So, you’ve spent the best of 45 to 50 years saving up for the big day: your retirement, and yet, the great big question looms above your head… “Now what? Where do I go from here?” If retiring in the United States or Canada is not your cup of tea, might I be so humble to suggest the Republic of Panama.
“And why Panama?”, you ask. Well let me just go over seven reasons why retirees should settle in Panama. This tiny piece of paradise, as you will see, holds all the answers to your questions.
1. The climate. Panama is located just north of the equator, and its climate offers the best of the tropics. Year long, the sun rises and sets on average at the same time so there is no need for putting clocks back and forth. Warmth and sunshine with several months of rain combine to give retirees from abroad the remedy to beat any gloomy winter’s day.
2. The territory. Our beautiful country boasts the best beaches in the area as well as a stunning mountain landscape. This way, if you would rather wade in the crystal clear waters of the beaches in San Blas and Bocas del Toro or enjoy the cool crisp mountain air of Volcán and Cerro Punta in Chiriquí, you can retire where you wish.
3. The people. “Come to Panama and you will come again”, the saying goes. If hospitality and warmth could be measured, Panamanians would probably be considered the hottest people this side of the Western hemisphere!!! We are unique that in essence, we are a cultural combination of the melting pot that made up our land. The Panamanian per say is a mix of Spanish, African, Asian, and American cultures and people. This makes us not only unique in our outlook, but also friendly, tolerant and respectful towards any other cultures we interact with. Most locals are bilingual which makes for an easy adaptation process for foreigners as well as senior citizens before they begin to settle down.
We do have our native Panamanian Indians who are widely scattered in different provinces across the country such as the Kunas in San Blas, the Ngobe-Bugle in Bocas del Toro, and the Embera and Wounaan Indians in Darién.
4. The economy. In the past ten years, Panama has seen a boom in its economy as is reflected in the massive infrastructural changes coming about in the country such as its own subway system scheduled to be completed by 2014, the expansion of the Panama Canal, and a myriad of housing developments and complexes. There is an interest in investing in this gold mine not only from locals but also foreign investors and expats wanting to spend their retirement while land is relatively still accessible.
Panama’s banking sector is one of the most enviable in Latin America. The local currency is the balboa which is on par with the US dollar. Dollar bills and American coins are used and can be exchanged locally. At present, there are 22 Panamanian banks and 71 foreign banks represented in the Republic of Panama.
Panama is, in fact, rising above its image of a third world country. According to its contribution to the World Bank, Panama is considered a country of upper middle income. It recently obtained the BBB ranking by two qualifying agencies (S&P and Fitch) and a Baaa2 rating by Moody’s thus giving it the category of a country with a stable economy. This fact is a plus for any retiree as it reflects a sense of security for anyone deciding to live here.
5. Nature. Occupying a central position between North and South America, Panama’s geographical location is a prime spot for nature lovers. Here you will find the most amazing rainforests and cloud forests in Central America. There are more than 10,000 varieties of plants and 933 species of birds to identify and appreciate. If you would like to retire away from the hectic and mundane city life, there is no better spot. Places of interest include the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, the Natural Metropolitan Park, and the nature reserve at Barro Colorado to name a few.
6. Medical attention. We all know that the cost of good healthcare is high. Finding serious and reliable doctors can at times be a daunting task. Retirees deciding on where to settle down should consider this essential issue. Panama has a good network of specialists in all areas. Be it preventative medicine, major surgical procedures and techniques, or cosmetic treatments which are on the rise, this little gem of a country can cater to your every medical need or fancy for a fraction of what you would pay in the United States or Canada.
Of special interest is the upcoming Hospital City due to open its doors in 2014. This one of a kind project is aimed at improving the country’s medical infrastructure by offering top of the line healthcare services and technology all in one location.
7. Retiree perks. If all of these reasons are not enough to convince you, then let me just entice you with one more benefit before I go. Retirees who decide to settle in Panama can start their own business operations without major restrictions, regulations or excessive taxes. Depending on your need, there are various visa options to choose from, each with its specific requirements. A basic retiree visa, for example, would include a single tax exemption on house articles up to $10,000.00 and a car free of duty every two years. Additionally, retirees in general receive discounts at restaurants, hotels, cinemas and preferential treatment in banks and some clinics.
So, what are you waiting for? Come and see what Panama is all about.
Neelam Khemlani is General Manager at RelocatePTY and specializes in real estate and all inclusive relocation services for companies, investors, and retirees planning to settle in the Republic of Panama. We are the one stop answer to your needs. To find out more about RelocatePTY, visit our website at http://www.relocatepty.com