International Investments in Pensions

by | Sep 5, 2006 | Archives

International investments can be placed in pensions. Most investors use some form of pension as an important part of their financial system. There are many benefits including tax deductions, tax deferral and asset protection. Yet there is a huge pinch in most pension plans. The problem is that most pension administrators are not willing to let you invest in real estate or offshore.

This is one of my pet frustrations! This is so frustrating I administer my own pension and almost all of my pension investments are abroad.

The sad fact is, most investment restrictions in pensions are imposed not by legislation, but by your custodian or plan administrator. That’s right. You pay your pension administrators to help you, and they give you the wrong information.

The reality is, pension law allows you to invest in almost anything. Pensions can invest in international stocks, bonds, real estate, raw land, condos, office buildings, single or multi-family homes, apartment buildings and improved land, (as long as the real estate is not for current personal use).

Though such investments may be good for you, they may not be as profitable for your pension administrator. That administrator is often part of some large organization that wants you to keep your money with them so they’ll earn more from you. If that firm does not manage investments abroad (or real estate), they’ll tell you that you cannot invest in this way.

Or let’s give them a break and say that perhaps they are just poorly informed.

Either way the result is a problem. You are denied the opportunity to invest in what’s best for you. You are not allowed to put your most protected, tax deferred investments in the markets that offer the greatest potential!

Here is one solution. My friend of many years Larry Grossman, now makes it easier to invest your pension correctly because he has formed Sovereign International Pension Services an IRA Administrator that provides custodial services through an FDIC insured bank. In addition to handling IRA’s, the firm also offers custom designed retirement plans for SEP’s, SIMPLE IRA’s Profit Sharing plans, 401(k) including Roth 401(k)’s and Solo 401(k)’s, Defined Contribution plans and Defined Benefit plans. You can learn more about this and the few restrictions that apply at Sovereign Pension Services

Ecuador Real Estate – in Pensions

This means that the many readers who have asked me can they invest pension funds in Ecuador real estate. The question is does one want to own real estate in Ecuador ? A reader from my hometown of Portland asked about this when he wrote:

“Hi Gary, I happened to be riding the train in Portland on my way back from the airport and met a guy who had just returned from 2 or 3 years living in Ecuador. I told him of my great interest in the country based on my connection with you. He said he would not recommend it. He said it’s too dangerous, the real estate prices are rising but real estate buyers are having a hard time selling at acceptable prices. He also said he thought the country was politically unstable. I realize those are just one man’s opinion I consider your knowing 10 times more about Ecuador than he does but nonetheless his perspective gave me pause. Best regards,”

I thought my reply may be of value to every reader who has thought about Ecuador:

Let’s look at each of this gentleman’s points beginning with the danger. It’s interesting as I just read a great aphorism on what makes millionaires and a key phrase is that that the worst thing a person can do to make sure they’ll be secure is to try and play it safe. Playing safe means doing what worked in the past. Yet the only certainty in life is that the now and the future are never the same as the past!

What is danger? I have many delegates come here to the farm. They are terrified of danger lurking in the woods. One client came from Miami and was afraid of everything, the bears, the snakes, the woods. I explained to him that it’s actually quite hard to get killed in these woods.

Anything even remotely dangerous up here runs away from humans. Nature is wise and wild animals know that the most dangerous animal around is the human. So with all the animals scurrying away all that’s left is beautiful clean air, fresh water, peace and quiet. In other words, for Merri and me the woods are quite safe.

Now in Miami , its easy to get killed. I could list a dozen things that can get you 24 hours a day. But the delegate perceived danger in the woods simply because the woods were not familiar.

I agree with this gentleman that there are parts of Ecuadorian cities that one should not walk in, especially at night…like downtown Burnside around the Burnside Bridge in Portland. This was dangerous even back in the sixties. When I went to school at Portland State we avoided that part of town even during the day.

I also suppose that Ecuador is dangerous from an earthquake point of view, like San Francisco or LA. Plus in Ecuador we live in the shadow of two volcanos just as I did as a kid growing up in Portland where I was triangulated by three volcanos, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen and Mt. Tabor.

So sure there is danger, but also where Merri and I live in Ecuador we can go for a walk anywhere in the village, night or day. Much of the time we’ll probably see some small kids walking around with no sense of danger.

A couple times in the past decades there have been demonstrations where there were lots of people shouting in the streets but generally the people are pretty pacific here, so there was no damage…no one was hurt. This is even more so in the Andes and the part of the country where we live.

Is Ecuador politically unstable? I have to question that. True, Ecuador has had seven or eight presidents in the twelve plus years we have been here. We love it! The country has been able to throw the bums out. In the US if we get an administration that is leading the nation to disaster, even if there was a minority of the popular vote we might not be able to remove them.

I would rather have continual political turmoil where nothing gets done, than an efficient government that keeps doing bad things rather well. I do not depend on government for much anyway so the less the better and in Ecuador there is definitely less government intervention in your life.

This has its good and bad points. The government for example doesn’t do much to regulate how fast you drive. Rarely are there speeding signs. The bad is you have to watch out for overly aggressive drivers. The good is you don’t always have to be on the lookout for State Troopers.

I could not agree more with this gentleman’s Ecuador real estate assessment. The market is a jumble and prices are rising. What he described is a perfect buyer’s market, rising prices without a lot of buyers. This means you can find bargains when sellers are in a hurry.

