If living comfortably well in retirement is important to you, you'll want to know about Panama's world-class retirement program.
Thanks to the hefty discounts it offers, expat Nanette Witmer—who retired to Panama's second-largest city of David—says:
"My budget for living in Panama is $1,000 a month"
Nanette lives simply—you might even argue frugally. If you have a bit more to spend, you'll have even more options in Panama, where many expat couples say they live well on just $2,000 a month.
Here, in her own words, is exactly how Nanette does it:
"When I decided to get away from the cold winters of Colorado, Panama attracted me with its warmer climate, low cost of living, and first-rate infrastructure. That alone was worth moving for…but as a retiree here, it gets even better.
"One of the national laws of Panama can make the already low cost of living even lower. Law #9 entitles any resident of the country who qualifies to receive a discount on specific services. Called the 'jubilado descuento.' it's mandated by law for all Panama residents. And expats with a temporary or permanent visa qualify for this program too.
You Can Easily Qualify for Panama's Pensionado Program—And it Comes With an Abundance of World-Class Benefits
Panama offers the World's Best Retirement Program.
It's easy to qualify as a pensionado in Panama and be eligible for HUGE discounts on everything from restaurants meals and medical services to travel, entertainment events, and much more, even including your utility bills!
Keep reading for all the details…
"To give you an idea of how the discount can help with everyday costs, I get hotel discounts of 50% off Monday through Thursday and 30% off for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These discounts apply to the rack rate, so ask for them at the time of booking and make your reservations directly with the hotel instead of online.
"Last month I went for mid-week outing to the beach. I didn't even make a reservation beforehand but asked for my jubiladodiscount when I arrived at the hotel. I was told the rack rate was $95 so I was charged $47.50 plus tax for an overnight stay. Not bad for an ocean view room.
"I also get discounts on public transport. The cost of a ticket for local bus services or long-distance buses within Panama get a 30% discount. Panama trains and boats give 30% off...
"You can even get discounts on flights out of the country… there is a 25% discount on Panama airlines. Again, you can't get these by making online reservations. You must reserve tickets and get your discount at local travel agencies or the local airline offices.
"Medical expenses are another area where I get to take advantage of these discounts. Doctor's visits, ongoing prescription medications, as well as over the counter medicines are all cheaper when you're part of this program. It is great to get discounts on cold medications, cough syrup and even aspirin. All doctor's prescriptions and over the counter medicines get a 10% discount.
"You can receive 15% off services in hospitals and private clinics. Medical doctor's fees are reduced by 20%. Dentists give a 15% discount.
"The entertainment discounts are great too. I get 50% off tickets to movies, theaters and all sporting events like baseball games and soccer… so first-run movies that normally cost $3.50 set me back just $1.75.
"Eating out is also cheaper when you're a jubilado. Sit-down restaurants offer a 25% discount when you purchase a full meal. Be aware that the restaurant does not have to give a discount if it has less than five tables to serve people. Fast food restaurants are required to give a 15% discount. A recent visit to a new upscale restaurant for a buffet lunch cost me $10.50 with the discount instead of the usual $14. With a savings of $3.50, every fourth lunch is basically free.
"Another great advantage is that I get my own lines at banks, utility companies and anywhere else where you have to queue. If there are three tellers and 20 people in the regular line, everyone must wait until the jubilados are served first. And everyone complies with kindness towards the jubilados, knowing someday they will get their turn.
"Adding up all the savings in a month… in addition to the already affordable cost of living… it's not hard to see how inexpensive living in Panama can be.
"My budget for living here is about a quarter of what I spent in Denver. As a single woman, I spend around $1,000 a month."
It's true. Panama's Pensionado Program is the most generous and appealing program of special benefits you'll find anywhere in the world today.
It's easy to qualify for Panama's Pensionado Program—widely recognized as the best retirement program in the world. Just provide documentation of a guaranteed pension income of $1,000 a month from a government agency (e.g. social security, disability, armed forces) or corporation. If you buy a home in Panama valued at $100,000 or more, that amount is reduced to just $750 per month.
