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Expat Files – 04.10.16

CAUTION!! EXPATS ARE BUYING INTO A REAL ESTATE BUBBLE AT IT’S PEAK- MOST WILL LOSE AND NEVER CASH OUT:

Unfortunately, a good percentage of Gringos and Expats in Latin America have bought (or are buying) into the peak of the Latin Real estate bubble. How would they even know? Yes, everyone wants their little piece of paradise and as long as Latin vacation properties are remain cheaper than US vacation properties (not necessarily so) they think they’d better buy in now. A few short years ago buying Latin real estate seemed like such a no brainer but all things must end.., and this one will end badly. Bubbles that over-expand will deflate, bottom out and burn the last suckers in. Sure, some Gringo buyers who got in early found they could flip properties over and over at nice profits… and those stories help drive the bubble as greater fools rush in. Few if any recognize the ominous signs even now (bubble sign in itself). Even this late in the game fools still trickle in but NOT rushing in like they used to. Meanwhile, many fools are find they’re stuck, cash poor, in too deep, with too many properties and too few new suckers…

-INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPAT TAX PREPARER- PART TWO:

Today we have Part TWO of an interview with a profession Expat tax preparer who has over 600 Expat clients. He lives in Medellin, Colombia and knows the peculiarities of Expats and US taxes. We’ll ask him the tax questions that most concern Expats.

When it comes to Expats and US taxes, the most knowledgeable and best equipped tax preparers are generally long term Expats who advertise in the local Latin country they live in and thus provide face to face service. Caution! Your neighborhood tax guy in Cleveland probably hasn’t a single Expat client (except you maybe?). You don’t want to be his guinea pig.

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Expat Files – 03.27.16

BUILD YOUR LATIN AMERICAN DREAMHOUSE IN THE BEST OF NEIGHBORHOODS FOR $25 TO $50 A SQUARE FOOT:

Long time listeners know it’s my firm belief that there’s a huge real estate bubble in most all of Latin America. Anyone who’s had substantial boots on the ground will confirm that. So don’t be a clueless gringo and buy at the top!! However, if you can find a nice piece of land at the right price, you can build the house of your dreams for $25 to $50 a square foot, complete. Today we have a strategy and some tips to help you find the perfect neighborhood…

IT’S DEFINITELY A RENTER’S MARKET: WITH THE REAL ESTATE BUBBLE CRACKING AS WE SPEAK: That said, when “off the tourist trail” you’ll simply be amazed at what you can rent for a mere $300 to $700 a month. Today we have some real life examples…

DON’T GET SUCKED IN BY FRIENDLY GRINGOS AND THEIR SO-CALLED “GROUND FLOOR” REAL ESTATE DEALS: So when “on the gringo tourist trail” beware of slick gringo real estate agents/salesmen trying to get you into the bubble. Yes, they’re experts at sizing up clueless gringos and spotting suckers. They’ll take advantage of your crappy Spanish, short time down, and obvious lack of boots on the ground… as well as the brain-fogging Zoloft effect the soothing tropical climate has on fresh, green gringos (especially true if a gringo’s 1st world life consists of 6 months of snow and cold).

Note: when “off the tourist trail” there will be no such Gringo real estate guys pressing you, but there’s still a huge bubble, so don’t get sucked in by clueless local Latin agents either…

NOPE, THERE ARE NO CHEAP “GROUND FLOOR” REAL ESTATE DEALS LEFT IN LATIN AMERICA: certainly not “on the tourist trail” in places like Panama, CR, Mexico, Belize, and now Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia and Uruguay. And here’s why…

MIGHT YOUR SECRET DREAM BE A BEACH HOUSE RIGHT ON THE OCEAN? Well guess what? When the bubble cracks, beach houses are often the first properties desperate sellers put on the market. How does a 3 bedroom beach house, with pool, right on the ocean for $100k or less sound to you? Right now, desperate sellers are starting to come out of the woodwork and today we have examples of some fabulous deals that have hit the market. For this you’ll need boots on the ground. You won’t find this stuff on the internet… not in English anyway.

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Gary G. Kohls, MD – Big Pharma’s Nefarious Control of Health Care and The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Everybody should be aware by now of the large amount of control that for-profit multinational corporations have over both state and federal legislative bodies and most of our congressional and presidential politicians (except for Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein). But they also have a lot of control over the major media, the “defense” spending priorities at the Pentagon, America’ educational …

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The Subversive Power of the Kiss

In Western cultures, we mark the beginning of romantic entanglement by touching lips. Few actions are as fraught with anxiety and symbolism as that first kiss—and it’s no exaggeration to say that some kisses feel like life or death. Indeed, a kiss can kill, in the most medical, un-romantic, non-metaphorical sense. Sticking your tongue in the mouth of another person …

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Expat Files – 01.24.16

– I’ve lived all over Latin America both on and off the gringo tourist trail and much prefer the latter. Why not live off the trail where the locals truly like Americans and thus where the “gringo advantage” is alive and well? That said, some expats(especially the new, fresh, green lightly traveled variety) just love tourist trail locations. That’s why today we list 10 good and positive reasons why some might prefer to live with other gringos “ON the tourist trail”.

