Panama, best known for that Canal through the center of the country, has a lot to offer and those on the verge of retirement are noticing those options. If you look past the low cost of living and the amazing healthcare system, you find a place that most of us have dreamt of for vacation. Why go home? Panama has a stable government, strong economy, and the American dollar is right at home here. Perhaps the best features include the natural beauty, miles of white sandy beaches, beautiful towns, and the hurricane free tropical weather. So why do people from all over the world flock to Panama to retire? The answer is quite simple. Panama has something for everyone. Here is a look at what Panama has to offer:
Couples Live the Good Life on As Little as $2,000 a month
The strong economy lends itself to people living on a fixed income. This is not a dirt developing country where the expectation is that people line the streets selling wares just to survive. It is a country that is much different from that bleak picture. The culture here is rich, and many of the cities are beautiful. There is such a large population of retired Americans and Europeans living here that it’s not hard to find someone who speaks English. Even the US Dollar is welcomed. It is not hard to find a nice restaurant where a meal for two is less than $30. The local groceries are affordable, and Panama prides itself on the availability of fresh foods. This is the tropics, and fresh fruit and fish are not just available every day of the year, but they are affordable too.
Some areas of Panama are more expensive than others and they will require a larger monthly budget. But if you are on a tight budget, there are certainly many places where a couple can live a very comfortable lifestyle in Panama for as little as $2,000 per month. Less stress! I know many singles who live the good life in Panama on less than $1500 per month
Panama is Democratic Republic with a President Elected by the People
Panama has had a stable government since 1972 when it became a democracy with three independent branches — Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. Sounds somewhat familiar doesn’t it and that is important to the expatriate community. The local and national politics are something that we recognize and for many people that means not having to learn a new form of government. Moving to Panama is not like moving to a communist nation or a dictatorship. The Panama relocation experience is similar to moving from one state to another state in America. In fact, Panama is only a two-three hour flight to many destinations in the United States. Both of those facts make Panama that much more attractive.
The Panamanian economy is not just stable, it is thriving. Panama has the fastest growing economy of any country in the western hemisphere with an average GDP of 6-7% each year.
Beautiful Beach Communities and Mountain Towns
Panama is a nation that has it all. There are two oceans, mountains, miles of coastlines, jungles, culture, and modern cities. Panama City, the capital of Panama, sits along the shores of Panama Bay along the Pacific side of the nation. With a population approaching 1,500,000, it is the largest city in Panama. Also on the Pacific side is Coronado, which is west of Panama City. Coronado, Gorgona and Playa Blanca are perfect for people who want to live in close proximity to Panama City but with white sandy beaches and a relaxing lifestyle. Panama City.
Those who prefer cooler weather will enjoy El Valle, Boquete or Volcan. These mountain towns enjoy spring like weather year round with average temperatures around 76 degrees fahrenheit. Boquete is home to thousands of expats so it helps to make the transition to expat life a soft landing.
The Cost of Living is Much Cheaper than The US or Europe
Besides the big cities are small towns, rainforests, and a ton of culture that makes living here such a draw for retirees. Consider that a domestic bottle of beer costs 65 cents. Rent on a one bedroom house or apartment runs between $400-$1000 per month (depending on where you live in Panama) — in comparison to an apartment in Los Angeles which costs $1,621 per month. A domestic beer in Los Angeles runs $5. When it comes to comparing Panama City to London, UK the savings are profound. People save 35 percent off mid-range meals in Panama City and 56 percent off of the rental of an apartment in the city center.
Overall, you cannot beat the cost of living in Panama as it is simply more affordable than North America or Europe. One concern people have, regardless of where they live, is access to modern healthcare and health insurance. Panama has modern hospitals and outstanding health insurance, both at affordable prices. Even in the smaller cities, modern health care is available, and most of the medical doctors in Panama go to the US for training. Expect to pay $10 to $20 for a routine doctor visit and $40 – $50 for a specialist… without insurance. Four hours in the emergency room at a hospital will cost about $150… without insurance.
Because Panama is still considered an emerging market, there are many business opportunities for expats. No matter where you go in Panama you will spot services or products you wish Panama had but they are not available yet. You could cash in by providing that service or product. Some real examples in Boquete, we don’t have a good Mexican food restaurant or any BBQ or Chinese food restaurants.
An online business can be run from anywhere. This is one reason expats of all ages are flocking to Panama.
It is fairly easy to get a visa which comes with a work permit that allows you to work in Panama. You’ll need to work with a Panamanian attorney to get all the necessary permits and licenses to start a business and work in Panama. Taxes are much lower in Panama than they are in other countries. If you are from the United States, you can earn about $100,000 per year (per person) tax-free with the Foreign Earned Income Exemption. Luckily, most other countries do not tax you on income you earned outside of your home country.
Panama For Retirees
The cost of living is about 40-55 percent cheaper than in the United States or Europe. In Panama, you have access to two oceans, miles of resort quality beaches, mountain towns with spring-like weather and a warm, rich culture of people who are friendly, polite, and caring. Panama is an opportunity to live a better life for less money, and many Americans are cashing in on that opportunity. Panama welcomes retirees by offering their Pensionado visa with even more savings, including:
• 50% off on recreation and entertainment such as movies, theaters, sports, etc.
• 50% off hotels Monday through Thursday (30% off on weekends)
• 30% off public transportation like buses, trains, and boats
• 25% off airfare
• 25% off restaurants (15% off fast food)
• 25% off electrical, telephone, and water service
• 20% off doctors and specialists
• 20% off prosthetics and other personal assistance devices
• 15% off hospitals and private clinics
• 15% off dental and optometry services
• 10% off prescription medications
The great weather is present 365 days per year, and the unique geological makeup of Panama makes it naturally hurricane free. Where can you move and find a better deal? Not very many places offer as much for retirees as Panama. If you want to discover for yourself how wonderful Panama is for you, take a Panama Relocation Tour. You may not want to go home because you will discover that you already feel at home as soon as you arrive in Panama.