How To Find Investment Candidates ?

That’s an interesting question I just received from one of my contacts. This is basically what I replied:

Hi M.,

Most of my time is focused on what I have, specially on the most risky investments, to avoid losing money. It’s important to constantly monitor where money at risk is. I believe that focusing on what’s at risk is much more profitable than focusing on how much you can win. Focusing on my portfolio makes me specialize in my area of knowledge and on the companies already owned. It fortifies my circle of confidence. I believe that the main reason of losing money comes from not knowing well where you’re invested so doing that reduces that possibility. Knowing what I have has enabled me to accumulate by adding several times on previous investments. But don’t expect to know all about a company, it’s not possible, sometimes the price is so low that limited knowledge is more that enough to make sure you are right and you should sometimes act before the opportunity vanishes. Anyways, I expand my knowledge from that base and learn about competitors or adjacent industries. For example I invested in Applied Materials because I was already in some tech companies that used their machines. I invested in Intel for a similar reason. I bought Munich Re because I learned about insurance through Berkshire and follow closely what Buffett does. I bought Burlington Northern also “tipped” by Buffett… Most of the companies are connected in some way through previous knowledge.

I also read about the economy and industry in general. Different newspapers almost each day. I read the ppi/cpi reports and check which industries are increasing or decreasing prices etc… Keep an eye on sovereign debt, corporate bonds, volatility, currencies etc…

My advantage is that I only do this as a “job” and with personal money. I have my serious doubts I could perform as I did with limited time or with external pressures managing other people’s money. I just like to be on my own so I reject offers to manage others funds, except some from my mother in law and my son’s. After all I do this as a passion, for personal entertainment, like a complex game, wake up early and work until late, and want to keep it that way. If you enjoy what you do you’ll learn so fast that others will have a hard time catching up with you, choosing to do what you like puts you in a serious advantage. I liked it so much that I quit my past job to focus just on this. Even though I am making much less money for the time being, compared to my past office jobs, but I am sure that it will eventually change.

I follow what several investors do, if it makes sense I dig deeper. I like to buy when there is fear and generally not in fashionable or popular things. Mainly because prices are higher in popular areas. So I have more of a tendency to be attracted by situations where people run away from. I do not always buy then but I definitely get attracted and search there. There are always opportunities. Like in Spain now or also now with Dell and the expected death of the PC/notebook. Europe and Germany in 2010/2011. During the 2008/2009 crash in the USA I added heavily into BNI, I sold when Buffett bought the company. During the bad housing years of 2008-2010 I bought United States Gypsum, including several options. I already sold that. During the oil spill in 2010 I added Ensco, a sea driller. Specially in such cases I focus on good companies which are not necessarily in the center of the disaster but that are commonly perceived to be there.

I buy after studying quite some time, and only selectively, when the opportunity comes and when I’m very sure. Months or years pass sometimes. I read about companies I like but that are too expensive for my taste to buy (like Nestle, IBM, Apple etc…). Who knows if one day they get a cheaper I might get in. That happened with Cisco, I knew about it since long ago (1999) but only bough into it recently.

I focus much more on real cash flows and the long term than on quarterly results or accountancy inventions like earnings, p/e etc.. But I do like to use the obsession of Wall Street with quarterly earnings in order to buy when they think a quarter was bad. I like to listen/read conference calls and read 10Ks. Also about competitors. I make sure debt is small or very controlled.

I rarely buy more than 2 or 3 new companies/year, do not use leverage and generally buy in several times. I am better at averaging around or nearer to the bottom when I spread my buying than if I do it all at once. Regarding selling I usually hardly do it, I don’t generally sell when it reaches fair value because I focus on what I consider are good companies growing above the GDP so I keep them while the business does well. I only sell if the stock really gets priced quite above fair value, if the business and it’s earnings power deteriorates for the foreseeable long term or if I have a much better investment.

Cheers!
jrv

PD: Make sure you are not the kind of person who is affected by the fear/greed sentiments shown in the graph below. You should genuinely feel exactly the opposite when you invest so rotate the faces 180 degrees :) (I did that exercise with Gimp here, my favorite image manipulation program).

