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Ecuador Imports Impact a Better Retirement

Ecuador does have many advantages that can help us enjoy a better retirement. For example residents at 65 get many products and services at half price… air fares… medical… hotels for example.  Even taxes are cut in half.  There is enormous good value for retirees in low medical costs …  inexpensive pharmaceuticals   …   dermatologists … and great value dentists.

When you want a better retirement in Ecuador if you desire imported goods, the costs of these products are more than in the US, Canada or Europe more.  Some products that many consider a regular part of life not even available in Ecuador stores.

In the 45 years that Merri and I have lived and worked abroad the world.   We always enjoy living within and being a part of the culture.   The expanded horizons we gain by living in new ways fill any void created by missing familiar parts of our previous residences.

However most of us like to blend some parts of our culture and Ecuador Living reader Eva Van Loon sent this note about what’s not in Ecuador for those ready to retire there.  We thought her ideas were worthwhile sharing.


Eva’s hotplate for Ecuador.

The Oh-oh List

by Eva Van Loon

“Pack as little as possible; then throw half of it out and re-pack.”

“Plan a layered wardrobe in one set of colors.”

“Pack no more than a medium-size suitcase—then fit it into an empty bigger suitcase so that you can bring home souvenirs without buying more luggage.”

All great advice for serious traveling. The missing advice? The oh-oh list you haven’t made up yet, because you’re never been to Ecuador until now.

The I’ll-know-better-next-time list. But no worries—I’ll lend you mine, the oh-oh list I’ll be consulting for my next trip.

1.    Baking soda. No joke, good old cheap, common baking soda in the familiar orange box—or any box—does not grace any Ecuadorian shelves. It comes in miniscule baggies of an ounce or two, at ridiculous prices. Apparently the theory is that baking soda encourages the manufacture of drugs. No one seems aware of its medicinal or cleansing properties. It will be interesting to see what happens with the four kilos of the stuff I plan to bring with me next trip. Don’t plan on luxuriating in a baking-soda bath in Ecuador, however—bathtubs are even scarcer than baking soda.

2.    Hydrogen peroxide.  A friend uses this stuff for medical purposes. Stuck in a beach town with few amenities, he asked me to find some. Maybe in Quito it’s sold, but nowhere in Otavalo, Ibarra, or Cotacachi. Even learning to pronounce peróxido de hidrógeno—there’s a mouthful!—didn’t help.

3.    Healthy toothpaste and mouthwash.  This was a big concern for me, fresh from my Nicaraguan dentist and working on ensuring my bone graft would take by vigorously looking after good mouth health. Take along enough of your favorites to last the trip. I ran out and resorted to plain old baking soda (in the expensive baggies).

4.    Noxzema.  There are blue jars and tubes of cream, but that’s not what’s in them. You might find some eucalyptus, tea-tree-oil and similar products in specialty stores, especially as the ex-pat market grows, but don’t count on it. Insect bites? Try the juice of a fresh lemon instead. Works wonders to stop itching.

5.    Viognier wine.  My new favorite grape makes great wine in nearby Chile and Argentina but somehow skips over Ecuador on it way north. Fine wine of any variety is scarce, mind you. For many of us this is not a bad thing, as it encourages modest consumption. The available stuff is drinkable and perhaps a little cheaper than in Canada, but definitely nothing to write home about.

6.    Hotplates and toaster ovens.  Now why would the absence of these normally ubiquitous kitchen appliances bother a visitor? Because only too often, gaz no hay! All the stoves burn gas, but the familiar propane tanks seem to go a.w.o.l. or run dry far too often, leaving you longing for a little something you could just plug into a wall to make tea, soup, toast or a one-dish meal. I shopped my paws off for a little electrical miracle we could cook on but plastic plug-in coffeemakers (the common kind) and crock pots were all I could find. A one-ring hotplate would have saved us several hundred dollars at our plushy beach hotel with the expensive restaurant—there was no gas for our beautiful stove!

7.    French press.  Coffee aficionados, take note: the coffee’s great in Ecuador but the coffeemakers, not so much. If you’re fussy enough about coffee to insist on burr-grinding and a French press, bring your own (and maybe a little shaker of cardamom, a squirt of agave nectar, or what you fancy in your coffee).

8.    Real pans.  Cookware in Ecuador tends to be thin stuff, cheaply made elsewhere. Just one heavy-bottomed fry pan can turn your kitchen into a joyous nest of creativity.

9.    Scales.  Hoping to watch your weight come down during your stay in Ecuador? Ask your ex-pat friends if you can bring them the gift of a bathroom scale and use it while you’re there. Don’t forget your hand-held luggage scale, either, to prevent those anxious pre-departure moments when you worry about how much you’ll have to pay for lugging home fifty ponchos.

