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Expat Files – 04.22.16

#1 –WHAT CAN THIS BE ABOUT? WE HAVE TWO SOCIALIST LATIN PRESIDENTS, EVO MORALES(BOLIVA)AND RAFAEL CORREA (EQUADOR), ENDORSING BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT! SINCE WHEN DO HEADS OF STATE ENDORSE FOREIGN CANDIDATES?

#2 – A NEW CALIFORNIA LAW ALLOWS MILLIONS OF ILLEGALS TO GET DRIVER’S LICENCES…AND BECOME REGISTERED CALIFORNIA VOTERS AT THE SAME TIME. MEANWHILE, DOWN IN THE LATIN AMERICAN HEARTLAND, WORD OF THIS AMAZING OPTION IS SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE. RESULT: GOV. JERRY BROWN IS SUDDENLY A LATIN FOLK HERO.

#3 –TIPS ON CARRYING GOLD/SILVER COINS AND BULLION ACROSS LATIN BORDERS

#4-TIPS ON BUYING GOLD AND SILVER IN LATIN AMERICA AND WHAT KINDS OF METALS YOU AND YOUR COIN/BULLION DEALER MUST REPORT TO THE IRS (OR NOT)

#5-TIPS ON HOW TO USE YOUR LATIN LAWYER TO MAKE ANONYMOUS PURCHASES FOR YOU (AND MORE)

#6-BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE “EXPAT FILES” YOU TUBE CHANNEL: become a subscriber (it’s free!)

#7- CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL: Would you like to set up a time to talk and sort out your own specific Latin American plans? Just write “CONSULT” in the subject line with a short list of questions/talking points to: theexpatfiles@gmail.com

#8- VISIT ME JOHNNY(AND EXPAT SUPER BLOGGER JOHN GALT) at www.TheNewExpat.com where you get real “boots on the ground” info, experienced expat blogs and terrific one-of-kind reports.

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Expat Files – 04.15.16

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EXPATS VOTE WITH THEIR FEET AND DECIDE TO BRING THE WHOLE FAMILY ALONG?:
– It’s true that most Gringos and Expats who vote with their feet and make the move to Latin America are either young, single (usually men), empty nesters, or retirees. However a there is a small, determined and growing percentage of Gringos and Expats who decide to bring their whole family down. That means very young kids and sometimes grandma and grandpa too. Today we talk about some concerns that parents of young children have as they piece together their own “Plan B” – the eventual permanent relocation of the family to Latin America.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? IN LATIN AMERICA A FIRST-WORLD STYLE HOUSE CAN BE BUILT FOR $25 TO $35 A SQUARE FOOT, WHEREAS IN THE USA THE AVERAGES IS ABOUT $125 A SQUARE FOOT.
– You can build your Latin American dream house for a quarter of those stateside prices too… and today we’ll discuss the how’s and why’s…

INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPAT TAX PREPARER- PART THREE:
– Today, April 15th we have Part Three of our interview with a professional Expat tax preparer. He lives in Medellin, Colombia and knows the peculiarities of Expats and US taxes. Today we’ll ask more Expat tax questions.

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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 – 04.08.16

MY TAKE ON THE MASSIVE “PANAMA PAPERS” LEAK:

A good percentage of smart Gringos and Expats living in Latin America have been lucky enough to get their assets out of the US and the US banking system. The see the writing on the wall and soon a desperate Big Brother will slam that exit door too. Smart people know that with the passage of FATCA, the bail-ins and the push for the cashless society, it’ll be the depositor’s money in US bank accounts that becomes the source of the next bank bailout- probably not another QE. That said, using offshore corporations and bank accounts have always been, perfectly legal ways to do business, keep money and assets somewhat anonymous as well as protected from confiscation and lawsuits etc. But now with the massive “Panama Leaks” story the world sees how corrupt, sociopathic, scumbag politicos and untouchable megabuck-jerks use these same legal tools to hide and redirect their payoffs and ill-gotten public loot. Unfortunately, with that breaking story everyone who uses these legal and valuable tools are now being stained by the media with the same brush…

BTW: hate to say I told you so but as I’ve said all along, Panama’s been labeled such a high-profile money-laundering center- a hot spot like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands- its naturally on every first-world tax authority’s radar. That said, only clueless gringos and Expats are nuts enough to bank or create Panama based corporations. If you need to incorporate or do banking, there are so many nicer, better, low key places in Latin America.

-INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPAT TAX PREPARER- PART ONE:

It’s APRIL! Gringos and Expats are much concerned with filing their US taxes and wonder who should prepare them. Today we have Part One of an interview with a profession Expat tax preparer with over 600 Expat clients. He lives in Medellin, Colombia so he knows the peculiarities concerning Expats and US taxes and we’ll ask him tax questions that most concern Expats.

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Expat Files – 04.03.16

SOME GRINGOS AND EXPATS NEVER LEARN:

A high percentage of Gringos and Expats living in Latin America still believe in the American Republi-Rat political system. Talk about clueless Gringos! It’s a good thing most of those “brain lost” types are found living “on the gringo tourist trail”…and for me its reason number 4536 why I recommend living “off the tourist trail”. Here’s the scoop on that travesty…

-HOW LATIN AMERICANS VIEW AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:

Historically, Latins couldn’t care one frijole about US politics. However, for the first time ever local Latins are paying extreme attention to the race. The only issue for Latins here is immigration of course and today you’ll find out the crap the Latin media is spreading and hoe the locals are reacting…

-NOT ALL LATINS HATE TRUMP:

You’ll be surprised to hear that most upscale and wealthy Latins American secretly hope Trump wins. Why? Because they’re embarrassed and shamed by the negative stereotypes created by those who have slipped into the US illegally. Many Latins with dough and education actually want Trump to build a wall to keep then sweaty masses out. Wealthy Latins are very classist and hate that white-bread US citizens seem to paint all classes Latins with the same negative brush.

-BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE “EXPAT FILES” YOU TUBE CHANNEL: become a subscriber (it’s free!)

-CONSULT WITH JOHNNY- SCHEDULE A CELL OR SKYPE CALL: Would you like a 1 on 1 personal Skype or phone consult with me? Set up a time when we can talk and sort out your own specific Latin American plans. Just write “CONSULT” in the subject line and send a short list of your questions and talking points to: theexpatfiles@gmail.com

-Visit me Johnny (and Expat super-blogger John Galt) at our new joint website www.TheNewExpat.com . It’s where you’ll get real “boots on the ground” info, experienced expat blogs and reports. It’s a work in progress so please be patient. We’re continually improving and expanding the format.

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Expat Files – 04.01.16

-CANADIANS WHO LOVE LIVING IN LATIN AMERICA ARE BEING PUNISHED BY THE CANADAN GOVT FOR DOING SO:
For many Canadians their legendary National Healthcare system is sacrosanct, but for snowbirds to take advantage of it they must live in Canada for at least 5 months a year. As you’ll see on today’s show, many Canadians would rather suffer the wrath and consequences of socialism, extreme Big Brother and killer taxes other than give up their so-called “free” Canadian medicine. It’s not hard to see why so many Canadians are making a big mistake by trying to hang on to this benefit, thus missing the chance to get out of Dodge while they still can…

-MORE THAN A MILLION AND HALF GRINGOS AND EXPATS NOW LIVE IN MEXICO. COULD THAT BE A GOOD THING?:
Though it might sound good at first, in the long run it’s not. Bottom line: when gringos come in hoards (like they’ve done in Costa Rica) it’s only a matter of time before the locals come to resent it. Though we bring details and order, we also bring high expectations, punctuality and an ever higher cost of living. So, if you live in Mexico, little by little you’ll be waving goodbye to that famous “Gringo Advantage”…

-TODAY WE TALK ABOUT A BRAND NEW LATIN AMERICAN “CONCIERGE SERVICE” FOR GRINGOS AND EXPATS. DESIGNED TO HELP NEW ARRIVALS, AND THOSE PLANNING THEIR EVENTUAL RELOCATION TO LATIN AMERICA, THE CONCIERGE LADIES WILL HANDHOLD YOU THROUGH MOST ANYTHING TO BE DONE ON YOUR “TO DO” LIST….

