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Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Best Wishes for a Very Happy New Year….May 2011 be good to All….

In Uncategorized on December 31, 2010 at 7:25 pm

CapeCoralBlogger wishes all a very happy and Prosperous 2011.

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: December 30, 2010 Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: December 30, 2010
Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

I left Argentina last night by plane– I decided to skip out on the drive through Patagonia for now so that I can get on more quickly with the business of scouting locations for our sustainable community. I have a few leads that I’m excited about and didn’t want to waste any time.

There are a lot of reasons why Chile is the right place for this community… one key reason is that Chile is the land of opportunity, and I’ll describe that much more in future letters.

While Chile does have a lot of advantages, though, it is certainly not alone– There are opportunities everywhere for people who are willing to see, and as I was looking back over this year’s letters, I came across this one from Panama in which I described several business concepts that could be very promising.

** Editor’s note: Premium subscribers are reminded of our monthly conference call, today, December 30th at 2pm Eastern.

From February 2, 2010 in Panama City, Panama:
————————

I see a lot of opportunity in Panama right now for entrepreneurs and small businesses; in fact, I see more opportunity here than in just about every other country in the western hemisphere with few exceptions. [editor’s note: Chile, Colombia, Peru]

Why?

Panama has two strong emerging consumer markets.

The first is the obvious low hanging fruit: foreigners. Their ranks in Panama are growing by the day, swelling the country with their capital and their consumer demands. Simply put, they are accustomed to certain products and services, not all of which are available in Panama. That spells opportunity.

Sure, there are droves of foreigners here already posing as real estate agents trying to sell the next expat on an overpriced, generic condo in Panama City… but that business model is dead for now. There are better options.

One possibility is a professional property management company. There are thousands of new condo units in the city whose owners might only visit a few times a year. During the vacant periods, there are bills to be paid, maintenance to be performed, and in many cases, tenants to be found and managed.

Only a few companies in Panama focus on this business model, and they’re completely slammed. The market could use some competition, especially considering all the new construction coming online in the next 12-months.

Another consumer demand that needs to be addressed is high-end storage. Panama’s heat and humidity can be disastrous for sensitive belongings like wine, paintings, and antiques; thus, a high-end self-storage facility would likely do quite well here, and it would be fairly inexpensive to start up.

One idea that I have been considering myself is providing services for companies involved in Panama’s two major construction engines right now– the Canal expansion project, and the Panama Pacifico redevelopment project.

(Panama Pacifico is a $1 billion mixed use commercial/residential development on the former Howard Air Force base just outside of the city near the Canal.)

These two projects are attracting a myriad of foreign companies, and right now there are limited options available for corporate services, especially lodging for business travelers.

Nearly every reasonable hotel in Panama province is tucked inside the city, making for an unreasonable commute, and the first business class hotels outside of the city aren’t due to be rolled out until 2016. A well-located existing structure could be renovated, marketed, and profitable as a business-class hotel within 12-months.

The second consumer market worthy of an entrepreneur’s attention in Panama is its emerging middle class, and this is another group that is growing by the day thanks to the income effect of Panama’s growing economy.

The wealth of most developing countries is concentrated in the hands of the few, leaving the remainder of the population living on scraps; these types of markets should generally be avoided by smaller enterprises.

The mark of any well-developed country is a solid middle class– roughly 60 to 80 percent of the population that earns enough to provide a comfortable standard of living, savings, and discretionary spending.

Panama is clearly moving in this direction; middle class households earn between $800 and $1,500 per month, which is enough for them to buy a house and car while having plenty of money left over for savings and mindless consumption.

One clear opportunity is the current shortage of housing units for middle class Panamanians, which fall in the range of $60,000 to $80,000. The government projects that roughly 70,000 units are needed just in the area around Panama City; existing approvals show only around 8,000 in various stages of planning or development.

Retail opportunities also exist; by nature, Panamanians are a consumptive group– as a culture, if they have money, they’ll spend it. It seems like everyone has a new car these days, and given how poorly everyone drives here, there’s opportunity for maintenance and body shops.

