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David C. Murray

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Everything posted by David C. Murray

  1. . . . as well as . . . 1284 – The Republic of Pisa is defeated in the Battle of Meloria by the Republic of Genoa, thus losing its naval dominance in the Mediterranean. 1506 – The Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated the Crimean Khanate in the Battle of Kletsk 1538 – Bogotá, Colombia, is founded by Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada. 1661 – The Treaty of The Hague is signed by Portugal and the Dutch Republic. 1777 – American Revolutionary War: The bloody Battle of Oriskany prevents American relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix. 1787 – Sixty proof sheets of the Constitution of the United S
  2. Fred S and demgems, something I overlooked was to mention that here, in Costa Rica, you will have essentially no "social safety net". That is, there is no program like Food Stamps, no rent subsidy for low-income folks, no subsidy for health care, etc. For one in seven Americans, the Food Stamp program is (literally) a life-saver. None of that here. _________ On a separate note . . . I had the "privilege" of spending an hour in Banco Nacional's lobby this morning trying to get my online password sorted out. Between hands of Solitaire, I noticed that they're paying about 5% on two-year
  3. Well, when we see the mushroom cloud(s), we'll know you've been right all along, although it'll hardly matter.
  4. Yeah, yeah . . . Easy for you to say, but what were the names of the niece and nephew? "Penny" and ______ .
  5. fpapia, any exchange rate change wouldn't matter to us once we've made that exchange since we'll be invested in and spending colones exclusively. Inflation in Costa Rica, of course, would matter to us, but it would matter to everyone. Coopenae will sell you a CD denominated in either currency for the duration of your choice. So while Banco Popular will give you 10% guaranteed for a year, Coopenae will give you 12.75% guaranteed for five years. Locking in 12.75% for five years looks pretty good right now. Of course rates could go up which would make that five-year commitment look bad,
  6. FredS, if you're anxious about being able to live on your Social Security here in Costa Rica, you should be downright hysterical about the prospect of doing so anywhere in the States. There are a couple of other points to ponder, however. In Costa Rica, you could have much more flexibility in your lifestyle. You could, for example, live comfortably on an almost meatless diet of locally produced foods. Those would be much cheaper than the same foods purchased anywhere in the States. You could also opt to use only public transportation which is hardly universally available in the U.S. And i
  7. Fpapia, Banco Popular isn't offering 10% on dollar CDs, are they? Their high-rate CDs are all denominated in colones, right? You're right that the exchange rate could change but, for whatever reason, it's been stable at around c500:$1 for more like three years than just one. What will happen in the future with either the dollar:colon rate or the purchasing power of either really is anybody's guess. As for stability, you're absolutely correct that Coopenae does not enjoy Banco Popular's governmental backing. What you must determine, however, are two things. First, what's the real like
  8. I don't know about maui-mahi, but swordfish are heavily overfished generally and thus threatened. These are long-lived fish which don't reproduced early in life. In years past, swordfish weighed over 100 pounds when caught. Now, fish that large are a rarity. We've long since ceased to eat swordfish.
  9. fpapia, I think the key to success would be to convert dollars to colones, invest those colones in Costa Rican CDs (one or more, maybe staged) which pay higher rates than CDs denominated in dollars, and plan to spend the colones upon maturation. There is, of course, the threat of inflation, but that's more or less true everywhere. To do so, however, would almost certainly require that you be a legal resident of Costa Rica. It's becoming more and more difficult for non-residents to open accounts here. As an aside, the last CD we purchased at Coopenae, a Costa Rican non-profit financial coo
  10. Curtis "Boom-Boom" Lemay who wanted to nuke North Viet Nam? This is your hero?
  11. Does this mean that the opportunity to go to American Samoa with you has passed? Is this thread closed?
  12. Before you sign up for this venture, be sure to Google "slave labor in American Samoa" for insights into " . . . the place in the South Pacific where no effort is expended for the sustenance of life . . .". Apparently there are many folks there who are expending quite a lot of effort trying to sustain their lives.
