Ecuador trip

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ffj
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Post by ffj » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:25 pm


Christopherjart
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Post by Christopherjart » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:25 pm

It would be fun to visit south america, but the cost is what I expect to earn in the next 4 or 5 months. :-(


DividendGuy
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Post by DividendGuy » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:25 pm

Definitely interested, if only to meet some of the superstars of our breed.
However, I don't know if I could justify the expense of it all. Not to toot my own horn, but I think I've already got the gist of this whole ERE/MMM thing.
I'm using the bus, riding a 49cc scooter, saving well over 50% of my expenses, administer my blog while working a full-time very middle-class job and have gone from $5k to over $100k in three years' time. I think the benefit would just be for the "once in a lifetime" experience of it all.
Plus, Ecuador is very high on my retirement destination list. Along with SE Asia, it's very cheap and visas are relatively easy to navigate. Cuenca gets rave reviews from the people who live/travel there. The climate might be a tad cold for me, however.
I'm also wondering how many ERE'ers are interested in this. Could be a great time!


Dragline
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Post by Dragline » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:57 pm

Yes, but not enough to make the trip. I'm sure there will be blog posts about it, though, and if they are smart/savvy they will do video of the main presentations and discussions.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:14 am

"I think I've already got the gist of this whole ERE/MMM thing."
To say the least, DG!
$2k is a big figure for a short trip to such an inexpensive country, but I appreciate the charity aspect. Still, I don't think I'll be going (I don't really read MMM anyway).


ffj
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Post by ffj » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:22 am

At @ 3:00 today they had 15 of the 25 allotted slots filled. With the amount of readers MMM has I can't imagine them not selling out fast. Like some of you, I don't expect anything earth-shattering occurring as far as information or techniques, but I'd say it would be pretty fun to let loose for a week with some interesting people.


RealPerson
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Post by RealPerson » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:23 am

I appreciate the irony in the $2,000 trek plus airfare to Ecuador to get to know 4 financial bloggers that live down the street so to speak. Also, I checked out the resort where this is held. There are quite a few negative comments online. The description of the course sounds more like meetings and sightseeing, but maybe they should devote some time to developing a hypothetical plan to retire there. Just to show the ropes. That may justify the trek down there.
Having said that, Quito is amazing and the equatorial jungle is incredible. Nothing like swimming with anacondas and piranhas. Well worth visiting.


Carlos
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Post by Carlos » Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:36 am

I've registered so I can let you know how it goes. Like FF Jeff said, I think the most interesting part is getting to spend some time with the kind of crowd that would meet up in Ecuador for a retreat.
Putting down $2K is kind of a lot but I figure I deserve to treat myself and actually use some of my vacation time. Work's been tough this year and I deserve a break.


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C40
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Post by C40 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:56 am

Maybe Akratic will go? Seems kind of expensive, and it sounds like it might be up in a rural area which would limit options of staying in a cheaper place, cooking yourself, and hanging out with the group some. Maybe they should ask Akratic to be a presenter?


ffj
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Post by ffj » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:38 am

@Carlos
You'll have to let us cheapskates know how it goes down there. I entertained the idea myself as it seems like a good time but it would limit what I could do with the family. How do you plan on paying airfare? Seems like a lot of people are doing the credit card rewards whereas they sign up for various cards to earn the points, while paying the card off in full each month, and cashing in the points for airfare. Seems like a bit of a hassle to me. And I don't trust the cards to honor their commitment.
@C40
Even though it's in the jungle, it's a pretty luxurious resort from what I've read. This also seems to be a test piece for future gatherings. I don't think camping out nearby is an option at this point.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:07 am

@Carlos Make sure to show us pictures!


akratic
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Post by akratic » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:54 pm

I don't think I'll be going to this. My visa in Ecuador only lasts until May, and if I do a visa run it'll just get me to August. $2k is a bit much anyway, although I bet it'll attract an interesting crowd.
The main draw for me would be MMM, although it'd be much cheaper and easier to just find myself in Colorado at some point and send him an email.
Regarding retiring to Ecuador, here's the gist:

1) Learn Spanish, start now. If you don't know Spanish you're stuck on expat island

2) You can get permanent residence in Ecuador as an Investor if you put $25k cash in an Ecuadorian bank account, or if you purchase real estate with an assessed value over $25k. This low $25k number compared to other countries is one of the main draws for retirees, along with the weather, time zone, short flights to the US, and safety (city dependent).