I am not selling Ecuador for everyone. Merri and I love the place, but every person should try any potential place of residence and feel this for themselves. I know people who would be horrified at the thoughts of living in Portland, Oregon with all that rain. Others cannot fathom living as we do in the Blue Ridge, half an hour from the nearest town of 192 people and 2.5 hours from the nearest airport with no movies, no TV, no Starbucks and where no liquor, beer or wine is even allowed in restaurants in the county seat.

We love Ecuador as do many of our readers who have visited. They come back again and again either to live full or part time. Ten years from now we might like it or not…ditto for the Blue Ridge or even Ecuador or the USA at all. My recommendation to all those who have not been there is come visit. If you like the look and feel, stay awhile. Live at least a season…only then, if you like it, just think about buying. This advice is often ignored. Many visitors come and buy immediately. Few have expressed regrets but this is this come – look – see – WAIT…I believe is still good advice.

One thing for sure, Ecuador is affordable and has beauty, great people, wonderful food, a very workable system and so much variety and abundance that it offers adventure, and expanded horizons. Plus being near the USA and having spring like weather 12 months of the year doesn’t make things worse. Plus we just feel plain wonderful down there.

Ecuador may or may not be for you. There are dozens of countries you enjoy. Or maybe you’ll be happier staying at home. Any place can offer this wonder and a new zest and expanded horizons for life.

Ecuador property is beautiful, inexpensive and can offer expanded horizons in many ways. (Perretti & Park Pictures)

Expanded horizons leads me to our ayurvedic health tip of the day. The tip is that positive changes in consciousness are the keys to a healthy life.

Natural Health Tip Ayurved

One positive change that can alter your entire being is your own business that brings freedom and helps you to see ways to have a better life. This hope and the challenge and effort you’ll put in your business eliminate one of the greatest health risks most people have. That risk is repressed desires, lack of fulfillment, feelings of worth and stunted growth.

There is an old saying, “if we stop growing we are in a rut. A rut is nothing but a grave with the ends kicked out”.

A rut is a depression in the ground and if we are in a rut we can become depressed.

Depression is a huge health risk!

Numerous studies show that depression can lead to early death, and disease such as heart attacks and cancer.

An abstract on one Swedish study concludes. “This single measure of anxiety seems to be an indicator of premature mortality and severe morbidity, and was in this study an even stronger indicator than longstanding illness and smoking…. Health personnel should pay attention to patient anxiety in their diagnostic procedures.” Read the entire abstract at

Other studies show that healing is reduced by depression as well: A study on heart disease says: “Several medical studies, says Kubzansky, have tracked heart attack patients for many months after they left the hospital. The studies found that the patients with diagnosable depression suffered more heart complications including death. In fact, the risk of death was almost four-times higher in the first six months after a heart attack for the patients who were depressed.” See

Depression inhibits healing from cancer as well according to a study that says: “Desire for hastened death among terminally ill cancer patients is not uncommon. Depression and hopelessness are the strongest predictors of desire for hastened death in this population and provide independent and unique contributions. Interventions addressing depression, hopelessness, and social support appear to be important aspects of adequate palliative care, particularly as it relates to desire for hastened death.” See

One way to eliminate depression is by turning your passion into profit through your own small business. Imagine being involved in what you love most and getting paid for it! Work is fun and profitable!

Today it is increasingly possible for anyone to have a small successful global business because of technology. The Internet allows the small guy to fight back. Merri’s and my business provide an example. In 1999 we had a successful publishing business. We mailed millions of marketing pieces and newsletters a year and made millions of dollars working through special post offices designed to handle bulk mail.

Then we had a hitch and our get-along and wanted to move into a remote part of the Blue Ridge and even remoter portion of the Ecuadorian Andes. How could we pursue this expanded horizon and still publish? The nearest bulk mail post office in the Blue Ridge was hundreds of miles away. In Ecuador ? Use the mail? Forget it.

We became internet publishers instead. Over seven years working from these most remote sites( and with zero Internet knowledge to begin) we have built a strong and growing web based publishing business.

Recently I did a search engine check. Here are some of the search engine phrases we focus on to attract readers and how we rank (competing with hundreds of thousands and even millions of urls from much bigger firms around the world) at the major search engines of Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Phrase Ranking
International Investments # 7 – # 24
International Currencies #10 – #13
International Investment # 7 – #21 – #24
International Currency #1 – #2 – #27
International Currency Trends #1 & #2
Ecuador import sources #5
Millionaire maker #8
pressure points facelift #5
Natural health Ayurved #1 Google
Gary Scott # 1-#3 – # 9-#12

These are just a few of the phrases that work to bring us new readers globally, day in and day out. 24 hours a day they bring us the freedom to live and work where we choose. The Internet is today’s equivalent to the Colt .45 in frontier days, “the great equalizer”

Until next message, may you be free to expand your horizons every day.


P.S. Learn how to use the Internet to build a global publishing business. Join us for our Self-publisher’s and Writer’s Camp this October 2-6. Immerse yourself in the glory of the Blue Ridge leaf change. Enrollment at Merrily Farms is strictly limited, so do not delay. See Self-publisher’s and Writer’s Camp order page

Merrily Farms at Little Horse Creek – Far From the Madding Crowd

Autumn View from the top of Merrily Farms.