As a qualified pensionado (or jubilado) in Panama, you're entitled to:
You're also entitled to a one-time exemption from duties on the importation of your household goods (up to $10,000) and tax exemptions on the importation or local purchase of a car.
Is Panama Safe?
Panama's economy—one of the fastest growing in Latin America—is based primarily on a well-developed services sector, accounting for about 75% of GDP. These services include banking, insurance, activities in the Colón Free Trade Zone, and of course, the Panama Canal, container ports, and flagship registry.
The literacy rate in Panama is 90 percent and there's just 3.5 percent unemployment.
You can imagine how a strong economy and low unemployment affects crime stats. According to several media sources, Panama is safer than ever, having steadily climbed up the ranks to become one of the safest countries in Latin America.
I'm Jackie Flynn, International Living publisher. For years International Living has been sharing information about all that Panama has to offer. As quality of life (worsened by crumbling economies and heavy-handed governments) deteriorates elsewhere in the world, Panama looks better and better.
Nowhere else can you enjoy such a comfortable life… with a year-round mild tropical climate, excellent medical care, fresh, healthy food straight from the farmer's truck… and a retirement incentive program that's truly welcoming of expats…
Why has Panama topped our Global Retirement Index more times than any other country?
First published in 1992, International Living's Global Retirement Index measures everything from climate and healthcare to cost of living and ease of fitting in. Panama scores high in all these and more, including "buying and renting," "entertainment and amenities," "healthy lifestyle," and "infrastructure" categories. Its benefit-rich Retirement Program puts it over the top. Plus, as recent survey indicates, Panamanians are the most "positive people on the planet." For all these reasons and more, Panama has earned the #1 spot on the index more times than any other country.
But don't just take it from me…
The AARP says that Panama is a "smart choice for retirees who want it all."
Business Week dubbed it "the New Florida."
Forbes says, "It truly can be paradise."
CNN reports: "How do you retire on $25,600 a year? Move to Panama."
And the Washington Post says:
"With all of its benefits and active expatriate community, Panama is among the most affordable and appealing options for retirees."
Panama frequently earns the top spot in International Living's Global Retirement Index. Once our editors and researchers crunch the numbers and analyze the data, there's no denying: Panama is one of the best overseas retirement destination there is.
In Panama you really can have it all: a cosmopolitan capital city with one of the world's largest financial districts…hundreds of miles of spectacular beaches…highland retreats with green valleys where the weather is spring-like, even in January and August…and did you know that there are never any hurricanes?
So please, don't put off your dreams of a better, less-stressful (and lower cost) life any longer…
If you're considering retiring overseas, but you're not yet sure where that might be, put Panama at the top of your list right now.
More than any other destination that International Living covers, Panama is—hands down—the most popular. And there are so many reasons why…
Panama meets all the criteria on most anyone's "perfect overseas lifestyle" checklist:
Now, it's true that many of the things I've just mentioned can be found in other Latin American countries, too. Some are even closer to the U.S. (but not by much). And many have democratically elected governments. (Although few are as stable and safe as Panama.)
Plus, there are many things that are unique to Panama that you may not be aware of:
I'll explain more in a moment about how comfortable and inexpensive it is to live in Panama and I'll give you a look at exactly what kind of monthly expenses you might expect in Panama…
First, I'd like to tell you how to get your hands on a Special Report called Discover the World's Best Retirement Program: Your 3-Step Guide to a Pampered Life in Panama.
In this comprehensive reference guide, we'll share three steps to take to you on the road to living the life you've always dreamed of in Panama. We'll share some of the best (yet little-known and still affordable) places to look for your dream home. If you're looking for beach living, an island lifestyle, or to be in a sweet, little mountain hideaway, this report has you covered.
You'll also get pointers on how to start your real estate hunt in Panama. You'll be happy to know Panamanian law grants equal property rights to both local and foreign buyers, and that construction adheres to international standards. While real estate processes are similar to those of the U.S., it's also important to know what you can't buy in Panama… the locations and types of real estate to avoid at all costs.