Assisted living facilities and elderly care is also a fantastic opportunity, particularly when targeting the Panamanian middle class; for the first time ever, this group now has the income to outsource the care for their elders, and they’re starting to do it. The few facilities that offer this service in Panama are booked solid.

These are just a few small business ideas in Panama that I’ve noticed recently; if you spend much time on the ground here you will probably come up with several more on your own.

One thing I would caution you about is running any employee-intensive business; Panamanian labor laws, while relatively relaxed in comparison to the rest of Latin America, clearly favor the employee.

Between the mandatory “13th month” annual bonus, 40+ days off, increasing minimum wage, and Byzantine termination rules, it’s in your best interest to keep the workforce slim and/or temporary.

If you find yourself truly interested in launching one of these ideas (or a better one of your own) and have a legitimate business plan worked out, feel free to drop me a comment if you’re looking for startup capital. I may be interested in investing if the deal is right, and there are probably some fellow subscribers who are interested as well.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: December 29, 2010 Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: December 29, 2010
Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Looking back over the year’s dispatches is like a walk down memory lane for me– I usually remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at the time when I sat down to write to you, and that constant journey has taken me across dozens of countries this year.

One of them, a particular favorite of mine due to its scenic beauty, healthy living, and rock bottom prices, is Ecuador. They literally give away land for free (see below), and it costs nothing to live quite well in the major cities. Though Ecuador had a few blips this year, the country still has solid prospects.

I originally wrote this letter to you from Cuenca, Ecuador on April 21, 2010:

————————
Last night I ate at one of the fanciest restaurants in Cuenca. Everything except for the Chilean wine was locally grown and absolutely delicious, right down to the banana flan for dessert.

The total bill for my beautiful companion and I rang in at $40.02, including 3 courses with wine.

For lunch, I ate at a local cafe– another 3-course meal with a chicken soup to start with, beef loin on a bed of rice, small dessert, and fresh squeezed juice right out of the fruit. That meal set me back a whopping $1.75.

I gave the waiter $2 and he literally followed me out of the cafe trying to give me my $0.25 in change back because apparently the $1.75 already included a 10% gratuity.

I’m telling you this because I’m trying to impress upon you how cheap Ecuador truly is, and how much value is in the price.

I think of countries like publicly traded shares on a stock exchange. Sometimes the market gets out of hand, and companies trade for an unjustifiably high multiple of their earnings and assets (think Amazon.com during the tech bubble).

In some instances, though, companies trade at a discount to their net asset value– we saw this in the first quarter of 2009 when many of the junior mining companies were trading at less than the value of the cash they had in the bank.

It doesn’t really matter how high or how low the price of a stock is, or what the market capitalization is… what makes a company attractive to buy is when it is significantly undervalued relative to its earnings, assets, and potential.

I value countries in the same way.

Brazil, for example, is like a company with a very large market capitalization that is trading at roughly net asset value, neither significantly overvalued nor undervalued.

Morocco, on the other hand, is a small cap company that is trading at a premium to its net asset value and earnings– sure, it’s cheap, but it’s a total disaster.

Ecuador, in my assessment, is like a deeply undervalued mid cap company. It is not without its own problems and challenges, but price level here is substantially lower than the level of its well-developed infrastructure and amenities.

I’ll give you a few real estate examples to help paint the picture:

Here in Cuenca, I’m looking at a particular property near town that’s on about 10 acres with a 3,400 square foot main house (roughly 300 square meters) of quality construction. The asking price is about $150,000.

If you calculate the construction costs at $500 per square meter (which is extraordinarily cheap, roughly the same cost to build a no-frills garage in North America), then the construction cost of just the home is $150,000. You get 10 acres of land for free.

Another place I’m looking at is in the mountains on 20-acres of prime property. The main house has over 350 square meters of quality construction that’s almost brand new, and the owners are asking $375,000. You can do the same math and see that they’re basically giving away the house at cost, and giving away the land for nothing.

You see my point.

As for taxes, local property taxes are a joke… most of the owners around here complain if their taxes go up from $52/year to $55/year.

The biggest issue with taxation is on rental income– if you buy a property and rent it out, a tenant must withhold a flat 25% on rental income, which means that yields are not as high as in neighboring Colombia or Panama.