10.    Alternative milks.  The absence of almond milk, nut milks, oat milk and the like did not bother me much, as there’s great raw cow’s milk to be had, and experience that took me back to rural Alberta of sixty years ago. Fresh from the cow—wow! But if you’re lactose-intolerant and typically use a powdered substitute for milk, better take some along. I could not find powdered whole milk, either, a product I take home to Canada on my every trip to Nicaragua. In Ecuador, the powdered milk is all skim, and the rare carton of alternate milk contains soy or cow’s milk.

11.    Real rice.  Ecuador eats rice with almost every meal–white rice. No brown, red or black rice available. I began ordering meals sin res. Con papas seemed a better choice.

12.    Real bread.  If you do white bread, the many bakeries in Ecuador will delight you. If your only bread is sprouted-grain or the occasional naan, you won’t be eating bread on your trip (which may explain how I lost 12 inches in girth in five weeks). Even pan integral, the whole-wheat breads, fails to integrate anything but wheat. Rye, spelt, oats—scarcer than baking soda. On the plus side, the wheat is said to be an old variety, which would definitely be healthier than the instant-sugar types used in North America.

13.    Bathing suits for big people.  Bring two. Or find that lovely tailor in San Clemente who will make you a new bathing suit in two days.

14.    Large shoes.  Sasquatch feet? You already know not to go anywhere without extra footwear, especially to a country where people’s feet are literally half the size of yours. In Cotacachi, however, you can have footwear made to order—in leather! You’ll walk like royalty then.

15.    Books.  Travel agencies, hostels and hotels often set aside a few shelves for a book exchange but bookstores are few. Add to the country’s collection of books in your language by bringing along a couple you can leave behind.

Two categories of stuff deserve to be mentioned as must-haves. First, take along enough of your essential medicines and supplements to last the trip. Second, electronic things tend to be expensive; so take your equipment. I had along a laptop, a Kindle and a Galaxy (which served as camera) and next time might add an IPad to the collection.

Of course, I won’t be stuffing my biggest suitcase with everything on my oh-oh list next trip to Ecuador. I won’t be surprised, however, if the x-ray of my luggage excites some curiosity over why this tubby little old lady is bringing kilos of white powder and cooking gear into the country—not to mention a scale!
Remember, pack—then re-pack. Buen viaje!

Eva Van Loon is practicing a better retirement by traveling around Central and South America taking advantages of value she finds.  Her book  “Million Dollar Smile: Save Your Teeth and Your Wallet in Friendly Nicaragua” shows how to make retirement better by enjoying new cultures and lowering dental bills.

Learn about good value dentistry in Ecuador here.

Protect Your Savings in Ecuador

Old Accord Creates New Profits – Multi Currency Investments.

Earn more with multi currency stock market breakouts.

Improve Safety – Increase Profits

Learn how to improve the safety of your savings and investments by selecting good value and diversified investments in a multi-currency portfolio.

Few decisions are as important to your wealth as the value of the markets and currencies you invest in.  This has been our area of expertise since the 1970s and we have worked with and advised some of the largest currency traders in the world.

Gain Protection First – Against the Dollar’s Purchasing Power Loss.  In 1913 the The Federal Reserve Act created the Federal Reserve Bank to protect the purchasing power of the US dollar, which has since lost about 94% of its purchasing power.  Here is its price compared with gold since 1900.

priced in gold

Dollar chart from pricedingold.com (1)

The Fed has let the dollar lose most of its strength plus has allowed interest rates to fall so low, that safe investments cannot keep pace with the drop in purchasing power.


Chart from Grandfather Economic Report (2)

Many investors have forgotten about the risk of a falling dollar because the greenback has been strong for the past five years.  This temporary dollar strength came after the great recession of 2009 just as there was temporary dollar strength after the great recession of the 1980s.  Then about six years after the recession, an agreement was made by major governments to weaken the dollar.

There was a severe global economic recession affecting much of the developed world in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The United States and Japan exited the recession relatively early, but high unemployment would continue to affect Europe and the UK through to at least 1985.  As a consequence between 1980 and 1985, the US dollar had appreciated by about 50% against the Japanese yen, Deutsche mark, French franc and British pound, the currencies of the next four biggest economies at the time. Then the governments reached an agreement and exchange rate values of the dollar versus the yen declined by 51% from 1985 to 1987.

Now the world is again in the same place.  The recession is over.  Europe is a bit behind in recovery and the dollar is higher than before the recession.

There is no reason for the greenback to be  strong.

The agreement in 1985 was called the Plaza Accord.   Over just two years the greenback dropped nearly 50% versus other major currencies.  The next accord will generate great profits for those who know what to do while it ruins the purchasing power of dollar back investments.

The strong US dollar and low interest rates have created one of the biggest stock and multi currency breakout opportunities in history.  Learn how to create a plan to profit from multi currency shifts ahead.

