In 2012, 25 people shared their actual monthly cost of living with Don Winner of Panama-Guide.com
You can see all 25 of those monthly budgets below.
The budgets are from a wide range of people who live throughout Panama
- 12 Retired Couples
- 7 Retired Singles
- 6 Families
- 2 part-timers
All the retired singles are males. This gives a false impression.
There are plenty of single female retirees in Panama as well, but they didn’t seem to respond to Don Winner’s request.
2 Lessons Learned
If you examine the budgets below, it will give you a good jump start when figuring out what it will cost you to live in Panama.
Two items that stand out when looking at these budgets are:
1. Those who made larger capital investments, up front & in cash, to buy homes and cars tend to have lower monthly living expenses
2. There are big, sometimes huge, differences in the way people decide to live their lives. These seemingly subtle differences and decisions can double or even triple the monthly cost of living, per person.
The 25 Real Budgets of Expats in Panama
1. A Retired Couple on Social Security in Volcan
A retired couple ages 70 and 68 both receive Social Security checks, for a total of $2,394 every month between the two of them.
They live near Volcan in Chiriqui, full time in Panama, and have been here for about 7 years.
- Capital Investment: Spent $110,000 to buy 1.5 hectares of land in 2006 and to build their own home, so they don’t have a mortgage.
- Car: Own 2 vehicles, bought and paid for. No car payment.
- Car Insurance on the vehicles is $350/per year (or $29 per month).
- Car Maintenance: Budget $50/mo for vehicle maintenance
- Car fuel: Spend about $120/mo on fuel for car.
- House Maintenance: Average about $50/mo
- Groceries: $400/mo.
- Eating out. They seldom eat out at restaurants, spending only about $75/mo there.
- Utilities, $90 for electricity, $6 for water, $25 for two cell phones, $25 for gas (cooking and heating water), $85 for Internet, $85 for DirecTV.
- International Travel: $600/year (or $50/mo). They rarely go to the United States or other international travel
- Health insurance is $140/mo.
- Miscellaneous: They budget $50/mo for “miscellaneous fees” for things like renewing a driver’s licence, getting tags on the car, stuff like that.
- Monthly expenses – $1,280
- Capital Investment. They invested $110,000 up front to build their home.
- So Bottom Line is – A retired couple live on Social Security in Volcan for $640 per person, per month.
2. Retired Couple in Panama City
A 62 year old man and his 59 year old wife are retired and have been living in Panama City full time for about three years.
They have income from Social Security and an IRA.
- Capital Investment: They purchased a new home for $236,000. They made a 25% down payment ($59,000) and financed the balance.
- Car – they paid $15,500 to buy a used vehicle, no car payments.
- Fuel for car – $157 per month on fuel, $67 on the Southern Corridor, and budget $40 per month for vehicle repairs and maintenance.
- House Mortgage: $1,084/mo
- Life insurance, $277/mo – which is a requirement of the house loan.
- Home owners association fee of $100 per month HOA fee, plus
- Home maintenance of $92/mo
- Health insurance policy with a $5,000 deductible that costs them $4,988 per year, or $415 per month.
- Car insurance cost is $633 per year or $52/mo
- Fire insurance for $279 per year or $23/mo
- Policy to insure the contents of their home for $748 per year or $62/mo
- Groceries are $954/mo which “includes booze” and they entertain at home.
- Dinning out cost them $317/mo
- Utilities: $142 on electricity, $19 for water, $76 for gas to cook and heat water, $44 for cable television, $5 per month on cell phones, $66 for Internet and home phone, $8 for NetFlix, $14 for ClearVPN.
- International travel they budget $300/mo
- Mail forwarding is $71/mo
- Monthly Expenses: $4,385
- They also reported their total spending during 2011 – for a total of $89,800. However this level of spending apparently includes discretionary items, beyond the essentials reported in the list above.
- Capital Investment. They invested a total of $74,500 for the house and car up-front.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives in a new house in Panama City for $2,192 per person, per month.