Overall, I really think Ecuador has substantial value. Using my “10-year rule” and looking out into the future, I’m not convinced that the country is on a very steep upward trajectory like Peru or Cambodia… but even if it stays exactly the same, it will still be a great place to spend some time and even retire.

Like any real estate market, from Vancouver to Vanuatu, there are traps to watch out for in Ecuadoran property; there will always be sharks waiting to take advantage of the uninitiated, which is why I recommend for people who are seriously considering expatriation to rent first, or deal with an absolutely trusted advisor.

A trusted advisor can be difficult to find– foreigners tend to rely too heavily on Google and Wikipedia (which I regard as the black hole of accurate information). It takes a lot of time on the ground– I’ve spent years running all over the world building quality contacts while burning through crooks and incompetents.

Ecuador has been no exception. More to follow.
————————

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

GASOLINE>>>>It’s really coming into the Mainstream NOW….by blogger admin.

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm

GASOLINE

I cant think of anyone or anything that really does not need it to some extent. The price here in the Cape is just around $3.06 per gallon. The price of oil is now above $91.00 per barrel. It’s destined to go higher and as that increases so does the price at the pump. Why is the promotion of our own resources being stalled by the Secretary of the Interior?
Who are agencies, the people who have their thumb on the will of the rest of us. By the rest of us, I mean the folks who really want to start this country on a path to self reliance. One of the agencies is the EPA, who dictate it seems all the directions that this country has taken with regards to energy, its uses and restrictions. How can we have allowed the hold on all drilling and excavation for resources while we continue to forward our dollars to foreigners. This every occurrance continues to devalue our currency and adds in making our country poorer. The job generation in the energy field would be huge if we were allowed to build up this industry in its proper fashion. Lets get with it America, we need to resolve this problem before our money is worthless and our country loses its stature and our currency becomes a second rate denomination.
Conservation groups also have had a hand in the blocking of land needed to produce the energy thats sorely needed in our country. While we see merit in guarding the wildlife and environs in the areas that are needed for energy production, we don’t see the requirement for complete blockage of efforts to produce energy that is so badly needed.
The imposition of a 7 year moratorium on drilling in so many areas is absolutely uncalled for. Ironically, in retrospect, it seems that the Federal Government regulations led to the oil spill in the first place, if we had the ability to drill closer in, in more shallow water, the accident likely would have never happened. We need to open more shallow water drilling and re-open the wells off the California coast. These surely hold promise and would certainly placate the financial strife that exists in that state. Why can’t we open our eyes, why can’t we open our mouths and proclaim that we are tired of all this and don’t want to take it anymore.

Do you want to pay $5.00 for a gallon of gas????? I sure don’t.

Should the dollar ever become 2nd to another currency, you will most surely see that happen. If oil per barrel pricing in Dollars ends, we are all in very deep trouble. Should it begin pricing in the Chinese Yen/Renimbi or trade in Euros, we will have lost our economic edge. Hyper inflation will by have seized our country and we will not have a very fast way out of that mess. The way out is by having enough of a job market here in the US which will guarantee our currency remains stable and we continue to be able to produce goods for export. A good start to this is by our own energy production and keeping most of our battered dollars here on our shores. 2011 is coming Fast>>>>>

WE need to get our thoughts together to stop this madness…

Happy New Year to all….

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: December 28, 2010 Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: December 28, 2010
Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

As we’re quickly approaching the end of December, I thought it would be appropriate to republish a few letters from earlier this year. 2010 brought substantial growth for this community– our numbers swelled, and I know that many readers probably missed some important letters from earlier days.

Today I want to repost a letter that I originally sent to you in early January, just after the 2009 holidays. In it, I defined what planting multiple flags is, and why everyone should be thinking about it. As the events of 2010 have unfolded, I think those reasons have only become stronger.

From January 4, 2010 in Malaga, Spain:
————————

Welcome back; I hope you had a relaxing holiday.

I spent 10-days with my family combing through the Italian countryside and drinking some unbelievable wine from a local grape called “Primitivo.” It’s a distant cousin of the California Zinfandel, and is only found in this region. A bottle from the best vineyard will set you back about 9 euro.

