Maybe you’ve been there. You’re sitting staring at a blank piece of paper that has a line down the centre and you’re ready to walk through the somewhat arduous process of weighing the pros and cons of a given situation, in order that you can make that all important first decision – that will in turn dictate a myriad of others. To do – or not to do – that is the question!!
Today I want to help you process and save you some time on the one side of that page – borrowing an old, albeit effective formula from a legendary late-night television host – and tabulate my Top 10 List for moving to Panama. I must admit that the challenge wasn’t in finding enough positive reasons – it was more so deciding what to leave off.
Let’s take a peek, shall we?
- Climate: When looking at and considering this gorgeous geographical jewel, one must start with the obvious…the weather. You won’t find any snow to shovel and there won’t be any more tortuous hot summers. If you lean to the warmer side of things, you’ll want to spend most of your time down by the coast, where the temperature runs between 85 and 95 degrees. In order to experience something of the cooler variety, the basic formula would be to subtract 4 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation you travel. The air quality is fresh and there’s not a hurricane to be found anywhere.
- Affordability: If you’re like me, anytime you see a picture of a beach house or a luxury villa tucked away in the mountains, you automatically assume BIG BUCKS!!! In America, you’d be right…in Panama…well you tell me…does a piece of beachfront property for five figures make your head turn?? Or does 20 dollars USD sound like an affordable monthly electric bill? How about 100 dollars for a year’s worth of water?? And that’s only scratching the surface!!!
- ExPats: For some, the thought of a language barrier on a daily basis is a momentous hurdle. In Panama though, Spanish will always reign as the native tongue. English is a very strong second language – and in some communities even rules the day – due to the ever increasing number of expats that now call Panama home.
- Freedom: Capitalism is alive and welcome. Setting up a business is very owner friendly and you’ll find the cost of business licences and taxes much lower than what you’ve previously experienced in most other parts of the world. It’s a land filled with opportunity!
- Entrepreneurs: Speaking of opportunity…you should keep in mind that many of the conveniences that you take for granted and are accustomed to in your place of origin may not exist in Panama. So there’s a chance that you might be the one that could provide a product or service to a brand new audience in Panama.
- Responsibility: The Panamanians are a very gracious, hospitable people, who are not known for having their collective hands out for food stamps, free housing, free cell phones or unemployment benefits. Imagine a country where entitlement is virtually nonexistent!!
- Politics: I know, I know – you think I made a typo. Since when would the word “politics” belong in a positive Top 10 list? The answer is embodied in the political environment of Panama – where there are no extreme agendas on either side of the political spectrum. For the most part, everyone embraces the simple principles of pulling in the right direction, creating jobs, keeping debt at a minimum and encouraging outside investments. Stop and let that sink in for just a minute…
- Economy: A consistent 6%+ GDP according to Trading Economics and The International Monetary Fund, topping the whole of Latin America. Stability is fed primarily by investment and private consumption, not to mention an all-time low unemployment rate, which recently stooped to 2.9% – the lowest in the region.
- Accessibility: By air, land, or sea, this country is easy to get to. A world class international airport in Panama City will welcome you with open arms and serve as a flexible fulcrum as you seek to explore the remainder of the country. In Canada, that would be a measurable undertaking that would span the course of weeks to accomplish. But in Panama you can visit the Pacific Ocean, the mountains and the Caribbean Sea all in the same day – without getting on an airplane!! By the way, if you time it right, you could squeeze in a drive to Costa Rica too! Just sayin’…
10. Wellbeing: At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?!! Serenity…peace of mind…quality of life and the ability to enjoy it! Imagine if you could remove the stress of inclement weather and the high costs of living; make some new friends of a similar mindset and have the freedom to liberate your entrepreneurial spirit – then wrap it up in a responsible, peaceful political climate with a world standard, recognized currency, where everything around you feels close to home…including the fresh fish, fruit and vegetables available year round…well it sounds to me like you’d have a pretty convincing Top 10 List that may very well change the course of your life.
It did mine.