Retiring in Panama – One of the Top Destinations for Retiring Expats
Many Baby Boomers (and youngers too) are now looking at retiring in Panama – for affordability and a host of other reasons. Panama has a lot of benefits for retirees. In fact, the Panama Jubilado (or Pensionado) Visa has been rated one of the top ones in the world for retirees.
But before we get into specifics of the Pensionado visa, let’s talk about what Panama offers as an overall retirement destination for you.
The U.S. dollar is the currency, so for U.S. expats, there’s no hassle of exchange.
Panama has a tropical environment. It’s only 500 miles North of the equator, and it’s the type of climate many expats have envisioned for themselves when they retire.
Cost of living in Panama can be affordable. It’s not cheap, but it can be affordable, depending on what you are comparing it to. (For more details on this, read Chapter 7 of The Gringo Guide to Panama). In some areas, it can cost less to live in Panama than in the U.S. That’s changing more and more every day.
How to Retire in Panama
Panama does have a number of retired U.S. expats living in-country. What does that mean for you? It means you’ll have the opportunity to discover new friendships and connections within that community.
Medical Services in Panama
Sophisticated medical services are available in Panama. In my opinion, these are not quite at the same level as what you find in the U.S. or in other more developed countries, but they do exist in greater denominations in the city of Panama.
The further out you live from Panama City, the less sophisticated the medical services become. It’s important to take a look at this, if you have medical needs that need frequent attention. Or, you’ll need to plan to travel back to the city for those appointments. I suggest that you take a tour of the private hospitals when you visit Panama to get a realistic picture of what you can expect.
Panama has many modern amenities including shopping centers, malls, restaurants, reliable high-speed internet, and a stable banking center.
The Pensionado Visa is a visa that anyone over the age of 18 can apply for, and receive with valid, recurring monthly pension payments. You will need an attorney in Panama to take you through the process, as it’s complicated and can take up to two years to get the visa. (For more on the importance of having an attorney in Panama, refer to Chapter 12 of The Gringo Guide to Panama).
Benefits of Retiring To Panama
The great news is that once you have the Pensionado visa in Panama, you have it for life! Here are some of the benefits this visa provides for you when you retire in Panama.
Duty-free car imports and car purchases (every two years)
Duty-free importation of household goods worth up to $10,000 (one-time)
In-country discounts including:
- 25% off domestic flights
- 25% off restaurant bills
- 15% off hospital services
- 25% off water and electricity bills
- 10% off prescription drugs
- 50% off public events
The most important success factor for you if you are considering moving to Panama or retiring to Panama is for you to get a realistic picture of what it’s really like to live in Panama. Get The Gringo Guide to Panama book series on Amazon or CreateSpace for more than 350 pages of practical, realistic insight from an expat who lived in Panama for eight years.