For New Year’s Eve, I saw a fireworks show that was simultaneously the most disorganized and explosive I have ever witnessed… so literally for me, the new year began with a bang.

I’m optimistic about 2010. I know a lot of people in the financial community who think that ‘this is it,’ that 2010 shall bear the worst economic cataclysm in history, causing widespread doom and agony.

Sure the conditions are ripe for stock/bond market crashes, a currency crisis, and multiple sovereign debt defaults. But these are a far cry from a gloomy end of human civilization.

It’s not that I have tremendous faith in world ‘leaders’ (as ridiculous a moniker as that is to use); last month’s debacle in Copenhagen only further underscored how perverse and ineffective the existing political process is, and everyone is really starting to see it.

The Social Contract is deteriorating rapidly, and in the end, the one thing that you can count on is that people will ultimately do what they perceive to be in their self-interest. This is what drives markets and trends.

As the protracted effects of government stupidity become more apparent, one such trend that I see emerging this year is the rise of the sovereign individual– the rebirth of the multiple flags approach.

I’ve talked about this before and I wanted to start off the year with a quick primer since it is a recurring theme of this letter. To be more specific, I absolutely implore you to plant multiple flags as part of your New Year resolutions.

The idea, originally conceived by international finance guru Harry Schultz, suggests diversifying different aspects of your identity across multiple ‘flags,’ or geographic jurisdictions.

As an example, Schultz coined the term ‘three-flags’ in the 1960s, suggesting that an individual should have citizenship in one country, residence in another, and businesses in another.

Later authors expanded on this idea by adding other ‘flags,’ including places to bank, places to ‘play,’ places to house electronic assets, etc.

Many writers today talk about ‘five flags’ or ‘six flags,’ but frankly I don’t see a limit on the number of things we can diversify geographically: email, citizenship, residence, banking, brokerages, gold/silver deposits, business registration, e-commerce, customer base, phone/fax, postal mail, etc.

So what’s the point? Why should you do this?

Diversifying geographically increases your freedom, your privacy, your sovereignty, and potentially reduces your tax burden. It protects you against bank failures, market changes, litigation, divorce, overzealous governments, and “NGC’s” (non-government criminals).

Perhaps even more importantly, planting multiple flags expands your existing contact base and opens a lot of doors to new opportunities.

Think of it like a life insurance policy– even if the worst never happens, it gives you great peace of mind and in many cases can rank as a significant asset.

While everyone recognizes these benefits of life insurance, no one actually expects to die anytime soon… so they put shopping for a policy on the back burner, sometimes until it’s too late.

In this case, the time to start diversifying internationally and planting multiple flags is now… before it’s too late– before currency controls are imposed, before tax codes change, before the last remaining foreign banks close their doors to foreigners.

I could cite you examples all day long, but I will list just a few hypothetical cases–

Imagine getting sued, losing the case, and having your financial assets commandeered by the court. Now imagine if your assets were safely offshore in another country.

Imagine being investigated by the government and having your email archives turned over to the authorities. Now imagine if your email server were in another country.

Imagine being robbed (taxed) by the government because your business is structured within its jurisdiction. Now imagine if your business were registered in another country.

Imagine having everything in your home country taken from theft, coercion, and litigation. Now imagine having cash and gold locked away in a secure, private vault overseas.

Imagine the social decay in your city getting so bad that riots and violent crime are a common occurrence. Now imagine having property overseas.

I’m sure you get the idea. Putting your assets, your business, your citizenship, your residency, your family’s livelihood under one flag, one government, is putting all of your eggs in one very frail, weak basket.

Technology makes it incredibly easy to diversify, and I see more and more people waking up to that reality each day. It takes only moments to set up an offshore email account, a few minutes to lease a private vault, and just a couple of hours to set up a company in Singapore.

The possibilities are truly endless, you just need to find the right tools and the right flags that work for you. Yes, even if you are a US citizen who is taxed on worldwide income, there are still several options available to live a multiple flags lifestyle.