3. A Retired Couple in Chiriqui
A retired couple, both 65, have been living in Chiriqui since 2008.
Their total income is about $2,800 per month.
- Capital Investment: They paid $148,000 for a house on an acre lot. Spent another $30,000 to fix up the house. And another $20,000 to build a workshop behind the main house. The house and property is in a Foundation.
- Car – They bought a car for $10,000 new cash upon arrival, so no car payments.
- Foundation fees on house/property: $450 yer year or $37 per month.
- Property taxes are $160 per month.
- Utilities: $40 for electricity, $4 for water, $3 for garbage pickup, Cable and Internet $20.
- Groceries: $600/mo. This includes food for their 8 dogs. They make them dog food.
- Gas – $60 per month on gas, $25 per month on insurance, $5 per month for tags and registration.
- International travel – They budget about $100 per month.
- Monthly Expenses: $1,054
- Capital Investment. Up front cash investment was $208,000 for the house, upgrades, and the car.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives in a house in Chiriqui for $527 per person, per month.
4. Built A Home in Altos del Maria
Barry & Janice are 64 and 67 years old.
They built their own house in Altos del Maria and have been living here full time for two years.
- Capital Investment: They spent a total of $320,000 up front to buy the land and to have their house built, so no monthly mortgage payment.
- Common area maintenance fee: $125/mo
- Home maintenance – Budget $170/mo
- Groceries: $800/mo on food and groceries (“includes booze”)
- Eating out – $150/mo.
- Utilities: $120 for electricity, $10 for water, $55 for cable television, $55 for Internet, $10 for cell phone, $40 gas for cooking and heating water.
- Car – They bought a car in cash for $15,000.
- Gas – $240 per month on gas, $55 per month on insurance, and they budget $100 per month for maintenance and repairs.
- Travel. They “travel a lot” and budget $1,000 per month for international travel, about half of which is airfare.
- Golf – $250/mo on golf, and they report spending a
- Maids/Gardeners/Handymen – $630/mo
- Medical – They also budget $250 per month for medical expenses.
- Monthly Expenses: $4,060 – about half of which goes to pay for golf, a lot for travel, and domestic employees.
- Capital Investment. Their total up-front cash investment was $335,000 for the house and car.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives in a house in Altos del Maria for $2,030 per person, per month.
5. A New Condo in Downtown Panama City
A 51 year old man and his 48 year old wife are retired and they live in downtown Panama City.
- Capital Investment: They bought a new condo for $170,000 cash.
- Monthly maintenance fees are $175.
- Utilities: $150 for electricity, $30 for insurance, $100 for cable TV (water and gas is included with the condo fee), and $60 for cell phone.
- Car – They bought a car for $12,000 cash.
- Gas – $60/mo, $15/mo on insurance (liability only).
- Medical. They spend $250 per month for health insurance
- Maid. $88 per month on maid service
- Groceries – $530/mo.
- Miscellaneous. They also report $500 per month for “miscellaneous expenses” which they reported as “everything else” such as “cleaning supplies, medicines, buying some clothes or shoes, personal care items, taxi or bus, something for the house, etc.”
- Monthly Expenses: $1,958
- Capital Investment. Total up-front cash investment was $182,000 for the apartment and the car.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives in an apartment in downtown Panama City for $979 per person, per month.
6. A Part Timer in Cerro Azul
A 46 year old single guy lives in Los Altos de Cerro Azul about four months out of the year.
- Capital Investment: He spent $160,000 cash to buy the house.
- HOA fee: $35/mo
- Car: $5,000 to buy a car. Insurance for the car is $17/mo. fuel is $150/mo.
- Utilities: $45 for electricity, $12 for water, $28 for Internet and telephone line, $20 for cell phone.
- Groceries & Dining Out: He reports $400 per month for “food and drink” which is apparently a combination of groceries and dining out.
- Miscellaneous: He also reports $20 per month for “lawn car” and another $200 per month for “various, household items, car parts, etc.”
