Ecuador Seen in Panama

by | Oct 30, 2007 | Archives

I wrote recently about a Barron’s article written by Bob Adams of Global Initiatives entitled a “New Life in Panama”.

The article focuses on Panama but has profound implications on Ecuador.
This is such an important article I want to share all of it. Then we’ll look at the implications.

“IT WAS JANUARY OF 2006 AND COLEY WAS 39. He had written and asked if he and his friend Jon could talk to me about their idea of setting up an investment operation in Panama to work the Central American region on behalf of U.S. investors. So there I was sitting in a local restaurant, surprised that two young professionals with young families were seriously thinking of quitting their well-paid positions in the U.S. to start a business a few thousand miles away. Today, they are the owners of Latin American Venture Partners,successfully living with their families and working from their offices inPanama.

“I’ve lived and worked overseas for four decades and have traveled to more than forty nations. My interest in moving to Panama was not related to retirement, though some retirement Websites that focus on Panama introduced me to the country.

“After visiting and getting to know Panama, I appreciated that most of these Websites provided very little real information. So I set up my own Website,, to offer a view of the country without any commercial motivation. I saw it as a simple public service and I didn’t waste any money promoting it.

“I would have been happy to help a few dozen people get a clearer idea of the country; 200,000 visitors and 2,700 members later, I find myself with an unpaid job that takes a lot more of my attention than I ever imagined.
The real surprise, though, is that more than 20% of my ‘Retirement Wave’ members are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They are not thinking in terms of retirement.

They are interested in relocating to or investing in Panama.

“They are part of a silent emigration of Americans, retirees and more, seeking to live and work in other nations — and not just the wealthy nations of Europe.

“How many? A State Department survey of its embassies and consulates in 1999 suggested a total of 4.1 million Americans living overseas at that point, but there’s little good data. So my company, New Global Initiatives Inc., hired Zogby International to do surveys of adult Americans on the subject of relocation outside the U.S. With more than 115,000 respondents, we have the largest and, as far as we know, the only database on this topic.

“We didn’t focus on Panama or Central America; we collected information on every global destination. In refining our survey results, we first eliminated anyone relocating for less than two years, and anyone relocating because of the requirements of the government, the military or their jobs.

We did include people who are not relocating but are seriously considering purchasing a vacation home or other property outside the U.S. This group is likely to include many who will later choose to relocate.

“These results project the results of the surveys onto the entire U.S.population. The numbers are for households, not individuals.

“. 1.6 million U.S. households have already made the decision to relocate.
That figure has remained stable over the year and a half during which seven surveys were conducted.

“. Another 1.8 million households are seriously considering relocation andare likely to do it.

“. 7.7 million households are “somewhat seriously” considering relocation and “may” do it.

“. Nearly 3 million households are seriously considering the purchase of av acation home or other property outside the U.S., and another 10 million are “somewhat” seriously considering it.

“Adding it up, almost 10% of U.S. households are looking at leaving the country, and another 10% are considering living outside the country part time. This silent emigration is ignored by nearly every population analyst.

“These would-be emigrant households plan to spend an average of $260,000 on the purchase or construction of a house, and they plan to spend at least $36,000 annually on living expenses outside the U.S. In total, they represent the emigration of hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the U.S. economy.

“The largest group actually having made the decision to relocate is in the households where the adults are 25 to 34 years old. Blame it on outdated 20th-century thinking, but I assumed this age group would be too busy establishing families and career paths to pull up stakes and move out of the country. Wrong. When it comes to a serious interest in buying a property outside the U.S., that youthful age group dominates. A lot of Americans are at various stages of considering relocation or buying property overseas, but the 25-34 age group is the one putting down the bucks to do it.

“There will be plenty of social, economic, political and plain old-fashioned business consequences to this silent migration. The cost to the American economy could be more than just financial: Young Americans push new ideas into society. They build new companies and create new jobs.

Stay-at-home Americans will be poorer without them, unless the country keeps the emigrants connected to the U.S., supports them and gets benefits from their movement into the new global culture.”

Let’s look at why so many Americans are looking beyond their shores.

#1: The US trade deficit.
#2: US government debt and growing annual deficit.
#3: Impossible actuarial position of Social Security – Medicare – Medicaid.

Second, the infrastructure is crumbling. Air service does not work very well any more. The process of getting on a plane or entering the country is thoroughly unpleasant. Roads are crumbling. Bridges are falling. Some cities are running out of water. Others are burning up and when these problems rise, the relief efforts and compensation etc. and filled with red tape and corruption.

There are many other signs of problems in the US.
I continually look back at the decline of the Roman Empire to look for correlations between America’s decline and that historical collapse.
Here are excerpts from Will Durant’s ‘The Story of Civilization, Caesar & Christ’:

“Political anarchy accelerated economic disintegration, and economic decline promoted political decay; each was a cause and effect of the other – Farmers complained their high taxes consumer their precarious profits and left them too little to keep the drainage and irrigation canals in repair

– Large tracts of fertile land had been withdrawn from cultivation for residential estates – Many peasant proprietors and free rural workers abandoned the farms for the cities – The class struggle was becoming more violent

– The export trade of Italy fell – Depreciated currencies and uncertain prices discouraged long term enterprises – Italy grew poorer while the rising wealth of Asia Minor forced the replacement of Rome with an Eastern Capital- Italian industry was thrown back upon its domestic market and found the people too poor to buy the goods they could make

– Internal commerce was hampered by rising taxes and the deterioration of the roads

– The emperors repeatedly debased the currency to pay for state expenses and military supplies – Inflation ruined a large part of the middle class, rendered all business discouragingly precarious and destroyed a considerable portion of the trading and investment capital, upon which the economic life of the Empire depended

– Labor was frozen to its jobs

– When any man wished to leave, the state reminded him that Italy was in a state of siege

– Flight from taxes became almost epidemic – Severe penalties were enacted for evasion- villages and towns were abandoned because of high assessments.

“At last in the fourth century citizens fled over the border to seek refuge among the barbarians.”

Durant also points out the importance of how the rise of mercenary armies destroyed the independence of Italy long before its fall. This is an interesting point that we should think about in light of the recent
Blackwater Security scandal that America has hired mercenaries to defend its diplomats.

What does this have to do with Ecuador? Where will the people go as they leave the US? My bet is that many will come (as Merri and I have) toEcuador.

One final note. Although the Roman Empire collapsed about 2,000 years ago, Italy is still a great place to live!

Until next message, may you find your surroundings a great place to bewherever you are.


On the subject of great places, look at autumn’s beauty form the front porch of our farm here in the Blue Ridge. But there are frost warnings tonight sowe are getting ready to head south to Ecuador.

We hope you will join us there as we look at our 2008 portfolios at our upcoming International Business and Investing courses in Ecuador including the house and condo that are for sale and can be seen at

Space is always limited. We can have a maximum of 50 at this courses and currently 47 have reserved and paid. Many more have enquired.

Sign up as soon as possible and share the satisfying, profitable and exciting lifestyle that being international brings with Merri and me.

To enroll please go to:

Stay on and enjoy a two day real estate tour. Details are at

Stay on and enjoy our Shamanic Tour! Don’t miss this tour as it will be the last for at least a year. We have had over 4,500 enquiries about Ecuador in the past five months. 90% of them have been about Ecuador real estate so in 2008 we’ll be expanding our real estate tours instead of the shamanic tours.