  13. Direct current electricity distribution won out over alternating current a century ago due to the high rate of loss of voltage in direct current transmission. In order to provide direct current service in an urban environment, for example, a substation would have been needed every few blocks and it would not have been cheap. Alternating current can be transmitted over much greater distances without an equivalent loss of voltage. Transmitting electricity by direct current over long distances would require a very large infrastructure investment. What's more, underground electricity lines, w
  14. Jim, you asked, "David, aren't the rates you publish after taxes which are taken our before they give you the money in CR? I mention that because some folks might be comparing your numbers to the before tax rate they see in the US." Costa Rica imposes an 8% tax on the interest earned on CDs purchased at both national and private banks. The rates that banks quote are net rates after that tax has been withheld. If (say) BNCR quotes (say) 7.5% on a one-year CD denominated in colones, that's what you'll be paid -- 7.5%. In order to give you that 7.5% net return, they actually have to pay arou
  15. Eleanor, you wrote, "Why do you think that buying a CD at Coopenae has "virtually no additional risk?" What is it about Coopenae that assures you that your money will be as safe as with a national bank?" First, note that I wrote ". . . virtually no additional risk." I didn't say that there is literally no risk involved in investing in CDs at Coopenae versus in a national bank. Indeed, there may be some additional risk. The questions are, how much? and whether it's worth the exposure. What's the real likelihood of a failure? That said, Coopenae's quarterly audit reports, performed by a
  16. Eleanor, you asked, "My question to you, David, is this: If you are getting a $5 return on your coffee plantings and that is half of the profit, then why does your neighbor continue to work the coffee farm for $5 a year? That doesn't make sense to me. I understand your part of it - you don't really need the income -- but what about Juan Carlos?" First, the second and third pickings are always more abundant. The $5.25 (don't forget the quarter!) was merely the very first, and very worst, "take" we've ever experienced. I cite it for its amusement value. Second, the labor to restore the p
  17. Or you could invest in one or more CDs at non-profit Coopenae and, depending on the term you select, get a whole lot more than any of the banks are paying with virtually no additional risk.
  18. I apologize for adding to the clutter, but . . . A few weeks ago, I was corresponding with a Canadian gent (from B.C., I think) about solar energy options for homeowners here in Costa Rica. I think his name is Terry. If you're that guy, would you please email me. I have some interesting news to share.
  19. Eleanor, on July 16th, you wrote, "I think people always will have the dream of owning and operating a coffee farm, growing mangoes, living in a shack by the beach, etc, without one scintilla of reality. As a dream, it's fine and will help some people with their stressful daily lives or having to shovel snow day after day. But the reality is FAR different from the dream. Just like the family farms in the US are going away, the small coffee farmers are also going away. I know several farmers who have pulled up all their coffee trees and now raise beef cows or a mixture of beef cows
  20. Once you have your cedula, and if you are 65 or older, you can go to your local (Costa Rican) Social Security office and request a gold card which affords you discounts at many retail establishments. I've applied for mine here in Grecia and was told that it would be available in six short weeks thereby bringing a whole new reality to the term "snail mail". We're not bus riders, but I think I know that you can ride up to 25km for free just by showing your cedula.
  21. Friends sold their two-manzana "coffee farm" with two modest houses last February for $285,000 cash. It's located outside Grecia in the Central Valley. The property was listed for almost a month.
  22. You're right, Jim, ownership of any foreign account which has a balance of $10,000US for even one second during the year must be reported to IRS each year. There are no tax implications, but the fact of the ownership must be reported. The form is sent to an address in Detroit separately from your income tax return filing. Completing it is a simple matter -- takes just a few minutes. Too, interest is indeed "unearned" and cannot be included in the foreign earned income exemption which applies only to compensation for employment. The CD rates the banks quote are net of Costa Rica's 8% in
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