The Investor Sentiment Wheel Infographic

About jrv

I was born in Spain and lived in Belgium, Chile, France, USA, Argentina among other places. Currently I am trying to settle down in a wild place. I am "retired", even though now I dedicate more hours "working" for my investments than I ever worked in the real labor market where I used to work in IT and Banking. I am a family man, I have a lovely wife, several sons and one step daughter. I have humble tastes, I like to stay home and read about companies and investments. I started investing at 25 before the internet bubble exploded. I did not know much about investing and liked technical analysis so my results were pretty bad. Fortunately I did not have much to lose. Some years later in 2006 bored of doing only real state investments and with quite a lot of money saved I opened an account in a cheap and excellent online broker and started again. This time I did not want to commit the same mistake, so I decided to follow a model. I heard that Warren Buffett was the best at making money via stocks so I started by reading a lot about him, all of his shareholders letters and several of the books that he recommended. I learned a lot, started applying his investing principles and reading a lot of 10K's. Digested news from lots of different sources. Basically I started buying very good and cheap companies and holding them for ever if possible and if nothing changed fundamentally. When the housing crisis started I was more than 75% cash. At that time I identified good companies at incredibly cheap prices so I invested most of my savings in stocks. In less than I year I doubled. By the second semester of 2009 I turned my software company into an investment vehicle and dedicated myself full time to it. My wife and I decided to change our lifestyle and moved from Belgium to the beach in a wild country. The goal was to keep fixed costs low in order to be able to live with a minimum 6-8% yearly return but specially to move away from the inhuman life of civilization and to have finally some peace and sunny weather to concentrate better on investing. Now I can think and study about companies 60 hours a week and I am doing great. I can finally do what I want full time and can proudly say that I have never been so happy, specially also with my just born 4th son, my other great kids and my sweet wife who supports me fully while I study most of the day and patiently wait for the opportunity to make a swing ! You can learn a bit more about my portfolio by viewing it at www.kuchita.com/view/sumo.php or you may learn more about me and my family by following the link "Author's site" from the menu above.
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31 Responses to How To Find Investment Candidates ?

  1. Michael says:

    JVR,

    As I’m learning to weight and balance my own investments your bit about paying the most attention to the investments you already have makes very reasonable sense. Thanks for the post.

  2. jrv says:

    Thanks to you Michael for giving me the inspiration to write !

  3. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Hi JVR,

    I would like to express my gratitude for your willingness to share your very interesting thoughts on investment. They are a real source of inspiration for me.

    Personally I am just starting the “serious” part of my life, just graduating from university (IT/Business major) and got to admire Warren and Charly through a conference they did with Bill Gates, whom I also admire for his philanthropic engagement. The rational, greed-free style of investing really fits my personality and I really think that I can profit vastly from the insights you are willing to share with the world.

    Would you be up to doing a fundamental analysis of Commerzbank? Commerzbank is a German bank, which I personally (intuitively and after a quick analysis) regard as undervalued. Would love to hear your point of view :-)

    Keep up your great writing and all the best wishes to you and your family from Germany.

  4. jrv says:

    Hi Florian, Thanks for your gratitude and good wishes! I hope too that you do very well in your life, whatever you chose to do. I met some interesting German investors through this blog. I have traveled often to your country because my father is married with a German and lives in Lower Saxony, near Braunschweig.

    Thanks also for pointing me to Commerzbank, I was not aware of it. I am not sure that I’ll look deep into it, that would depend on my priorities. For example at the time being most of my attention is focused on Dell, I don’t want to miss an opportunity there. But if I do look at it and have some opinion I’ll let you know.

    In any case I’m interested on keeping contact. I have a deep appreciation in several aspects of the German culture, and I am specially interested in expanding my investments there.

    Cheers!
    jrv

  5. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Good Morning to Brazil – jrv,

    I did a dual-study – in Germany we have a system, where you study and work at a company full time in tri-monthly intervals – in cooperation with a big insurance company (ERGO, MunichRe) it sucked big time since I am just not made for process inefficiency and niches for laziness and will be trying to build my own company out of social security. Throughout living in this sort of elite bubble I lost myself, my ideals and everything I stand for and have great gratitude for my body and psyche to rebel against my conscious doing.

    So you see, German culture with its strong focus on productivity and rationality can be a blessing and a grudge at the same time – I always did what was expected of me, the right thing, even if I didn’t want to personally.

    As you, I think deepening our relationship could be very beneficial for both of us – on a professional as well as a personal level. In any case you got my email address, I would love to exchange thoughts about investing and life in general.

