The dynamics of our Panama Relocation Tours reflect who is moving to Panama. When we first started doing tours more than 5 years ago, most of the people on the tour were retirees or people of retirement age looking for business opportunities in Panama.
But over the last couple of years things have changed. Now, people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s are coming on the tour and relocating to Panama too. We had a 23 year old on the January 2016 tour. They are not Trust babies who can retire. Nope! These are young people, or those with no retirement income, who are looking for business or job opportunities with less competition than North America or Europe.
A good example is 33 year old Joel Thomas from Wisconsin. I first met Joel at a real estate investing seminar in California a few years ago. I did the marketing for the seminar so I attended to help get everyone signed in and see many of my real estate investor friends. Joel spent more time out in the hall talking to me about Panama than he did in the classroom. A few months later, he was on a Panama Relocation Tour and was instantly hooked. He was actually thinking about relocating to Chile before learning about all the advantages in Panama. Joel moved to Panama about 8 months ago to attend an MBA program at 2/3 less costs than the United States. The instructors are flown in from the United States to Panama City for class on Friday and Saturday. So that leaves the rest of the week for Joel to work for someone else. But he found that it was difficult getting a job until he got his work permit. And you can’t get a work permit until you get your permanent visa. Once he got his work permit, he landed a job with a multinational company making as much, or more than he would if he were working in the United States. What his video below to learn about his life in Panama …
There are more than 120 multinational companies who have headquarters in Panama. Microsoft is expected to open an office in Panama City soon. Panama offers a lot of tax advantages to multinational companies to relocate to Panama. You can learn more about the multinational companies in my free booklet, Fund Your Freedom Overseas.
Another example of a young person moving to Panama is Alice Beth, a 23 year old, who moved to Panama City in 2012 but now lives in Coronado. She went the freelance route and has no problem finding clients. Alice says, ” New business, it seems, is to be found at every poolside happy hour and beachfront volleyball game”. When Alice graduated from college, she realized that there would be thousands of other people her age competing for the few jobs that opened up in the United States. In Panama, she has very little competition and a great view from her Coronado condo you can see below.
Julie moved to Boquete when she was 39. Obviously she had no retirement income so she had to find a way to make a living. She purchased an older house close to downtown Boquete then converted it in to five studio apartments which each rent for $500 a month. She and her boyfriend did most of the work themselves to save money. The income from the apartments completely support her active lifestyle in Panama.
Jeff is 37 and has lived in Panama City more than 7 years. He has a variety of jobs like being a lineman at the Panama Canal, eco-tour guide, video productions, and selling real estate.
Anne and her husband, both in their 40s, moved from France to Coronado Panama several years ago. Anne sells and rents real estate in the Coronado area and her husband is a videographer. We often meet with Anne during the Panama Relocation Tours.
They are not alone. Young people are opening up beach bars, hostels, rehabbing houses, and other businesses in Panama because it is so much easier to start a business in Panama than it is in other countries. For certain business, the City of Knowledge has $10,000 grant money available to start a business through their Start Up Panama program.
There is also an increase in young expats with children moving to Panama. A good indicator of that is the enrollment in International Schools. When I moved to Boquete there were about 300 children enrolled in the international school in Boquete. Now, 5 years later, that school had to build a new larger school in a new location because their enrollment has expanded to 750 students in Boquete. I don’t have numbers for international schools in Panama City, Coronado, or David. But my guess is that they have experienced similar growth. This growth also offers opportunity for educators of all ages!
A good way to connect with young expats living in Panama is through (YEP) at https://www.facebook.com/YoungExpatsinPanama The site has more than 4000 members from many different countries, many who live in Panama. They host regular beach parties and other gathersing for young (and young at heart) expats in Pamana.
Internations Panama is another way to connect with young expats in Panama. They host regular events in Panama City for expats to get together.
There is also facebook group for young expats living in Boquete which has 254 members, https://www.facebook.com/groups/young.expats.boquete/
When you combine more opportunity with a more affordable lifestyle, plus incredible weather….it just makes sense for young adults to consider a move to Panama.
But, Panama is not a good fit for everyone. Whether you are a young person or a retiree, it is better to come check out Panama before you make a decision to move to Panama. (ideally, during a Panama Relocation Tour). If you like what you see, then you may want to do a test drive, living in Panama for 3-6 months, before you make your final decision… or you may be ready to take the leap after you see how wonderful Panama is.