Most people’s portfolios have been hit hard. They’ve come back some but we’re still down. People who are close to retiring are the most worried. However, we all have to think about having enough money for retirement.
We have three options – invest more, risk more, or plan to live on less when we do retire. None of those sound particularly attractive, do they?
Unless you can live like a king or queen on less!
That’s why a recent article in Business Week caught our attention. It says that Panama is becoming a popular destination for retirees. It’s been going on for a few years now but really seems to be gaining momentum.
We hasten to say that, even if you’re not thinking about retiring soon or you wouldn’t even consider retiring outside your country, you still might consider putting Panama on your list of vacation destinations.
In addition to the Business Week article, we referred to PanamaInfo.com as a source for the information we’ll discuss today.
From everything I saw as we prepared for this show, I’d say a trip to Panama is in our future! I want to check it out.
I’m on board, George. When are we leaving? Actually, let me rephrase that … I’m good with our weather this time of the year. I want to go there in the winter when it’s freezing cold here and 80 degrees there!
It’s tropical and humid during the day most of the year in the highlands, which includes the capital of the country, Panama City. Temperatures range between eighty and ninety degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
The main tourist season corresponds with their dry season which runs from mid-December through May. In the rainy season, though, it rains for an hour or two about every day. That’s also when the hotels offer special rates.
Panama is an isthmus that connects Central America with South America. Hence the Panama Canal!
It has about 1,000 miles of coastline and 1,500 islands nearby. A mountain slices through the middle of the country. Panama also has five million acres of parks and more species of birds than the U.S. and Canada combined.
Cost of living
The main reason retirees are flocking to Panama is its low cost of living. The government encourages retirees to spend their golden years there. Seniors get discounts on just about everything.
For example, they save 50% on tickets to concerts, the theater and movies. A movie ticket normally costs $4 (dollars are the currency in Panama). Seniors pay $2.
They also get 25% off at restaurants, a 30% discount on most travel, except flights on which they save 25%. You name it and seniors likely get a discount, even on things like dentist and doctor visits.
Not that the price is high, relatively speaking, in the first place. The Business Week article points out that Panama has first-class health care at Third World prices.
Seniors even get a 50% discount on home closing costs. Once you buy your property, you have all the ownership rights any Panamanian would have.
And you don’t have to pay any property taxes for 20 years or pay any tax on your foreign income.
To give you some perspective on how inexpensive homes are there, the Business Week article mentions a couple who bought a 3,000 square foot oceanfront penthouse in 2007 for $250,000. At that time, it would have cost $3,000,000 to buy that same property in Miami.
Of course, it’s a lot cheaper in Miami now, but it’s still not close to $250,000. Speaking of Miami, Panama is only about a 2½ hour flight from Miami.
There’s a local joke that Panama is just like Miami. Except that it is safer. More people speak English. There are no hurricanes. And Americans are more popular!
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Thanks for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we ask, “Can you have too much money?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!
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(Image in today's post by carlosve)