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Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-03-2005, 08:30 PM   #1
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Retirement Paradise is Panama

This is my first post on this site. I found the ER site yesterday.and have spent a good amount of time since, reading the various topics (and there are a lot). I'd like to introduce a place where an enjoyable retirement is still possible, and you may not need a much as many of the posts on the site indicate people think they need
to enjoy life.
We live in a small town about twenty minutes from Panama City. Panama.
From our new home (May 04) we can set on the patio, and watch ships in the Bay of Panama, or the lights of our city, or beautiful mountains. The home cost us $65, 000 in a brand new subdivision. Lesser sized new homes in subdivisions can be purchased for $30,000. The interest rate, if one needed a loan is 3:5%.
No taxes on new homes for 20 years.
To get your residence visa as a Pensionado (retiree) You must be able to prove a monthly income of $600 and $150 for each dependent. The most common form of proof is your US Social Security payment statement. You can have the US Social Security check sent to a Panama bank, but many of us just
keep our US Bank account, and do the US banking stuff over the internet, then
keep a local bank for our Panama banking needs. Can Americans live on $750
a month. There are guys who post that they do. My guess is a minimun of a $1000 or $1200 would be a more realistic figure. The official retirement type sites down here say one will spend about 35% less, than in the states. My own figures show that we can live for less than half what we spent in the states and we live better here.
Once one gets their residence visa with the Pensionado status, you simply show your Pensionado card to get 25% off your electric bill, your basic telephone line, your water bill. Your food portion of any meals, hotels airline tickets and many other items. There is no extra discount in grocery, furniture,
etc stores, but whatever you can find in America is in some store in Panama City.
Most of us use hospitals and doctors in Panama City for most medical, the
doctors are outstanding and lots of them have trained in the states. Many also speak English. Spanish is the official language, but English is understood and spoken by many. The official money is the US dollar, remember this is a country that has had a lot of Americans living here since the early 1900's.
In our small town, we have a group of ex-pats that meet every Thursday evening at a local restaurant to enjoy the $3.99 ribs and just chat. Not only will you find Americans there, but also Canadians, and Australians. Go up to Boquete which has a cooler climate, and you'll find people from many European countries as well. All here for one reason, Panama is a retirement Paradise.
Come visit and see if you don't agree. There are over 20,000 of us already here, so the first thing I would caution is don't pay anybody for just plain info about Panama. You will, of course, end up paying lawyers to file residence paperwork, real estate tranactions, etc. But there are alot of sites on the Internet that make it sound like you need to pay them for info about things
in Panama. You Don't. I'm not going to post them here now, but there is alot of sites to go to get more info. Just let me know if anyone needs them.
DW wanted me to mention her $10 a day maid. And the fact that ER is not only
possible, but lets you start doing the things you really want to do, not what your boss tells you to. Our recomendation-retire early-If not today-Soon.





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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-03-2005, 08:40 PM   #2
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

pagar,
What is local travel there like?
And is international travel easy?

I'm thinking Panama may make a good home base.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-03-2005, 09:12 PM   #3
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Local travel is about like the states, gas is high ($3.00) gal, city traffic in Panama City is hectic, but taxis are everywhere and the best way to move about in the city if you ask me. Taxi fares start at $2.00 and go up, but still way, way cheaper than states. Our friends from Iowa, come every year and always get a rental car at the time they arrive and turn it in a month later. Panama City is best compared to Miami, everything is available. Buses are also everywhere.
Local air transport is available readily, for in-country.
Continental, Delta, Copa, work best for the states, my personal preference is Delta out of Atlanta, Continental out of Houston, Copa out of Orlando. Anywhere but Miami.
Customs here is not bad, a little confusing at first if you don't speak Spanish, but everyone is helpful. I'm sure that the Panamians traveling to the states say the same.
Get your Pensionada Visa and get your 25% off your ticket makes travel a real nice option. We're usually in the states a month if we're going out of the Orlando area. If in the Orlando area, it may be a week or two. What ever we feel like doing.
There is an airlines flying to Spain without touching the US soil. But I know nothing of the other European companies, except there is a lot of them here.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 01:15 AM   #4
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Pager;
Panama sounds interesting. A few ?
Are Visa's required for a short term stay 1-4 mo.
Financial requirements for younger retire's ?
Are rentals widely avail., around how much ?
Do you have any security concerns, and how are
Americans viewed.,treated.
Price of Dr or Dentist visits.?
Thanks;
CZAR 8
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 05:59 AM   #5
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

