Monday, October 22, 2007

LA Times Hot for Boquete Panama

The Business News recently posted an article praising the benefits of retiring to Boquete Panama. Although there are some inaccuracies overall the post creates a positive and clear picture of this beautiful Panama town which was bestowed the honour of being ranked the Best place to retire in the western hemisphere by AARP's Modern Maturity magazine.

A friendly town among the hills

By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 21, 2007

Excerpt -
For expatriate retirees, Panama offers big discounts on plane fares and hotels, good healthcare and shopping. All foreign income -- such as U.S. pension benefits or Social Security -- is exempt from tax. And for Americans, financial matters are simplified because Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its currency. The atmosphere is friendly and more pro-American than many other Central American countries.

"The cost of living is much lower and the roads much better than places like Costa Rica," said Shirley Bynum, a former Huntington Beach resident who moved here two years ago from Gracia, Costa Rica, after she was robbed. "And the tax system is more favorable."

Follow this link for the full article - Boquete Panama - A Friendly Town Among the Hills

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tax Haven Savings

Thinking about the cheapest places to live typically involves looking at how much the basics of life cost. However, it's often the unseen expenses that take the biggest chunk out of your lifestyle.

More and more we are all becoming aware of the role taxes can play in making or breaking the bank account. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a place where property taxes are waived for five, ten, even up to twenty years? How about no taxes om interest income or income derived from sources outside of the country? Fantasy? Not in Panama. If asset protection and tax savings are a high priority for you than the benefits of living in Panama make it best place to retire.

Panama continues to be recognized as one of the leading nations for asset protection and tax savings. In his popular blog, The Way it Looks from Here, Bob Bauman reminds us that Panama still ranks at the top as world class tax havens.

In this recent blog post Bob also shares some insights into International Living and the recent price hikes in Panama City Real Estate. Take special note of Bob's comments, "the big downer in Panama at the moment is the upward spiral of real estate prices, mainly in condo-saturated Panama City." and, "There are still many good bargains in beach front and mountain properties away from the city, but you have to be careful and do your shopping."

Bob praises the strengths of Panama and also comments on the difference between a simple retirement destination vs one which can provide the added benefits of asset protection and tax savings. You may be thinking, I don't have enough money to worry about that. This stuff is just for the big cats with loads of cash. I encourage you think, read Bob's blog and think again. In todays volatile world we all need to be thinking asset projection and looking for ways to save taxes. 'cause it ain't gonna get better anytime soon!

To Learn About Panama and how this safe haven could be a very smart investment sign up for our Free 'Letters from Panama'.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cheapest Places to Live

On search for the cheapest places to live my wife and I settled on Panama. We discovered there are so many nuances which make for a cheap place to live. It’s not just about house prices or the price of gas. It’s all about what motivates you to spend money and how you spend the money you have. In Panama we found we could live on a small fraction of what we lived on in Canada and all without sacrificing a thing. In fact, during our Panama retirement we found we were truly living like royalty. Fresh fruits and veggies are so much more flavourful and healthy than the ‘manufactured’ food we pay a fortune for in America. We dine out on gourmet fare – fresh fish and fine wine for under $25 - and thats for two! Then there are the tax benefits and the great discounts which come with a ‘Pensionado’ Visa. And you don’t even need to be retirement age to get one!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Panama Retirement at 18!

Did you know Panama is one of the Cheapest Places to Live because you can become a Pensioner at 18 years of age? It's true. Foreigners can apply for the 'Pensionado' Visa as long as they are at least 18 years old. You have to prove you have a monthly income of just $500 to get the visa unlike the Retire Belize program that has a requirement of $2000 a month this one has a low qualification. Once you have it you get all kinds of incentives and discounts on just about everything! It really helps make Panama a Cheap Place to Live.

Another cool part of this visa and living in Panama is that you can still run your own business. Due to the tax laws in Panama you can run a business as long as no income is derived on Panamanian soil. You may be thinking, Huh? What it means is you can't own a typical business but you can have a virtual business. Internet based businesses are ideal because the income comes from all over the world. You can save even more by taking advantage of Panama's extensive offshore banking community.

I encourage you to take some time and Learn About Panama. It may just open up a world of possibilities for you like it did for em.

P.S. I'll pass on more details about the Pensionado Visa in my next post. Plus you will learn lots more about Panama even about the flora and fauna and the amazing Panama bird watching. Maybe we'll even find an elusive Quetzal!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Cheapest Places to Live

Frugal vs Cheap

I've always been frugal - but not cheap. In fact my friends describe me as being quite generous. So, why would I be so interested in finding the Cheapest Places to Live?

In Search of Cheap Places to Live

Well post 9/11 my wife and I became very interested in what was going on outside our country. After just a little research it become very apparent that there are many cheap places to live without losing any of the comforts of home. Really? Most people think everywhere outside North America offers a sub-standard quality of life and a lower standard of living. It's simply not true. We are fed the myth that the '3rd World' exists everywhere else but North America.

Behave and Pay Your Taxes

I learned early on that one of the biggest perpetrators of this myth is our own government. What would happen if all of a sudden people woke up and realized they could have twice the lifestyle for half the taxes or in some cases no taxes in other parts of the world? How about quality Health care for a fraction of the price? Housing, groceries, entertainment all for far less!

Discovering our Piece of Paradise

Although our initial research led us far and wide - from the United States to Australia, Europe and even Africa - we kept returning to Latin America. It seemed there were some exciting things happening in this part of the world and the benefit of staying a little closer to family and friends was apparent. One country in particular which kept showing up on our radar was Panama. We really knew very little about this little country. Have you noticed how the media does an amazing job of presenting us with 'shock and awe' and interestingly buries the follow up story in the back pages. In the case of Panama our most recent memory was of a drug crazed Noriega led dictatorship. He was removed in the 70's but what of Panama now?

To Know and Not To Do is Not to Know

Spending weeks and months on the internet or buried in books certainly offers an amount of intellectual understanding but for me the only true way to 'know' something is to experience it. So, in January 2003 my wife and I packed up our suitcases and two young sons and headed off to explore what was purported to be one of the cheapest places to live and what we discovered to be the best place to retire.

The Rest of the Story

In future posts I am going to share our real life experiences and practical research to unveil if Panama truly is one of the cheapest places to live in the world.

If you want the full story about our Panama travels you may want to check out our website and sign up for our free newsletter at LearnAboutPanama.