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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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Expat Files – 03.25.16

-Business Banking in Latin America-and how to protect your assets once you get started:
However bad your Spanish is, once in Latin America you will soon start seeing all kinds of business opportunities. Once you’ve found your business “niche” (to me that means no GRINGO competition) you’ll need to have an internet presence and a bank account. That said, how do you select a solid offshore bank for your business accounts(s) that won’t be sucking up to the US govt. and the 1st world legal system?

-Chinese food lovers? You’ve got a big problem if you live in Latin America:

-What will happen to small businesses in Latin America after the US and the rest of the 1st world outlaw the use of CASH?

-The trouble with Pay Pal In Latin America:
Yes they have PP in Latin American, but it’s not such a great deal for businesses and retail providers. Sure, consumers like it but sellers hate it and here’s why…

-Text message overload (in Spanish): If you’ve got a cheap cellphone, get ready for some constant text message aggravation- in Spanish. What’s that all about?

– Naked Sim Cards: Millions of Latins use them… and so do smart Expat Gringos

-The proliferating Latin American cell phone extortion racket: Though this stuff rarely happens to gringos(except in Mexico) here’s a dirty little secret you’ve just got to hear…

– Latin TV, in a word, simply SUCKS!!!:
Yes, Latins love everything gringo and 1st world, even if it’s useless over-hyped Ron Popeil junk like Ginzu Knives, Ab Crunchers, Chia-pets and Buns of Steel. That said, slick Latin TV ad people have discovered the “Gringo Advantage”. As long as anything is promoted on TV as a genuine US product, it undoubtedly becomes a hit. So what’s the latest “As Seen on TV” mega-fad gimmick? …..well, it’s a thick Velcro corset that promises to suck in tummy flab and promote an instant hourglass shape. They’re so popular they can’t keep those stupid things in stock! What’s that say about the overweight and obesity problem in Latin America? (sound familiar?)

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Expat Files – 03.20.16

-“Botox Monday”: A trip to a Latin American Dermatology specialist:
Here in Latin America they have all the medical specialties you can possibly imagine and today I’ll relate my own story of a recent trip to a highly regarded, upscale, 1st-world trained Dermatologist whose office is way “off the gringo tourist trail” in a wealthy high-end suburban mall. Coincidentally, I just happened to have walked in on a waiting room full of wrinkly, upscale Latin ladies on “Botox Monday”!! You’ll never guess what happened next…

-A Gringo Guinea Pig:
Why did a noted Latin MD ask me to tell my story (and exhibit my symptoms) to a group of Latin American Nutritionists and anti –aging experts?

-It’s the blind leading the blind in the Latin Real Estate Bubble:
The buy/build/buy mantra led by Latin real estate agents and promoters is so pervasive that many clueless gringos are getting sucked into the idiot fantasy that real estate never goes down… duh????

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Expat Files – 03.18.16

-What if you get into a car accident or hit a pedestrian in Latin America? What to do? You call the car insurance company and lawyer and wait for help, right? Sure, that’s the right thing to do, however almost all lawyers, professionals, upscale Latins and even “Driver’s Ed” instructors are advising their friends, clients and students to do something much different all depending depending on the circumstances. Of course that special advice will always be “off the record”.

-When Gringo “good Samaritan” efforts backfire:

-Another reason Latins think Gringos are a bit crazy:

Did you know Latins have definite opinions about “OUR” choices in the Latin mating, dating and marriage game? Down here in Latin America they locals are especially surprised, even perplexed when they occasionally see some tall, strapping gringo or attractive gringa dating a person “THEY” feel culturally or economically superior to. For example: I’ve heard the occasional negative comments from slightly irritated Latins who see Gringos/Gingas dating short, dark indigenous people (instead of the traditional sexy Latin/Latina stereotypes). Yes, average Latins are often very classist and racist- no, not against us Gringos and Gringas but against their own countrymen and women.

Gringos, Latins and lotteries:

Yes there are dozens of types of lotteries in Latin America. Some are announced in the papers, some on TV and there’s also the traditional paper ticket types bought on the street. Still other lotteries come as annoying text messages on cell phones. Now, there’s one special lottery all Latins would love to win, but as for gringos hitting that jackpot… most of us would reject the prize in a heartbeat. You’ll never guess what lottery I’m referring to…