I will be discussing the options in future letters, as well as individual case studies.
————————

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: December 27, 2010 Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2010 at 10:13 am

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: December 27, 2010
Reporting From: Buenos Aires, Argentina

I’m a bit jetlagged from my New Zealand-South America trip from Friday, so I’ve asked my friend John Cobin to step in with a short note about Chile, one of the countries that I find the most promising for expats.

John has been living in Chile for years and routinely provides blunt commentary about the country on this website at my request. From John:

“Chile has been capitalizing from its recent worldwide publicity during the miner rescue this year; the world saw that Chile is not a basket-case Banana Republic, but rather an extremely strong, civilized country.

Similarly, Chile stood out from the devastating earthquake this year, rebounding quickly and with so few casualties compared to the earthquake in Haiti.

According to a recent survey in the national daily El Mercurio, about three-fourths of Chileans have a positive outlook on their economic future.

The price of copper is at record highs, trickling down greater affluence to the lion’s share of Chileans. Earthquake recovery is moving along nicely, and, although Concepcion and Constitucion are still reeling from the effects, the country overall is functioning well and growing at around 6% per year.

Optimistic sentiment remains high in Chile during the 2010 holiday season. Indeed, 2011 looks to be even more prosperous than 2010. Unemployment remains relatively low at 7.6%, and inflation is low and under control. It’s nice to be in a place where optimism prevails over gloom.

I was asked to be a panelist last week on an international conference held in Santiago. The theme had to do with Chile’s leading example of democracy and growth in the region.

I remarked on why freer markets (and less interventionism), strong property rights, low corruption, privatization, private social security, good private health care, and first world living have been responsible for Chile’s rise.

Aside from my very upbeat and optimistic presentation, I emphasized that Chile can be further improved by eliminating the central bank, privatizing (or eliminating) prisons, privatizing the national copper mine CODELCO and national oil company ENAP, and abolishing the Ministry of Education (favoring homeschooling and private alternatives).

My remarks were surprisingly well-received and there seems to be a desire among many Chileans to be the leader in reforming governments in such a way that the world will take notice.

A representative to Chile’s Congress (national body) was on the panel with me and was all ears when I spoke, extending a hearty handshake afterwards. I remarked to friends that attended how unlikely it would have been to have such direct influence on a North American or European legislative member.”

Simon again. Chile is indeed a land of opportunity, and in many ways, it is the new America. I’ll be headed back to Santiago shortly once I finish up some personal business here in Buenos Aires, and then I’ll have more to report.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: December 24, 2010 Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: December 24, 2010
Reporting From: Santiago, Chile

It’s a long flight from Auckland to Santiago. Hell, it’s a long flight from Auckland to anywhere. You know, Australia is about 15 hours from anywhere, and New Zealand is 3 hours from Australia… so it’s out there.

My primary mission over the last three weeks in New Zealand was to spend time all over the south island looking at agricultural property. I wanted as much information as possible to make a final decision on where to base our sustainable community, and ultimately it came down to a handful of choices.

I’ve recently ruled out Uruguay due to its relatively weak economy that is sensitive to what happens in Argentina. I’ve also ruled out Panama as I’d prefer a country with a less cozy relationship to the United States.

I’ve been leaning heavily towards Chile, though New Zealand was a viable candidate… as such, I wanted to spend a few weeks on the ground gathering intelligence so I could be absolutely certain of my decision.

New Zealand is definitely a wonderful country… though it’s not the right place for our community: too far from anywhere, high taxes, and a bit socialist in its cultural mentality.

Most of all, I want the community to be in a strong, thriving economy that represents the future, not the western hierarchy of the past. Chile is the answer.

I’ll have a lot more to say about that in future letters once I return. For now, I’m transiting on to Argentina where I’ll spend the holidays with a few friends, sort out some personal business, and then hopefully drive across beautiful Patagonia back into Chile and up towards Santiago.

For now, I want to answer a few quick questions and wish you all the best for the holidays.

