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

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