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Expat Gabrielle Wells’s Experience: Living Well On A US$1,200 Monthly Budget After Moving To Panama
Expat Gabrielle Wells, who made her move from St. Louis to Panama City a year ago, at the height of the pandemic, put one of the big benefits of relocating your life in Panama into perspective when she told the crowd:
“My total monthly budget in Panama City is US$1,200, including lots of local travel and activities.
“That’s what I was spending on rent back in St. Louis.”
Gabrielle went on to offer two key points of advice for would-be Panama expats…
“My top tip, based on my experience over the past two years of planning and then executing my move,” she said, “is to put some support systems in place before you show up in Panama. I was able to do that through Facebook and other online groups, and I was so glad I did. I never felt alone, even on days when things were going wrong. And, believe me, you’ll have days when things go wrong.
“My other biggest piece of advice,” Gabrielle continued, “would be to make an effort to become involved in your new community.
“As soon as I arrived in Panama City, I began looking around for ways to volunteer… and, as a result, my support system grew really fast. I’ve been living in Panama full time for a year now, and I have more friends here than I did in St. Louis.”
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Why Your Cost Of Living Will Be Reduced In Panama
Expat Phil Schlesinger reinforced Gabrielle’s point about the opportunity Panama presents for reducing your overall cost of living, maybe significantly.
“If you own a condo on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, where I’m from,” Phil explained, “you’ll spend something like US$1,500 or US$1,600 a month on HOA fees and another US$1,100 or US$1,200 on property taxes.
“That’s as much as US$2,800 per month in carrying costs for a property.
“The #1 address in Panama City is Avenida Balboa, which runs along the Bay of Panama. Own an apartment there and you’ll be on the hook for US$500 per month, max, for HOA fees and property taxes.”
That’s not to say that Panama City is a top budget retirement option. I do not think it is… though some who’ve joined us in Panama City this week have disagreed.
Expat Dusty Tubbs Experience: Cut His Cost Of Living 75% By Moving To Chitré, Panama
For my money, the top budget retirement option in Panama today is a little town on the Azuero coast called Chitré.
Expat Dusty Tubbs says he cut his cost of living 75% by moving from the United States to Chitré.
“Sorry, Kathleen,” Dusty called out from the stage this morning as he shared his story with the assembled crowd, “but I’ve got to take issue with you.
“As far as I’m concerned Panama (not Portugal!) is still the best place in the world to retire.”
Fair enough, Dusty. It’s all about finding your fit.
Founding Publisher, Overseas Opportunity Letter