    My own motivation in life is, aside from having a little family that will hopefully be as happy as yours looks on the pictures, to make the world a better place and to leave a little dent in the universe. Ethics, moral and rationality are desperately needed in todays world. Just look at conservative America and their greedy, selfish, power abusing, schizophrenic behaviour. I am needed – for the sake of mankind :D

    When I am able to support myself financially, I would love to visit you guys sometime – skype, however is always just one mouseclick away.

    Thanks for your fast reply, your wishes for my well-being and your personality,
    Florian

  6. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Oh and by the way: thanks for looking into Commerzbank – I am mainly just looking for assurance, that my gut was right :-)

  7. jrv says:

    It seems like we think alike in several aspects. I also have serious concerns about the evolution of the USA and even though I admire Northern Europeans I recognize that their qualities have also non desirable side effects. For example I never got used to the rigidness and strict implicit rules that govern the actions of their people, even though I recognize that it’s good for their productivity.

    It would be nice if you come here. I have a hard time finding interesting people with my neighbors and enjoy visitors. If you’re on budged don’t worry too much, if you look for enough it can be very cheap here. Imagine, I just pay 100 euros for rent now (monthly!). This country has nice things. It’s a perfect place to move to if you get fed up where you are, so you always have that option, and now that you know me it would be even easier :) ! Actually lots of Europeans are recently here for that reason. Historical German colonies are big, some cities in the south even speak their language. But where we are in Bahia it’s quite great too, it’s more like being in the twilight zone here, in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez tale of magic realism, I’m still amazed by it.

    Feel free to add me on skype (juanbarros), like that we can talk sometime!

    Cheers!
    jrv

  8. Florian Warninghoff says:

    twilight zone – haha :D

    Blessed be the internet and the opportunities it opens up for every individual! 15 years ago I would not have been able to have the same grasp of the world as I do today and this conversation probably never would have happened.

    As you, even though i have many good and real friends who I love, I find it hard to get to know like-minded persons in my personal life, who are able to follow, share and enrich my personal thoughts of the world.

    Granted I can make 10.000€ and have my first Project (guitar-website) up and running, I would gladly move to Brazil, since I am looking for a place with low cost of living, a relaxed mentality, moderate climate and stable internet connection anyway.

    Since I am unable say much more than “una cervesa provorvore” (probably spelled horribly wrong :P) my primary question would be how well you are able to get along in English / German in the place you live in. I’ll consider learning Spanish – always wanted to anyway!

    Concerning Europe, I think that our government, especially in the Scandinavian countries, is much more efficient than presented by the media and perceived by society. Their more laid back mentality and high standard for tolerance in their society as well as legal system fascinate me. However the cost of living is way too high for my financial situation and the climate is just unfavorable ;)

    The country I am most impressed by would be Iceland, especially since their very rational dealing with the financial crisis.

    For now i need to focus on the theoretical part of my thesis, which I will have finished in about two weeks and definitely will add you to skype, when I am back in my own place in Hamburg and have access to my headset.

    Thank you for being willing to have me as a guest sometime, I will do everything in my power to make it happen.

    Warmest greetings from Kiel
    Florian

  9. jrv says:

    Nice to hear about your guitar project ! Regarding the language here you can manage with English but speaking Spanish would even be better since it’s very similar to Portuguese so you would not have a hard time passing from one to the other. German is very very rare to find people that speak it here in Bahia, unless you speak with German tourists or expatriates, there are quite some from there.

  10. jrv says:

    Yeah Scandinavian countries are amazing, their people too. I love watching their movies.

    Totally agree that media, specially USA news, present a much worse picture of Europe than what it really is. I think they should worry more about their 16 trillion debt (which is actually under reported).

    Internet here is quite decent.

  11. jrv says:

    Hi Florian, I have not looked into it but I asked a German investor friend, and this is what he replied:
    **********
    Hi Jrv,
    nice to read that everything’s ok and that your family is quickly adapting to the new place you live in.
    We are fine, too, and lately are always busy enjoying the bit of summer we get here.
    Commerzbank is tempting as a contrarian play, but fundamentally it is very very dangerous. Ok, it won’t fail, being partly state owned, but there are a lots of PIIGS-loans on its books which could easily wipe out the total equity. The bank is run very badly, has high operating costs and it is a total mistery to me how they manage to take so little profit from their very good market position! (Maybe corruption, political influence? Who knows?)
    T.
    ***********

    But everyone has a different opinion and you can earn a lot by being right when most are wrong. The key is to quantify the risk, for example, among other things, the amount of problematic sovereign debt and the probability of debt default and to what extend they default. If you get that calculation right you can profit from it. But that requires a lot of study/research (time).

