Investing... What Colombia Expats Like in 2021

On an Expat.com thread about Medellin/cost of living .. the OP, Liber87 from Hungary currently living in France, asked about investments.

Liber is eager to invest in Colombia although he seemed uncertain about which direction(s) to go.  He mentioned investing in coffee as a possibility.

I thought the investment topic too juicy to continue that conversation on that 'cost of living' thread .. given that a thread with Investing in the title seems more likely to receive investors' attention.

Ipso facto, I offer this new thread.

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When the pandemic smacked most of the world's countries in March 2020, I did something I had not done in years -- I started selling my stocks.  In about an hour, I had sold most of my holdings.

I kept my pot stocks, my bonds and a few other issues.  I then sat mostly in cash through 2020 and early 2021.

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Fast forward to this past week.  Over several days, using limit orders, I put almost all of the cash to work and bought stocks.

Especially in the USA, with covid vaccinations and vaccine supplies now widespread, with an informed president established in office, with travel opening up around the globe and an international rebound poised to occur .. I feel it's an optimal time to be re-invested in markets.

However, I did not invest in individual travel or pharmaceutical-company stocks.  Nor am I investing in Colombia-specific stocks or stock basket(s).

I did some research and then bought exclusively one dozen stocks based on exchange-traded funds -- ETF's.  These are baskets of stocks, including SPY, QQQ and other baskets of large-corporation stocks, some of which focus on tech, a couple with multi-national exposure.

Part of my concept is to spread around the risk to which individual-stock pickers are exposed.  Another part is the growth that many large corporations have been experiencing during the pandemic as they seemed better prepared to 'weather the storm' than small- and mid-cap companies.

cccmedia

To balance my holdings, I am keeping my Quito condo even though I have been spending half the time or less in Ecuador in recent years.

I like the idea of having a home base in South America.  I also like the idea of holding real estate even though I don't recommend acquiring it for Colombia Expats.  And I particularly like owning a residence in a relatively safe place such as the historical center of a national capital.

I also will keep my 2016 Chevy car even though I could get by without it in Quito.  One benefit is convenience when traveling to Colombia.  It is easy to register the car at the Rumichaca border (when open to vehicular travel) and to bring a trunk full of personal effects, plus a microwave oven, a space heater and various other conveniencias.

cccmedia

For you, Liber, I like the general idea about investing in Colombian coffee.

I suggest you find a way to do it without attempting to establish or acquire a coffee farm.  Ask me to back up this opinion if you wish.

The Coffee Region of Colombia is a wonderful area.  I have visited a number of times, sometimes staying for a month or more at a time.

Based on my conversations there and my readings on the Internet, I believe that the Coffee Region is the most popular part of the country for Colombians to vacation or visit (not necessarily Expats yet).  It is a safe region -- the only one that I have excepted from my advice not to drive between Colombian cities at night.

I have been watching the weekly Sunday 'Coffee Time' hour hosted from Armenia, Colombia, by a USA Expat named Loren Lowe (rhymes with cow) on the YouTube 'Gran Colombia' channel.  He has some excellent insights about Eje Cafetero and Colombia in general .. with Q-and-A, travelog videos .. plus local/Expat guests on some Sundays. 
Search at YouTube.com:  gran colombia coffee time

cccmedia

You also asked about real estate in Colombia.

Please remember what I and some other veterans of Expat.com have recommended on this site...

The number-one rule for Expats in South America is... do not buy a home or property until you have lived for a total of one year or more in the target market.

Practically any property for sale in Colombia -- or its equivalent -- can be rented at less risk .. and without the years-long process of re-selling that over-eager Expats sometimes experience.

Besides... Buying real property in a volatile country such as Colombia during an ongoing pandemic ... what could possibly go wrong?

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If anyone finds s/he is getting overwhelmed by the impulse to buy property upon arrival in South America, I suggest they stop reading International Living and Live & Invest Overseas .. until the feeling passes.

cccmedia

Those is really interesting to read. Yes, you are correct about real estate, I am intended renting few years until we cemented in Colombia.
I like to understand better local market and real estate as well in few years. This time is much uncertainty because how long will dragged pandemic. When do return to old ways is obsolete now because a lot people got taste their local vacation during pandemic so they will do again without take long trip to anywhere.

I like to keep check around for while before I engage serious investment.

I have to find out what rare or not available in Colombia then I interested to know. There plenty time left to do.

But I am appreciate anyone comment about investment idea. I like to see what you missed or people talking about something they need it.

I know investment is big capital to start, that why I have and willing give try.

Just came up thinking about short term sources, Uber or Kangaroo, is available in Colombia and they deliver a lot during pandemic? Just figure out what solution in start, I can live with minimal income like locals, until find right investment.

Otherwise, how colombian people use their cars for maintenance? Because I am Mechanic so might to do some odd job is fine.

Thank you for your time and answer.

Colombia is ramping up its production of avocados for the export market, specifically Hass avocados.  You may want to look into that as an investment.  This article from 2014 says you need at least 12 million COP to invest:

https://www.larepublica.co/archivo/cult … es-2132181

Do internet searches for
colombia aguacate hass
colombia inversion aguacate
and you can read a lot of articles explaining the ins and outs.