- Monthly Expenses: $927
- Capital Investment. His up-front cash investment was $165,000 for the house and car.
- So, the bottom line is – A single man lives part of the year in a house in Cerro Azul for $927 per person, per month.
7. Retiree Lives “High On the Hog” in Panama City
A 70 year old single American male has been living in Panama full time since 2000.
A full time girlfriend lives with him, so these monthly expenses are for two people.
- Capital Investment: He bought a nice 280 square meter oceanfront condo in 2005 for $270,000 cash.
- Car: He bought a new SUV in 2004 for $30,000 in cash.
- Condo fee: $370/mo for operations and maintenance for the building, as well as security, common water, gas, and garbage collection.
- Utilities: $120/mo on electricity, $130/mo for cable television and Internet, and $330/mo for two cell phones.
- Medical Insurance: He spends $4,000 per year ($333/mo) for major medical insurance.
- Groceries & Booze: He reports spending $1,500/mo on “groceries and booze”
- Dining out & fun: $650/mo on “restaurants and fun.”
- Miscellaneous: He lists another $500 per month for “stuff.”
- Monthly Expenses: $3,933
- Capital Investment. There was a total upfront investment in cash of $300,000 dollars to buy the condo and his vehicle.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired man and his girlfriend live in downtown Panama City for $1,966 per person, per month.
8. Living On A Farm in Boquete
A single American man lives on his farm in Boquete.
He has a live-in girlfriend who spends a lot of time with him, especially on weekends, so these expenses are for two people.
- Capital Investment: He bought a working (income producing) four acre coffee and citrus farm upfront for $350,000 in cash.and
- Car: He also bought a new car for $21,000 in cash, $200 per month for fuel, $50 per month for auto insurance
- Property taxes are $150/mo.
- Utilities: $5.35/mo for propane gas, $40/mo for electricity, $2.50/mo for water, $8.95/mo for Netflix, $25/mo for a cellphone contract and unlimited data.
- Home insurance: $20/mo for home insurance
- Groceries: $300/mo
- Dining Out & entertainment: $300/mo
- Internet: There is also a $60/mo cost for a wireless Internet connection – more expensive because of the relatively remote farm location.
- Farm worker. One half-time farm worker costs $260 per month, including Social Security payments as required by law for an employee.
- Miscellaneous: $50/mo were listed as “miscellaneous”.
- Monthly Expenses: $1,471
- Capital Investment. There was an up-front investment of $371,000 to buy the farm and the car.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired man and his girlfriend live on a working coffee and citrus farm in Boquete for $735 per month, per person.
9. A Youngish Retired Couple Living On The Beach
A 55 year old man and his 45 year old wife live in Ojo de Agua, which is near the Playa Venao on the Azuero Peninsula, Panama.
They bought their home in Panama 6 years ago. They started living full-time in Panama 2 years ago.
- Capital Investment: They bought their house for $27,000 cash about six years ago and invested another $10,000 in cash to remodel the house while they both continued to work in the US, before they could retire.
- Car: They bought a truck for $12,000 cash in 2009.
- Car Insurance: $56/mo, full coverage.
- Car Fuel: They spend about $160 per month for fuel, used to drive to Las Tablas, visit friends, or to go to the different beaches in the area.
- Utilities: $40/mo for electricity, $11 for water, $55 for Skye TV, $25 for Internet through a Cable & Wireless USB connection, $30 in cell phone cards, and
- Life insurance: $60
- Groceries: They spend $200/mo on groceries and household supplies
- Dining out & Beer: $300/mo on restaurants, dining out, and “my husband’s cerveza.”
- International Travel: They budget about $2,000 per year for international travel to visit the United States.
- Quote: “Give or take an ice cream here and there our living expenses for Panama is $550 a month per person. It would be more affordable if my husband would give up the Atlas and if we stopped eating at the beach everytime we go! But it is for those things that we love it here!!”