    I’m invested in banco Santander and expect it will turn out good but that depends on Spain not defaulting on it’s debt. I firmly believe it will not. If it does I’ll lose probably all I invested there. If not Ill probably do quite well. It’s all about estimating right the probabilities of those outcomes.

  12. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Thanks for your reply :-)

    I think I missed the 100€ monthly for housing part – a sum I can always manage to earn with freelance work! Selling all my belongings except for clothing, my computer and my sleeping-bag, I should definitely manage to collect 2000€ – enough to buy a one-way-ticket and cover the expenses till i settled down.

    Hell – I am fed up of our society and the pressure it puts on people! I always wanted to break free! Since my flatmate and I already terminated the lease, which is due first of December, it doesn’t really matter for me, if I look for a place in Hamburg or Bahia.

    I’ll think about this and let it settle but I guess today marks a very important turning-point in my life!

    Thank you for your words and encouragement! I’ll finish my thesis as fast as humanly possible and will get back to you to talk about the legal and logistical details – sending you my computer by mail, immigration, work permit, taxes, finding a place etc.

    Cheers from a very happy and jet quite baffled and confused
    Florian :-)

  13. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Thank you, that was very fast and very helpful! I definitively have a LOT of reading to do before I start investing money myself. First stock I’ll ever buy is going to be Berkshire – out of principle :P

  14. jrv says:

    As a German (or any country by the way) you can stay 6 months or even more but then you have to pay a fine of 3 euros per day up to maximum 330 euros. Its not a problem, I was in such a situation for a long time. The fine is so small that most chose to pay it instead of going out of the coutry.

    You can rent a house for 100 Euros get an internet connection for 40 Euros and do some free lance work or even German lessons or tourist guide and live quite well here. You can bring your computer with you and enter on a tourist visa.

    Working here is not a problem. Many Brazilians in small towns like where I live work in black and don’t even pay taxes. Don’t worry much about papers here. Its not like in Europe, no one will come and kick you out unless you get in trouble with drugs or shoot someone.

    Keep in mind that foreigners are like semi-gods here.

    If you do not have a job yet and are just out of your studies this could be the perfect time to try such an adventure. And if you do not like it you just go back and learned another language and had a great experience. So there is not much risk :).

    You can get a one way ticket or even 2-ways cheap if you look well enough.

  15. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Hey jrv,

    thanks again for your input – I think my mind is set! Trying to find reasons not to leave Germany all day… couldn’t find any good ones :-)

    The perspective to completely immerse myself in my passions – entrepreneurship, programming, design, playing guitar and absorbing everything I can about the world in a distraction-free (less) environment is very very intriguing and appealing to me! Even though if this means leaving my friends and family behind – nowadays with the availability of internet and cheap plane tickets its just not that big a deal :-)

    Where exactly do you live in Bahia? Since I trust your judgement and you like the place, I would definitely check it out. Also I would get the chance to get to know you and your family better. You seem, from what I can tell by the limited information avalilable, like the type of person I could develop a great, long-lasting friendship with.

    Would you be willing to help me find a nice place close by? I don’t need any luxury – the beach in front of my doorstep and not disturbing anybody by making (sometimes quite loud) music and a reasonable internet-connection is everything I could ever wish for! By rough estimation January 2013 will be the approximate date for my big leap. By then I should have sold all my property and earn 3000-4000€ by doing freelance work, which should free me of the need to work for some time.

    I think i could ship my bed, mattrasse, desk and desktop computer when I am leaving and just travel with a small suitcase containing only the bare essentials.

    I don’t want to overcharge your generosity and would fully understand if you have doubts. If I have to I can manage on my own and I don’t want to put any burden on you.

    You have given me EVERYTHING already!

    Thank you from all my heart
    Florian

  16. jrv says:

    Hi, of course I can help you, it would be a pleasure. I’m in a very nice and safe little town near the outstanding national park of Chiapada Diamantina. It’s called Lencois and it’s in Bahia. You can see pictures if you Google for Lencois, Chiapada Diamantina, Bahia. Full of incredible sites, nature, waterfalls, and lakes.

