To retire in Panama
By Suzanne Brown
Retire in Panama: my husband Bruce and I made the decision on Independence Day, July 4, 2005. It was auspicious timing because we see this decision as our path to freedom from the hectic and stressful life we now live in Washington DC. Hopefully, in two years or less, we will be settled comfortably in the highlands of Boquete, Panama.
The decision to retire in Panama began when we started talking about the possibly of retiring somewhere outside the United States. We started searching the Internet for any information we could find on overseas retirement.
One website that we spent a lot of time researching was EscapeArtist.com, which is a huge portal site that has tons of information on many countries. It was from EscapeArtist.com that we narrowed our focus to Panama.
We started comparing factors such as cost of living, construction costs, climate, government stability, infrastructure, economic factors, healthcare and other factors involved in a decision to retire in Panama. For example, Panama welcomes Americans, especially American retirees, with a multitude of retiree benefits.
It has been said however, that every upside has a downside and it was certainly true about our immersion in all things Panamanian.
In addition to researching the Internet, I read Chris Howard’s excellent book, “Living and Investing in Panama.” All this research opened our eyes to the fact that there were many issues involved in our wish to retire in Panama that we hadn’t really considered.
But how do you do that?
We knew we could buy property in Panama, but how does one go about doing that? What about legal issues and immigration issues for those wanting to retire in Panama? How do we set up a bank account? How do we find a good bank? How would we move all of our household goods to Panama?
The more we read and researched, the more questions we had. We started to think that retiring anywhere outside the United States was a foolhardy idea at best.
I was still searching for information on the Internet when I found YourPanama.com from a search on Google.
I am drawn to personal stories so the first thing I read was Sydney’s amazing story about driving to Panama from Canada. The other area that immediately piqued my interest was an upcoming teleseminar. I thought this was great. Maybe we could clear up some of the confusion and get some of our questions answered, so I signed us up immediately.
We were not disappointed.
The seminar participants included an attorney, a relocation expert, a realtor, and a mover. Each participant provided good information and thoroughly answered our questions about what it takes to retire in Panama with as little hassle as possible. We plan to participate in future seminars because the topics and speakers will be different each time, and this is an excellent way to get reliable information.
Sydney has established an excellent network of trusted professionals who can help facilitate the process of buying real property and moving to Panama. Since we didn’t know anyone in Panama and we are not familiar with Panamanian laws and regulations, having access to this type of resource has been extremely helpful.
In tapping into this network of professionals, we have worked with an excellent realtor who helped us find a beautiful piece of property in the mountains above Boquete.
Currently, we are using an attorney from Sydney’s team to draw up the purchase contract, and she is doing an outstanding job for us. When the time comes to make the actual move and retire in Panama, I am quite certain we will look to this network of professionals for the help we need.
Sydney’s goal, as he states on his website, is to simply banish the fear of moving to Panama by providing useful information, lessons learned (see My Journey), teleseminars and a reliable network of experts. Having these resources available really is taking the fear out of our plan to retire to Panama. Many thanks go to Sydney Tremayne and YourPanama.com, for helping to make our dreams come true.
Suzanne & Bruce Brown
I appreciate the kind comments, but dreams do not always come true and even when they do, things do not always go smoothly. This is why having access to a good team of advisors is essential when planning a move to another country where conditions and customs are different from those 'back home'. The Browns' lawyer questioned what she felt were some unusual provisions in the purchase contract and discovered the land with which the Browns had fallen in love was not titled. It was, in fact, Rights of Possession property, something with which most people are uncomfortable. The developer has said all the necessary documentation for clear title is in the works. If it is, and if it is completed in time, the Browns will own their dream property. If not, they will renew their search later this year.