In Discover the World's Best Retirement Program: Your 3-Step Guide to a Pampered Life in Panama, you'll learn about all this and more.
Very importantly, you'll discover details about the best residence visa options available to you in Panama, including the famed Pensionado Program. Created as Law No. 9, this is the most appealing program of special benefits for foreign residents and retirees you'll find anywhere in the world today.
It's a government-backed program that will actually pay for your part of your retirement. And in this Special Report, you'll discover how to qualify and more about the benefits you'll receive. You'll also get the details of a new visa option designed for professionals and entrepreneurs.
Getting a residence visa in Panama has never been easier, more affordable, or quicker to obtain. Everything you need to know is in this Special Report, and we'll send it to you immediately, and for free when you agree to take a look at our best-selling manual Escape to Panama: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less.
We've been publishing this hefty manual for more than a decade now. There's nothing else like it on the market.
It's not a travel guide (although you'll find our insider recommendations for hotels, restaurants, and more) it's a complete encyclopedia of everything you need to know about life in Panama for the expat.
And of course, along with all the details, we've included names and contact information, websites, and much more.
I guarantee our Escape to Panama manual will help you decide if Panama is for you.
Keep reading to learn about our ironclad, no-risk International Livingguarantee.
But again, you needn't just take my word for it. Panama is the place to be, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank that studies the movement of people around the world. The number of Panama visas issued to U.S. and Canadian citizens alone began to rise dramatically after 2003, and an estimated 25,000 U.S. expatriates live in Panama today.
I'll tell you more about Escape to Panama in just a minute. But first… I know one of the biggest questions on your mind right now:
Ronan McMahon, executive director of Pathfinder Real Estate has logged hundreds of thousands of travel miles in pursuit of the world's best real estate bargains. Here's what he says about today's Panama real estate market:
"The past nine years has seen an unprecedented boom in Panama as the skyline has been transformed with cranes and new construction. Back in 2006 you could have bought a prime condo preconstruction for $120 per square foot. Within three years preconstruction prices almost tripled. But we all know what happened. As the U.S real estate market stalled and credit tightened, the frenzy dulled. Americans stopped buying. Europeans, too. For a while Venezuelans and Colombians filled the void but there were just too many condos.
The result is that today there is too much supply. And prices are adjusting."
Today, Ronan says it's time, once again, to look at Panama. He's identified a buying opportunity on what he says " is the last undeveloped stretch of Pacific beach close to Panama City. It's the nicest stretch. This point of land with its white-sand beaches, stayed undeveloped as the city and other beach locales close by were transformed. Now this area is set to explode."
You'll pay $140 per square foot here, he says… a two-bedroom luxury condo can be had starting at $141,167. Best of all, the developer is offering a manageable payment plan.
Pathfinder's managing director, Margaret Summerfield—who lives in Panama City—has this to say: "Panama is one of the best locations in Latin America for re-location, retirement or a vacation home.
"Ignore sky-high price tags from wishful sellers. Do a bit of research, put in some legwork, and look for a fire sale. They're out there, even if they take a little work to find. But it's well worth the extra effort. You'll pay significantly less than official market rates for a property when the seller is motivated."
Point is: There are bargain opportunities out there if you know where to look. (Your Escape to Panama manual will introduce you to the resources you need to locate the best real estate deals.)
And remember, Panama offers a big buyer's incentive in its tax-exemption program. Buy new residential construction and you may be exempt from paying any property taxes for up to 15 years!
Check out these bargains that I found just today in exciting, cosmopolitan Panama City:
How much does it cost
Average rental prices in Panama City's nicer areas tend to range from $800 to $1,800, but a little legwork can yield some bargain results. And outside the city… in popular Boquete or up-and-coming coastal Pedasí, you can find rentals for half as much. As expat Mitzi Martain says about the mountain village of Santa Fe, where she lives: "You can rent a house with a garden for $300 a month."
