for all of you caffeine freaks, a few words about the some of the world’s best coffee. It took me years to find the very best at the source but it paid off. I have stumbled into some of the world’s best little coffee plantations, many just little rustic mom and pop operations of a few acres. Some are still using 50 year old, mechanical, hand-operated equipment that can only turn out a few pounds a day! Nope folks, I don’t fool around when it comes to coffee. I get unbeatable world-class stuff direct from the plantation for around $4 a pound. Are you jealous yet? Talk about a boutique coffee, expat internet business opportunity!
FYI: In Latin America, all of the best coffee grows in the altiplano at around 4000 to 6000 feet.
 
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
 
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December 7, 2014  
-Is it possible to use credit and debit cards anonymously in Latin America?
In the USA your bank’s credit card transaction department knows the purchases you’ve made, what you’ve spent and places you’ve been… that info is all openly available to US Big Brother alphabet agencies and more. But you knew that, right? But did you know that having a Visa or MC card issued from strictly a Latin bank will prevent that nasty, intrusive eventuality? And there’s yet another way to stay under the credit card tracking radar too…
 
-Today we have an excerpt from the autobiography of one of the most famous Latin men ever to immigrate to the USA. As you will see, he curtly explains the extent of the extreme upper-middle class macho society he came from with his own revealing family stories. That said, can you guess the name of this very famous Latin guy? 
 
-A much closer look at the tragic story of the Honduran beauty queen who was gunned down along with her sister after a night at the disco in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Here’s what the media is not telling you…
 
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page.

 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
 
 
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December 5, 2014  
-A stateside university educator chimes with an email concerning how he personally has seen the tragedies and failures of the first-world school system at the graduate level, and how it has also failed Latin immigrants too. 

-In Latin America, as opposed to in the US, you won’t see parents fawning over their kids “supposed” extraordinary talents. On Latin America Facebook you won’t see little 6th grade finger-paintings posted all over the place with parental references to their kid geniuses. Here, thankfully, kids are NOT seen as little prodigies to be petted and praised every time they tie their shoes correctly(not yet anyway).

-How is it that so many Latin men cheat and get away with it, over and over again? How is it they nearly always get a pass even when caught red handed at the local strip club? Would you believe Latin men unfairly defend the practice by blaming the “gringo” male strip-club culture?

-You hear a lot about crime and shootouts in Latin America. But when politicians kill each other (for revenge or to thin out contenders for the gravy train) no-one, gringos included, is too upset. Same thing goes when narcos kill narcos...  

-The Latin addiction to cellphones has reached unprecedented levels especially now that all cell companies offer very, very cheap ($5 to $6 per month) unlimited “family and friends” 24/7 talk packages. These days middle and lower middle class Latins have their phones glued to their heads day and night. Sound familiar? And of course no one down here has ever even heard of EMR brain damage… 
  
What’s your exit plan? Do you have a "Plan B"? The clock is ticking….
If not- be sure to check out my latest off-the-tourist-trail, boots-on-the-ground, fast-track seminar event in Central America. Come down to the January 2015 seminar, formulate your own “Plan B” and find out how to live an extraordinarily good life in Latin America on a measly Social Security check. For complete details, go to www.ExpatWisdom.com, and click on the Latin American Seminar link at the top of the main page. 

 -Do follow the link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com to schedule a private phone, Skype or Mumble consult with me. If you want to discuss the details of living, working, playing, doing business and/or retiring in Latin America, we can talk about your situation one on one.
 
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