    You better bring just a notebook here and not much clothes, and light ones. Customs are a pain in the ass so forget about sending stuff in parallel, bring your essential things along (which should be very little).

    Here we can look for a house for 100 Euros a month, at most a bit more. But in January and February its a bit harder to rent because it’s the summer months (more tourism). Meanwhile you can stay with us and if you cannot stand living in the small crowded house we have you can stay in a reasonable hotel for 12 Euros a day. In about 1 week we find a you house. You will need to buy a bed, matrass and refrigerator and oven but we can buy all second hand for reasonably little (certainly less than sending it so I would not think about that).

    Count for these fixed monthly expenses (in euros):

    Rent 100
    Electricity: 25
    Internet (1 Gbps): 40 (quite Ok and could get even better, its changing fast)
    Water: 15

    Eating you better cook yourself because restaurants are expensive, not more than Europe, but still, it’s a relatively expensive thing here.

    Some cities in Brazil are dangerous, not terribly dangerous and less than what they talk about. It’s mainly house robberies. So we moved a lot due to that, and ended up in this place due to its safety. So you can rest assured that its safe, we have 3 small kids and worried specially about that.

    Here you will have a lot of time to play guitar, it’s a very musical town. You can also give guitar lessons. Also Internet is quite good so you will not feel disconnected. There are 95% Brazilians and the rest is French/Argentinian/Chilean/Italian/German/Swiss and Spanish. Not that many foreigners but in general quite nice.

    You can work giving language lessons, specially English. Or freelance work via the internet. Or tourism. A restaurant, a bar. Any kind of commerce… Computer lessons… Anything! Even making silver jewelry. I’m learning via a friend jeweler, its quite easy and it sells fast here. I do it just as a hobby to get out of the computer… I mean you really have to be super lazy to not be able to make money here. So don’t worry about that. Even then many natives hardly work here but that’s their choice they simply don’t like working. Which is good and bad depends how you think about life. At least you will have very small competition in whatever you do and most foreigners do very well here due to their more active mentality.

    My wife told me that if you know the language you can get free lodging and breakfast in a place she knows where voluntary foreigners help. But I think that even if you do not know the language you can get that “job”. You would have to work half day helping with children from here, doing games and stuff. I’m not sure you like that but it’s an option.

    I would think about taking an intensive course in Portuguese if you can. Or at least study from some language books that you can get at your local library.

    Ah and people are quite nice to foreigners. You’ll have no problem at all in that sense.

    Anyways take it easy, keep thinking about it, watch some pictures get informed etc… and if you do it I’ll help you, it will be a pleasure. One thing more I can tell you: it’s much easier than what it seems like. Its actually like a longer travel with the option to stay and work and then decide if you like it or not. And you have the advantage that I can help you get installed, its not such a big advantage cause it’s so easy but still it helps, at least psychologically.

  17. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Thank you for opening your house to me and your willingness to help me get installed :-) A small crowded house is something I would enjoy – the more the merrier :-)

    Lencois looks like a beautiful little town with an interesting history, where I could really imagine myself living. Six months, a year, two years, forever – who knows?! But as you said: The time for doing such a thing without any real risk is now. I have my academic certification, don’t own property, have no girlfriend – basically no strings attached at all :-)

    I really like kids for their innocence, playfulness and nonjudgmental view of their surroundings and really enjoy playing with or teaching them. Maybe your wife’s idea will be a alternative to my own place – my only concern would be, if I would be productive enough for my own standards. But maybe this is exactly the thing I should do – let loose, relax and take it easy for gods sake! Since I am a peoples person, the opportunity to work in tourism, gastronomy or teaching is quite appealing too.

    Learning Portuguese in advance might be a bit difficult as I did not find an intensive course but I should definitely be able to grasp the essential basics after a, surprisingly cheap, 10 lesson course and some self-studying. A one-way ticket to Salvador in January is about 550€ – quite reasonable too. The bus to Lencois won’t cost that much I guess.

    Travelling with the lightest luggage possible is a valuable advice and I’ll just bring the bare essentials and let things sort them selves out when I am there. I should not over-organize this.

    I will ask my parents if they would be willing to sponsor me a reasonable notebook on which I can work on without sacrificing productivity.