-Some of the so called “expert” expat retirement mags and rags as well as expat living blogs now tout “up and coming” Colombia as the “next” Costa Rica. After hearing today’s rant, you’ll still want to visit the place but probably won’t want to live or invest there. However, with Sofia Vergara as Colombia’s unofficial cultural ambassador (with every lonely heat gringo convinced she’s the Colombian girl next door) you can bet the gringos will come, no matter what the underlying facts might be.

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Expat Files – 01.03.16

-Some Expat auto owners weigh in with amusing stories describing what happens when Latin cops tried to shake them down for dough.
BTW: the car/vehicle paperwork shakedown situation is common around Christmas time (when most Latins are beyond dead broke).

-Latin cops love bribes (mordida). But they love free gifts too. That why long term Expats sometimes tuck certain special cheap giveaway items in their cars just to hand to cops pressuring for handouts. In the event you get pulled over, some key cheap items can work like a charm!

-In every Latin country there is a small group of 20 to 50 very wealthy “old money” families that own huge tracts of land along with many of the basic industries. Their last names and are well known to the rest of the working population- who generally revere them like minor royals. Often their snotty kids are unruly, abusive jerks. Even so, cops try to maintain a “hands off” policy. It’s sort of their Latin version of our “Gringo Advantage”…. though thankfully, few of us gringos come off like them in the pretentious jerk department.

-The parking situation in Latin America can be complicated. Today we compare Latin parking options to what you are used to up in Hartford and Cleveland. Some of what you are about to hear will sound a bit nutty, but that’s life in Latin America.

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Expat Files – 12.25.15

-Latins celebrate the Christmas holidays for virtually months and months at a time. That said, if you yourself are obsessed about the Christmas season you’ll be in great company down here.

-Because Latins go all out for Christmas, most of them are dead broke before the big event even arrives which, oddly enough, is why the local cops are ever so vigilant as the day approaches. Cops love the holidays. “Tis the season” for the cops to squeeze extra cash out of unsuspecting drivers who are perpetually late and in a hurry to get somewhere (it’s a manana society you know). Today we talk about what to do if you get stopped or pulled over. Right off the bat there will be definite signs that indicate a bribe request is forthcoming. We’ll also explain a few tricks you can use to try to get out of it.

-Today I’ll describe my own very recent traffic stop- Christmas bribe/extortion story. Not to worry, it does have a somewhat happy ending. Listen now to hear how it took me a half hour to wiggle my way out of a sticky situation, when confronted with some crooked cops.

-In a late breaking email, a gringo listener (with a Colombian wife) describes some of the more common and clever new neighborhood extortion schemes that have been popping up in working class residential areas in Colombia, specifically in and around Barranquilla. Could it happen to me, you, or other Expats to? Should we be worried?
Listen and find out…

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Progressive Commentary Hour – 10.27.15

Prof. Laurence Shoup is a historian who has been researching the background and agendas of the Council on Foreign Relations for 40 years. He has taught history, social science and international relations at the University of Illinois, San Francisco State University and other institutions. For five decades Dr. Shoup has been active in human rights struggles, protesting the Vietnam War, marching with Martin Luther King and participating in the union movement. He holds degrees from California State University and a doctorate from Northwestern. He ran as a Green Party candidate in the city of Oakland and California state and consulted for many nonprofit organizations. Laurence has written five books, his most recent being “Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics 1976-2014” His website is www.LaurenceShoup.com

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Tampons, sterile cotton, sanitary pads contaminated with glyphosate – study

The vast majority ‒ 85 percent ‒ of tampons, cotton and sanitary products tested in a new Argentinian study contained glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, ruled a likely carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, 62 percent of the samples tested positive for AMPA, glyphosate’s metabolite, according to the study, which was conducted by researchers at the …

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Expat Files – 10.11.15

-So many gonnabees and wannabees want desperately to become Expats you’d think there would be a big gringo stampede south of the border. But there isn’t. Because its such a big leap it usually takes some kind of first-world trauma or a “straw that broke the camel’s back” moment to set the plan in motion.
Today we have such a story and more… a wannabee/gonnabee describing the particular traumatic moment that sent him over the edge.

-For those of you wondering how to transport your gold and silver down to Latin America: did you know there are certain secure ATM machines in Colombia and Peru that actually dispense gold and silver ingots?

-You may have heard of the recent landslide in Guatemala that buried 500 or so people, and their homes. They were squatters: the poorest of the poor. Tragedy and disaster for them, yes. But as for us, not to worry. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen to Expat gringos. Here’s the rest of the story…

-Just when you think nothing much will surprise you, something happens that makes you stop and wish for a camera. Even long term expats in Latin America get fun and weird surprises most every day.