Are you ready to move to Panama? Is moving to Panama the right choice? Is this the right time? These are tough questions, with no simple answers, that every expat has asked themselves and every future expat will ask themselves. Moving to Panama is a big step! In fact, moving anywhere is a big step, and one that you should plan for, but not overthink or drive yourself crazy about. All big decisions, no matter how many things you need to factor into them before making them, come down to one overarching question you need to ask yourself: is this right for you? Here’s how to best find the answer, when the question is moving to Panama.
Can you afford to relocate to Panama, and will you be able to sustain your lifestyle long-term?
This may not be the most romantic question, but it tends to be the most important one for both individuals and couples (or families). As amazing as Panama is, if you’re not prepared to sustain yourself during the time of your stay, you won’t be happy. The best way to start planning your budget for moving to Panama is to calculate income vs. expenses. Whether you’re a retiree, a remote worker, and investor, or someone who wants to start a new career in Panama, you’ll first need to calculate how much your income will be each month. It’s also wise to allocate a certain amount of your savings to be able to use in Panama, just in case.
The next step to proper financial planning for Panama is to gauge how much your cost of living will be. In many cases, Panama is significantly cheaper than the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe and the Middle East. However, this is not always the case, and you will find that prices in Panama can get quite high for luxury items, imported products, vehicles, and even home utilities. Decide what type of lifestyle you’d like to live while in Panama, and then check out local prices for the items and service’s you’ll need to maintain it. Always remember to over-budget by about 30%, and leave yourself some wiggle room just in case your priorities change while there.
Will I be happier in Panama?
Another tough question, with no easy answer. The simple fact is, if you are unhappy where you are, you may also be unhappy in Panama. There is no geographical panacea that makes us happy if there are things in our lives that are pulling us down. Try to think about what aspects of living in Panama could make you happy, and focus on that. You’ll find that many use relocating to Panama as a reason to destress and unclutter their lives, which has an enormously positive effect on your happiness. Others find that the relaxed pace and warm weather keeps their spirits up. The point is, you need to find the reasons to be happy yourself. There is no magic pill, and although Panama has the potential to change your life, you need to be motivated to do so yourself as well.
How will I adjust to a new culture and new language?
Simple: have fun with it! This is probably one of the biggest ways you’ll spend your energy when you move to Panama, but it has the best results if done well. Adjusting to a new culture is a matter of engaging yourself with new people, taking the time to learn the local language, reading (and watching) up on the country’s past history, and throwing yourself out there as a newcomer. It may sound like a lot (well, it is a lot) but it’s well worth it and pays so many social dividends long-term. Be yourself, embrace your new life, new friends, and new beginnings. Most importantly, enjoy Panama!