How do you retire on $25,600 a year? Move to Panama
Live by the ocean? Check. Retire early? Check. Don't go broke doing it? Check. Peg Fairbairn and April Hess will tell you they're living the dream. They moved from Austin, Texas, last year to retire in Panama, at ages 58 and 53, respectively./ They live by the beach, say they have all the comforts that they were used to at home (mostly), and do it all on a budget of $2,133 a month. Moving abroad in retirement isn't for everyone, but for this couple it was ideal.
"We couldn't afford this in the States," Hess said. "Even if we didn't move near a beach and stayed in Austin, we'd still have to be working."They can see the ocean from their house and spend their time going to the beach, practicing Spanish with their neighbors and making good friends with other expats from the U.S."It's fabulous. We don't know what we do all day, but we're not bored," Hess said.
Moving abroad was always in the back of their minds. They finally made the move last year after selling their home and most of their belongings. Fairbairn was a teacher for 30 years. She taught eighth grade earth science when she retired in 2008 with a monthly pension check of $2,935 (after taxes). When the couple still lived in Austin, she had to substitute teach to make ends meet while Hess was still working as a bookkeeper.
Now that pension check is all the couple needs to live on. Rent, groceries, utilities, phone bills, TV, Internet and even their international health insurance is all cheaper than what they paid in Texas.
CNN Money July 2015
Is It Really Cheaper To Retire Abroad?
In Panama, you could go to a Johns Hopkins-affiliated hospital for a small fraction of what that costs in the U.S., You could buy a 2,000-square-foot home living among Panamanians in a beautiful, rural setting for $135,000. If that would be going “too native” for you, a similar house in the popular, well-developed expat community of Boquete, Panama might cost the same as one in Tucson, Ariz. But the Tucson house is 400 miles from the ocean and is in a place where the high temperature can exceed 95° for four months at a time. Boquete has an average high of 75° year-round (no heating or air conditioning needed) and is one hour from the Pacific Ocean, three hours from the Caribbean.
Forbes May, 2015
Panama is Natural Disaster Free
Panama has no hurricanes ever- and no destructive earthquakes. It"s is the only country in Central America in an absolutely hurricane-free zone. Blessed by nature, Panama also has none of the destructive earthquakes that plague its Central American neighbors.
The Panama Planner 2015
Panama the Smart Choice
Panama is the smart choice for retirees who want it all.-in a country that really wants them. Not only does it feature attractive retirement desiinations-sleek capital city, hot beach towns. cool mountain villages- but it offers an unbeatable package of retiree benefits and discounts (and a currency tied to the US dollar ) Little winder there has been a steady stream of expats in the past few years>"
AARP: Best Places to Retire Abroad 2014
Panama: Budget Friendly
Prices have crept up in Panama Cit, but budget-friendly living can be found in other areas of the country. like the temperate mountain regions and the beaches west of Panama City.. Healthcare in Panama is considered excellent and inexpensive. English is widely spoken and the country has a cosmopolitan vibe. Panama, known as the|Hub of the Americas is also easy to get to and from.
Slale Magazine 2015
Panama Capitalizes on Glimmers of Resurgence
Sales to foreign buyers dried up here after the 2008 global economic crisis. But developers like Mr. Aleman are reviving their global marketing efforts amid sigh of a renewed interest from international buyers in a city that is often called the Miami of Latin America.
Such optimism is the residential market is fulled by the continued strength of the local economy analysts say. The 5.2 billion expansion of the Panama Canal is scheduled for completion in 2015.
New York Times 2014
Panama is #1 for Retirement Abroad
Panama is the world's top retirement haven. Panama City no longer qualifies as cheap, but other spots in this country certainly do. Panama continues to offer the world's gold standard program of special benefits for retirees. The currency is the U.S. dollar, so there is no exchange rate risk if your retirement savings and income is in dollars. The climate in Panama City and on the coasts is tropical, hot, and humid. However, the climate in the highlands can be temperate and tempting. Panama is the hub of the Americas, meaning it's easily accessible from anywhere in North and South America and Europe. “
U.S. News and World Report's 'The 18 Best Places to Retire Overseas 2012'
Panama City One of the 10 Least Expensive Cities to Live in the World.
Worldwide Cost of Living 2012—The Economist
The World’s Top Retirement Havens—Panama
'But some countries stand out for the amount and quality of benefits they offer foreign retirees. Panama tops the category with an organized program of discounts and perks called the pensionado. The program is open to foreigners and there’s no minimum age requirement.
With it you have serious discounts, money off that makes a big difference to your costs. Like 20% off any professional services used in Panama; 50% off for movies, theaters and sporting events; a 30% discount on public transport, 25% off the price of food eaten in a sit down restaurant; 15% off in fast food joints, 15% off in hospitals and private clinics…25% domestic flights on COPA…the list goes on…'
-International Living 2012
"Panama’s pensionado program, which entitles retirees to all sorts of discounts including 50 percent off movie and theater tickets and 30 percent off public transportation, has made this Central American country a hot spot for retirees looking for a less expensive option."
-Global Post, 2010
Panama: The New Florida
Panama's quality health care, low costs, and proximity to the states are attracting American professionals as a retirement haven Prospective retirees: Panama wants you. The pitch? A plane ride just 21/2 hours from Miami enables the newly poor to swap a wretched retirement in the U.S. for one befitting a royal in the balmy Central American nation. Cash out! Emigrate! Feel rich! Panama—the new Florida.
Spin aside, Panama is increasingly popular among retirement-age types looking to hedge against, or skip out on, the recession. The Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank that studies the movement of people around the world, says the chief factors prodding professional-class Americans to flock to Panama include its First World health care available at Third World prices and the country's pensioner program, which offers some of the deepest retiree discounts in Latin America. Seniors get up to half off on nearly everything, including movies, motels, doctors' visits, plane tickets, professional services, and electric bills. Expats also pay no tax in Panama on foreign income. Nor are they required to pay property tax for the first 20 years.
The fact that a luxury beachfront mansion can be had for the same price as a dump in Daytona doesn't hurt, either. "We would have been looking at $3 million in Miami," says Jon Nickel of his 3,000-square-foot oceanfront penthouse in Panama City. Nickel and his wife, Gretchen, bought the place in late 2007 for $250,000, right after Nickel retired from his corporate law job in Portland, Ore., and sold the family's mortgage-free home for $800,000.
Business Week, July 13, 2010