If you do get a visa, make sure you are legally able to work at "odd jobs".  As a tourist you are not legally allowed to do so.  If you do not have fluent Spanish and a skill in high demand it is unlikely you would be able to work in Colombia, either legally or illegally.

Liber87 wrote:

Just came up thinking about short term sources, Uber or Kangaroo, is available in Colombia and they deliver a lot during pandemic?

The delivery service Rappi started in Colombia about two years ago .. and is spreading around South America.  There may be ways to invest in this company, which seems to be revolutionizing the way food, goods, electronics and specialty products are distributed to la gente.

The company's name is a play on the Spanish word meaning 'fast' -- rápido.

cccmedia

I would consider a look at the crypto space as well. With so many Venezuelans in the country and their economy looking the way it does, it is only a matter of time before Colombia becomes a hub for interesting fintech experiments in Latam.

Hello everyone,

Please note that some off-topic and inappropriate posts have been removed from this thread.

Cheers,

Cheryl
Expat.com team.

Hello everyone, I was very busy all month till today. Thank you for comments and I will look into those. I heard about avocado thing, will research more. About 12M COP looks good start for me. Thank you for info, OsageArcher.

For Visa, first I have to tourist later I may use other visa category since I have in relationship with Colombiana.

Otherwise, I been looking setup virtual address in Colombia. Anyone have experience with this matter? Because I read national post system in Colombia is very bad and need use DHL/UPS etc. Here my question what solution or alternative did you found or know?

Hi everyone, I am back again, I read a lot around here.

I want rent mail po box or delivery storage facility in Medellin, or anyone willing offer assistance about this with your experience. I read Colombian post system not really reliable. It is little difficult to do without I am in Colombia. What your advice?

Thank you for your time and help.

It is true that the Colombia postal service is not always reliable - and even less so, if you do not use the código postal along with the address.

You can find your postal code using this map, here:

http://visor.codigopostal.gov.co/472/visor/

The page for 4-72, the official national postal service for Colombia, is here:

http://www.4-72.com.co/

Thanks for answer, here my new question is post code is exact to point the house? Or how this system works?

If you go to the first link I gave, you will see each postal code is for an area, not a house - much like the zip code in the USA.

Addresses in Colombia are not always standard but often follow this format:
street name #number 1 - number 2        such as
Calle 65 #9 -12  or  Calle 65 No.9 - 12  which is deciphered as a address on
Calle 65, located about 12 meters from Carrera 9

Here are several links explaining Colombia addresses:

https://medellinliving.com/how-to-locat … -colombia/

https://www.colture.co/bogota/general-i … -colombia/

Thank you for explaining. Also I thank you for your time and help as well. You are awesome here and there. Hope everyone enjoying in Medellin.

With the U.S. government taking on billions more in debt this year .. and the resurgence of covid cases (back over 120,000 new USA cases per day lately) .. U.S. Expats may be looking to diversify their assets.

Over-exposure to USA stocks could become a financial disaster if an investor's assets are out of balance in a bear market.

An answer could be adding an investment in a large global "ex-US" ETF.

To find the list of the three biggest such ETF's, you can Google 3 largest global ex-us etfs, where you will find the relevant Investopedia site.

Individual investors will have to determine if they prefer an international ETF that is comprised of issues from established countries, emerging countries or a combination of both.

cccmedia

crypto of course

CC....una pregunta.....is the land border now open at Rumichaca? I cant seem to get a straight answer from anybody. The FaceBook Pan American Travelers, (which is generally very good and accurate) say it is still closed. Whats the deal on that?

prospector911 wrote:

CC....una pregunta.....is the land border now open at Rumichaca? I cant seem to get a straight answer from anybody.

Since we're on an investing thread, it would be off-topic to answer the question here.

So I have responded at the Ecuador land-crossings-into-Colombia thread that I started in April on this Colombia forum.  You should be able to find a link at the Colombia forum welcome page.

cccmedia in Quito, Ecuador

Wall Street is taking a breath, with the markets closed for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

Investors in American stock markets have been enjoying a banner year.  The S&P 500 index is up 22.5 percent this calendar year, on pace for almost 35 percent returns for 2021.  That's rare air for stock investors when banks are paying a tiny fraction of one percent to savings-account depositors.

Despite horrendous weather/climate events, the delta variant and losing a war in Afghanistan, U.S. stocks have kept climbing.

Is it time to take profits?  Well, no one can reliably time the market.  But I'm not getting out again (as I did temporarily after the start of The Situation).

Technology advances, unemployment at 5.2 percent (the lowest unemployment rate since the start of the pandemic 18 months ago), positive sentiment among business leaders and strong corporate profits .. all signal the extended market rally could keep going higher.

The U.S. economy has grown beyond the point where it was when The Situation befell us.  Other nations can't accurately make that boast.

cccmedia

Online stockbroker.

When I was establishing an account to trade stocks some years ago after moving to South America from the USA, I found out that many online brokerages did not want to provide services to Expats from North America.

Eventually I found one that was glad to take on my account -- Interactive Brokers -- one of the largest brokers worldwide.

I like the trading format, although I would note that there is an extra step beyond the password in logging into the system -- six digits have to be entered at a log-in page.

Interactive permits me to trade options, though only on a cash-secured basis.

Commissions on buy-orders are usually one dollar.

cccmedia

I do not receive any financial benefit for mentioning Interactive Brokers.

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