Your questions and important updates

June 11, 2010
Santiago, Chile

As I mentioned in yesterday's subscribers-only letter, I've been to Chile numerous times, and I like it more each time I'm here. For this trip, which is unfortunately short, I wanted to survey the countryside to see the extent of the earthquake damage.

It's easy to have already forgotten February's 8.8 earthquake in Chile, roughly 500x stronger than Haiti's.  That's because there was scant media coverage, limited outpouring[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Gold in your retirement account, attitude, sustainable community

May 28, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago is a really beautiful city-- one of my favorites in the United States, actually, along with Austin, TX and Sheridan, WY. But while I enjoy being back in the US as a tourist from time to time, I'm itching to get out of here.

The travel I've just scheduled is a bit insane. Next week, I'm traveling to New York for an Atlas 400 event. Immediately[...] Click here to continue reading

Not as advertised

May 27, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

Uruguay is one of the countries that generally receives a lot of praise and positive commentary in the expatriate blogosphere. It's often referred to as the "Switzerland of South America," or compared directly to Paris... probably by people who have been to neither Switzerland nor Paris.

The truth is that Uruguay is a very pleasant country in many respects. It's relatively clean, quiet, safe, and not very[...] Click here to continue reading

The best places in the world to meet like-minded expats

March 3, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

One of reasons that a lot of people are hesitant about making a move overseas is because they're concerned about being isolated. The world can be a cruel place, especially to newbies.

Sure there are the nomads out there who want to be left alone with their little slice of paradise in the middle of nowhere... but most people crave some human interaction from time to time, especially[...] Click here to continue reading

Gold in Uruguay, Swiss francs, Polish citizenship, Moody’s

February 26, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

It's "Judgment Day" in Thailand. I wrote about this on Monday-- a Thai high court will rule today on the disposition of ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's frozen assets valued at several billion dollars.

According to the mainstream media, the entire country is supposed to erupt in chaotic and violent protests today. Even BloombergTV, which I normally respect, has been running sensationalized stock footage of fires, vandalism, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Why not Thailand and Uruguay?

Seriously... isn't it time the investment community stopped listening to the rating agencies?

Moody's, Fitch, and S&P-- these are the usual suspects who completely missed the boat on the US sub-prime debacle.  Back in 2005, they gave pristine credit ratings to risky mortgage portfolios stuffed full of borrowers who are notorious for not paying.

The recent debt crisis in Dubai underscores their irrelevance once again.

As I discussed earlier this week, Dubai's[...] Click here to continue reading

Vicious and Voracious Violation of Volition

Please begrudge me the quote from V for Vendetta,  but I'm really starting to worry about what's going on in the United Kingdom.

On Wednesday I wrote about the UK's "Interception Modernisation Programme." New rules under the program require wireless companies and internet service providers to archive phone records, web history, and emails for a period of 12 months, and to make that data available to 600+ government agencies without a warrant.

Naturally,[...] Click here to continue reading

Five things you need to know about Uruguay

I love Uruguay... it is, without a doubt, one of my top five choices in Latin America-- the country is clean, beautiful, and cheap, full of great wine and friendly people. But if you're considering the country as a place to live, work, or do business, there are definitely a few things you need to know:

First, Uruguay is NOT a financial center. It achieved a reputation over the years as a tax haven[...] Click here to continue reading