You Live and Learn

I am a member of a couple of Expat Forums in Colombia, to be honest I don’t participate much, as most of the content is from U.S. citizens, with whom either I don’t agree, because the advice given is contrary to local laws, or for cultural reasons, and I rather not start something that ends in bad feeling. However from time to time, there are some good ideas, that get around a law or regulation, without it being illegal.

When I moved to Colombia, I applied for a Pension Visa, because it was the easiest to obtain at the time, however that meant entering the Colombian Health System in my own right, which I did, and I have been paying ever since, I know I was advised, by the Representative of Confenalco, who was my Provider at that time, the law states you pay 12.5% of your income, the Representative said, that’s rubbish, you pay 12.5% of your disposable income, after all the bills are paid, and that is how it has continued, I still pay more than most Colombians, increasing my payment when or if I receive an increase in my pension, but not on my gross income.

After I was married, Marcela came under the umbrella of my payments, and that is how it has continued. However, I was reading a Forum post, where someone said that he does not pay into the System under his name, his Colombian Wife is the main ‘account’ holder, and he is the Beneficiary, thereby saving them a fortune. Nothing illegal, it’s the system.

Today, Marcela has contacted our Provider to ask if it legal to change how we contribute, to put the account in her name, with me as the beneficiary, and they have said that is perfectly legal, it would just mean I would not only have to pay the Health portion of the Social payment, but a pension contribution for Marcela, which is no bad thing. So we are waiting for confirmation in writing, and not just the spoken word, and if correct, we may consider changing. Marcela has been given a quote of COP $340,000pm to change, I am only paying $15000 less at the moment.

Marcela has found the Regulations pertaining to this, and is studying them, apparently the amount you can claim against your gross income for food etc. before imposing the 12.5% health bill, are set, so we need to look at those, before deciding if change is required. To be honest it’s difficult, because of the Exchange Rate, at the moment it is the highest I have seen it, and I am benefitting , but then at some stage it will drop, and if I increase my payments to reflect current rates, I can’t then reduce them, which would leave me financially bereft. At the end of the day, it may pay us to change over.

Recently, I decided that it was time to change my trailer lights, some of the LEDs are failing, and I don’t think it is legal.

Just over a year ago, I had my trailer overhaulted, new wood and light cables, the wood and painting was done well, the lighting was atrocious, the “Technician” took the cables up the moveable front leg support, and left little for the connection to the car, I ended up having to reroute that part of it.

I was checking the cables for conductivity the other day, and couldn’t find the indicator or brake cable on the trailer, even thought the connector from the car was showing current. I have decided to rip out all the cabling and start again, but this time, I am not installing EU type 7 pin connectors, I am going to fit, US 4 pin, which means a bit more work initially, but overall it should be easier. The parts are waiting at my correspondence address in Rionegro, I will collect them tomorrow, then work begins.

My Mother-in-law returned yesterday, after a month away, she is here for a couple of weeks before returning to help out her other Daughter again, we’ll see how it goes, hopefully better than last time.

I am determined to do a better job on training Nala, than I did on Pepe and Tito, who more or less worked out what to do for themselves. She is doing a good job on the walking, with, like this morning, the odd hiccup, where she decided to go back to being her old self, forgetting I had the added help of the prong collar, so we had a couple of yelps, when she lunged. The rest of the training is on hold, I am waiting for more equipment to arrive from Amazon, it should be here next week, such as a “long line” for doing Recall training, I also want to incorporate whistle training into the commands, so she can be contacted from a distance.

The problem dog at the moment is Tito, we are monitoring him, because we are not sure if he is just unwell, or has a more serious problem. The last couple of days, he has been off his treats, and only eating one meal a day. Last night he woke us a total of six times in the night, not once did he want to go out, just cuddles, and then this morning he attacked Pepe, yes I know Pepe likes stealing Tito’s treats, and even if he doesn’t want to eat them, Tito guards them, but he hasn’t gone for Pepe for about eight years, it is totally out of character. It things don’t go back to normal, it will be a trip to the Vet.

Pepe on the other hand, is showing signs of improvement, he had his ultrasound last week, and the Doc, found no sign of the cancer on his liver, so believes he is in remission, she found other ailments, but put those down to his age, he is ten next week. With the leg support, when Pepe goes out for a walk, he seems to be better with his ligament problem, running around the garden more, and resting when he has had enough, this is encouraging, and more than we hoped for.

Today, I am doing non physical work, mainly in the Office, and tomorrow we are out, I have an eye appointment, so work will have to wait for later in the week. Fortunately with the Mother-in-law returning, I cut the hedge and grass over the week-end!

Hey Ho! time for biccies and coffee, so will sign off.

Published by Phil Sale

I moved to Colombia from Spain in 2012, and I am happily married to a Colombiana.

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