Over the last few years, Panama has repeatedly received the distinction of being the best place for retirees to spend their golden years; in fact, Modern Maturity magazine (of the American Association of Retired Persons) named it the number one location to retire in the Americas, while both International Living and the US News and World Report considered the country as the best retirement spot in the world. This is actually no surprise; living in Panama does offer a lot of perks for the older population. However, while it is true that many things about the tropical country make it especially appealing to retirees — like warm weather and affordable healthcare — what makes spending your retirement years in Panama truly enticing is how the country has made it extremely easy for seniors to settle in, thanks to the country’s long history of attracting foreign retirees.
However, migrating to Panama — or any foreign country, for that matter — can be a terribly unsettling experience if you are not well-prepared. Before you make a final decision to spend your remaining years living in Panama, it is imperative that you take into account the most important factors that will affect your life there.
First among these issues is the cost of living. If you compare the prices of commodities in Panama with those in the United States, almost everything is cheaper. But remember that you are in retirement already, and your daily budget will come from your savings and pension. Chances are you won’t be working anymore, and because of that, you only have a finite amount of cash to live on. Before you go into retirement, whether in Panama or elsewhere, try to figure out the kind of lifestyle that you would like as a pensioner and make sure you have enough finances to back up that lifestyle.
Culture is another aspect that you have to look into before you consider living in Panama. Each country has its own set of traditions and its inhabitants will have attitudes different from the one you are accustomed to. While living in foreign country, there will definitely be instances where you’ll find yourself shaking your head and thinking that things should be done a certain way, not like this or that. You might regret spending all your hard-earned savings on a place whose culture you are not amenable to, so before you move permanently, it would be wise to sample the culture for a short time.
Lastly, think of how living in Panama will place a distance between you and your loved ones. It’s true that flying to Panama from Miami will take only 2½ hours, but this does not necessarily make it easier for you and your family to visit each other. You can still see them every now and then, but can you handle being apart from your loved ones for long stretches of time?
Panama may be the best place in the world to retire, but this does not mean it’s the best for everyone. And while retirement is indeed a time of drastic change, the only change your happiness and comfort should undergo is for the better.