Saturday, January 28, 2012

"UES woman stalked for 18 years, through six states"

The above is a headline from yesterday's New York Post. (One of my readers just sent me the link to this story as a post to my Questions and Comments page.)

According to the article, Linda Arnaud had a single date with Moses Shepherd 18 years ago. When she refused a second date, Shepherd showed up at her place of work, at her school, at her apartment, and even on a subway platform. When she moved to New Mexico, the creep followed her. Arnaud later moved to Arizona, then to California, and finally to Connecticut, but Shepherd always found her.

There are only three ways to stop a stalker.

1. Scare him so badly that he stops, but this is difficult to do legally.

2. Kill him, but this is legal only if you shoot him dead when he comes at you with a knife or a gun.

3. Keep him in jail. This is the best way, and that is where Shepherd will spend at least the next few years.

The best way to avoid being stalked is to prepare beforehand. On at least the first few dates with someone who does not already know you, do not reveal your true name, address, phone number, or where you work. To learn more, read How to be Invisible.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

“Retire in Paradise on $30 a Day”

The above was the message on the subject line of an e-mail I received today. I’ve seen that promise many times before. The e-mail itself starts out, “Six months from now, you could have your own beachfront bungalow… even a housekeeper and gardener… and plenty leftover for dining out, theater, travel…In the right places overseas, you can live not just comfortably – but well – for as little as $30 a day. No kidding.”

Do not believe this

Look, $30 a day is $10,950 a year. The lowest-cost places I know of are in rural Mexico and in rural Ecuador. By “rural” I mean living like natives, with few if any expats in sight. I know some married couples in both those countries who do live on that amount per year but they are volunteer missionaries experienced in self-sacrifice. Not one of them would dream of referring to their standard of living as “paradise.”

For the average couple who wish to live in a city with expat communities, $60 a day is a more realistic goal, and $90 a day is my recommendation.

Permanent residency will be required

First, forget about privacy. Second, you’d better be able to prove you have at least a certain guaranteed income each month. Third, you may have to invest in a business or —as in Ecuador — deposit at least US$25,000 in an Ecuadorian bank and leave it there as long as you are a resident. And fourth, you will not be allowed to take a job in your new country, with the possible exception of teaching English. (A friend of ours in Jocotepec, Jalisco, Mexico earns $5 an hour teaching English.)

However …

I am not saying you shouldn’t move to a foreign land—far from it! It’s a great experience —especially for couples with small children—but you must be willing to endure the culture shock, and not expect to live in paradise “on $30 a day.”

Saturday, January 14, 2012

This international privacy consultant is finally getting worried

The time has come to prepare for a possible economic collapse. If there is indeed a financial meltdown within a few years, then at least we won’t be caught unawares.


Cash on hand

This means as many $20 bills as you can put together—hopefully a hundred of them. For Americans, if you live near a border, you might wish to have some Canadian dollars or Mexican pesos on hand as well. Don’t plan to get the cash at the last minute from a bank or from an ATM because a global financial crisis could shut down banks overnight.

Silver bullion

Why silver instead of gold? With silver rounds (.999 percent pure silver in a round shape similar to a silver dollar), you are dealing with a volatile unit that bounces up and down with a value between $30 and $50 dollars—just the right amount for filling your gas tank or loading up a small shopping cart with groceries during a global financial crisis. What would you do with a one ounce gold coin, which may be worth anything from $1400 to $1900?

Food and water

Although we do not keep a year’s supply of food on hand, as do some survivalists and religious groups, we do keep enough food on hand in our basement to feed ourselves and friends for at least a few weeks. (Since most of our friends are Latinos, this includes many liters of olive oil and large bags of rice and beans from Costco.) We mark the dates on each item and from time to time bring them up to use in our kitchen. Then we replenish the food stores downstairs.


We have two cars, an SUV, and a pickup. When any of them get even close to the half-full mark, we fill them up. Thus, should gas stations run out of gas during an economic collapse, or fail to work due to a power outage, I figure we can keep on driving for some time.

If you have only one vehicle, I suggest you keep an extra 20 gallons in five-gallon cans. I know it’s a bother, but gas doesn’t age well, so you need to rotate. Fairly often, pour the cans into your car’s gas tank and then refill the cans and mark them with the date.

Living off the grid

In the past, I’ve bought cargo trailers, converted them for camping, and then sold them. I no longer do this but you might wish to check out OFF THE GRID: Living and Traveling in a Van, Truck, or Converted Cargo Trailer.