    Do I need an account at a Brazilian Bank or will my credit card / debit card be enough?

    The friends I talked with and even my mom are not as skeptical as I imagined and all of them think it would be a valuable experience.

  18. jrv says:

    Hi Florian, My wife is telling me that that voluntary job with kids is from 9am to 11am and from 2-4pm. So 4 hours a day. Its in a small house near a small hotel. The owner of the hotel sponsors it to help local kids. It has a couple of rooms for the kids to play and to store the toys and in the back side of the house there is a room for around 2 persons and you get to sleep there for free and can have a very nice breakfast in the hotel from the owner that sponsors this voluntary thing (an English woman). This is the hotel (pousada) where you would be taking breakfast: http://pousadadosduendes.com.br/. Its actually near our place. And if you stay there you can take trips with tourists and guides for free. Because that same English woman that sponsors this lets you go for free with her guides. That would let you learn all the trips and become a guide yourself.

    Anyways that’s just one option which is not even sure, but as I said you can stay with us. I imagine it is a bit stressy when move to another land alone the first time and you will feel much better with company. And its not problem that you sleep in our house. There are no rooms left since my wife and my kids use the 2 rooms we have. But can use the living room. It should be fast to get you a place here so don’t worry about my sons waking you up early for too long. I want you to feel Okay, but for me its not a problem, I’m quite easy going (and my wife too). At least here you will have internet access since day 1 and we can go out looking for a place for you to stay. I might even find you a place before you come but it has its advantages to find it together, like that you can chose yourself.

    From Salvador to Lencois its about 1oo Reais at most. You have to take a bus from Salvador to Feria de Santana and from there another one to Lencois. In total around 450 KM. I can get you the exact schedules, I have done that same trip already. There is also one plane a week from Salvador directly to Lencois I’ve never taken it but its worth looking into that, I’ll find that out. Probably its not much more expensive and has the advantage that you will be here fast. The bus trip is Okay but its long and you will be tired by then so its worth considering the local plane trip. The problem is that I think its only once a week so probably you’ll end up taking the bus which is every day if I remember well.

    You can buy a second hand computer in Ebay for 250 euros or probably less in Germany, quite decent, I just bought one for my step daughter who lives in Belgium. Of course new is always nice too.

    I use my Belgian Citibank card to take money out of the ATM machines it works perfect and charges no commission. It also uses the low bank exchange rate, it cannot be better. Make sure with your bank that you can do the same. Normally all banks allow it, but in Belgium all charge a bit to withdraw except Citibank that’s why we opened a Citibank account. You can also withdraw from a visa or master but they also charge a bit. Maybe in Germany it’s the same or maybe they don’t charge at all, you can always check. Another option is that I give you reais and you deposit the equivalent amount of euros in my Belgian bank account . But I do not think we need to get there, I sure you can simply take money out of the atm machines, the question is how much you’ll be charged for it, and I’m also sure that at least Citibank does not charge. A check with your bank will clear doubts.

    Light travel is recommended, what is necessary is your identity card or passport is enough, a bank card, a notebook, light clothes. and maybe your guitar. The rest you can get it here quite cheap or second hand. I have a big speaker to connect an electric guitar you can probably use it. But I don’t have the cables (I just use it for my music).

    I love Brazil because of the immense racial mix and the mentality. The nature and weather etc… Brasil is a huge land if you don’t like one place you have a lot of other options you even have full cities where they speak German. I only think that people who are interested in building a career in offices have no chance in our town. It depends on each person but you are free to move and do what you like, you can get a top paid job in big cities like Rio or Sao Paolo or in the southern region. As a starting point here it’s excellent, you will learn the language fast because you will have no other option to talk with common people and from then you can decide what to do. What I am completely sure is that if you want to work you will do well, you’re in an advantage position because of your culture (as I said many natives here like to work the minimum so competition is not a problem).

    PD: also if you like sports there are lots of sports here, besides the typical hikes into the park, they practice a lot of Capoeira, a kind of martial arts that slaves used to practice and many people still do now.

  19. jrv says:

    Don’t worry about getting here, Ill probably go (by bus) and get you in Salvador if you decide to come. I also might (not sure I need it so maybe not) buy an iPad or something for myself and send it to you so that you bring it along (way cheaper than buying it here).

