International Investments & Spurts

by | Jan 16, 2010 | Archives

Our messages at this site are mostly about Ecuador, real estate and international investments.

Ecuador beach real estate has been a very good international investment.  Some readers have asked why I am selling some of my Ecuador property. See why below.

I hope these messages help you make and save money because money is energy and energy fills our needs.

Investments are stored energy… like a battery that continues to fill our needs when we do not work.

The analogy however can be carried further. Too much energy forced into a battery causes it to explode and burn.

A recent January 2010 New York Times article entitled “The Safety Net – Living on Nothing but Food Stamps”  by Jason Deparle and Robert Gebeloff started me thinking about this.  Here is an excerpt from the article.

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — After an improbable rise from the Bronx projects to a job selling Gulf Coast homes, Isabel Bermudez lost it all to an epic housing bust — the six-figure income, the house with the pool and the investment property.

With millions of jobs lost and major industries on the ropes, America’s array of government aid — including unemployment insurance, food stamps and cash welfare — is being tested as never before. This series examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in decades.

“It’s the one thing I can count on every month — I know the children are going to have food.” says Bermudez who has two daughters and no cash income.

Now, as she papers the county with résumés and girds herself for rejection, she is supporting two daughters on an income that inspires a double take: zero dollars in monthly cash and a few hundred dollars in food stamps. A link to the entire article is below.

This is terrible. I know as I was once in a similar situation but with three kids, no income…in the 1970s and I was living in Hong Kong.  There were no food stamps there then!   More on that in a moment.

First, let’s look at the importance of spurts in international investing.

International investments… property in Ecuador… or other countries… multi currency stocks and bonds… all… can help fight inflation IF we do not get too caught up in spurts.

All markets rise…  and fall…in spurts.  This fact can kill investors.

The odd fact is that upwards spurts can do more damage than the drops.

This is why the New York Times article started me thinking…  The story is about “a six-figure income, the house with the pool… investment properties.”

“Where,” I thought “were the savings”?

Let me hasten to add… I think I know where the saving went because I made the same mistake (maybe even worse as you will see) which  leads to the point of what we are sharing here.  Be careful of spurts!

The key to all successful investing is the protection and increase of purchasing power.

International investments can help you achieve this, but attaining and keeping success can be trickier than it might seem.

Let’s hear (from the voice of experience) why the art of keeping wealth may be more elusive than just making a profit.

As mentioned all markets bubble up and dribble down in spurts.

The problem is that many, especially inexperienced (as in they have not yet been burned), investors who start investing when there is an upward spurt, take the instant profits they make seriously and spend them!

We can forget… or do not realize that there are down cycles too.

This means that we have not learned the most important part of how to survive cash spurts and sudden wealth.

I learned this lesson the hard way as a young executive, (just 25 years old). Back in the late 60s and early 70s.   I worked my heart out for four years, almost sacrificed my family and ended up divorced by trying to build a financial future.

I thought it was worth the stress. The stock market had been rising for decades. The bull market was all I knew, shares rising, IPOs were coming out every day-almost guaranteed success. The industry I worked in (overseas mutual funds) was in a hot sector and the company I worked went public.

My compensation was generous, a stock option for 50,000 shares at a dollar each. The shares were issued to the public at $20. At 25 I was already a millionaire and those were the days when you could buy more than a house for a million dollars! In fact a million then was worth about $12 to 15 million now.

However, I had not learned any lessons about locking in profit nor the downsides of markets.

I had never made more that $750 a month so this wealth was bewildering.

I bought everything I could, a new Mercedez 280 SL, a new house and I ran up some nice credit card bills.

But I bought all this on credit and kept my shares. Why would I sell?   They would just kept rising! Right.

Then the stock market collapsed. The sudden drop caused a run on the shares of the company I worked for and it, with many similar firms, collapsed. The entire industry tanked and the company went broke. I ended up unemployed, with no money… zero income and in debt.

My stock options weren’t worth the paper they were printed on.

The moral…when you invest to make money be careful. You may make it! If you do not respond correctly, the sudden wealth can make life worse rather than better.

Most wealthy people receive their income in spurts. We saw this process regularly during the internet craze.

Merri and I have been lucky.  Our business has been solid and steady for at least 30 years. Yet when I look back… at least half of our assets and savings came from just a handful of deals… where we picked exactly the right thing… at just the right time and then cashed in on a spurt.