pagar,
Thanks for the info. It is nice to hear about life there from a person who lives there.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 08:51 AM   #6
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Passports are required.
A tourist card is required and costs (I believe still $5) Usual obtained at the departing airport, but customs here will sell you one if you didn't buy it previously.
That entitles you to have a stamp on your passport to stay a certain period, currently 90 days I think) Make sure your passport is not going to expire before you're back in the states. It is possible to go the American Consul and get the passport renewed, but it's not going to get done quickly. You don't need that hassle. The initial stay can be extended-the rules change from time to time. There are sites on the internet where they try to keep up with rules. I intend to post some of these. Internet access is available, especially in Panama City-if your hotel doesn't have it, there will be a place on many, many streets where you can rent
access, usually 50 cent an hr or up.
Cell phone rental is available everywhere, but be sure you understand what the expense will be.
Rentals are readily available, and just like hotels, the price varies greatly;
there are $10 per night hotels, and Hundreds of dollars per night hotels.
There are very cheap rentals available(But you don't want to go there) there
are thousands of dollars per month rentals. And many,many that are just reasonable prices. Some of the sites I'll post will give you more info: but I will post them separately.
I, personnally, and most of us who are here have no overwhelming concern
about security; like anywhere in US or elsewhere, one needs to be aware and
of course there are places where you just should not go. In most cases, these are easily reconized, by the conditions one sees-run down buildings, lots of people standing around when nothing is happening etc.
Americans and others are treated very well, this is a friendly country.
I have medical coverage from prior employment, so I am not really versed on Dr. visits, but it will undoubtly be less than it would be in the states. I have heard of doctors routinely charging $5.00 per visit in some areas. Dentist, I can speak with more authority. I paid $450 for the exact same root canal and crown procedure that I had in the states for $1250, and I feel better about the $450 procedure.
Many of our friends, who have not yet made the ER decision, get their new glasses, each time they come. Again, prices vary, but I would submit that they will be better than the stateside prices. Remember, the US dollar is used here.
There are ATM machines in most of the hotels, casinos, and numerous other places.
One can use Mastercard or Visa almost every where, some card issuers
add a chage for overseas use. Some don't- check with your issuer.
Hope this helps!
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 09:30 AM   #7
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Just think no more 100 pesos = $.45456733
just $1 = $1
Nice.

Just checked weather.com, the next 2 weeks will be in the mid to high 80s with 60% chance of rain, which brings me to ask how Panama is effected by extreme weather conditions, especially this year?
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 10:00 AM   #8
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

This is Paradise, there is no extreme weather in Panama. Unless one counts
heavy rain during the rainy season. No Hurricanes, No Blizzards, No Tornadoes, No bad weather. Humidity is high in Panama City and other low areas.
Boquete, Volcan and those areas have less humidity and are high enough to be considerly cooler, but are farther from Panama City. Altos Del Maria and El Valle are high enough to be cooler and still a fairly quick drive into Panama City (60 min Plus).
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 11:05 AM   #9
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Internet sites for info on Panana.
Google lists 394,000 if one types in Retire in Panama. Note: some of Google's entries are for Panama City, Florida. That is not what you are looking for if, you want Panama City Panama. And if you get quoted a real low airfare, made sure you are being quoted for Panama City Panama.(
Airport Code is PTY)
Some especially good sites are: www.csuarez.com Notice-Firm is owned by some members of my wife's family. When you visit this site, you can see
construction sites in the area we live in. They also have an apartment complex
they are partners in, that shows on the site, the apartments are in Panama City.

www.bocasrealestate.com/retirement.htm Bocas del Toro is a popular area of the country for many retirees. Site has a lot of info that pertains to all areas of the country.

www.cometoboquete.com Boquete is a very popular retirement area, not only for Americans, but also for Europeans. Many of the developments in the area are geared to foreign retirees and are priced accordingly.

www.altosdelmaria.com a fairly recent development priced to appeal to the foreign retirees - companion location is El Valle. Mountains, not too far from Panama City or the beaches.

