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fartlet57
5/13/2016 19:50 EST

Hello. I am leaving and returning to Argentina for the usa and back here. I have been trying to find out things before I leave to help me get my stuff from the us to here. The transferring of money is a major concern. Just today I found it is hard and even costly to have a bank account here. It seems the banks charge you money to have it in their bank no matter the amount. So I am thinking of keeping it in a us bank and transferring or wiring it a bit at a time when I need it. I have been told you can use a debit card from the us and withdraw money here paying a fee for your transaction. Does anyone know about that. I have decided to sell my auto in the us and buy one here. Anyone got any ideas about purchasing autos in Argentina and getting the insurance to drive that car.? I have a lot of household goods that cannot be bought here, and if I could find replacements the year I have been here tells me buying them over would be much more costly than when I initially acquired them. anyone had any knowledge of horror stories of having anything sent here from another country and it getting stuck at customs or whatever warehouse it might be stuck and having to spend major money to get it out? Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated.

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TomP
5/14/2016 08:35 EST

fartlet57,

I would not ever consider shipping anything over to Argentina, especially through Buenos Aires because it will be heavily taxed and or stolen at Customs. There are too many horror stories to recount. This is not the case if you are an Argentine or one spouse is an Argentine.

Regarding a car, prepare for sticker shock, the most modest new Chevy compact will cost you US$18,000 - US$20,000. Does financing exist, yeah with 50% down and the balance at 19% interest. Car insurance is available but not cheap, and obviously depends on the make and year and age. Our brand new Chevy compact ran about US$1,200 a year for liability, fire/theft and collision. Don't even think about buying a luxury car like a BMW. It will cost three times more than stateside because of draconian import tariffs. Also, as a foreigner I wouldn't want to be driving around in an ostentatious expensive car while locals cannot afford food. Used cars, e.g. 10- 15 years-old, command huge prices, maybe US$5,000 or more. Here's what I learned in my 5 years of living in Mendoza and San Rafael, check with your local Ex-pat Club. Often someone in that club had thrown in the towel and is leaving Argentina and has an auto he/she must sell cheaply before departing. I remember a contact that paid US$33,000 for a brand new fully loaded Nissan Sentra, yes a Sentra. With less than 5,000 miles on it and less than a year old they went back to the USA and dumped the car in Argentina for US$14,000.

Good luck.

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expat0tree
5/14/2016 18:57 EST

Totally agree, if someone is serious about living in the crime ridden Argentina then they should drive an older vehicle and use cheaper phone, keeping it low key. and not speak laud english on the streets.

Yeah don't dump your money into an argentine account just yet, wait until the country is fully open to financial markets (5 years or so), investors are still cautious because the so called "Peronistas" are still the majority here, personally i'm not too optimistic about the "free market" push that our newly elected president is trying so hard, simply because the society is still socialist and corrupt deep inside, and quite frankly nothing is going to change until everybody starts paying their taxes and paying their bills,

i work with an argentine guy who built himself a house without a permit, he has no title on the lot and pays no taxes and if that's not wrong enough he also does not pay for electricity while the rest of us are suffering from blackouts due to insufficient power output, he hooked himself up to the pole and has no meter, now please tell me how in a world is the government going to have a sound mortgage industry several years down the road if thousands upon thousands if people aren't paying up? plus, the company i'm working for has not paid sales taxes for many years, does not pay the labor union and cheats employees out of their full pay, so again, i say keep dreaming about living an american dream in the warm south americas, it's a long road ahead before people here grow up to match the standard of living of developed fully functional nations such as the united states and canada.

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TomP
5/15/2016 09:09 EST

expatOtree,

I agree with some of your insightful observations but not all.

Yes, I have seen extreme poverty in Argentina, like when you roll into the Buenos Aires Bus Terminal and right next door is squalor. I would not walk in that neighborhood under any circumstances. And I have seen extreme poverty areas in Mendoza City and San Rafael and I wouldn't walk there either but that being said during my 5 years of living in Mendoza City and San Rafael I never feared for my life because I was an American who spoke very little Spanish and my car, although not a new BMW, was a new shiny Chevrolet that 90% of Argentines could not afford. I had many friends and associates both American and Argentine and I was invited to many asados held by Argentines and or foreigners with many Argentine friends. In fairness to the star gazers who dream of visiting the romantic country of Argentina I will say the realization of the "romance" is in direct proportion to how much money you have. When living in Mendoza City we had money and rented a 2 bed 2 bath brand new Condo in the nicest area of Mendoza City. It cost us US$1,000 monthly.