Fortunately I had also learned that you not only buy… but you also sell.

This is part of the reasons why we are selling some of our US real estate now.  We purchased a lot of Ecuador real estate ten years ago… at really… incredible low prices.  Ecuador real estate has risen much higher and we are taking some profits to plow into really cheap US real estate.  This is a never ending cycle.

That Hong Kong experience and the observation of thousands of investors over 40 years suggests that sudden financial success creates disaster as often as not.

We as investors all too often make one of three mistakes.

The first mistake is to believe that this is the only time there will be such an influx of cash. This tightens a person, so they can’t enjoy spending. They become afraid. Life becomes filled with paranoia. Unhappiness sets in. If money doesn’t make life better, what’s the use?

The second mistake is to think that these large chunks of cash will continue to come easily again and again without working. This thinking creates unrealistic lifestyles and work ethics that lead to disaster.

I first observed this ironic fact while living in England. A happy, financially responsible middle class family won millions in the lottery. Just a few short years after reaping this spurt of cash through supposed good luck, the husband and wife were bankrupt, divorced and no longer speaking to their kids.

I have seen example after example, of people, who received a sudden chunk of income made very unhappy by this large inflow of wealth. This is why it is a risky time when investors make a big sudden profit. The proud owner of new found wealth, buys new cars, houses and becomes very spendy. They create overhead and debt. If there is a single reversal, they are wiped out.

The third mistake is to pyramid the success especially with debt. You can ask many US real estate investors about that as they continue to try and work their way out of negative equity housing.  This builds on a weak foundation and when the spurt turns creates a faster and often horrendous collapse.

Now the stock market has had a spurt and performed incredibly well over the past year. We cannot depend on this trend to continue.

How much is a big hit anyway? How much is enough to throw a person off track?

One measure is a ten times increase in wealth.

This normally is enough to make a significant difference in a person’s life. For someone with a thousand dollars in the bank, $10,000 seems like a lot. The extra money can make a difference. For someone who already has a million dollars, another million doesn’t make such a significant shift. Ten million does.

The reason spurts create problems is because they disrupt our discipline.

Money is discipline and our financial affairs have some form of economic routine, either self imposed or not.

We have a set of mental standards that makes us think, “I can afford this, but can’t have that”, etc. Spurts of wealth demolish these standards. Suddenly we can have many things we previously could not. We become, once again, kids in the proverbial candy shop.

Yet much of the Western world spends their lives trying to become and stay independently rich. If succeeding in this process can ruin happiness, what can we do?

First, realize that quantum wealth… which is independent, permanent never-ending, fearless wealth, is a process, (not a state) of a continual series of reasonable risks, mistakes, refinements, lessons and actions that culminate in getting it right. When success arrives, there is a huge income (or capital) spurt.

Understand that this is not just one time when you can make a huge wad of cash.

Impose discipline.

Here is a simple formula for dealing with spurts if you cannot create your own.

First, immediately spending ten percent of the new money on your dreams.

Buy, the Porsche.

Take the world cruise.

Build the new eight bedroom house. Do whatever you want that does not cost more than ten percent.

Second, give ten percent to a worthy charity.

Take a little time, find a need in this world you feel really should be filled and truly give the ten percent away.

Third, invest the remaining eighty percent very conservatively. Use the PIEC system.  Hire a good, conservative investment manager such as Jyske Bank.

Finally be grateful every day, not for the lump of cash, but for all the important things in life.

Thomas Fischer and I have been especially concerned about spurts since the stock market has risen so handily in 2009.

When these types of results are obtained, inexperienced investors (and even many pros) begin to ignore the risks.

Having been involved with currency investments for so many years, Thomas and I never forget the downside!

This is why JGAM’s speculative portfolios this year have reduced borrowing.

Dollar Dilemma

There are several reasons to be especially concerned about the US dollar.

There is every reason to believe that the US dollar will fall.  I certainly am shorting the greenback myself.

First, the world has become addicted to US spending. Americans consumers are spoiled. They continue to remain wealthy.  First there was the stock market bubble, followed by the US real estate bubble. These artificial wealth creators we spawned by a flood of liquidity that allowed people to borrow more and more.

When the correction came… the government bailed everyone pout and create a monumental debt… an almost guaranteed reason for the buck to fall.