  20. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Hi jrv,

    The iPad definitely is a nice toy and if you decide on buying one I can bring it with me to Brazil without problems. Regarding the costs I have looked up the prices here in Germany. If you want, I could buy it for you at the local Apple Store. Buying online isn’t much cheaper due to Apples retail price maintenance.

    Wi-Fi Modell
    479,00 € 16 GB
    579,00 € 32 GB
    679,00 € 64 GB
    Wi-Fi + Cellular Modell
    599,00 € 16 GB
    699,00 € 32 GB
    799,00 € 64 GB

    Don’t worry too much about me getting to Lencois. According to my information the bus is driving tri-daily and costs only R$45. I think meeting in Lencois is a lot easier than on Salvador Airport and would put a lot less stress on you. As you guys, I’m also quite easy going and have been travelling alone already. I am not chicken-hearted at all ;-)

    Concerning my bank – I am with the ING-Group (ING DiBa): they only charge the standard 1,25% when using my credit card. Exchange-rates are remarkably fair too.

    The computer I bring will be an essential part of my life since I will be earning my money with it – at least mid to long term. Software engineering is quite heavy lifting and I don’t want technology holding me and my potential back so I’ll invest quite a sum.

    Company is very much appreciated since I guess getting home sick at some point is inevitable :-) I would feel most comfortable, if I could stay at your place for the first few days. Working at the pousada dos duendes would be great, but they need to want me too. If they don’t – I already have a good network and reputation so working in my original profession always is an option.

    For now I will focus on my thesis and will get back to you when I finished writing and returned to Hamburg. All this is way too distracting ;-)

    My luggage will be quite minimal so if you guys need anything else from Germany, feel free to ask. I think I won’t pack much more than my laptop, western-guitar, light clothing for 1-2 weeks and my toothbrush :-)

    Best greetings,
    Florian

  21. jrv says:

    Ok your bank rate is quite reasonable. That’s already good. I’ll let you know if I want the iPad, I’m not sure if I need it yet. Maybe something else also could appear. I’ll send you my phone before you travel.

    Best luck with the thesis !

  22. jrv says:

    Yes a new computer is always nice and you’ll have a lot of time here to concentrate in software and the guitar website.

  23. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Sorry for the rather rational reply yesterday – it was quite late here in Germany and I was tired to the bone :-)

    All the interesting opportunities Lancois offers really enthuse me and as you I think it will be the perfect “base” for my life in the next few years. Without meeting you, I probably would have been too skeptical, so I can’t thank you and your wife enough for what you already have done for me. Be it Capoeira, the beautiful nature and town of Lancois, the different “non-productive” work opportunities – I can really imagine myself enjoying this, even though leaving Germany will be quite tough :-)

    Maybe buying a Bike or a Camper and travelling through South America would be my biggest long-term dream. Brazil and South America have a lot to offer!

    Sending me a mobile is a very good Idea! A prepaid-SIM would probably be enough :-)

    Thank you for your wishes, all the love I have to you, your wife and your family
    Florian

  24. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Oh and by the way – it’s a shame that your step-daughter doesn’t live with you anymore! From the pictures she looks like a very positive, beautiful young girl. For her school education it’s probably for the best but I imagine you guys miss her a lot.

  25. jrv says:

    The bike idea is very good too, it’s a nice thing to have in this part of the world. My wife’s daughter did not get used outside her country, a pity, she liked Belgium too much. Good thing is that she seems to be quite happy now.

  26. jrv says:

    Yes I can send you a rechargeable SIM card, like that you just put it into your phone and call me if you’re here.

  27. jrv says:

    Yes it’s not difficult to come from Salvador to Lencois, and you can always call me on the way.

  28. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Hi jrv,

    I thought about this some more, talked to a lot of friends and former colleagues and read a lot about Brazil. My decision made: I am moving to Brazil in January 2013!

    Concerning my computer: Shipping my high-end desktop and screen to Lencois will cost me only 120€. This way I could keep my small laptop and save a lot of money.

    After my thesis is done I’ll talk to my parents about this.

    Best greetings from the cold and rainy town of Kiel,
    Florian

  29. jrv says:

    Great I’m very happy for you !

    I did not know that you could ship things to Brazil for that price. When I investigated how to ship all my things (before moving here in 2009), it was possible to do it but the shipping companies told me that when you have to take it out from customs it was hell. To retrieve my things they warned me that they asked for Brazilian documentation. Since I did not have it and knew no Brazilian person or address where I could send the things to, I did not send anything. At the end we sold our furniture and brought our stuff in our bags and left some boxes with personal or sentimental stuff back in Belgium.

