Retiring in Panama For $1300 A Month

“Kathleen, my wife and I will retire more or less with $1,300 a month. What kind of house could we buy in the countryside of Panama, where it is cool? What kind of mortgage payments would we have?”

— Reader in the United States

You could buy a small house in Santa Fe or San Francisco, in the interior of the country, on the Azuero peninsula, for less than US$50,000. I saw one recently in San Francisco on offer for about US$35,000.

Say you find a house for US$50,000 and mortgage it with 20% down, your monthly payment would be about US$300, plus the cost of life insurance (which is required in this country for financing).

With the US$1,000 that you’d have left over, you could live quite well in this part of Panama.

With that budget, though, dear reader, you won’t find anything in Boquete or El Valle, the two best-known cool-weather destinations in this country.


“What areas of the world does your new Overseas Retirement Letter cover? My interest lies in Europe and Eastern Europe. Does your letter cover these areas?”

— Tom D., United States

Lynn Mulvihill, Editor-in-chief of the Overseas Retirement Letter, responds:

“Indeed, as we look to identify the best possible retirement destinations overseas, the Overseas Retirement Letter considers the whole world. Over the next 12 months, we’ll be featuring locales in Central and South America, Europe, including Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia.

“From Europe, over the next six months, subscribers can expect coverage from Istria (full of charming medieval villages with a distinct Italian influence), for example, and Spain’s ‘Costa Tropical‘ (a culturally rich area, adjacent to Spaghetti Western territory and soon to be connected to the greater Mediterranean region).”