- Monthly Expenses: $1,100 (just over)
- Capital Investment. An initial cash investment of $49,000 for the house, remodeling, and car.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives on the beach in Panama for $550 per month, per person.
10. Living On Social Security in Downtown Panama City
A retired American male has been living in Panama City for the past five years.
His only source of income his his monthly Social Security check, so he has to “watch every dollar.”
- Capital Investment: He bought a new two bedroom condo in El Cangrejo for $150,000 dollars cash, so there’s no monthly mortgage payment.
- Car & Motorcycle: He also bought a new car for $18,500 and a motorcycle for $1,500 dollars in cash, so no monthly payments there either.
- Fuel for vehicles: $60 for gas for both the car and motorcycle
- Vehicle insurance: $24/mo
- Condo Fee: $126/mo in condo fees
- Utilities: $75 for Internet and cable television, $65 for electricity,
- Groceries: $300 for food
- Miscellaneous: He lists another $100 per month as “miscellaneous” monthly expenses.
- Discretionary: He spends the remainder on discretionary items such as travel and partying.
- Quote: “I live very comfortably on $750 per month, and I don’t skimp.”
- Monthly Expenses: $750
- Capital Investment. His total up-front cash investment was $170,000 for the apartment, car, and motorcycle.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired man lives alone in his apartment in Panama City for $750 per month.
11. Off The Grid in Bocas del Toro
A retired husband and wife live on an island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Republic of Panama.
- Capital Investment: They spend $100,000 to buy the property and another $150,000 to build their home.
- Utilities: They have no monthly utility bills because they live “off grid” using solar electricity and a rainwater catchment system.
- Car fuel & maintenance: $100/mo for truck and boat
- Groceries & Dining Out: $450/mo, including wine and beer.
- Yard & Agricultural work: $150/mo
- Lawyer Fees: $100/mo lawyer fees for “typical Bocas stuff”
- Propane: $20/mo.
- Monthly Expenses: $820
- Capital Investment: They had an initial up front investment of $250,000 for the property and to build the house.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives on an island in Bocas del Toro for $410 per person, per month.
12. A Family of Five in Veracruz
A young working couple and their 3 kids live in a house they bought in Veracruz, located just outside of Panama City.
- Capital Investment: They paid $23,000 or 10% down to buy the house, and then spent an additional $60,000 on repairs, remodeling, and upgrades.
- Car: They spent $24,000 cash to buy two cars, one of which is paid off and there’s still a loan on the other one.
- Car payments: $330/mo, which includes insurance
- Car Insurance: on paid off car it is $100/mo
- Car fuel: $280/mo
- House Mortgage: $1,600/mo
- Life Insurance: $257/mo for life insurance (required by the mortgage),
- Fire/Flood/Content insurance: $90/mo (required for mortgage)
- Property taxes:$165/mo
- Private schools tuition: $600/mo for three kids.
- Utilities: Electricity is $350/mo. Garbage $12/mo, Internet is $30/mo. Satellite TV is $13/mo and they subscribe to 2 different satellite TV services.
- Groceries: $1200/mo.
- Maid: $200/mo, 5 days a week, mornings only.
- Gardener: $80/mo, only 1 day per week, full day.
- Monthly Expenses: $5,544
- Capital Investment: They put down $107,000 to buy the house, fix it up, and buy two cars.
- So, the bottom line is – A working couple and their three children live in Veracruz for $1,108 per person, per month.
13. Living The High Life In Cerro Azul
A 61 year old male lives alone in Cerro Azul. Cerro Azul is located about 40 minutes by car outside of Panama City.
- Capital Investment: He bought his house for $135,000 dollars by putting down $35,000 in cash, and he financed the balance for 13 years at $900 per month. He also dropped another $50,000 into the house to fix it up.
- HOA fee: $20/mo which pays for road upkeep and maintenance.
- Car: bought for $10,000 cash, so no car payments
- Car Fuel: $200/mo.