    For your PC, just make sure you say it’s used, and personal, and that you will be able to withdraw it from customs yourself without paying any kind of additional taxes which can be quite high.

    My mother in law once sent a box with some personal stuff and it took like 3 months to come, the box moved from city to city back and forth several times, it seemed like a joke, we had to call 3 or 4 times, they were not able to track it well, and once it came we noticed they opened it. It was expensive, via DHL, which we thought was serious.

    Also some friends have sent use music CD’s by regular e-mail, sometimes they come, sometimes not, it’s a lottery.

    I don’t want to be negative, I tell you so that you make sure it’s safe and that you will not be charged “extras” or have troubles with customs.

    Another thing you can think of bringing here is a bike, more of the mountain bike type, not necessarily new or very good, that’s handy in this region. They sell them here too, I just think you might have better options to get it there. Some decent ones are sold here for 1000 Reais. But maybe not as cheap or good as the ones you can get over there. Anyways there is a lot of eco-tourism here so some people use bikes and you can get them maintained easily.

    The advantage in other countries is that electrical stuff or even things in general (cars, bikes, etc…) are much cheaper than here. Anything that is imported to Brazil has a very high taxes that’s why many multinational companies reallocate and produce their stuff here to avoid those import taxes. And that’s why Brazilians are the ones who travel to New York more in the world (more than UK citizens who had the 1st place before) because its cheaper for them to shop there than in Brazil (even considering the travel costs)!

    That’s why I am thinking of getting an iPad or an external hard disk drive. I might send one so that you bring it along (not sure yet, just an idea).

    On the other hand food and rent can be much cheaper and better here. You have local markets that sell exotic tropical fruits and vegetables, cereal, fish, meat and food in general quite cheap. The producers go there directly to sell with little intermediaries in between. You can live with low costs and eat very healthy and have internet to connect with the rest of the world or do your work. It might be difficult at the beginning due to the cultural differences but that’s also what makes it interesting. If you like nature and nice weather and a quiet life it could be perfect to develop a software idea on your own. Actually its perfect for me to quietly study about the companies I like to invest at. It’s a little bit like Warren Buffett when he started in Ohama and managed his partnerships. He was relatively isolated from the financial centers but had all he needed, he worked from his house when he was already a millionaire and hated to go to New York where he could not concentrate as well. Now with the internet you can develop your ideas almost anywhere. And if you want to work here with people it’s also possible I have the possibility to give software lessons (needed here) I just do not do it because I prefer to focus 100% on investing. But my wife, who likes working directly with people, is quite happy giving painting and English lessons.

    Anyways first things first so best wishes with your thesis !
    jrv

  30. Florian Warninghoff says:

    Hey jrv

    As always thank you for your in depth input!

    Glad to hear that your wife is also able to do what she loves most! Personally I don’t know jet, if I would like to focus on my “lonely” passions or rather work with people, since I enjoy both. The beauty is – that I don’t have to know and get the possibility to really find out what I enjoy most in life. Balancing both is obviously an option too.

    Loved your Buffet analogy – I too have read a lot about him and his life and deeply admire his down to earth attitude. I mean he made billions and still lives in his old house he bought in the 50s – the private jet for him is not a status symbol but a tool for travelling comfortably. Since I am quite easily distracted and always put friends and family first I am quite eager to find out what I am able to accomplish on my own and without the positive stress of western society.

    To stay in touch with the world during the time I am not able to communicate well in Portuguese, I will defiantly host couch-surfers or put up an airbnb-profile. Making a little money and meeting interesting people – whats better than this :-)

    Haven’t really considered that customs and corruption are that big an issue and also planed on sending my stuff with DHL – they always deliver without any issues. Quite an impressive logistics Company, specially here in Germany! Maybe an alternative would be to bring an additional piece of luggage to Brazil with my desktop and flat-screen in it. I’ll get informed about this issue!

    Can’t wait to meet you guys in person – but as you said: first things first.

    With best wishes
    Florian

  31. jrv says:

    Yes shipping our things here has been one of the few annoying things. Good idea that of couch-hosting people!

    Best luck with the thesis,
    Cheers!
    jrv

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