Lief and I have been spending time, doing business, and making money in Panama for nearly 20 years.
We’ve bought, sold, renovated, and developed property in this country… and continue to do so…
Our Panama portfolio is continually expanding because, in this market, still, even two decades in, we see nothing but further upside on the horizon.
We’ve hired staff, opened offices, opened bank accounts, formed corporations…
Nine years ago, we relocated ourselves, our family, and our business from Paris to Panama City, where we’re all now based full-time. In the nine years since, we’ve hired more staff, opened more offices, more bank accounts, more corporations, bought a franchise…
We’re sending our son to school here. Taking our kids to the doctor. Their pets to the vet. Standing in line at Immigration to renew our residency visas. Buying and repairing cars. Shopping for groceries… insurance…
We know more about the opportunities and options available across this country than anyone else you’re going to find anywhere.
I don’t say that to brag. It’s a simple fact.
We aren’t in Panama as retirees, but many of our friends are. I’d say (and they’d all agree) that, all things considered, Panama can be the best place in the world right now to think about living or retiring overseas.
Again, I’ve been covering this beat a very long time. Panama as the world’s top overseas lifestyle haven isn’t news. It’s another simple fact.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to take a step back and regroup on what we’re talking about here.
That is, following are the top 14 reasons why Panama remains the world’s best place to think about reinventing your life overseas:
#1: Outside Panama City, the cost of living is affordable. Note my disclaimer. Panama’s capital city is no longer a bargain or a budget destination. However, outside Panama City, Panama can be downright cheap. You could retire to the beach in Las Tablas, for example, on the country’s Azuero Peninsula, on a budget of US$1,100 per month or even less.
#2: The sun shines year-round. Panama City can be too hot and sticky for some tastes, but, again, look beyond the capital, and you find pockets of near-perfect climates in some regions. If you prefer cool mountain temperatures to steamy sea-level ones, consider Boquete or, less discovered and more affordable, Santa Fe.
#3: The expat’s path is well worn. This country has been attracting foreign retirees, expats, and entrepreneurs in growing numbers for more than a decade. Panama offers many and very user-friendly options for establishing foreign residency if you want to live here full-time, and it is home to established and welcoming communities of expats, retirees, and adventurer-entrepreneurs.
#4: You can get by without speaking Spanish. I don’t recommend it, but, in Panama City, you don’t have to learn to speak Spanish if you don’t want to. Outside the capital, at least some Spanish becomes more important.
#5: Health care in Panama is of an international standard, and Panama City is home to Hospital Punta Pacífica, the only hospital in Latin America affiliated with and managed by Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Small clinics across Panama City offer excellent care on a walk-in basis.
#6: The cost of medical care is a bargain. Like everything, medical costs are higher in Panama City than elsewhere in the country, but, even in the capital, a doctor’s visit can cost US$50 or less. At the clinic we visit for treatment for ourselves and our children, a visit is US$30 (and we never wait more than a few minutes even without an appointment).
#7: Local Panama health insurance (which can be good, comprehensive coverage, all you need living in this country) can cost US$155 per month or less.
#8: The infrastructure is of a high standard. This is a place where things generally work. The internet, cable TV, phone service, etc., are all as reliable as anywhere in the States. The roadways and highway systems are being constantly expanded and improved. In Panama City, credit cards are accepted everywhere, and you find ATMs are on every corner.
#9: The currency is the U.S. dollar, so U.S. dollar-holders have no currency-exchange risk or exposure.
#10: Panama City is an international travel hub, very accessible from North America. The flight from Miami, for example, is about 2 1/2 hours.
#11: Panama’s pensionado program of special benefits and discounts for foreign retirees is the current Gold Standard. Retired in this country, you can save as much as 50% on everything from restaurant meals to in-country airfares, from prescription medicines to closing costs on your new beach house.
#12: This is a nature-lover’s paradise, boasting some of the world’s best surfing, snorkeling, diving, sport fishing, birding, hiking, and adventure-travel opportunities anywhere on earth. In fact, Panama is home to more species of birds, for example, than its better-known-for-its-eco-opportunities neighbor Costa Rica.
#13: This is a safe, welcoming place to call home.
#14: Retirees you meet in Panama aren’t losing sleep over their futures. They’re embracing them.
I could go on, but you get the idea. As everyone from the AARP to The New York Times, from USA Today to, well, me has been pointing out for a long time, Panama is the world’s top choice for where to think about restarting your life overseas.
Does that mean Panama is the place where you should think about spending your time and your money overseas?
That was the question that Lief Simon and our entire Live and Invest Overseas Panama team addressed for all the readers who’d made the trip down here to sunny Panama City to consider options and opportunities in the Hub of the Americas firsthand over the three days of our annual Live and Invest in Panama Conference.
I joined the party on Friday. The attendees, the invited speakers, and our LIOS staff all were excited, animated, fired up…
And a little confused.
So many choices…
I’ve been hosting conferences in Panama for nearly two decades. In that time, I’ve helped tens of thousands of folks just like you discover all that Panama has to offer… and to identify the Panama opportunities that are right for them.
Last week, my in-Panama team of advisors, colleagues, experts, and expat friends and I were able to help many dozens more consider their Panama options and begin to chart their Panama courses.
As you read this, these folks are making plans to invest in beachfront homes on Panama’s beautiful Pacific coast… to start businesses in Panama’s thriving capital city… to reinvent their lives and take control of their futures…
In some cases to retire and slow down… in others to shake things up and make a fortune.
All very possible in today’s Panama.
If you were among the crowd who joined us in Panama last week, I wish you bon voyage and Godspeed as you set off now on your own Panama adventures.