Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More Q&A

Sorry for not showing up for a while. Family, work, new baby and all. :)

“I'd really like to read a thorough post of your thoughts about specific issues that parents face in a situation like the collapse in Argentina. Oh, and in light of the baptism--are there any specific issues with the Church in a collapse? Attendance up, down, crimes against parishioners en route or against the clergy, etc.?


Well, the worse thing is reaching a point were you allow your kids to live their lives, but dont risk themselves too much.
As always security is the worst problem we face. It really is out of control, getting worse and worse, but how do you make a teen understand he’s not inmortal?
Education is also a big problem. In public schools, they are discussing giving classes on Saturdays, to catch up with all the lost classes due to strikes, etc.
If you want a good education here, you need to go private. Home schooling isn’t popular, it’s not legal to home school in this country. Kids must attend schools, no matter how bad or dangerous they are.

In our current dictatorial government, the Catholic church is under severe attack, they accuse priests of everything and there a not so subtle campaign against them.

Evangelical churches, cults and satanic rituals have grown inmensely in popularity ( mostly satanic “macumba” rituals) among the poorest population, it’s VERY popular.
People are desperate, and the more desperate, the better easy solutions look. RCC offers no easy way, but others offer quick solutions. Money, love, revenge, they promise everything and people buy that BS

Anonymous said...
“How much money does the cesarean section cost and who pays it? Any insurance?
Could you tell us something about the quality of the hospitals?
Do the doctors require tips?-

How are the laws regarding divorce in your country? Could your wife divorce you and take money, house, car, and children away and claim alimony, like it is so common in the US and Europe/UK?

I would be grateful, if you could answer some of these important questions.”

We pay for a private health service, about 400 USD a month. Most companies also offer employees health packages.
Public health is of terrible quality, good people (docs and nurses) but not nearly enough resources and people like in public Hospitals like flies.

If you can afford it, health is her is quite good, nice rooms, variety of professionals to choose from, but even though some hospitals are down right luxurious, do not expect the level of development found in first world countries. I learned that first hand when my son got ill. The small hand held machine that could have diagnosed his problem (lactose intolerant) was nearly impossible to find, since there are only two in the country. Why? According to them, because it’s too expensive ( 10.000 USD). So no matter how fancy hospitals such as Swiss medical, Trinidad Palermo or Matter Day look, it’s mostly “make up”, on certain levels.
No you don’t tip doctors, you just need to have a private health plan of some sort. That alone will cover 90% of what a person may experience. The other 10%? Better move back to USA or Europe because medicine is much more advanced there when it comes to important, less common illnesses.
But if you want plastic surgery or LASIK, Argentina has very competitive prices. :)

My brother is going through a divorce right now and yes, it’s as bad as in USA, probably worse. Here laws benefit the mother even more, and will benefit her instead of the father unless the evidence against the mother is very solid.

Anonymous said...
“Boy or girl this time :D !!?”

Boy, we named him Dante. :)

Anonymous said...
Hi ferfal, on this site I found some argentinian ADRs. Would YOU invest in such argentinian companies? Or are there too many problems?
In time of crisis stocks are cheap.


No , no way.
Today, a few days after the question was asked. The government took the retirement plans away form the people. “Nationalized” them over USD. Stolen from the people, that alone proves how fragile the law and financial security is in this country.

“Hi FerFal!

Thanks for your advices. I think it will be very useful, if you talk about the direct signs of the SHTF, before 1-5-10-20 days about the beginning of the crisis.
Thank you for your help against!

almale - middle europe”

Try reading some of the earlier posts, there’s some signs to look for there.
It’s not really math, I mean, these days any country can go under within 24 hs. , it’s past time of reading signs, the world is already in a very fragile economical situation.
All I can say now is try to have your savings in solids, money at home or real estate, because banks and stocks sure aren’t safe.

Anonymous said...
Hi Ferfal,
could you tell me your opinion aout these news:

"Argentine stocks dropped on Monday as bank shares plunged on reports that the government will move to take over $28.7 billion in private pension plans run by banks and insurance companies."


All I can say is I’m not surprised. We are loosing quite a bit of money with this, the government is stealing from the people again, but there’s nothing we can do. All this gets directly discounted from your paycheck, so even if you know this could have happened any time, there’s no way to avoid it.
Watch out for these socialist-communist BS, it happened here and you’ve seen what’s going on in USA right now, never say “It wont happen here” because you just never know. And Obama sure looks like someone who could buddy up with Chavez, Evo and Kristina, a nice unified socialist, big government, all across America.

“SlyAce said...
Posted in the wrong place before.

Congrats on the baby!

I found a link to your blog and just read the entire thing (I had read some of your materials before). Thanks for all of the effort.

