“As a single woman, I feel safe and free to live my life here, whether I’m going out for dinner and coming home late at night or driving across the country to visit friends.”
January 12, 2022
Panama ranks first in InternationalLiving.com’s 2022 Annual Global Retirement Index. It topped the Opportunity, Visa and Residence, and Benefits and Discounts categories, while performing well in the Accommodation and Health Care categories.
For a small country, this is a real punch – it is the 11th time that Panama has taken pole position in the IL annual global retirement index…. and with good reason.
Today, Panama is one of the easiest retirement destinations you can travel to from the United States or Canada. Panama’s cosmopolitan capital, Panama City, is the only true First World city in Central America. There are direct flights to Panama from all over the United States, as well as several cities in Canada and Europe. This modern and welcoming country is only three hours from Miami and five hours from New York. And it uses the US dollar as its currency.
“As a single woman, I feel safe and free to live my life here, whether I go out for dinner and come home late at night or drive across the country to visit friends,” he said. said Jessica Ramesch, editor-in-chief of International Living Panama. “Maybe that’s because it truly is a land of opportunity, home to thousands of hard-working locals and immigrants who are growing up.
“My favorite place right now is Coronado, a bustling seaside town just an hour’s drive from the capital. In fact, I love it so much that I bought an apartment there and am packing my bags to move out. Coronado is home to one of the most active and welcoming expat communities in Panama. I’m not even there yet and I already receive invitations to potlucks and happy hours.
No matter where expats in Panama live, Ramesch says, they are likely to be no more than an hour away from excellent hospitals. In Coronado there is access to the San Fernando facility. It is a satellite of the San Fernando in Panama City, a JCI accredited hospital affiliated with Miami Children’s Hospital, Baptist Health International in Miami, and Tulane University Health Services Center and Hospital Clinic.
“Panamanian doctors make patients really feel taken care of,” says Ramesch. “They don’t rush appointments and often give you their cell phone number so you have direct access to them while you are in treatment or recovery.
“In fact, I would say Panamanians in general are the best part of life in Panama. I have made so many wonderful friends here. Welcoming, fun people with a wide range of interests, so the conversation is always engaging.
But, according to International Living, what makes Panama really special from an expat retiree perspective is its Pensionado program.
“The Pensionado program is hands down the best retirement visa program in the world,” says Ramesch. “This is one of the main reasons Panama has taken first place in International Living’s Annual Global Pension Index on multiple occasions. “
This is in part because of the discounts that retirees with this visa can take advantage of. Moreover, thanks to the program, it is so easy and inexpensive to become a permanent legal resident.
In fact, in Panama, all legal residents are entitled to a 20% discount on prescription drugs if they are of “retiree” age. And the threshold is low: only 55 for women, 60 for men.
But Pensionado’s benefits extend to discounts on more than necessities like dental care and transportation. Things like entertainment and hotel stays are also discounted.
An applicant with a pension of at least $ 1,000 per month may be eligible for the Pensionado program, making the entry bar relatively low. And once your application is approved, you will be able to take advantage of all the discounts, regardless of your age.
“If you want to apply with your spouse, you can qualify with less than $ 1,000 each. You can even include dependents if you need them, ”says Ramesch. “You just need an annuity of at least $ 1,000 plus $ 250 for each additional person on your application.
“The $ 1,000 pension requirement reflects the low cost of living here in Panama. While it is true that most North Americans who have chosen to retire here spend over $ 2,000 per month, there are expats who live here on much less. ”
In Panama today, there are still some pretty towns where it is possible to rent for $ 300 to $ 500 per month, which can leave retirees with money for outings and health care.
For potential expats who are not yet ready to retire, Panama offers additional options that may allow easy legal residency.
“The country has just unveiled a new extended stay visa for digital nomad types: the temporary telework visa,” Ramesch said. “It allows you to come down and stay here, not for three or even six months, but for nine months. And you can extend for another nine months. That’s a generous 18 months total, and the main requirements are simple: you must have medical insurance and an external source of income (at least $ 3,000 per month).
In addition, the Panama “foreign professional” visa has been in existence for more than eight years and allows foreign nationals to work in Panama. The main requirements are simple: Applicants must have a university education and have found a job in Panama.
As Panama takes first place in this year’s Global Retirement Index, it is just one of 25 countries examined in 10 categories including: housing, benefits and discounts, visas and residency. , cost of living, planning / entertainment, health care, development, Climate, opportunities and governance. The full ranking of the Index countries for 2022 can be found here: The best places in the world to retire in 2022.
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