Car insurance is $100/mo on a ten year old car
- Utilities/Phone/TV: Electricity $150/mo (no need for air conditioning in Cerro Azul), water $30, cable television is $55, Internet access $15 per month (via Digicel USB modem), monthly cell phone is $25 dollars (calls only, no data.)
- Groceries & Eating Out: Budgets $400/mo
- International Travel: 2 trips per year at $600 per ticket, $1,200 annual, or $100/mo.
- Monthly Expenses: $1,995
- Capital Investment: Total of $95,000 invested in the purchase of the house, remodeling the house, and purchase of the car.
- So the bottom line is – A single man lives alone in Cerro Azul for $1,995 per month.
14. Couple Rents A House in Altos del Maria
Lloyd and Linda Sherman live full time in Altos del Maria.
They return to the US about once a year.
- Capital Investment. None, except for car.
- Car. Bought 2 cars, purchased in cash for $10,800 total.
Car Fuel. They spend a total of $240/mo
Car insurance. $26/mo for insurance on both vehicles
Car repairs & Maintenance. Budget of $200/mo
- Rent: Rent a house for $900/mo.
- Rental insurance: They purchase insurance on the contents of their home for $45 per year (or $3.75/mo).
- Groceries: They budget $600 per month for groceries which includes regular trips to PriceSmart for large package items and cleaning supplies
- Eating Out: $300/mo
- Utilities/TV/Phone: $65/mo for electricity, $8.50/mo for water, $76/mo for cable TV (including movie channels), $80/mo for Internet access, $6.99/mo for Skype with unlimited calls to the US, $15/mo for cell phone on prepaid cards.
- Maid and Gardener – Domestic help $110/mo for part time maid and gardener.
- Propane. $15/mo for propane for cooking and hot water.
- Mail Service: $80/mo for mail services
- Health Insurance: $125/mo
- International Travel. They have budgeted $3,000 per year or $250/mo
- Monthly Expenses: ~$3,112
- Capital Investment: Bought 2 vehicles for $10,800.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives in Altos del Maria for $1,556 per person, per month.
15. A Family of 3 in Gamboa
An American man, his Colombian wife, and their school aged daughter live in Gamboa. Gamboa is next to the Panama Canal where the Chagres river enters Gatun Lake.
- Capital Investment. None, except for car.
- Car. They bought a car and paid about $6,100 total for the purchase and needed repairs.
- Car & boat fuel. $80/mo for car and $200 for fishing boat fuel
- Car insurance: $138/mo for car insurance, and $200 per month for fuel for the boat (fishing) and $40 for bait.
- Rent: They rent their house for $750 per month, which includes all of their utilities – gas, electricity, water, Internet, air conditioning, satellite television, a gardener, garbage pick-up 3 times a week, and no maintenance fees.
- School. Free. Their daughter attends a public school, and they were surprised and impressed with the school (free).
- Groceries: $400/mo
- Eating Out: $300/mo,
- Utilities/TV/Phone. Utilities included in rent. $75 for cell phone service
- Bait for fishing: $40/mo
- Wife’s hair and nails: $25/mo
- Dad’s haircut: $5/mo ,
- Clothes for daughter: budget $50 /mo
- Prescription medicines. $35/mo
- Monthly Expenses: $2,058
- Capital Investment. Bought car for $6,100
- So, the bottom line is – A family of three lives in Gamboa for $686 per person, per month.
16. Swinging Single in Las Tablas
A 65 year old retired American male lives in Las Tablas, in the Azuero region of Panama.
He’s been coming to Panama since 2001, but has been living here full time for the past seven years.
He has not been back to the United States.
- Capital Investment. None
- Rent. He rents a single family house (in a respectable neighborhood for $225/mo
- Utilities/Phone: $32/mo for electricity and $7.50/mo for water, he pays $11 per month for data on his Blackberry cell phone, and $15/mo on cell phone cards.
- Groceries. $400/mo
- Eating out: $45/mo
- Beer & cigarettes: $30/mo o
- Transportation: He owns a scooter for local transportation.