First, I wrote an article earlier this week about some indicators we’ll see in the future once gold reaches a top– I think that all those “we buy gold” signs will become “we sell gold” signs. In response, reader James asks:

“Simon, you mention that the ‘we buy gold’ shops capitalize on people’s ignorance. The free market is comprised of nothing more than voluntary transactions between two or more parties. Do you feel that what they are doing is immoral?”

No, absolutely not… and I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. Perhaps I should have expounded a bit more. I know there are multitudes of honest, upstanding gold dealers out there (my favorite being Van Simmons of David Hall Rare Coins).

Right now, the public is largely unaware about what’s happening in the gold market. Some people find themselves short of cash, and they see a sign that says ‘cash for gold’. Poof, problem solved.

This is nothing more than a lawful transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller, and I’m all for it.

But let’s be honest… if you scrap together an ounce of gold and someone offers you $400 for it, and you take it simply because you don’t know the spot price is $1400, they’ve just made $1000 (less melting and assay costs) on your ignorance.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with this. My only point is that these outfits are able to generate huge margins simply because of public ignorance… indicating that we are a long, long way from the top.

Eventually their margins will be squeezed because public ignorance has faded. The average person will know the price of gold because it’s on the nightly news, billboards, weekend infomercials, and all over the Internet. When this happens, it will be a sign that we’re near the top.

Next, Hans asks, “Hi Simon, I was wondering if you could address Cuba. I know it is quite communist but how do you see it as a place of refuge since it is so anti-American? It has a lot of potential if only they would migrate to a more pro-business approach.”

Cuba is a complete disaster, but it’s hard to imagine the place getting much worse. There does seem to be a lot of potential, and the country could turn into a boomtown overnight given the right conditions.

Two things need to happen in order for Cuba to substantially improve– first, the government needs to reduce its control over the economy and start allowing private employment, private ownership, and private businesses. This is already happening.

The second thing is that the ridiculous trade embargo needs to be lifted. I’m convinced that Barack Obama is keeping this card as his ace in the hole, and he’ll use it in 2012 if the Presidential race is tight. Lifting the embargo would help him tremendously with the Latino vote and likely win over Florida.

In the meantime, I would recommend the country for pioneer expats who don’t mind putting up with squalor and the lack of amenities… but Cuba makes up for it in other ways, like warm weather, gorgeous women, great salsa culture, and zero crime against foreigners.

Last, Stephen asks, “Simon, I’ve enjoyed the New Zealand guide that your friends Mark and Chris put together. I’m interested in moving there, what is your impression of the small business opportunities?”

As I’ve written before, New Zealand is an exceedingly beautiful country, though I think there’s better opportunity here for retirees than investors and entrepreneurs. The tax situation is a bit cumbersome and the regulatory environment is bureaucratic.

But if you’re looking for a place to lay low and enjoy some peace and quiet while still being in an English-speaking, civilized country, I highly recommend it.

That’s all for now, I’m off to catch my plane. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful weekend, and we’ll talk again soon.

Have a wonderful weekend!

This article appears courtesy of SovereignMan.com: Notes From The
Field
, a free newsletter dedicated to individual freedom,
internationalization, asset protection and global finance. For a
complimentary subscription, visit http://www.SovereignMan.com

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

Merry Christmas……….

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

Merry Christmas

I always say “Merry Christmas” ..not “happy holidays..”

———————————————————–

Cleverly done!!!

Twas the month before Christmas

When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying

Nor taking a stand.

See the PC Police had taken away

The reason for Christmas – no one could say.

The children were told by their schools not to sing

About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.

It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say

December 25th is just a ‘ Holiday ‘.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit

Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!

CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod

Something was changing, something quite odd!

Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa

In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was no where to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears

You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty

Are words that were used to intimidate me.

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.

And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded

The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate ‘Winter Break’ under your ‘Dream Tree’

Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.

Choose your words carefully, choose what you say

Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,

not Happy Holiday !

Please, all Christians join together and

wish everyone you meet

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

The Keystone Cops of Washington, DC…………………by admin

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 9:57 am

Did you see/watch ABC news with Diane Sawyer last week??? Did you see the Keystone Cops being interviewed???
Where are we going????

Anyway, with that said,

A very Merry Christmas to all from Capecoralblogger….