In Escape to Panama: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less, you'll learn exactly where to look to find the best bargains.
Prefer to live outside bustling Panama City? That's where the real bargains are found:
In Panama, It's Easy to Start a Business, and Property Rights are Guaranteed By the Country's Constitution
As The New York Times reports, Panama's "laissez-faire stance on private property rights and entrepreneurship" makes it an easy place to invest and to start a business.
Property rights are guaranteed by the country's constitution and foreigners can legally buy property in Panama and generally enjoy the same rights as Panamanian citizens.
A word about Boquete… it's been named one of the top destinations to retire outside the U.S. by Forbes, Fortune, and AARP's Modern Maturity magazine.
That's thanks to its stunning vistas (and oh so healthy) temperate mountain climate, its modern amenities, delicious fresh food, and more. (Boquete is known for its fresh strawberries and cream and for having the best coffee in the world! Need I say more?)
You'll learn all about the bounteous beauty and benefits of Boquete when you order Escape to Panama.
Maybe beach living is more your style? You, too, will be happy in Panama:
Yes, Panama is thriving. It boasts the most vibrant economy in Latin America… #21 in the world, in fact, and well ahead of the U.S., which ranks #126 according to recent data released by the CIA World Factbook.
For you, this means that Panama is a land of opportunity. Many foreign retirees who have settled in Panama have started B&Bs, opened restaurants or bars, run import-export businesses, and more…
As one successful expat entrepreneur put it:
"This country invites and welcomes businesses with tax incentives, streamlined paperwork, quick turnaround, and a big smile. Starting a business in Panama is easy, empowering, and exciting. There are endless possibilities for adventure."
I'm sure you've heard of Panama's biggest stimulus project: a massive expansion of that Modern Wonder of the World called the Panama Canal. It's just one of several mega-projects expected to fuel Panama's economy in the years to come.
Not bad for a "Third World" country, huh? Well, believe me, Panama is hardly Third World these days. For instance:
So let's talk affordability… and how, in Panama, you might retire earlier than expected.
I've already touched on the low costs of buying real estate in Panama. But what about the low cost of living overall? Many expats report they're living well on budgets of less than $2,000 per month. That doesn't include rent, but even if it did, you can see that in Panama, you can live very comfortably.
Terry and Clyde Coles are expats living in the beach community of Chame—close to the popular Coronado area and not far from Panama City. By moving to Panama, they were able to retire at the young ages of 51 and 57—far earlier than they would if they had stayed in the States.
Terry and Clyde have generously agreed to share their average monthly budget. They own their own home so they don't pay rent, but as you can see, living in Panama can be very affordable:
|Propane (cooking and hot water):||$5|
|Water and trash collection:||$5|
|Maintenance/ insurance/ fuel for one car:||$200|
|Cellphone (prepaid cards):||$10|
|DirecTV (US channels):||$20|
|Groceries/ prescriptions/ dining out:||$900|
|Home maintenance, etc.||$200|
As Terry says, their food budget is high because "we're spoiled Americans and we buy chips, cookies, alcohol, soda and all the U.S. imports that we like. If we ate a typical Panamanian diet, our food expenses would be far, far less."
A good rule of thumb for your grocery bill in Panama is to budget about 40 percent less than what you spend at home. All of your expenses, of course, will depend on your habits and consumption.
And while city living may cost a bit more—thanks to all those entertainment and shopping temptations—when you choose to live outside the city… in a pretty little out-of-the-way beach town or even in a mountain town like Boquete, your monthly expenses may be considerably less.
In Panama, a manicure and pedicure at any number of salons is just $10, and a relaxing hour-long massage is just $30. You can hire a maid to clean your house for $15 a day. A hearty, three-course executive lunch can be had just about anywhere for under $7.
Terry and Clyde, for example, live near Panama's most popular and most upscale beach community, on less than $2,000 a month.
That allows them to save money each month for travel, one of their favorite activities.
