Senior Retirement destination


Salute To Veterans

On this Veterans Day weekend, I want to extend my sincere gratitude and best wishes to all veterans, past and present, for their service to our country. As a veteran myself, I know the sacrifice of both veterans and their families. I pay special tribute to those who were injured while on duty and those who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. I know most don’t often talk about their service to the country, and I’m not sure many in our current culture even recognize the past and present price that has been paid for their freedom. Each year when my sons call me and say, “Thank you for your service Dad,” I know it was well worth it.

For all the veterans out there, here is a link to get information and/or questions answered about your benefits:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Florida

I’m a bit more tan as I write this blog as I just returned from a great getaway to Florida. It’s interesting that I often hear Florida being joked about on television. You know, the comments such as, “God’s waiting room,” etc. Well, let me tell you, retired or not, there is simply something about the warm weather, blue skies, palm trees swaying in the breeze, great food, and laid back spirit that could relax the most tense among us. I caught myself sleeping in until 8:30 or 9:00, and that was with the benefit of a 3 hour time difference. While the summers are hot and humid, from November to April, Florida is really a paradise. If you’ve never been there, do yourself a favor and make the trip. You will love it.

Oh, and if you ever get to South Florida and the Jupiter/Hobe Sound area, when hungry I suggest you make your way to Dune Dogs, The Catfish House, and Harry and the Natives. If you would enjoy watching boats cruise the intercoastal while eating crab-dip nachos with a beverage, I suggest the Waterway Cafe. Just to be sure of my recommendations, I spent a lot of time in each establishment on my latest visit. You’re welcome. 

 

 

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As we grow older, to be blessed with grandchildren is truly a joy. My wife Trisha and I are fortunate to have several of these wonderful young people in our lives. Ever since our oldest granddaughter Lucy was old enough to travel with us we take her on one trip each year to somewhere exciting. This year was no exception.

We first planned to go to New York, but the upcoming 9/11 anniversary had packed the hotels and those kinds of crowds didn’t seem too inviting. Having recently visited Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a place we have always enjoyed, we decided it would be perfect for this year’s adventure. After the plans were made, we got a couple of last-minute calls from Lucy’s mom. She told us her friends were advising her not to allow her daughter to go to Mexico. The second call came after Lucy’s friends began to scare her about the trip. Long story short, we assured mother and daughter and went through with our plans. It was a great trip and we had a ball.

Better yet, it was an opportunity to share a good life lesson. Are there places in this world especially dangerous to visit? Yes. In fact, there are several not too far from my home. The point is: life itself is a risk. My own aunt and uncle were murdered in their own bedroom. Several years ago I would never have imagined traveling through China meeting people and making friends with whom I would continue to communicate. Are there places in Mexico I would not visit right now? Absolutely. At this point, Cabo was much less a risk than our ride home from the airport. Lucy loved the scenery, boating, para-sailing, swimming, dancing for the guys at Senior Frogs, and shopping.

Growing older does not automatically give you more wisdom. It should, however, give you perspective. I personally drive more slowly and cautiously than before. On the other hand, I also try things I never would have done when I was younger. I admit to enjoying the adrenaline. Trisha is the same way and we both have our “list” of exciting things to try. Up till now, I haven’t added skydiving to my list, but I know it’s on hers. Maybe we’re just getting a bit crazy in our old age, but this is our life, not a dress rehearsal. Bottom line: you want to do something in this life, you better get to it. 

  

 

As I listen to our current President and other politicians talk about anything related to retired folks, I can’t believe my ears. They can’t “afford” to pay for our benefits. Pay us. Are you kidding? That’s our money buddy. We spent our lifetime paying into those accounts, we paid our taxes and are now being taxed again. You spent our money and you talk about not being able to “pay” us. O. K., I’m trying to breathe slowly.

Perhaps I have found an answer. 

On a recent travel adventure that included Panama, I was very impressed with this extraordinary country. I also noted that our cruise ship contained many Canadians and Europeans. Many of them were not only vacationing, but scouting Panama as a retirement location.

The AARP magazine Modern Maturity recently rated Boquete, Panama as the fourth best retirement destination in the world, and International Living rates the country of Panama as the number one retirement location. The Expatriate Telegraph, a British publication, suggests Europeans look beyond Spain, France, and Portugal as retirement possibilities and consider Panama as a “warm, adventurous, and inexpensive place to retire.”

Here are some of the benefits of retiring (full or part-time) to Panama:

– Lower crime rates than other retirement locations

– A stable government and growing economy (they deal in cash not credit)

– The U.S. dollar is legal tender

– Residents pay no tax on foreign earned income

–  Foreigners can buy and own property with the same rights as Panamanian citizens

– Panama has a retiree incentive program considered one of the best in the world

– Tourism investments have several tax exemptions

– Property tax exemptions on all new construction

– English is widely spoken (our guide spoke eloquent English)

– U. S. businesses abound

– Excellent U. S. standard health care facilities with English-speaking doctors

– A reliable communications system featuring fiber optics and includes internet

And that is not the whole story. Here are some other incentives for retirees:

– Import tax exemption for household goods

– Tax exemption to import a new car every two years

– 25% discount on utility bills

– 25% discount on airline tickets and 30% on other transportation

– 15% discount on loans made in your name

– 1% reduction on home mortgages for homes used for personal residence

– 20% discount on doctor’s bills, 15% on hospital services if insurance doesn’t cover it

– 15% off dental and eye exams

– 10% discount on medicines

– 20% discount on professional and technical services

– 50% discount on entrance to movie theaters, cultural and sporting events

– 50% discount at hotels during Monday to Thursday, 30% on weekends

– The cost of utilities is much lower than the U. S. at 10-12 cents per kilowatt-hour

– Trash collection service is around $7 per month

– Direct TV in English is $50 per month

– Maid service and gardeners can be hired for 88 cents per hour

– Beer is 30 cents per can

– Coffee in a local shop or restaurants is about 30 cents per cup

Beyond all these advantages, Panama is a spectacularly beautiful and diverse country. It’s a fishing and boating paradise, has tropical rainforests, is a major transportation hub, and has many scenic resorts.

It’s nice to know we seniors are welcome somewhere in this world.

Until next time, John    www.TheBestofOurLives.com