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Why Live in Panama?

More than 15,000 Americans currently live in Panama. This figure is not surprising since the Panama Canal Zone was under U.S. control until the year 2000. During this time the country had strong American presence and became very Americanized.

Another reason for living in Panama is country's warm climate. If you're tired of cold weather you'll be happy to know Panama is hot and sometimes humid in the lowlands with cooler year-round spring-like temperatures may be found in mountain areas like Boquete. In 2001 Modern Maturiy Magazine considered Boquete the fourth most desirable place in the world for retirement living partially because of its great climate.

Panama City is one of  the world's least expensive first-world cities. It is also among the most  modern and prosperous cities in Latin America with over one million people. The city's array of tall skyscrapers are reminiscent of Miami. It boasts incredible shopping where almost any product from the U.S. may be easily found.

The country  fits the bill for anyone sick of the hustle and bustle, seeking a more laid-back way of life.

It will also appeal to people of all ages seeking to move to a new and exotic land, the energetic entrepreneur, the burned-out baby boomer, those sick of long rush-hour commutes and anyone seeking an alternative way of life.

But Isn't It Expensive? 

Panama is a place where you can maintain your current lifestyle for less money.  Resident retirees benefit form the most attractive retirement program available in Latin America today.  Residents pay NO local taxes on their foreign earned income.

Retirees can bring in a new car and furniture every couple of years. On top of that they received substantial discounts ranging from 10% to 50% on a wide variety of local products and services.

What you really spend depends on your lifestyle. If you must have a luxurious home, drive a late model car and buy imported goods, you could spend as much or more than you would in the States.  But if you live more like the locals, take advantage of all of the perks  and watch your money, you will spend considerably less.

Many Americans living below the poverty line in the United States can live in moderate luxury on a modest retirement or investment income in Panama.

You won't have to worry about an unfavorable exchange rate since the U.S. dollar is the official currency.  The cost of food, utilities and entertainment are all substantially lower than in the United States.

Panama's affordable medical care is among the best anywhere.  The quality of health care is comparable to North America but the prices are one half or less! A local Panamanian Insurance Company can provide full medical insurance for under $50 per month per person. Even if you have to pay out of your own pocket, medical costs are still affordable.

Panama  has an over all life-expectancy rate of 75.68 which is almost as high as -72.94 for men and 78.53 for women)-the United States (76 for men, 79.8 for women).

In Panama hired help is a bargain when compared to prices up north. A full-time maid can be hired for under $200 per month.

In Panama any legal resident may buy real estate and own property. Retirees don't have to pay property taxes until they sell their homes.  On new homes there is a 20-year exoneration from taxes. Property prices are very reasonable when compared to what you'll pay in the U.S., Canada or Europe. A  decent apartment can be rented for as little as $200 per month.  A luxury apartment in the best area of Panama City can range from $500 to $800 monthly.  A new home may be purchased for under $50,000. Actually, an investment in Panama today is much better than an investment in California real estate was 30 years ago. 

What gets people excited about Panama, however, is that it offers some of the best real estate on the planet at affordable prices. The price will eventually go up as the rest of the world catches on.  There's only so much beautiful beachfront and prime real estate left in the world. When you think that almost every bit of the coastline in the U.S. is becoming overcrowded and overpriced, Panama seems like a bargain.

An excellent transportation and communication networks, every imaginable activity to stay busy and happy, a government which goes to great lengths to make retirement and living as easy as possible, contribute to Panama's appeal and make it one of the world's top retirement and expat havens.

A Place to Invest 

Panama's currency is the U.S. dollar which makes investing in the country easy. The country offers some of the very best banking and communication services in Latin America.

Panama has a wealth of business opportunities awaiting creative hard-working entrepreneurs. You can run a global business by using Internet access, fax machines and cell phones.

A  business may be started for far less than in the United States. Wages are very low when compared to U.S. standards. Furthermore, tax incentives and a government which encourages investment contribute to a  propitious business climate. As more and more foreigners move to Panama  and tourism grows there will be an increasing need for travel related business and American products.

With the new millennium upon us,  a shrinking world due to better communication, a burgeoning global economy-possibilities are unlimited for doing business in Central and South America.  Trade pacts between Central America,  U.S., Mexico and South America will be a reality by 2005. They promise to link all of the nations in the hemisphere in to one trading block.  Panama is sure to be an excellent base of operations.

Most of Panama's 130 banks offer  a high degree of secrecy. Panama is a time-proven business and tax haven. Passive investors will find CD's in Panamanian banks.  There is NO tax on interest earned from bank accounts for locals or foreigners.  Furthermore, there are NO corporate of personal taxes on offshore activity.

Word is getting out about Panama as an investment and banking haven. And that's why now is such a good time to invest.  The  Adventure of Starting Over 

Some move to Panama to start over and seek adventure in an exotic land. They are tired of dead-end jobs or the rat race and want new challenges, a chance to pursue their dreams and achieve greater personal growth.  As an expat, you have the challenge of immersing yourself in a new culture and, if you choose, the rewards of learning a foreign language.

Newcomers will make friends easily because foreigners gravitate towards one another.  One Florida transplant told us he had lived in Florida for 20 years and hardly ever had contact with his neighbors.  He claims not to be the most sociable person in the world, nevertheless he has made over a hundred friends while residing in Central America. He proudly says, "Everywhere I go I bump into people I know."  Adjusting and Keeping Busy 

Adjustment to a new way of life can take many months. However, an open mind, a positive attitude and a willingness to seek out new experiences can make the transition relatively painless.

Central America, especially Panama and Costa Rica,  has come a long way in the last decade.  Satellite and Direct TV, private mail service and the Internet make it easier to stay in touch with family and friends in the United States and keep up with what is going on all over the world. If you don't own a computer, you can go to an Internet café.

Panama's modern technology has made life easy for foreign residents.  In most areas of the country you can get cash at a local ATM, manage your investments online and read almost any major newspaper in the world the day it comes out.

You will never be bored here unless you choose to be. Panama has something for everyone.  This little know country offers a real paradise for the nature lover with its uncrowned beaches  and mountains, the fishing enthusiast and water sports fanatic as well as the retiree. You can find hundreds of interesting activities: movies in English, support groups, computer and bridge clubs. You name it, and Panama has it.

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