Yes, in Panama even a low budget affords a very good lifestyle. You'll enjoy guilt-free conspicuous consumption at laughably low prices. For instance, splurge on a day of beauty at any number of salons ($20 for a blow-out and mani-pedi); pay a maid to clean your house (just $15 a day).
A complete blood workup at that gleaming new Hospital Punta Pacifica I mentioned earlier (the most technologically advanced hospital in Latin America) is $36. A consult with a physician at this state-of-the-art hospital is $50.
At smaller-but-modern clinics, like Hospital America or Clinica Omega, you'll pay 50-75% less, and outside the city a doctor's visit can be far less.
As Terry Coles explains, it costs $15 to see an English-speaking doctor at the local clinic in Coronado. If you have an emergency and you go to the local Social Security hospital, the doctor charges just $1. An ambulance ride the 90 minutes from Coronado to Panama City is just $25.
And remember, retirees on the Pensionado Program are entitled to sizeable discounts!
What about health insurance? Retirees like Terry and Clyde who would be paying $1,250 a month or more—$15,00 a year—in the U.S. for health insurance with a high deductible say that in Panama, they're paying, on average, $3,240 a year for coverage—and that's with a deductible of just $250 a year. That's a substantial savings of nearly $12,000!
It's easy to see how living in Panama can contribute to your quality of life. You'll save, too, on the little things that matter the most, but can add up.
Imagine… sitting at a sidewalk café and enjoying a cup of premium Panamanian coffee, aromatic and hot, for just $1. (True, at $3 per pound, you can make delicious coffee at home for just pennies. But this way, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as you soak up the sunshine and enjoy the tropical breeze.)
A taxi anywhere in town is only a few dollars. In any of Panama's cities or towns you can buy juicy tropical fruits and fresh vegetables for "locally grown" prices… little more than a buck a bag. At any of the many ocean-side restaurants, you can enjoy a cold beer for $2 or less. A satisfying executive lunch can be had just about anywhere for under $7.
More time and more money to spend as you like… no taxes on your foreign income, no inflated healthcare costs, no more worries about outliving your retirement nest egg.
Are you ready to learn more about all that Panama has to offer?
Nothing compares to Panama and its Pensionado Program.
With all the economic problems, social unrest, and political upheaval going on elsewhere in the world, Panama shines as a tranquil, safe haven… where you can live affordably, securely, and happily. And that's all we really want, isn't it?
In Panama you can have it all—great weather, gorgeous beaches, fresh mountain air, a safe, sparkling city, warm, friendly people and all the luxuries you deserve… but at a fraction of the cost you'd pay at home.
You'll learn all about it… and then, no doubt, you'll be on the first plane to Panama… once you reserve your copy of Escape to Panama: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less.
As I mentioned, Escape to Panama: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less is one of the best-selling publications in the International Living library. And for good reason.
It's a comprehensive 280+ page guide that contains the latest inside information and research gathered by our on-the-ground experts and sources in Panama.
Dig into Escape to Panama and get the inside scoop. You'll be introduced to expats living full-time in Panama as well as to the country's best resources: attorneys, bankers, real estate and insurance professionals, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and more.
There's even a comprehensive section on moving your pets to Panama and the specific documentation you'll need.
Plus, we'll introduce you to the country's best cities, towns, beaches and islands where you can start your new life:
Affordable, cosmopolitan Panama City. It's a city of skyscrapers, modern office buildings, state-of-the-art new hospitals and hotels of shining glass. You can dine in five-star restaurants. Attend plays, symphonies, and the ballet and shop at the many unique boutiques. High-speed Internet is everywhere. And in Panama City, you can enjoy these First-World luxuries at about half the price you'd pay in any U.S. city. You'll learn all about this future-forward city in Escape to Panama. One complete chapter is devoted to helping you find the home of your dreams here. Read all about the best neighborhoods to buy in, and at bargain prices.
