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Bob Adams of www.RetirementWave.com added a new video on youtube to talk about why he, and many others, chose Panama as their new home. Bob often meets with our tour group and explains that many people talk about the “good ole’ days” and how good things were in the past but they complain about the present or the future in their country.
But in Panama, people are excited about what is happening now and what Panama will be like in the future. Living in a country where people look forward to their future is so refreshing.
Watch the video below to learn more:
A few years before moving to Panama I bought a house on a private 500 acre lake in East Texas. It had been my dream to have a lake house so I could get away from the concrete jungle of Dallas Texas. I really thought I’d be at that lake house forever. But summers in Texas can be a brutal 115 degrees and winters, complete with ice storms, can get down in the 20s. A very high utility bill every month was the norm.
So, when I decided to move away from the United States, my number ONE criteria was to find a place where I could live where I’d never need an air conditioner or heater again. Beautiful scenery would be a plus.
I found both in Boquete Panama… plus many more benefits!
After doing Panama Relocation Tours 100s of tours since 2010 and and talking to thousands of people considering moving to Panama, these are their 10 top reasons for considering a move to Panama:
1. More affordable living. Many have said if they stay in the country where they live now they will need to work the rest of their life. For most, their biggest expenses are health care and taxes (including property taxes plus Federal and State taxes). My international health insurance is $2200 per YEAR and it covers me in the USA, Panama or any other country. I have zero property taxes in Panama for the house and property I purchased. Instead of $400 per month for electric and $70 per month for water, I now pay closer to $20 per month for electric and $100 per year for water.
2. Weather. No more snow to shovel. No more hot summers. Harsh weather plus soaring utility costs, including water bills, are causing many to look beyond their borders for a better place to live. Air quality is an important factor too. There is no snow in Panama. But if you don’t like the heat you need to stay away from Panama City and other towns close to the coast. In Panama you can select your ideal temperature by changing the altitude where you live.
3. Get away from constant political conflict and tension. Panama has very little division or conflict. For the most part everyone is on the same page to keep the economy moving in the right direction, create jobs, keep debt at a minimum, and encourage investments. There is no far left or far right agenda in Panama. It is a refreshing change!
4. A more stable economy. In 2018, Panama saw its GDP rise to 5.3 percent. The predictions for 2019 and 2020, however, are much higher, at a little more than 6.3 percent. The International Monetary Fund is even more optimistic, calculating this year’s GDP growth at 6.9 percent, the highest in the whole of Latin America. According to BBVA Research, the main driver of the economy will be investment, together with private consumption prompted by an all-time low unemployment, which was 2.9 percent both in 2017 and 2018, the lowest in the region.
5. Less government rules,regulations and taxes which affect every aspect of your life. It’s easy to set up a business in Panama. You’ll need to get a business license and pay taxes if you earn money in Panama. But the taxes and rules are much less than the United States where I moved from. I had companies in the US too so I have something to compare business in Panama to. Capitalism is alive in well in Panama and welcome. Taxes, especially property taxes (if there are any) are very low. Panama is full of opportunity.
6. New adventure. Get away from the same old, same old. Panama is appealing because it is a small country with so much diversity. You can be at the Pacific Ocean, the mountains, and Caribbean Sea all in the same day ….without getting on an airplane. If you time it right, you could drive to Costa Rica the same day too! There are so many social activities and charity organizations you can get involved in too – you will never be bored in Panama!
7. New opportunities. There is so much opportunity in Panama! Many of the conveniences you are familiar with in your country may not exist in Panama… that spells opportunity to provide that product or service to a brand new audience in Panama.
8. Avoid racial conflicts. Apparently this is a real problem in many countries. Luckily, in Panama everyone just gets along regardless of race or religion. For hundreds of years, people from all over the world have been moving to Panama. Originally it was to help build the Panama Canal. Now it it for the tremendous opportunities available in Panama. Everyone is welcome in Panama!
9. Move to a country where there is personal responsibility and entitlement mentality does not exist! No one in Panama has their hand out for food stamps, free housing, free cell phones, and unemployment benefits. Panamanians are proud to work for a living. If they cannot work, their family helps them until they get back on their feet.
10. Experience a less stressful way of life. Tranquilo! This is a combination of all 10 reasons rolled in to one. By removing the stress of high costs of living, economic instability, political conflict, racial conflict, government regulations, hot or cold weather, fresh air, etc. … combined with more adventure and opportunity… you can live a better quality of life in Panama with less stress.
There are many other reasons for moving to Panama, but these are the top 10 reasons my tour guests have given.
