How to Retire in Panama

by Bill Herrfeldt ; Updated July 27, 2017

Chances are you have never heard anyone say they were about to retire in Panama. That may be because Panama is one of the best-kept retirement secrets around. Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, this sophisticated paradise offers some of the world’s best weather along with a lifestyle that can be both rewarding and varied, not to mention easy on the pocketbook. Here are some hints that will make your move to Panama a joy to behold.

Step 1

Enjoy the same sophistication and the services in Panama that you have come to expect in the United States. For example, Panama City is a modern city where dozens of American companies have set up shop. So just about every brand you have in the United States can be found there.

Step 2

Have your kids and grandkids visit you in Panama because of its close proximity to the United States. People can maintain ties to their families at home because, if they live close enough by in a city with direct flights, it’s so simple to hop on a plane and be in Panama City in just a few hours.

Step 3

Decide which city suits you. For instance, Panama City is hugely popular among expatriates. Even though it is a large capital city, it has many distinctive neighborhoods that people love, and a lot of history and culture. Then there’s Boquete, a charming and small mountain village that’s tucked away on the eastern slopes of the Volcan Barú. Boquete and Panama City are the two most popular places for U.S. retirees to live.

Step 4

When you have a medical problem, Panama has world-class healthcare. Panama's healthcare is among the best in Latin America. Among the reasons is that there is a large contingent of U.S.-trained doctors there. Healthcare is a lot cheaper, too.

Step 5

You’ll find it quite easy to assimilate in Panama. While the official language is Spanish, most Panamanians speak English, especially in areas where there are a lot of tourists . Also, the Panamanian government has made it very easy to move there. You simply need to file a paper stating that you have at least $500 income per month, and anyone over 18 years of age can qualify. That’s all. They don’t put you through a lot of hoops to move there.

Tips

  • Before you make Panama your permanent home, investigate it thoroughly and talk with people who have made the move. And above all, before you even think about buying a place, rent for at least six months. That will give you time enough to decide whehter Panama is where you want to hang your hat.

Warnings

  • Don’t wait too long to make the decision to move to Panama, because prices are skyrocketing. Panama is the new Florida, so if you decide to live there, the sooner you do the better because it is receiving so much attention from the mainstream media.

About the Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.