RealPerson
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Post by RealPerson » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:45 am

@acratic - what areas/cities are considered safe? I found Guayaquil to be dangerous, but Quito was relatively safe. I have heard that Manta is really nice but I don't know how safe it is.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:31 am

$25k is incredibly low and something I don't quite understand; do you need to show proof of income or anything else in addition to this? It's suspiciously low--Thailand I think required about $200k!


Carlos
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Post by Carlos » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:50 am

@SW
Sure I'll take some pictures and document the event. I want to meet MMM because his personality is so funny and interesting in his blog posts. Jim Collins I'd like to meet because he seems very wise and is a few stages ahead of me in the FI journey.
@FFJeff
You'll get the update! I have more FF miles at this point than I know what to do with. I turned 40 last year and didn't so ANYTHING to mark the occasion. Work was too demanding (one reason I want to FIRE). This trip is part of inner voice saying I only live once and since I can afford it, go for it.


DividendGuy
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Post by DividendGuy » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:50 am

@secretwealth,
Actually $25k is quite expensive compared to the Philippines. It only costs $20k for a permanent residency through their SRRV program.
I'm surprised more people don't consider these. It's a healthy chunk of change, but constant border runs must get tiring.


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Post by jacob » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:53 am

@akratic - I'm guessing the cost of your entire 6+ month trip will come in around $3000 or so?


akratic
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Post by akratic » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:31 am

@secretwealth: yup, $25k. There's some other easy visas in Ecuador too, like the Professional Visa where the only requirement is that you have a college degree and you pay ~$400 to process the application (you don't even need to use the degree...)
@RealPerson: Cuenca has the safest reputation and people walk around the streets at all times of night without fear, etc. The whole coast is a bit sketchy in my opinion, with increasing drug trade. Quito and Guayaquil are a mixed bag like all big cities. One thing I'm still not used to all around Ecuador is armored guards outside of banks and high end shops.
@jacob:
You could swing six months for $3k pretty easily if you wanted to here in Ecuador, but I'm not really trying to, and I don't think I'll hit it. Assuming we stay in Cuenca for the next five months, my expenses are something like:

Our 1BR is $350/mo furnished in a really good location. My friend's studio is $140/mo... but given that we're already under budget, I don't mind paying up for a nicer place or for cross fit and meals out, etc.


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:49 am

"One thing I'm still not used to all around Ecuador is armored guards outside of banks and high end shops."
I saw that a lot in Guatemala--it unnerved me, but not as much as seeing children selling things in town and at gas stations during school time.
Your budget is incredibly reasonable--how often would you say you go to cafes/bars/restaurants?


akratic
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Post by akratic » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:56 pm

We usually eat out for lunch and dinner. Low end meals out are $1.50 - $2.50, and mid tier meals are $3-4. (High end is ~$10) We usually have one low end meal (like the locals) and one mid tier meal (like the rich locals or gringos) out per day.
For snacks at the market for one dollar you can get: 12 bananas, 4 mangoes, or 4 avocados. So we make plantains or fruit juice or guacamole.
For breakfast we eat yogurt and granola, which are both cheap here. Basically anything the locals eat is cheap. If only the locals ate Sriracha sauce...
And I take about two bus rides a day on average, for $0.50 total.
It's not really worth the trouble of cooking here considering how cheap eating out is, and how quickly it's ready. Those low end $1.50 - $2.50 meals work like this: you sit down and say "the lunch" or "the dinner" and within one minute they serve you fruit juice (fresh), an appetizer (usually popcorn!), then soup of the day, then the entree of the day (rice + chicken/beef + beans/lentils/salad), then desert (fruit cup in yogurt or like jello... the $1.50 places don't serve desert). Although you get a variety of foods, it probably ends up being around 900 calories, as opposed to the 2000 calorie meals out you get in the US.
It's still kind of amazing to me to get a complete dinner for $2, although part of the lower cost is definitely lower quality.


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