Yahoo Groups have some excellent groups and some not so good, I've listed a few I like.
Americans_in_Panama
Gardening in Panama
Hawkinsa90 this one is mostly pictures around Panama City, but does have some other areas from time to time. Lots of Pictures - our nephew's site
Panama_laws_for_expats Not legally binding, but some good info in most cases.
Panama _real_estate Don't get excited and commit to any thing in Panama that has to do with real estate without seeing the property and knowing all you need to know about it. While owning real estate is about as easy as it is in the states and as safe; the rules are not the same except for the 1st rule of real estate -Buyer be aware.
Stationed in Panama-mostly ex-military or canal zone people that have an interest in Paradise.


There are all kinds of tax advantages, as I mentioned in an earlier post.
No real estate taxes on new residences for 20 years.
All kinds of advantages for people holding the Pensionada Vise.
No tax from Panama on income not earned in Panama. But Uncle Sam still gets all of his.
Some one asked about other types of Visa, one of the easiest sites for that kind of info in my opionion is Yahoo groups Panama laws for Expats. Look in their file
section.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-04-2005, 09:15 PM   #10
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by CZAR 8


Financial requirements for younger retire's ?
Residency can be obtained by those who do not have a pension or are too young to collect SS.

One way is to deposit $200,000 in a bank in Panama. A US bank will not be a substitute. If you buy a home the value of the home can reduce the 200k requirement.

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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-05-2005, 08:36 AM   #11
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Hi Pagar:

I "researched" Panama as a possible retirement location a few years ago and I couldn't seem to find a decent (and cheap) community in the right location (close to a beach).. But it's still on my "top 5" list, mainly because of the retirement incentives and somewhat cheaper flight costs from the US. Did you say which community you're in? Sorry if I missed it. Would you agree that a gated community is a requirement, especially for a single person who might be away for months at a time and couldn't afford to hire a house sitter..? That's what turned me off to Costa Rica: you had pay someone to watch your house, which seemed to offset some or all of the cost savings of living there.... And you still had to have bars on your windows.

Thanks,
-m
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-05-2005, 09:59 AM   #12
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Pbrane: Our community is La Chorrera,
our subdivision is shown at www.csuarez.com

The Panama guide is a site I forget to post yesterday and has a lot of good info:
http://www.panama-guide.com/article....04120222005788

for example is a listing by Dr. Charley Garcia, a highly reputable dentist in Panama
City and resident of El Valle. The site is extremely easy to find what you are looking for in a subject and avoids a lot of the silly arguements that get started on some of the Yahoo groups

We live in a gated subdivision , but if you look at a lot of the newer subdivisions, there is a gate but no guard. Meaning that the gate keeps some out but not all. The guard is a better deterrent, but not especially cheap, so the homeowners will actually end up paying if they want a guard, once the developer pulls his equipment out.
In our case, we have bars on all windows and doors. Many of the houses
in this development do not. We have them for one reason, the police here are concerned about crime, but are often tasked with more problems than manpower. if a break-in occurs, they will fill out the necessary paperwork and I'm sure make an effort to solve the crime. Meanwhile, whatever was taken is gone and probably will not be returned and insurance claims are often underwhelming. Absolutely, no different than the US, in my opionion. We are gone for month or more with absolutely no fear of break-in.
There are a few lots left in this subdivsion, and they all have views. The lots with views are priced higher so Panamanians do not look at these lots.
There is no way I would have a house sitter. Nor do most of the Americans I know. What we have is a niece's inlaws on one end of our street and a neice's inlaws on the other end of the street, so family members are up and down our street every day, plus we have friendly and good neighbors. Move in to this development and your house will be watched
You really need to come down and take a look at what Panama has to offer
and you don't need to have the big dollars that many are saying one needs to retire. Just do it.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-05-2005, 12:26 PM   #13
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