One reason for the potential gains is that stock markets and currency values are cyclical.  Due to low interest rates created by the 2009 economic downturn, the US and a few other equity markets have risen to some of their highest prices, ever.  These markets offer very poor value now.  The steep valuation creates incredible profit potential but also hides some enormous risks.  Learn how to develop an investing strategy based of earnings, cash flows, dividends and book values to increase potential for profit and reduce the risks.

Next Extra Profit Created by Value Breakouts

Over the history of US equity markets, the  price of overall markets have risen about 9.1 percent, respectively, compounded annually.  Yet over more than a hundred years of stock market activity,  a majority of the profits have come from just a very few dramatic breakouts.

Equity markets are ruled in the short term by emotions that create unpredictable ups and downs.  Numerous fears of defaults, worries of double dip recessions, high unemployment, concerns about fiscal cliffs, hold investors back.  Yet global population growth and advances in production and prosperity are relentless economic fundamentals that increase value.

When fear holds back a a fundamentally rising value, rising profit potential grows.  Values increase as prices stagnate.  Then markets break free and rocket upwards creating wealth, prosperity and growth.

Find out which breakouts are likely to take place next.

Stocks rise from the cycle of war, productivity and demographics. Cycles create recurring profits. Economies and stock markets cycle up and down around every 15 years as shown in this graph.


The effect of war cycles on the US Stock Market since 1906.

Bull and bear cycles are based on cycles of human interaction, war, technology and productivity.  Economic downturns create war.

Here is the war stock cycle.  Military struggles (like the Civil War, WWI, WWII and the Cold War: WWIII) super charge inventiveness that creates new forms of productivity…the steam engine, the internal combustion engine,  production line processes, jet engines, TV, farming techniques, plastics, telephone, computer and lastly during the Cold War, the internet.  The military technology shifts to domestic use.  A boom is created that leads to excess.  Excess leads to correction. Correction creates an economic downturn and again to war.

Learn how the Cyber War (WWIV) may change the way we live and act and how this will affect currencies and investments.


* How to easily buy global currencies, shares and bonds.

* Trading down and the benefits of investing in real estate in Small Town USA.  We will share why this breakout value is special and why we have been recommending good value real estate in this area since 2009.

* What’s up with gold and silver?  One session looks at my current position on gold and silver and asset protection.  We review the state of the precious metal markets and potential problems ahead for US dollars.  Learn how low interest rates eliminate  opportunity costs of diversification in precious metals and foreign currencies.

* How to improve safety and increase profit with leverage and staying power.  The seminar reveals Warren Buffett’s value investing strategy from research published at Yale University’s website.  This research shows that the stocks Buffet chooses are safe (with low beta and low volatility), cheap (value stocks with low price-to-book ratios), and high quality (stocks of companies that are profitable, stable, growing, and with high payout ratios), but his big, extra profits come from leverage and staying power.  At times Buffet’s portfolio, as all value portfolios, has fallen, but he has been willing and able to wait long periods for the value to reveal itself and prices to recover.

keppler asset management chart

This chart based on a 45 year portfolio study shows that holding a diversified good value portfolio (based on a  good value strategy) for 13 month’s time, increases the probability of outperformance to 70%.  However those who can hold the portfolio for five years gain a 88% probability of beating the bellwether in the market and after ten years the probability increases to 97.5%.

Time is your friend when you use a good value strategy.  The longer you can hold onto a well balanced good value portfolio, the better the odds of outstanding success.

Learn how much leverage to use.  Leverage is like medicine, the key is dose.  Buffett leverages his portfolio at a ratio of approximately 1.6 to 1.  This rate of expansion by the way is called the “Golden Ratio”.  It is a mathematical formula that controls the growth of most natural things; trees, the shape of leaves, the spiral of shells, as well as the way economies and societies grow.

We’ll sum the strategy, how to leverage cheap, safe, quality stocks and for what period of time based on your circumstances.

Learn to plan in a way so you never run out of money.  The seminar also has a session on the importance of having and sticking to a plan.  See how success is dependent on conviction, wherewithal, and skill to operate with leverage and significant risk.  Learn a three point strategy based on my 50 (almost) years of investing experience combined with wisdom gained from some of the world’s best investment managers and economic mathematical scientists.

Enjoy investing more with slow, worry free, good value investing.  Stress, worry and fear are three of an investor’s worst enemies.  These are major foundations of the Behavior Gap, a trait exhibited by most investors, that causes them to underperform any market they choose.  The behavior gap is created by natural human responses to fear.  The losses created by this gap grow when investors trade short term under stress.

Learn how to put meaning into your investing by creating profitable strategies that combine good value investments with unique, personal goals.

