Are you looking to retire in Panama? Have you been pondering it for a while, but still not sure how to take the next steps? If you feel a bit overwhelmed, or underprepared, don’t worry. This is common for most first-time expats, and completely understandable considering the situation. The good news is, there’s help out there to make the whole process easier. Here are a few tips to get you started. Also, don’t hesitate to contact us personally for more in-depth advice, and working through the legal steps before you come.
Take an exploratory trip first
Before you start any of the planning process for retirement, do yourself a favor and take a nice long trip to Panama to check it out first hand. Pick some different areas to visit, each with different budget options, community types, and lifestyle choices, and talk to fellow expats who have taken the plunge to do the same. The best part, however, is you can enjoy yourself in the process. Have fun! After all, that’s what retirement’s all about.
Set a reasonable budget based on money you have, and money coming in
Many people will tell you Panama is cheap. Many people will tell you Panama is expensive. The honest truth is that it can be either, depending on the choices you make and the lifestyle you want to lead. That being said, we highly recommend that you plan your budget very carefully, and over-budget by about 30% just in case. A happy retirement requires low stress, and nothing will stress you out faster than unwanted expenses and miss-planned budgets.
When it comes to finding a home, rent before you buy
You’ll find that there are many options for buying great properties here in Panama, particularly in the popular expat retiree areas. Buying property can also be a great investment, and long-term living option for your retirement. Renting, however, is your best bet at the beginning. To really get to know whether or not Panama is right for you, we recommend you rent for at least a year. Even if you’ve setup al of the other retiree processes, renting will give you some great flexibility as far as picking a place to buy. It won’t cost you much more than a mortgage and will save you lots of time and stress in the process.
Start your retirement visa application process before you arrive
Thanks to years of due diligence working with many expats, your immigration lawyers will be able to help process a lot of the requirements needed for retiring, even before you come. This way, you’ll have less to deal with when on the ground here, and more time to start enjoying your retirement and having fun. Your lawyer will provide all of the information you need, and help coordinate errands and filings in Panama, as well as in your home country, if possible. Don’t make things tougher than they need to be. Let your immigration attorneys work for you, and start your Panama retirement on the right foot, ready to go!