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utilitus

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Everything posted by utilitus

  1. Despite the fact that I personally hope that financialized capitalism collapses to be replaced by star trek socialism, in the meantime, appropriate to my age and obligations, I practice a careful but wide diversification across asset types and localities. As some say, wealth management is risk management; the MiniMax rule applies. Classically, rental real estate is ideal, but what a pain, especially if held by a foreigner during a period of social and economic upheaval. Holding pieds-à-terre in different legal and tax regimes may or may not be optimally profitable, but it does provide options of unique value and utility under duress. Some physical gold and junk silver, and a spot 'o bitcoin wouldn't hurt. Other hard international assets, such as energy, are best held in some securitized form, and if one has the bulk of ones' wealth in a single currency, forex can be a lifesaver. Live long and prosper.
  2. A couple of years ago I was visiting Lakeside for the first time and simultaneously thinking of buying some 'udibonos' (analog of US 'TIPS', if I understand correctly), all while the MXN was hitting 20 per USD for the first time. I decided instead to buy a small lot offered in pesos in a new neighborhood with terrific views and mostly buried utilities to not obstruct the vistas, and may build once the internet arrives in full glory. But to capture the depressed value of the MXN, I have enough pesos in my forex account to pay for the house already, and Cetes or 'Bonos also can make a lot of sense. But until this NAFTA nonsense is resolved the peso could be a problem. Great thing about forex is how cheap it is to trade decent sums and keep yourself hedged in real time. Without endorsement, see: http://www.finamex.com.mx/the-visionary/soy-inversionista/invertir-en-cetes-o-en-udibonos/ I also spoke with the chap at O'Rourke earlier this year, and my impression was that it is a smaller outfit, and rates etc. on offer were not exceptional. Might give good specialized service, though.
  3. Most of the check-ups and dental work I've ever had have been at facilities serving a large population with special, highly developed programs for international visitors, i.e., medical tourists. In Bangkok, Bumrungrad Hospital is perhaps the most famous in the world built on this model, serving Gulf and Ozzie patients in great numbers and specialized to their needs (in the later case, a rubber mallet...) A check-up there is like being run thru a white padded assembly line built into a four star hotel, and it works wonderfully, though prices have crept up even as the baht has declined (it's American run, but still much cheaper than the absurd US). In contrast, the medical check-up facility at CIMA Hospital in Escazu, Costa Rica, was in a nice little hospital and conducted by a series of fine professionals, but I was the only patient that morning. My point is, size matters (though Bumrungrad is rumored to have got it's start offering, er, 'extreme size reduction' surgery decades ago). Unless medical and/or dental facilities lakeside offer high-value services at sufficient volume, i.e., successful medical tourism, someone is going to end up paying for any improvement in facilities, though demographic trends should help.
  4. Both my homes in northern California have proper US style septic systems, and I use the same eco-TP as the state parks that surround us, and while it is 'ergonomically' inferior to the normal commercial stuff, it does the trick and seems to just disintegrate in water. I will be designing a home at the top of the hill in SJC eventually, and hope to overbuild all it's systems to have the least negative impact. The street is so steep, using the sewer system US style would be like attacking Poland flying a Stuka...
  5. Google Maps allows you to virtually walk most public streets Lakeside - extremely useful to contextualize any prospective property, the neighborhood and the routes in and out. Photographs capture a huge amount of information, if you study them thoughtfully.
  6. I paid property taxes in for the first time on a newly purchased lot in SJC last March, in person. The staff in the Joco municipal office could not have been nicer or more efficient, though there was a something of a language barrier, and the taxes on undeveloped property are stunningly low. Talking with another american property owner in Ajijic, it is my understanding that municipal property taxes can be paid any time, including late. How would this work in Joco, specifically? It will be the case that in some years I won't be Lakeside to pay in person, so can I just ignore deadlines and just let the account accrue whatever penalty is involved, or is it important to have someone present the original paperwork annually in person? If annual payment is strongly recommended, who could provide such a service in Joco? Thanks!
  7. On a corner of our ranch bordering on the public highway in a little valley way east of Napa in California, an above ground fiber 'node' of some sort was installed 15 years ago by a utility during the dot com boom, not for our use, just part of the system design. AFAIK, it is still dark, and even if it weren't, I doubt that we could tap it, and even if we could, it is still 500 mt to our house across an open field. But I sincerely hope you guys end up with a fire hose to the curb.
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