Learn how to span the behavior gap.  Behavior gaps are among the biggest reasons why so many investors fail.  Human evolution makes fear the second most powerful motivator.  (Greed is the third.)  Fear creates investment losses due to behavior gaps.  Fear motivates us more strongly than desire.  By nature investors are risk adverse, when they should embrace risk.  Purpose is the most powerful motivator,  stronger than fear and greed.  One powerful way to overcome the behavior gap is to invest with a purpose.

Combine your needs and capabilities with the secrets and the math of our good value model portfolio.

Share ideas about my good value portfolio.  My personal investment portfolio comes from a continual analysis of international stock markets and a comparison of their value based on current book to price, cash flow to price, earnings to price, average dividend yield, return on equity and cash flow return.

Markets included in this portfolio are:

• Norway
• Australia
• Hong Kong
• Japan
• Singapore
• United Kingdom
• Taiwan
• South Korea
• China

These markets have been chosen based on four pillars of valuation.

• Absolute Valuation
• Relative Valuation
• Current versus Historic Valuation
• Current Relative versus Relative Historic Valuation

Learn how to use Country ETFs to easily construct a diversified, risk-controlled, equally weighted representative country portfolios in all of these good value countries.

To achieve this goal my portfolio consists of Country Index ETFs that track an index of shares in a specific country.  These country ETFs provide diversification into a basket of equities in the good value countries.  The expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund as well so such ETFs provide diversification and cost efficiency.

This is an easy, simple and effective approach to zeroing in on value because little management and guesswork is required.  You are investing in a diversified portfolio of good value indices.  A BUY rating for an index does NOT imply that any stock in that country is an attractive investment, so you do not have to pick and choose shares.  You can invest in the index which is like investing in all the shares in the index.  All you have to do is invest in an ETF that in turn invests passively in all the shares of the index.

Learn the results of a $80,000 share purchase cost test that found the least expensive way to invest in good value.  The keys to this portfolio are good value, low cost, minimal fuss and bother.  Plus a great savings of time.  Trading is minimal, usually not more than one or two shares are bought or sold in a year.  I wanted to find the very least expensive way to create and hold this portfolio so I performed a test.

The Test for Low Cost Trading

Research put every part of this portfolio in place, except knowing the best, easiest and least expensive way to buy.  A search for an optimal way to buy and hold boiled down to two methods.  One tactic to test was to use a unique online broker that appeared to offer the lowest cost deal.  The other approach was to use a community bank in Smalltown USA.  The small town bank that I use looks after my 401K trust account and their service is first class.  The benefit of small banks is that they still treat us as a human beings (instead of a number) and when we need, it’s easy to go right to the top to answer a question or get a problem resolved.  There are no call centers and the bank and the person looking after my account is just around the corner.

I created a test to see which offered the least expensive service.

Working with my banker in Smalltown USA,  I created two accounts, one at the online broker and the other at the bank. I placed $40,000 in each.

I set up the order for the country ETFs online, while my trust manager set up orders for the identical amounts of the same shares in his system.  Then we got on the phone, coordinated our timing and on a count of three each pushed the button “BUY”.

The results of this test  show how you can gain on any purchase of country ETFs.

In this special offer, you can get this online seminar FREE when you subscribe to our Personal investing Course.

Save $468.90 If You Act Now

Subscribe to the first year of The Personal investing Course (Pi).  The annual fee is $299, but to introduce you to this online, course that is based on real time investing, I am knocking $102 off the subscription.  Plus you receive FREE the $29.95 report “Three Currency Patterns for 50% Profits or More”, the $39.95 report “Silver Dip 2017” and our latest $297 online seminar for a total savings of $468.90.


Triple Guarantee

Enroll in Pi.  Get the basic training, the 46 market value report, access to all the updates of the past two years, the two reports and the Value Investing Seminar right away. 

#1:  I guarantee you’ll learn ideas about investing that are unique and can reduce stress as they help you enhance your profits through slow, worry free, easy diversified investing.

If you are not totally happy, simply let me know.

#2:  I guarantee you can cancel your subscription within 60 days and I’ll refund your subscription fee in full, no questions asked.

#3:  You can keep the two reports and Value Investing Seminar as my thanks for trying.

You have nothing to lose except the fear.   You gain the ultimate form of financial security as you reduce risk and increase profit potential.

Subscribe to Pi now, get the 130 page basic training, the 120 page 46 market value analysis, access to over 100 previous Pifolio updates, the “Silver Dip 2017” and “Three Currency Patterns For 50% Profits or More” reports, and value investment seminar, plus begin receiving regular Pifolio updates throughout the year.

Subscribe to a Pi annual subscription for $197 and receive all the above.

Your subscription will be charged $299 a year from now, but you can cancel at any time.




(1) Dollar chart from pricedingold.com

(2) Grandfather Economic Report