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The Ultimate Expat Haven

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean The Ultimate Expat Haven

1. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Look what Panama offers expats ....

Anyone over the age of 18 can apply for the pensionado in Panama. All you need is a guaranteed pension income of only $500 per month ($600 per month for a couple). It must be a pension from a government agency (e.g. social security, disability, armed forces, etc.) or from a company.

As a qualified pensionado/retiree, you are entitled to significant discounts off the already mercifully low costs of living in Panama:

  • 50% off entertainment anywhere in the country
  • 30% off bus, boat, and train fares
  • 25% off airline tickets; 50% off hotel stays (Monday through Thursday)
  • 25% off restaurants
  • 10% off prescription medicines
  • 20% off doctor's consultations
  • 15% off dental and eye exams
  • 20% off professional and technical services
  • 50% off closing costs for home loans and more...

Could this be the best retirement deal in the world

http://www.internationalliving.com/panama/free/05-21-05-2.html

[ Edit: link fixed ]

2. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Quoting Wocca

Could this be the best retirement deal in the world

Nope, living with my independantly wealthy children is...

3. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

www.escapeartist.com is another good site to research foreign countries for expat purposes.

[ Edit: link fixed ]

4. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

The link is inoperable.

5. Posted by Wocca (Inactive 3745 posts) 11y

Perhaps there is more to the title than meets the eye ???

6. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

I don't understand, neither link works...is it supposed to be humorous?
I am not 'getting' it.

7. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 11y

If I may interject.....

I did an enormous amount of research about Panama before visisting earlier this year. The two websites Wocca mentions were among but many.

Both of these websites paint Panama as an idyllic paradise where everything is ridiculously inexpensive by American standards. This is just not so. Panama is indeed a amazing country, and the many people we met in our two weeks there were as nice and forthright as anyone in the world. We drove more than 1500 km through the country, missing only the Darien.

Many things are very inexpensive by American or European standards. The two websites mentioned site the "good" things about Panama, but don't bother to practice due diligence as to whether there is any "fact" to this supposed "good". For example, both sites claim Panama has received a very high safety rating from the Pinkerton Agency. Who is that? They don't exist. Both sites push real estate for expats in Panama. It's not as "inexpensive" as they claim....we looked while we were there. Some land has been stolen, some is "right of possession", some is "maybe titled". They both leave out that fact that there is a huge bureaucracy involved becoming an expatriot in Panama. You don't just pop in and have everything handed to you. There were many expats we spoke to from different countries who told us the same story....it's not easy, it can get very expensive to deal with the required lawyers, and there is no guarantee that you will succeed.
Additionally, some of the real estate companies that Escape Artist has so vehemently pushed for people to invest in, purchase their land through, etc., are criminal enterprises. One company in particular that Escape Artist was "in bed with" has changed its name and is in hiding since the President and several board members were extradited (finally) to the US to face fraud charges. It took years to arrest them, because they had paid officials to allow them to operate. Hundreds of people from around the world were defrauded of their savings by these kinds of companies. And these websites don't bother to check their facts before they encourage people to invest. A British company that builds treehouses and was touted by Escape Artist pulled out very quickly after learning it might unwittingly be involved in the land schemes. And the trees chosen for the project tended to fall over.

The point is, bureaucracy can work very slowly in Panama, or very quickly if you grease the right wheels. And Panama has more than its share of problems, partly thanks to nearly 100 years of American Colonialism. Panama, and the rest of Central America, is such a boiling pot. There is still oppression of the native peoples, students, the press. But if you have money, and lots of, you can indeed live like a king. The Shah of Iran did in 1979 when no other country would take him.

I urge anyone considering retiring to Panama to do your research carefully. It is a wonderful country, but make sure you don't just see what others want you to see. There are good people and bad, in government and in the citizenry...Just like everywhere else in the world. There are websites on Panama (my two fav's are The Panama News and Okke Ornstein) that can offer opposing views and real news that is not filtered.

Any Panamanians, please put in your opininions. This was only mine.

Just like your mother probably told you.....don't believe everything you read.

BTW, no, I did not invest and lose money in any of these land schemes. And Panama is still on my list of potential retirement spots.