Expat Files – 10.09.15

-How many stateside people really get the somber message that the so called “American Dream” has taken an abrupt U-Turn and has relocated south of the boarder (south of Mexico too)? It will never be back.

-Investing in the Latin Bank CD’s? Should you or shouldn’t you:
With Latin Bank CD’s giving US dollar interest rates up to 8%, and with Local funny money CD rates at 10 to 15% per year shouldn’t an expat at least consider it and test the waters? Find out more here…

-Chicken is a Latin diet staple. Unfortunately, bad things are happening in their poultry world and Latins don’t have a clue. In fact they are setting themselves and future generations up for a rude awakening. The signs and signals can already be seen… but only by gringos with a good eye for details. Its the downside of the “Gringo Advantage”.


Expat Files – 10.04.15

-Everything you wanted to know about pirate CD’s and pirate CD vendors. Watch out! To make a sale, they will tell you anything you want to hear. Should you even buy from them at all?

-Those Crazy Expat Gringo Bars: What they’re really like? Who you might meet there? Who should you avoid? What to keep an eye out for? Ten good reasons why you don’t want to make a habit of hanging at those places.


Expat Files – 10.02.15

-A discussion on how over the years things in Latin American have changed so much for the better regarding Expat gringos. But still there are so many new Expats that just don’t listen to good advice. Many continue to spin their wheels for a year or two (or five). They keep making the same mistakes I did when I first came down 25 years ago.

-Not only is there a lot of bad advice out there: lots of it is coming from part-time expats and bloggers with little “boots on the ground” experience and almost none have explored much “off the gringo tourist trail”. Much of the bad stuff is coming from people who are just trying to sell you stuff. That’s why today I’m suggesting you check out a valuable expat website www.thenewexpat.com
Its run by John Galt? Who is John (Juan )Galt? I know him personally. He’s the gringo Expat running, blogging and posting on that site (among others). John was one of my original Latin American seminar attendees who ended up moving down permanently a few years ago and since has become an absolute wealth of practical expat information. Do check it out. Note the site is not glitzy or polished but for content comes highly recommended. In fact, its popular enough to have been hacked recently by Russians, Ovomitoids, or who knows?

-More tips, tales and crazy stories that can only happen in Latin America


Expat Files – 09.27.15

Announcing Johnny’s January 2016 LATIN AMERICAN “Boots on the ground” SEMINAR:
-More on the sensitive and controversial subject of bringing your young kids down to Latin America to live.

-Some amazing private “helicopter school” stories direct from the expat gringo teacher’s mouth … along with some advice for gringos whose kids may soon be enrolling in such places

-It can only happen in Latin America: tips, tales and crazy stories

Would you like a 1 on 1 personal Skype or phone consult with me? We can set up time to talk and sort out your own specific Latin American plans. Just put the word “CONSULT” in the subject line and send a short list of your questions and talking points to: theexpatfiles@gmail.com


Expat Files – 09.25.15

-Living in the land of ultra-premium coffee can offer many unique opportunities for gringo business ventures. Note there are many gigantic coffee plantations and mega processing plants but the vast majority of Latin coffee farmers are small mom and pop outfits with perhaps only a few acres or more. Since most small outfits sell locally- and the farmers are not internet savvy, or just want to sell the product by the bag or sack- there are many opportunities for gringos to market their very own “boutique” coffee brands. Think Amazon and EBay.

-More advice for gringos on cars and driving in Latin America

-Shopping in the big, chaotic markets: more tips, tales and crazy stories.


Expat Files – 09.20.15

-Johnny answers some candid questions about what it was like for him to work for years on various Latin stations; the lone gringo radio host and DJ guy. What was it like doing Latin big-city morning drive time as well as evening rush hour traffic in a huge Latin market where no one at the station spoke English? Who listened? Was he censored? Was he fired? Did he get beat up or shot at?

-A “boots on the ground” analysis of the unprecedented presidential election results in Guatemala: One corrupt psychopath shoe-in candidate spent $20 million and bought millions of votes with cash and giveaways; a second favored candidate “dragon lady” spent $5 million, while a completely unknown small business guy, theatrical producer, actor and part time clown spent $200k. Guess who won?

-Which Latin cites have the most dangerous public transportation systems (as in getting robbed or mugged)? What Latin city is most dangerous for woman travelers? What cites have the most crooked taxi drivers?