It's always great to hear from members about different places to retire but this is beginning to sound like a suttle infomercial about pagar's real estate offerings.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-05-2005, 08:30 PM   #14
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

MJ, I have tried to figure out what it is that your post is trying to say.
If your word that is not in my dictionary, means what I think, you are just plain wrong. I hold no real estate except my house, and my cemetary lots, nor am I compensated in any way for telling the truth about our subdivision. There are two generally accepted ways of getting info about Panama. Google shows
2,540,000 entries for Purchase real estate in Panama. The other way is to talk to people who are already here, who are not selling anything, but, offer info that some of them wish they had known before they made an error and spent extra because of it. If you look at the google entries, some aren't even for the country of Panama. Of the ones that are,almost all are plainly selling something.
None of those are going to tell you what Americans that have already been thru the process of getting visas, buying property etc can warn you about the areas of charges, trustworthyness
My posts have previously clearly disclosed that the subdivision I live in is developed by members of my wife's family.
When one goes to the sites listed on Google, The subdivisions that are in the price range that many retirees can afford will not show up-why-because
the firms that are developing and marketing in these price ranges will not be in English, nor do they have a big desire to market to them. The developers
that are clearly marketing to foreigners have their products priced, generally in the hundreds of thousands dollars more. Does the buyer get better than what I have? Who knows, from my standpoint, I got all I needed and thats all I wanted to pay for.
My post that you answered was in response to another post that asked about things and I gave an answer.
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/...yle/P81654.asp

The above article show I'm not the only one that thinks so.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-05-2005, 09:53 PM   #15
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Pagar:

Thanks for the info. I still think Panama is more expensive than, say, Argentina or Brazil or Venezuela...especially for a beachfront condo. Another thing that stops me is that all those nice retirement benefits from Pensionado status aren't available to me cuz I would just have misc. investment income and not from a pension or S.S. (for another 13 years at least). I understand that there are other ways, like buying into a forestry project or tourism, but I'd rather keep it simple.

-m
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-06-2005, 07:06 AM   #16
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbrane
Pagar:

Thanks for the info.* I still think Panama is more expensive than, say, Argentina or Brazil or Venezuela...especially for a beachfront condo. Another thing that stops me is that all those nice retirement benefits from Pensionado status aren't available to me cuz I would just have misc. investment income and not from a pension or S.S. (for another 13 years at least). I understand that there are other ways, like buying into a forestry project or tourism, but I'd rather keep it simple.

-m
What if you bought an annuity? Say a 5 or 10 year period certain for the lowest monthly amount required to qualify?
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-06-2005, 08:59 AM   #17
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by pagar
MJ, I have tried to figure out what it is that your post is trying to say.
I think this information is GREAT! Please keep it coming. Even if you are promoting your families development, (I think I would Also, If I lived there) I find it very educational.

SWR
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Old 10-06-2005, 09:11 AM   #18
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider
I think this information is GREAT! Please keep it coming. Even if you are promoting your families development, (I think I would Also, If I lived there) I find it very educational.

SWR
Ditto here -* I am very greatful to hear from anyone with personal experience in Central America (or anywhere for that matter) and apprecitated the links very much.* Please stick around, Pagar!

Another thing I'd be interested in hearing is how you feel Panama compares to other CA countries as far as cost of living and safety/security.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-06-2005, 09:42 AM   #19
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
Ditto here -* I am very greatful to hear from anyone with personal experience in Central America (or anywhere for that matter) and apprecitated the links very much.* Please stick around, Pagar!

Another thing I'd be interested in hearing is how you feel Panama compares to other CA countries as far as cost of living and safety/security.
Yeah, the safety/security issue would be a major concern of mine if I were thinking about relocating there.
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama
Old 10-06-2005, 12:37 PM   #20
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Re: Retirement Paradise is Panama

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
What if you bought an annuity? Say a 5 or 10 year period certain for the lowest monthly amount required to qualify?
As I understand it, annuities don't qualify for some reason.....

-m
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