green and white road sign

One alternative to the U.S. as a place to live, do business, retire or invest might have seemed like insanity just months ago…but given the whirlwind of current economic fluctuations that are driving us to become hardcore depression boomers, it might make sense to look south, very south, to get more “bang for your buck.”

I hardly know anyone who hasn’t been unaltered by today’s tepid economic climate. As host of this weekly radio program, my goal is to provide a wide range of relevant data that can help minimize risk taking for small business owners.

Thus, I’m excited about presenting this great opportunity in Latin America. As a serious-minded businessperson, I began looking into the idea of living and doing business abroad to accomplish three things:

  1. Lower my costs
  2. Look for growing demand
  3. Find an expanding middle class market

Though he never states it explicitly, “Four Hour Work Week” guy Tim Ferriss employs this smart strategy: He sells to the First World, hires workers in the Third World, and lives in Latin America, where costs are low and the lifestyle is high. Corporate America has been doing it for years. Ask companies like Pepsi, Wal-Mart, Avon, Burger King and Pizza Hut where their growth is? It’s overseas…in the developing world.

So, what areyour alternatives?

One of my favorites, Ecuador, is an ideal country: moderately conservative, highly productive especially in natural products, a top five Latin America ranking in shrimp production, and many real estate bargains to be had.

Ecuador has a population that still knows how to work and how to grow its own food–including natural and organic–and is staying away from swallowing the “entitlement” pill for now. Based on these criteria, Ecuador has a slight edge over my other favorite, Chile.

One of the benefits of covering the Natural Products Expo for HBR’s Living Green segment in 2012 was that we made great connections with an array of small Ecuadorian businesses seeking U.S. distributors for their products and new investors.

If you’re looking for offshore options, and would consider sharing in a high-demand business in the natural and organic industry, this video may get you to consider Ecuador as a viable choice.

All offshore opportunities are not created alike. You owe it to yourself to go beyond the current “comic book” advice available on the Internet and from mass-market seminars presented by companies like Agora (International Living.)

Latin America is not perfect by the stretch of anyone’s imagination, but for now, the governments there employ a “live and let live” approach to their citizens and residents: You don’t bother them and they don’t bother you. Does that sound attractive to you?