What’s your reason for considering a move to Panama?
August 2014 Tour Group at Mana Restaurant in Volcan
The Panama Canal Celebrates 100 Years
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Panamanian ownership has transformed a staid, state-owned utility into a modern business.
Panama City, Panama
More than 2,000 guests—ladies in dazzling evening gowns, gentlemen in dark suits and ties—turned out at the cavernous Figali Convention Center here on Friday night for what you might call the gala of the century. It was the 100-year-anniversary celebration of the opening of the Panama Canal.
The main event was a singing and dancing extravaganza that told the story of Panama from its geological rise from the sea three million years ago to the present day. Acrobats undulated across the stage and twirled from above on ropes and trapeze swings to simulate the birth of the isthmus that would separate two great oceans.
A flamenco performance marked Spanish colonization. A Chinese dragon and a West Indian calypso singer commemorated the unsung heroes who provided the grueling and dangerous manual labor to breach the isthmus centuries later. Flappers jitterbugged in a salute to the U.S. and its success in completing the canal after a French failure. Jazz great Danilo Perez, folk singer Sandra Sandoval and salsa king Rubén Blades, all Panamanian celebrities, performed. Onetime Panamanian boxing sensation Roberto Durán made an appearance.
Panamanians are proud of their canal. You may wonder why since this most spectacular of engineering feats is purely the product of American ingenuity and initiative. Without the can-do Yanks of the early 20th century—scientists, surveyors, engineers, industrialists, medical researchers and doctors—it might never have been built.
Yet from the perspective of this tiny nation of 3.8 million, the “centenario” celebration was a moment to recognize its own canal accomplishment—15 highly successful years of administration—and a promising future.
When Jimmy Carter signed an agreement in 1977 to turn canal ownership over to Panama, many were betting that Panamanians were not up to the job. The locals have proven them wrong—and then some.
Under Panamanian leadership, the canal has not merely been maintained as one of the world’s premier shipping routes. It has been transformed from a staid state-owned public utility, with its quasi-socialist “zone” for employees, to a modern business that aims to maximize revenues and compete internationally. The privatization of the ports on both coasts and the railroad that runs alongside the waterway, as well as the construction of a third set of locks, are testaments to the visionary and entrepreneurial thinking that Panamanian ownership has brought.
In an interview on Wednesday with canal authority CEO Jorge Quijano, a canal employee for almost 40 years, I asked how Panama has managed to protect the canal from political interference. He gives the credit to President Guillermo Endara (1989-1994), who had the foresight during the transition period from U.S. to Panamanian management, to see that mere laws would not be enough. Endara led the effort to protect the independence of the canal authority with a constitutional amendment, making it harder—though not impossible—to politicize its operations.
Mr. Quijano also points to what he calls the “canal culture” of professionalism at the canal authority and on the board of directors. That came from the Americans but the Panamanians inherited it and have maintained it, as I observed at the great stone headquarters building on the hill in the canal zone that was for so long a symbol of the American presence and where Mr. Quijano has his office. The neatly kept grounds and offices and the disciplined staff suggest high-quality human capital and managerial proficiency.
As in any business, there are challenges. The 1914 canal is neither wide enough nor deep enough to handle “post Panamax” ships and Mr. Quijano says that Panama has lost some business to Suez because of it, even though the Suez route from the Far East to the U.S. eastern seaboard takes some four days longer.
“We should have finished [the new larger locks] two years ago,” he readily admits. One slowdown came earlier this year when the Spanish consortium hired for the work demanded more money because of cost overruns. Panama refused, and most of the project ground to a halt. Construction has now resumed while disputes are being adjudicated.
When I asked Mr. Quijano if he is concerned about the proposal by a Chinese-Nicaraguan company to build a competing canal in Nicaragua, he smiled and said that they may “know something I do not.” But he pointed out that “in 122 years, the Panama Canal has removed 545 million cubic meters of earth. The proposed Nicaraguan canal would require the removal of 5.5 billion cubic meters.” The obvious conclusion is that building a Nicaraguan waterway across the isthmus in five years, as the Chinese-Nicaraguan company proposes, borders on fantasy. Mr. Quijano says his estimates are that it would cost $67 billion to $70 billion, making it prohibitive for any private investor.
Nicaraguan shortcut or not, Panamanian canal managers understand that their canal’s survival depends on global competitiveness. Whether Panama’s political class has absorbed any lessons from the canal authority’s success remains to be seen. The answer might well determine whether sesquicentennial celebrations will be as joyous.