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From our overflowing mailbag:

“Nothing wrong with your newsletter, but I’m afraid I’m going to unsubscribe myself. We just don’t have any intentions, in the near term, to invest in overseas property. Partly due to the very low value of the British pound and also due to our own circumstances.”

— Ron S., Great Britain

I understand your position, dear reader, but I encourage you to reconsider your thinking. Not only because I hate to lose a reader (for any reason)…but also because, the truth is, you need the information and support we’re offering right now more than ever.

We’re in the throes of a worldwide financial meltdown…but that’s not to say things are tough all over. In many corners of the world right now, people just like you are enjoying the good life, even on very limited means.

And, believe it or not, in some spots right now, economies continue to expand, and opportunities continue to present themselves.

Don’t be paralyzed by all the doom and gloom. It’s more important now than ever to be open to outside-the-box options.

***

“Would you please send me the name of your rental manager in Panama City? I would like to hire one shortly.”

— Kim C., Bermuda

Our rental and property management agency is Property Management Solutions. We work with Blanca Coronado, the general manager. Her e-mail address is bcoronado@pmsolutionspanama.com.

One caveat: This agency is part of the Empresas Bern operation (the biggest developer in Panama) and manages only Bern properties. Our rental unit is in Bayfront Tower…a Bern project.

If your rental is not part of a Bern property, I’d recommend Sarah Booth, a fellow reader who started her own rental management business in this city about two years ago. Reach her at: sarahbooth2006@gmail.com.

Finally, if neither of those options works, contact our preferred real estate resource in Panama City, Giulia Gonzalez. She’ll have other recommendations. Reach Giulia at: GGonzalez@liveandinvestoverseas.com

***

“I’ve recently signed up with Live and Invest Overseas. I am young (45), single, and an outdoors person. I love the change of seasons, and I don’t care for the long, drawn-out winter in New York. I love the mountains, and I like to hunt and fish. I’m not just a country guy, though, as I like to be close to entertainment, movies, restaurants, etc.

“I’ve been told that New Zealand is nice and could work for me or possibly Australia, but these locations seem so far away.

“My first priority is to be able to establish an offshore bank account and perhaps an IBCBelize seems to offer these services, but I think Panama does, as well. What is your experience with this? This is important to me, as I need to be comfortable with the whole offshore banking thing.

“Once I have the offshore thing established and have become comfortable with it, I plan to have funds from an Internet-based website sent there.

“I enjoy my privacy, and if I am able to secure some tax advantages, as well, then all the better. Since I am newly single, I figure there is no better time than now to explore the world and to start a new life for myself.”

— Tom C., United States

Focus on Panama, dear reader. It offers everything you’re looking for. Its international banking infrastructure is far superior to that in Belize. Panama is a recognized international banking center…plus a tax haven.

They key to success doing what you’re trying to do is reliable advice.

***

“Wanted to say that I love reading your letters about retiring and investing overseas. I am 52, and my wife is 48. We have one son left at home who is 14. We would like to start thinking about investing now in a rental place we could use for vacations until our son finishes school.

“We hear a lot about Hacienda Matapalo in Costa Rica, a new resort that is being built with a new airport also. What are your thoughts about purchasing a place that will take two years to finish? We would like to visit, but we won’t be able to see a whole lot except landscape and water. We have looked at the plans, and they look beautiful, but they are only plans. I would appreciate any info you could help us with.”

— Rob Y., United States

Our Costa Rica Correspondent David Stubbs replies:

“I am not familiar with this particular development. I do know the location, which is an excellent choice for capital growth, near the planned new international airport, the new hospital, and on the road from Quepos to Dominical that is (finally) being paved.

“The key, of course, in making an investment like this one is your level of confidence in the developer. These developers are based in the States. In the current climate, I would be careful to check their track record and, especially, the status of the financing for the project. Have these guys done this before? Do they really have the wherewithal right now to do it again?

“Buying in early, you will get the best prices, but you also take on more risk than you would if you were to wait for infrastructure and amenities to be installed. Again, it comes down to how comfortable you are taking that risk in this case with these developers.”

***

“My advice to Stuart W., the young reader who wrote in yesterday from Hong Kong,” continues David, “is to start NOW.

“Our young and forward-thinking friend is in a beautiful position. He’s got decades ahead of him to enjoy the benefits of compound interest.

“Furthermore, the benefits of investing in real estate when you are young should not be underestimated. Buy in the right markets (with financing/mortgages) now, and you can rent out your properties on auto-pilot. Set them up for rental and then leave them alone for, say, 10 years.

“You will be amazed how much your wealth will grow this way.”

Kathleen Peddicord

 

TODAY:

Port operations in Panama increased 14.8% through November 2008. Year-end figures are still being calculated, but it’s expected that the final figure will be a solid 15%.

More traffic…and higher tolls. The Panama Canal Authority plans to increase the cost of voyaging from one end of the Canal to the other. In fact, it’s going to raise prices twice this year, once on May 1 and again on Oct. 1, for a combined increase of about 10%.

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