May 19, 2015
I was very busy attending two events in Medellin last week:
- The Live and Invest in Colombia conference
- The High Alert Investment Opportunities
I thought the second event had been cancelled and ended up being able to participate only by chance. Anthony Wile was standing by the elevator in the InterContinental Hotel in Medellin. I was on the elevator and recognized Anthony from his picture, just as the doors were closing. I’m so glad that recognition dawned on me in the nick of time.
It turns out that the people he was talking to were Nick Giambruno and his wife. Nick writes for International Man and gets to accompany Doug Casey as he travels the world to find great investments! What a fantastic job to have!
Live and Invest in Colombia Conference in Colombia
I’m jumping ahead so I’ll go back to some things I learned from the “Live and Invest in Colombia” conference. Here are a few of the highlights about Colombia which I learned from this conference:
- If you’re an American, you can stay up to 180 days in Colombia per year without any residency visas. The 180 days cannot be consecutive.
- Less than 1% of the real estate in Medellin is bought by foreigners.
- The WHO ranks Colombia at 22 for healthcare. For comparison purposes, the U.S. is ranked at 37.
- 8 of the best 42 hospitals in Latin America are in Medellin.
- The “Doing Business Report” ranked Colombia #6 in the world in their Investment Protection Index. It is ranked #1 in Latin America.
- You can get your teeth cleaned by a very well trained dentist here for 90,000 Colombian Pesos (COP); that’s currently about $38.
My main goal for this conference was to find a real estate investment outside of the U.S. and to make some connections with others who share my views. I accomplished both of those goals.
I was originally only going to use IRA funds to invest in real estate outside the U.S. The Teak Forestry project in Panama satisfied that intention nicely. The trees are already 16 years old and have another 9 years to go before they are harvested. We get some decent returns when the trees are harvested and sold.
My desire for international real estate is to preserve my purchasing power. With all the money printing and the level of debt in the U.S., I want something that will hold its value. I’m not looking for an income-producing investment in this case, so this is an appropriate investment.
High Alert Investment Opportunities
A group of about 30 people were taken in a bus and some cars up to a development near Tarso in Antioquia, Colombia to see a new finca development. It’s hard to tell how long the drive would take without stops because we stopped a couple times. I think it may take around 2 ½ hours if there are no traffic problems.
In Colombia, the middle class and wealthy Colombians all want to have a “finca” in the country. I thought that “finca” meant farm, but I was told it simply refers to a country home. It is a status symbol to leave the city each weekend to go to the family’s “finca.” From what I heard, the middle class is growing in Colombia, unlike the dwindling middle class in the U.S.
The area where the subject development sits is carefully controlled by the wealthy land-owners in the area. One of these wealthy Colombians owns a finca in a nearby development. He also owns the land that is being developed. Two other partners are involved to perform functions such as marketing, financial, and legal.
After two days related to the finca opportunity, we spent a day learning more about an opportunity related to growing marijuana and exporting the oils for medicinal uses.
We were given a tour of the nursery where flowers are currently grown for their oils. The nursery we saw as well as many others in the area would be converted to growing marijuana.
For the 3 days that we were looking at these opportunities, all of our meals were included. In addition, all the transportation to and from the finca development and the nursery were taken care of.
We were also housed overnight in houses of other finca owners in the area of the new development. Each house had it’s own character and beautiful views. I don’t know if all the houses had pools, but the one I stayed in did.
We were all treated like royalty. Servants tended to our needs at each house. There were also servants who served our meals at the landowner’s house. The food was exquisite and varied.
Many of us viewed the lots in the development by horseback. Others rode ATVs and in SUVs. I really enjoyed riding because I used to ride often and had my own horse. It’s been quite a while since I’ve ridden so my riding skills were pretty rusty. I presented myself as an experienced rider, though, so I was given the most challenging horse.
I’ve already mentioned that Nick Giambruno was part of the group, but I also discovered that Terry Coxon and his wife were in attendance. If you’re not familiar with Terry, he is a lawyer who specializes in international asset protection. He also writes and speaks about that and other topics. I saw him speak at the SovereignMan conference in Santiago, Chile two years ago.
I decided to buy one of the smaller lots in the finca development. I don’t need to build right away. I have the option of selling the land in the future when it appreciates or building my dream home there if I have the money and the inclination in a few years.
The other benefit of buying here is that I’ll have connections with some very interesting and influential people and those connections could lead to profitable ventures in the future.
This will be a community of like-minded people. It is for people with libertarian leanings. People who take personal responsibility, pay their own way and expect others to do the same.
We are aware of the freedoms that have been stripped from us and will use this development to live as freely from the system as we can. We can even be off-grid from the utility providers if we choose to do so.
The community will have many amenities, including horses and trails. It will not have a polo field like La Estancia de Cafayate and no golf course. There will be villas or casitas that they will build and sell. People who own a villa or house there will be able to put it in a rental pool.
They’re going to begin building some of the buildings that will house amenities in about 60 days. Maybe I’ll be able to come visit in about 6 months to see how things are progressing.
I also want to mention that this is the first of several tours they will be offering over the coming 4 or 5 months. Because it was the first tour, we were offered a 10% discount on the lots.
I may look at one apartment in Medellin before I put money down on the land. A guy who was in the group said he’d be willing to sell me his apartment at a good price because another one is now available in the same building and he likes that one better. He said the apartment he lives in now would rent for $1800/month. It costs a little bit more than the land, but the income would make up for that. I’ll take a look at it.
Yours in Prosperity,