Yet everyone wants the strong dollar to continue. The Asians want it to continue fueling their export sectors and to maintain the value of their investments in US dollar bonds.

Oil sellers want it to prop up their investments in the US . Europeans want a strong dollar to keep their exports competitive as well.

Next there are no strong alternative reserve currencies. Other western nations and Japan are riddled with debt as well.

Plus, and this is perhaps the most difficult factor to discern, other government have created massive debt as well.  So the dollar is less likely to fall versus other currencies.

There is one more problem about profits made by just holding non dollar assets.

Profits created by a falling US dollar will almost certainly be reduced by rising costs of living. A falling USA dollar almost certainly will increase inflation in the US . So your profits may look great but won’t buy anywhere as much as expected.

The best you may do is keep up, unless you invest and manage your spending well.

This brings us to the final dilemma, the Fed which aims to keep inflation down. They are headed for that proverbial rock and the hard spot. If there is inflation, they need to raise interest rates. This will push US real estate prices down further and perhaps stall the economy again.

Yet a run on the greenback may force rates up anyway.

So beware…of yourself and currencies.  The dollar is most likely to continue its decline. I am betting it will myself but I know it is likely to do so in spurts. How you handle these spurts can make the difference between wealth and poverty!

Until next message, may all your spurts be good!


Join me, Thomas Fischer, Joe Cox – my tax and asset protection attorney and four other speaker at our February International Investing and business seminar in Mt. Dora Florida Feb. 11-14 2010.

Join us at a seminar or tour to share ways to invest, do business and live that protect as they provide joy, satisfaction, better health and enhanced wealth.

Join us in February or March.Feb. 11-14   Quantum Wealth Florida -International Investing & Internet Business, Mt. Dora, Fl.

February 15-16 Travel to Quito and tour Quito

February 17     Travel Quito to Manta

February 18-19  Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

February 20 Travel Manta to Cotacachi

February 21-22 North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

February 23-24  Quito & Mindo Real Estate Tour

February 25 Travel Quito Cuenca

February 26-27  Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 2010

March 11-14     Super Thinking + Spanish Course, Mt. Dora, Fl.

March 15    Travel to Quito

March 16 Travel Quito Cotacachi

March 17-18  North Andes, Imbabura & Cotacachi Real Estate Tour

March 19-20    Cotacachi Shamanic Tour

March 21  Travel Cotacachi to Manta

March 22-23   Manta & Mid Coast Real Estate Tour

March 24 Travel Manta to Cuenca

March 25-26 Cuenca Real Estate Tour

March 27  Travel Cuenca to Salinas

Mar. 28-29   Salinas & South Coast Real Estate Tour

There is one week left to gain the largest savings on our Ecuador tours.

The Ecuador airfare war makes it cheaper to get to Ecuador than ever before… and there is still time to enjoy great Ecuador tour savings.

You enjoy discounts by attending multiple seminars and tours. Here are our multi tour adventure discounts.

Two Pack… 2 seminar courses & tours $998 Couple  $1,349 Save $149 on couple

Three Pack… 3 seminar courses & tours   $1399 Couple  $1,899 Save $98 single or $348 on a couple or more

Four Pack… 4 seminar courses & tours   $1,699 Couple $2,299 Save $98 single or $697 on a couple or more

Five Pack… 5 seminar courses & tours  $1,999 Couple $2,699 Save $496 single or $1,046 on a couple or more

Six Pack… 6 seminars courses & tours  $2,199 Couple $3,099 Save $795 single or $1,395 on a couple or more

Even Better.  Greater Savings. Our 2010 International Club membership allows you and a guest to attend as many of the 51 courses and tours we’ll sponsor and conduct in 2010  (fees would be $40,947 for all these courses individually) is only $2,999.

The International club fee rises to $3,500 January 25 2010. Enroll in the International Club now at the original fee of $2,999. Save $501 extra before January 25, 2010.

Because holiday expenses often tighten the winter cash flow, you can enroll with three monthly payments… $1,025 in January… $1,025 in February and $1,025 in March 2010.

If you join the International Club, the entrance fee for 2010 is $2,999 (until January 2010).  Your attendance fees at all courses will be waived. You and a guest of you choice can attend courses worth $40,947.You can calculate the savings as our schedule of all 2010 courses here.
International Club 2010 Membership $2,999 Enroll here

Read the entire New York Times article “The Safety Net – Living on Nothing but Food Stamps”