I know many foreigners who came to Argentina with pennies in their pockets and no outside source of income and they spoke little if any Spanish. They ended up working at a grunt job for US$750 a month while their rent was $250 in some dumpy and probably unsafe area of town. The dynamic is no different from a foreigner who with stars in his/her eyes arrives in New York City with little money and no income. He/she may envision living on Park Avenue but in reality they will be forced to reside in some hell-hole walk-up flat in the Bronx where, by the way, I would not want to walk either.

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expat0tree
5/15/2016 10:28 EST

I generally agree with your assessment, although I believe there is a serious difference between a bad neighborhood in NY and BA, here corruption is at the core of every level, be it the municipality, the province or the capital federal.

At first I didn't think much of it until i realized how the poor here always view themselves as victims and in their minds carry the moral justification of robbing others and not paying taxes because apparently taxes do not apply to them. All that Instead of demanding reforms and holding officials accountable. They also teach their children to think applying the same flawed logic, thus culminating a rise in crime, not reduction like some optimists tend to believe, and when the police is easily corruptible then placing new police to patrol the streets is just a PR exercise.

In the USA or Canada, when someone robs a house, they know it's a straight forward crime, the police aren't going to assist and cooperate with the criminals like do here occasionally, or sympathize with them based on some ideology, in North America the police and the local governments are professional, here they are not. The public in NY and the media there would follow through on any unresolved issue, here people overreact, march the streets after yet another shooting of an innocent guy who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, but never follow up accordingly.

"Just be careful," they say. Being afraid of entering one's own home at night IS an ordinary Argentine experience.

Compliance and respect of rule of law is the major difference, on moral grounds that simply do not exist here for an average Joe on the street (there are exceptions). Yes things are changing, but Macri is just not being realistic.

The ex-pat subculture that overrides all that does not reflect the true face of Argentine culture, after all Mendoza (just like the rich south) is the low populous tourist's province. Here in the greater BA area is where Macri intent on changing things for the better, he is spearheading infrastructure projects now but the challenge is vastly cultural, not economic in my view, he needs to wait a generation until the next cycle of adults can listen and think for themselves, without the burden of previous generations.

Curiously, Ukraine is in the exact same position as Argentina, that's why IMF is cautious about landing them more money now, first they expected Ukraine to reform swiftly, eliminating all the communists in the parliament, paving the way for a more liberal market-pro government, but the corrupt elite and their extended families aren't ready to let go of the freebies, neither do they think it's fair to pay up. The average Ukrainian isn't ready to match up to the work ethics of Germans either, it was so easy to oust their corrupt leader Yanukovich, but now it's not so easy to having to compete with the eurozone commercially. So again they have to wait until the next generation can turn things around if they truly believe in unity with the European culture.

Eventually the well off and the educated expats or the locals themselves, should and i hope sooner than later overtake the parasitic culture here, but until then I want Macri to get serious about irradicating corruption and making everyone pay their fair share.

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TomP
5/15/2016 10:54 EST

expatOtree,

I do agree that a huge segment of Argentine people have taken the socialistic needle in the arm and rather fight for and protest about the freebies and welfare than go to work, or if working, blame their poverty on the alleged rich business owner who is busting his/her ass to make it a go. An example, in 2007 my vineyards workers were paid all Argentine Government dictated wages and benefits, about AR 1,400 pesos a month plus an additional 23% paid by me for worker "benefits". In 2007 I received AR 3.2 pesos per kilo of grapes harvested. In 2016 worker wages and benefits cost me AR 7,400 pesos a month plus an additional 23% for worker "benefits".
In 2016 I received AR 3.5 pesos per kilo of grapes harvested. During the same time period my electricity went up 400%, gas for my tractor 350% and materials and service went up 300%. One of my workers has eight children and collects more in welfare checks than the wages I pay him. That is why the ex Presidente Christina Kirchner managed to buy the vote of the poor, she gave them the needle of freebies that to this date they have been unwilling and unable to extract from their arm. They are truly hooked on free TV soccer channels, welfare checks for kids and more. Regarding crime I do agree if the police even bother to show up they are incompetent and display little if any interest in catching the banditos.

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