I am an attorney in Dallas, Texas and I am quite concerned with the future of the economy in the U.S. My primary investment theme the past few years has been shorting the stock market, betting on the collapse of the housing and credit markets. While I have done well, I am now starting to worry that the collapse is going to be a bit more extensive than I originally thought. Having a lot of money in a society that is collapsing is not as good as having less money in a stable society. Also, if the U.S. goes down, where can we go?

Anyway, I enjoy your blog and will be sure to come back and see what you think as the credit crisis unfolds.”

Hi, Thanks. :)
I’ve always liked brick and mortars better for solid investment. The bricks aren’t going anywhere and once the crisis is in full throttle, people simply cant afford loans to buy so demand for rent goes up a lot.

At least in my experience, rent has gone up side by side with inflation, so if you have a property that provides you with money, you can count on rent rises compensating for inflation. The trick is to have a good contract that allows modifications as time goes by.
At first brokers cried and panicked when I even suggested this, after a while it became common practice and today I’m not renting a property without this closure.
That way I ensure the purchasing power of those colorful pieces of paper with pictures of dead folks. ;)

Where to go? Heck I don’t know. I’m still counting on USA recovering from all this mess, if not I have Europe to go to, with my family in Spain. End of the world? Argentina is probably a good place is the rest of the world goes down. But until that happens, there’s other much better places to live in. That of course is my personal situation. I suggest having a couple of safety net countries just in case. Family, friends, anyone that is willing to take you and your family in until you find a job and manage to settle. Doesn’t sound easy and it isn’t , but people do that all the time, you simply cannot talk to another person in this country without finding out that they have either family or very close friends that did just that. ( mostly to Spain or Italy, where people have distant relatives or friends that already moved there).
Take care.
Anonymous said...
Ferfal, is it true that the private pension funds are in danger in Argentina? If so, does it affect you?


"Argentina's planned seizure of $29 billion of private pension funds stoked concern the nation is headed for its second default in a decade.
The last time the government sought to tap workers' savings to help finance debt payments was in 2001, just before it stopped servicing $95 billion of obligations."

Crap, yes it’s true, and yes it does though not as much as it does to people that have more years into their pensions.
I don’t have that much in it and I’m not planning on staying here past a few more months after 2009 January.
I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, knowing I’m stuck here for the rest of their lives.

Anonymous said...
Ferfal, are you so silent because of the joy over your new child or the shock that your pension is gone? :)
One can find humor everywhere...

A bit of both. :) No, just had a lot of things to take care of lately, with the baby and all, and work that I couldn’t do while I was at the hospital with my wife.
But this pension thing is something to worry about, not because of what I personally loose, but because it’s a huge red sign of trouble in the horizon.



Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS on the new baby boy!

Still love the website, I always learn a lot from it.

And again, congratulations!

The R Man

Anonymous said...

Why did you get amrried if the laws favor the mother so much?

Anonymous said...

I cannot find the address to ask you a question so I will do it in this comment section. You once wrote of the importance of buying body armor. Do you and your family wear/use body armor on a daily basis? Is a level 2 armor sufficient? Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response. Yes, I like rental real estate as well. The Dallas/Ft. Worth area, unlike much of the U.S., never suffered from much of a housing bubble such that if one put 20% down, the rental would cashflow from the beginning. With the collapse of the housing bubble, vacancies are way down and rents are starting to go up as former owners return to the rental market. I had thought about inflation clauses in the leases, though we are a few years away from that here.

Where in the U.S. are you considering? Dallas has much to recommend it from a cost of living standpoint, though there is not much in the way of natural beauty. My wife was born in Peru and her family ended up here because some family was already here. I am not sure why the first family member picked Dallas.

Anyway, keep up the good work on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal, is it true that Gold is traded at 94$ per Gramm in Buenos Aires? This is claimed in this argentinian newspaper on page 6.

(Click on the picture of the first page and go down to the end of page 6.)

Anonymous said...

slyace, I read you are an attorney. I read that marriage is very dangerous for men in the US, beacuse during divorce the wife can take everything, house, money, car, children and alimoney.
Did you take precautions and if which ?

Anonymous said...

It varies by state. Texas is a community property state which means that each spouse gets half of all wealth accumulated during the marriage at divorce and that there is no alimony after divorce. One can contract around community property with a pre-nuptial agreement, but I did not do this. I know of no state in which the wife gets everything.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for taking your time to inform everyone what you and your family are going thru. I would like to ask what happpens to mortgage,car and credit card payments when the economy collapses and the dollar continues to lose value? Does the payment stay the same as the dollar loses value or does all the payments continue to go up?

FerFAL said...

The dollar is actually going up a bit ( or our currency is going down :) )
Loans of any kind are nearly impssible to get and the interest rate is 2 or 3 times higher than teh higest interst rate you could thjink of in USA.
Almost noone can afford a loan for a house. A car is something an everage worker spends 5-10 years paying for.
It takes nearly 50-60 average monthly saalries to buy a new car.