Sovereign Man Notes from the Field Date: December 23, 2010 Reporting From: Auckland, New Zealand

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Sovereign Man
Notes from the Field

Date: December 23, 2010
Reporting From: Auckland, New Zealand

The other night in Auckland, the alternative rock band Gorillaz (audio link) performed at Vector Arena down the street from my flat. I didn’t have to go to the concert– I had the best seat in the house right from my own balcony, sort of like the Wrigley Field Rooftops in Chicago.

It was the first summer evening of the southern hemisphere, and I sat listening to the band with a few expat friends and a nice bottle of one of New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blancs… and once the music faded, we started talking about expatriation– what makes people stay and what makes people leave.

I’ve met a lot of expats over the years and seen the psychology of people’s decision-making processes up close and personal. For many, the decision is driven by emotion: fear, anxiety, sense of adventure, etc.

Some people react to this wide range of emotions by packing up overnight and heading to a place they’ve never been before expecting it to look like Topeka, Kansas. It doesn’t usually work out for these folks– they encounter challenges that don’t meet their unrealistic expectations, and frustration sets in.

The successful expats I’ve met all made calculated, rational decisions after a few boots on the ground trips and a lot of research. When they properly set their expecations and maintained the flexibility to deal with the unknown, they almost always ended up happy with the decision.

As many of these successful expats have found out, sometimes the grass actually -is- greener… sometimes life actually can become better, more interesting, more fulfilling when they step away from the grind, think clearly about what they want, and follow a new direction.

Earlier in the day I had a meeting with Iain MacLeod of IMMagine New Zealand, a local immigration specialist who will be speaking at our upcoming offshore workshop in Panama. Iain’s a great guy, very knowledgeable and experienced, and we were swapping expat stories at his office.

Iain’s known quite a few expats who have made New Zealand their home– from England, South Africa, the US… meanwhile there are a lot of Kiwis heading overseas themselves.

You see, there’s a bit of a brain drain here, particularly among the talented youth. Many of them find New Zealand to be too small, too provincial, too limiting… and they run like hell to places like Los Angeles.

Ironically, I’ve met a lot of Californians who are beating down the door to get into New Zealand– they find LA to be too crowded, too dangerous, and too stifling. To them, New Zealand is paradise.

As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure… and with the expat game, it’s a bit of a global merry-go-round.

For example, I once met a young Filipino who went to Malaysia to work at a call center because he heard they were hiring English speakers. Later, I met a Malaysian entrepreneur who went to Thailand to open a successful computer hardware factory because he got better tax incentives there.

Naturally I’ve met many Thais living abroad, working hard in places like Dubai, and then of course many Emiratis from Dubai living in London. The merry-go-round comes full circle with the British expat from London who ends up living in the Philippines.

In a way, this phenomenon illustrates what I consider to be a [relatively] free market for citizenship and overseas residency; people are free to choose the locations that are most suitable for their needs based on opportunity and lifestyle.

My expectation is that as the geopolitical landscape continues to change, the barriers to entry in many countries will fall; governments will be forced to compete with each other to attract residents.

For example, I expect that countries with terrible demographics like Japan and Italy will start being very liberal in their immigration policies because they need young blood to work, pay taxes, and support elderly social programs.

The same may even happen in the US eventually, with the government offering immigration incentives to foreigners who can help mop up the housing inventory and recapitalize the banks with their savings.

The thing is, many countries are already doing this. Singapore and Chile are aggressively courting investors, professionals, and entrepreneurs. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE advertise in the help wanted sections of Sri Lankan and Indian newspapers to staff their colossal infrastructure projects.

Places like Panama, Brazil, and Costa Rica have passed favorable legislation and tax incentives in order to attract foreign retirees… and as my friend Iain was telling me, they even have some investor and retiree programs here in New Zealand.

The bottom line is that for a creative, inquisitive mind, there are plenty of options available for anyone seeking lifestyle or financial opportunities overseas. The first step is the most important, though: breaking free of the serf mentality that ‘you are what your passport says you are’.

More on this in future letters.

Simon Black
Senior Editor, SovereignMan.com

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