You don’t have to be seeking a warmer climate to make an expat move. Michael Long and his wife had been enjoying the warmth of Tampa but decided that life had more to offer them elsewhere. Michael had experienced life as an expat in Thailand as a younger man so knew the experience of a shift wouldn’t phase him. With his wife having US and Panamanian citizenship it seemed the obvious place to go.
15 months on Mike has been enjoying the experience but forewarns other expats that although Panama does offer a good life and he’s happier than in the US there are a few things people need to be aware of before making the shift. In todays interview we give a brief introduction to an expat living in Panama City. If Panama is on your horizon you’ll want to listen to Michael before you go any further
You can learn more from mike by following his blog www.panamaforbeginners.com
What I learned from Michaels interview:
- Cost savings in Panama are not necessarily as rosy as many publications might have you believe. Generally Michael and his wife live comfortable in the $2000-$3000 range and overall most things are cheaper than the US. You can spend as much or as little as you like depending on your lifestyle but costs savings are not guaranteed with some things being more expensive than the US.
- Be prepared for things not going to your time schedule. Generally service is not as high as you’d expect in the US and not everything happens at the speed you want. This is common feedback for Central America so you need to be prepared to be patient – but if you’re moving to enjoy a less stressful lifestyle then this will go hand in hand with it
- Panama has one of the friendliest visa and business environments in the Americas. General visitation visas aren’t an issue and their Pensionado scheme offers great incentives for retirees not only in terms of moving to Panama but through special reductions on costs such as transport and healthcare. It is a growing business hub also with businesses being encouraged to set up shop. Bear in mind however that general internet coverage is not as good as the US – you may need to look at a more reliable premium service.
If you want to know more about vilage life in Panama check out our interview with Susanna Perkins