Expat Files – 09.18.15

-Did you know that there are so-called 100% bilingual Latins and there are 100% bilingual Latins? There are big differences! That said, don’t think just any so-called bilingual Latin person might fit your needs- for example as a top-notch secretary or girl Friday in your new Latin-based business. Note that just because a Latin person has passed that all-important TOFEL international English competency exam and has the diplomas to prove it, doesn’t mean he or she had the instant capacity to handle any or all of your needs. Such persons will undoubtedly have some bad habits. You must from the start be as vigilant as a hawk and set first-world standards.. or disappointments will surely follow.

-You can easily put an ad in the classifieds or on the internet looking for just such a bilingual person to hire as a guide or as a translator or whatever. Some young college-aged Latins are 80% to 100% bilingual and really can help you immensely. But note that the vast majority of said persons will not be able to write an email or business letter any better than a stateside 4th grader. There are two reasons for this: one is that 95% of these bilingual people went to crappy public universities and were taught English by non-native English speakers with bad accents who in turn learned their English from non-native English speakers with bad accents (i.e., non-gringos) etc., etc. The second reason most can’t write a decent letter is that many bilingual types have no one to talk to so they are always out of practice. To be nimble one must stay in the game!.


Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.


Expat Files – 09.13.15

-Did you know that 95% of Latins drive with no car insurance coverage at all? That’s a fact even though most all Latin countries have mandatory insurance laws. How is that possible? How do they continuously get away with it?

-Did you know that in most Latin countries, if you go to a driving school to learn how to drive properly, the school will guarantee you a driver’s license upon completion? Here’s the crazy part: most schools will give you the “on the road” part of the driver’s test right on the premises… not in an actual car but in a simulator! Crazier yet, over half of Latin drivers either have no idea how to parallel park or are too afraid to even try it. So instead they circle and circle, block after block, waiting for an easier space to open up. That’s what happens when your license is approved by a simulator.

-What happens if you get in trouble with the law while in Latin America? Specifically, what can happen if you get in a car accident or hit a pedestrian?

-Another “boots on the ground” gringo tale of woe. This time we hear from a gringo personally involved in a hit and run accident. (He was the driver and the one who ran!)


Expat Files – 09.11.15

-Bolivia is having all kinds of civil unrest. The steep 50% drop in state oil revenues in the past year has caused President Evo Morales to call a press conference asking the general population to officially tighten their belts. Yes, the public is being forced by necessity into doing that right now (like they needed his official proclamation, duh!) but you can bet that no government official will ever follow suit (yup, less 5 star hotels, champagne and caviar maybe?)

-People want to know why some Latin countries (Panama, Ecuador, Belize and El Salvador) use the US dollar as their official funny money. How do those Franklins affect local economies, and what about the dollar effects on the surrounding Latin countries who use their own homegrown funny money?

-With the Latin real estate bubble about ready to pop, it’s definitely a renter’s market. But fresh clueless gringos often don’t get in on the good deals. So then how can you get the best deal on rent? Today, frequent contributor Captain Mango tells us how he got his $650 a month rent sliced all the way down to $250 a month- a 60% reduction!!!

-A “boots on the ground” real estate and cost of living report from Medellin Colombia.

-Did you know that Colombia’s peso has crashed 27% against the dollar in the last year? It’s really causing havoc especially at the border towns. That means many gringo opportunities… but do look out for potholes!!


Expat Files – 09.06.15

-By popular demand: Another late-breaking update on the unfolding Guatemalan political scandal. People in all 20 Latin American countries have been talking endlessly about it (and in a good way too!)

-A discussion of ongoing problems most newly arrived gringos and expats have when trying to get simple things done using the phone. Note: when you’re off the gringo tourist trail and try to dial up a business there will be no convenient recording that says, “For English Press 1”.
Nope, that’s not gonna happen.

-When gringos come down as couples, inevitably one of the two almost always absorbs Spanish better, faster and more completely than the other. Oddly enough its usually the female. This phenomena usually forces her to into the couple’s default translator role whether she likes it or not.

-Today Captain Mango gives an on the spot “off the tourist trail” report on a few of his recent and more convoluted Latin banking experiences. Note: Captain Mango’s Spanish is about as good as his Swahili, so don’t laugh… you might be in the same boat when you first come down.


Follow the consult link on the main page at www.ExpatWisdom.com and Johnny will help you sort out your Latin American plans.