A lush, hidden valley just an hour from the city. Closer than you'd imagine to Panama City, an idyllic valley awaits. With lush green mountain vistas, tinkling waterfalls, bright flowers that offer explosions of colors, markets filled with fragrant tropical fruit, near-perfect, spring-like weather year-round… and surprisingly inexpensive homes and land. Cradled in one of the world's largest volcanic craters, this town is also less than an hour from Panama's best white-sand beaches. More and more expats are moving to this secret garden valley… and you'll understand why after you read Chapter 5 of Escape to Panama.
Glorious coastlines, pretty beach towns and unspoiled tropical islands.Where are the best and most affordable places to buy beachfront property right now in Panama? Remember, we have both a Caribbean Coast and a Pacific Coast… and hundreds of tropical islands plucked straight out of a travel guide poster. There are a couple of beach areas, in particular, that are poised to boom. Read all about them…
Boquete and its up-and-coming (and affordable) alternative. For all the reasons I've already explained, Boquete is, hands down, one of the most popular destinations for foreign retirees. But there's another nearby village with many of the same traits. With the same spring-like climate year-round, the same fresh mountain air, and the same beautiful scenery as Boquete—but with prices that are 40% to 70% less! You'll want to know about this secret spot. And you will, when you get your hands on Escape to Panama.
No one has better insider intelligence, better resources, or better advice about Panama than International Living does… and in Escape to Panama, you'll be privy to it all, including:
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg… just a small glimpse at what you'll learn in Escape to Panama: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life for Less.
If you think about it, you can see that it would take years to gather all this information on your own. But you don't have to do it on your own. You can leverage our expertise, experience, and resources when you reserve the newly revised Escape to Panama.
This is the most affordable way to discover everything you need to know to decide if Panama is for. Far less expensive than hopping on a plane… although that will likely be your next step after you have Escape to Panama in your hands. (And believe me, this will be the perfect guide once you're in Panama, too. Remember, all the contact info for our best Panama resources is included.)
The best part is that we publish all this electronically… so it's much more useful, colorful, and interactive than ever before. And you'll have access to it as soon as your order has processed.
Escape to Panama is your best guide to the best retirement haven around, and right now we're offering it for just $99.
Just like Panama itself, this is a huge bargain—especially for the amount of current, usable information included. And especially considering that it could launch you on your way to the most enjoyable—and affordable—life you've ever imagined.
Plus, we'll send you that valuable free Special Bonus Report—Discover the World's Best Retirement Program: Your 3-Step Guide to a Pampered Life in Panama. This report outlines the three steps to take to quickly and easily get yourself to Panama and living the good life as quickly as possible.
You won't find this valuable report on bookstands or available anywhere else at any price. But it's yours free when you reserve your Escape to Panama manual—and it will be rushed to you as soon as you place your order.
I'm so confident that the Escape to Panama manual will help you realize your dream life in Panama that I'll offer you this guarantee:
If, for any reason, you're not completely happy with your Escape to Panamamanual, just let us know. You have our 30-day no-hassle money back guarantee…
We'll refund your $99, no questions asked… and you can keep your copy of The World's Best Retirement Program: Your 3-Step Guide to a Pampered Life.
Think about it. Escape to Panama: Everything You Need to Know to Retire Better, Invest Well, and Enjoy the Good Life For Less and your free Special Report, Discover the World's Best Retirement Program: Your 3-Step Guide to a Pampered Life in Panama.
All for just $99.
And a no-question money-back guarantee if you're not 100% satisfied.
Once you read about everything Panama has to offer… and read the stories about those who are living the good life here I expect I'll meet you in Panama someday very soon. I look forward to it!
Please note, this format is a downloadable PDF. If you would like to purchase a printed version, please click here.
Publisher, International Living
P.S. Last year Escape to Panama was one of the best sellers in the International Living bookstore. No other country offers the benefits of Panama's PensionadoProgram—the best retirement program in the world, offering a host of benefits and hefty discounts. If you're looking for the most welcoming place in the world to retire, start a new business, or where you can just enjoy life the way it's meant to be… then you need to know more about Panama. Act now and put yourself on the path to a fantastic future!