Should Retirees Head For Panama?
Have you considered locating for your retirement? Forget about the suburbs, because we’ve got a more appealing option for you! Panama’s abundant natural attributes alone make this Central American country an obvious choice for retirees.
It’s hard to argue with stunning beaches, dense green rain forests, and a warm tropical climate.
Add in some top-notch and affordable healthcare and a retirement visa that offers steep discounts to seniors, and the case is even stronger for retiring to this charming little nation.
The famous canal aside, Panama has recently been THE choice of an increasing number of retirees from all over the world. We can certainly see the appeal!
Panama has easy access to the Pacific and the Caribbean, and it also features coffee plantations in the mountains and the jaw-droppingly gorgeous San Blas Islands.
Traveling from one end of this beautiful country to the other, you’ll find numerous American retirees out and about, enjoying a leisurely lunch on a shady patio in the quaint mountain town of Boquete or lounging on the beaches on the Pacific side of the country.
Here are 7 reasons Panama is so popular with retirees looking for an international change.
The laid-back little beach towns and charming cities are calling your name!
Healthcare Is Affordable
Panama has high-quality health care and modern hospitals. The doctors in this country generally complete their studies and residencies in other countries and bring their state-of-the-art knowledge and technology back to Panama.
Many doctors are affiliated with top-notch hospitals and medical schools in the US, including John Hopkins. Punta Pacifica Hospital is just one of the many hospitals in Panama that are known for having standards as high as those in the US.
The country also has lower medical and health care costs, due to the lower prices of less-costly office facilities and pharmaceutical companies. The average Panamanian earns $500 monthly, and healthcare pricing is generally set accordingly.
Americans Are Welcome There
You’ll be pleased to know that Americans and Europeans are neither gawked at nor disliked.
Another gift of the Panama Canal has been the introduction of thousands of people from all around the world to Panama over the years, including tens of thousands of Americans assigned to sustain the Canal before it was turned over to Panama in 1999.
Locals are perfectly comfortable with people from any other nations. They’ve lived with them for decades, and many of their “visitors” remained to become residents. English is a widely-understood language spoken by many people who regularly deal with expats.
However, many Panamanians are hesitant to speak it at first for fear of embarrassment, as is often the case in reverse! In that regard, the Spanish language instruction is readily and inexpensively available.
Retirees Get Special Benefits
Along with the generally lower cost of living, retirees in this country also benefit from the Pensionado Program, a discount system for retirees that International Living calls: the most appealing program of unique benefits for retirees you’ll find anywhere in the world today!
And the program is open to foreigners. In Panama, retirees are entitled to several discounts that go well beyond the senior discounts offered in any other country. For example, they receive 50% off on entertainment, including concerts, movies, and sporting events.
They also get 30% off on public transportation, 25% off airline tickets, 25% off energy bills, 30% to 50% off hotels, and 15% off any hospital bills. The program even offers a one-time exemption of duties on household goods imported up to $10,000.
Most seniors get the Pensionado Visa, which only requires a lifetime income of $1,000 per month for one person or $1,250 for a couple.
The Embassy of Panama reports that visa applications have to be submitted in Panama through a lawyer. Depending on the lawyer, the cost is about $1,500 for a couple to get the visa.
The Surroundings And Climate Are Gorgeous
Panama is pretty much a mountain range rimmed by beautiful beaches. However, we’re not talking about cold, barren mountains. They’re soft, rounded volcanic Panamanian mountains, and the volcanic soil provides an excellent base for its lush vegetation.
If you love tropical climates, you won’t be disappointed on the Atlantic OR Pacific coasts. If you favor a more temperate climate with easy access to the beaches, it’s almost impossible to be more than an hour’s drive from a beach here.
The trees, flowers, birds, and many other animal life are varied, not to mention strikingly beautiful.
But it’s what we’ve grown to expect from that part of the world, and Panamanians are doing a pretty great job of protecting their environment, far more so than many of the nearby nations. Eco-tourism is a growing industry here, and for a good reason.
The Cost Of Living Is Much Less
How much you’ll save by living here will be determined by the amount you spend in the US and the lifestyle you choose to live in Panama. There’s such an extensive variety among expats that it’s impossible to tell how much you’ll save.
Still, if you desire to spend less, you’ll find it far easier in Panama than in North America or overseas. Folks from low-budget rural areas are always astonished to see how much cheaper it is to live comfortably here.
Those from higher-cost urban areas will save less, but they seem to have one thing in common: they live comfortably, cut their expenses, and save more money.
It’s always been a big reason to relocate to Panama, and it still is today, but in the end, it all depends on your lifestyle. Panama has room for a vast range of tastes and lifestyles.
There Are Lots Of Expats
Because this country already has a good number of international retirees, the transition could be smooth for newcomers. It’s easier to adjust to a new zip code when there are so many other people from your country or state nearby.
Along with providing a connection, the abundance of expats makes it possible to retire to Panama without speaking Spanish. And many Panamanians speak English. English is likely to be more widely spoken in towns with a high concentration of expats.
You’ll also find that communicating in Panama is reasonably easy with just a few rudimentary Spanish skills. Many of the younger people you come across speak fluent English, and others are willing to try to bridge the gap.
For some people retiring to international spots, the abundance of expats can detract from the authentic experience. But luckily, there are plenty of choices in Panama that are more remote.
The Local Currency Is The US Dollar
For citizens of the US and any other country with the dollar as currency, this is a no-brainer. The Panamanian Constitution won’t allow the government to print paper currency. It can’t just turn on the printing press whenever it wants more cash.
Does that sound like any other country you know? The unstable inflation that has plagued so many other Latin American nations doesn’t exist here.
In the potential event of devaluation of the US dollar, Panama also has its own coined currency, called the Balboa, 1 to 1 value with the dollar, to which it can switch over.
With all the great amenities this country has to offer, pack your bags and get ready for a new adventure!
To find out about many more great reads on retirement life, be sure to browse our website. In particular, we suggest reading: Planning an Overseas Retirement? These 7 Genius Tips Will Help