- Gas for Scooter: $5/mo (with no insurance).
- Buses & Taxis: $20/mo
- Prescription medicines. His greatest expense is on prescription medicines at $300/mo.
- Monthly Expenses: $1070
- Capital Investment. Zero
- So the bottom line is – his costs for necessities is about $1,070 per month. – A single man lives in Las Tablas for $1,070 per month.
- But here’s the kicker. He gets a check for about $2,500 per month and he blows the rest on “girlfriends and casinos.” He spends all of his income, but he could get by for less if he either had to or wanted to.
17. A Family of 3 in Pedasi
This family, a 51 year old retired law enforcement officer, his 45 year old wife, and their 12 year old son, moved to Pedasi in Los Santos after selling all of their belongings in the United States.
They moved to Panama and rented for the first five months, but now they have purchased their home and they have been in there for seven months. They live in Panama full time.
- Capital Investment. They bought the house cash for $125,000 and there are no HOA or other scheduled maintenance fees.
- Fire insurance. They pay $15/mo for homeowner’s fire insurance. T
- Groceries: They budget $750/mo
- Eating out. $150/mo
- Utilities/TV/Internet/Phone: $150/mo electricity, $8 for water, $40 for Internet (via Claro USB stick and router), $8 for cell phone. They don’t have cable TV or a landline telephone.
- Car. They bought a used car for $12,000 cash.
- Car fuel. $180/mo
- Car maintenance. $58/mo
- Car insurance: $62/mo
- They rarely use public transportation.
- School. School for their son is done with a home schooling plan through the Internet at $166 per month.
- Dentist. Their costs are a little elevated right now because their son needs braces – which will cost them $105/mo over the next two years.
- Monthly Expenses: $1669 (for 3)
- Capital Investment. They invested $125,000 for the house plus $12,000 for the car, or a total of $137,000.
- So, the bottom line is – A family of three lives in Pedasi for $556 per person, per month.
18. A Retireed Couple Living in Boquete
An American couple in their 70’s purchased a 2-bedroom ground floor condominium in a gated community in Boquete, Panama.
- Capital Investment. They paid $240,000 cash about two years ago for their condo
- HOA fees. Their Home Owner’s Association fees are $2,114 for the year or $176/mo. They, cover security, external maintenance, and landscaping of the common areas.
- Fire insurance: $18/mo.
- Utilities/TV/Internet/Phone: $100/mo for electricity (no air conditioning necessary in Boquete), water for $4.50/mo, $100/mo with Cable Onda for cable television, local telephone, and Internet service.
- Cooking gas: $5.80/mo for range top and oven.
- Legal fees for a Panamanian corporation $29/mo.
- Real estate tax is $2.50/mo.
- Maid & Gardener: ~$105/mo
- Health insurance is $350 per month because they are over 70 years of age and have large deductibles – this is for catastrophic medical problems only.
- Car. They bought a new SUV from the dealer in David, paying cash.
- Car insurance is $83/mo, full coverage.
- Food. Estimated monthly food costs: $600.
- Monthly Expenses: $1573
- Capital Investment: The up front investment was about $270,000 for the house and car.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple lives in Boquete for $786 per person, per month.
19. A Family of 5 in Panama City
A family of 5 – an adult man and wife, two grown children, and one small child all live together in an apartment in Panama City.
- Capital Investment. They purchased the home with $11,000 down, financed the rest, and have invested about $50,000 in upgrades and improvements to the property.
- Monthly mortgage is $640
- Condo maintenance fees are $150/mo.
- Utilities/TV/Internet/Phone: $290/mo for electricity, $300/mo for Cable Onda which includes full cable TV for four digital boxes, two local telephone numbers, and high speed Internet access. Water bill is $40/mo, which also includes garbage collection. Cell phone is $150/mo, broken down as one phone on a monthly plan, and several others using prepaid cards.
- School and education expenses: $200/mo for a private school. The two older kids are done with school.
- Groceries: $600/mo
- Eating Out: $400/mo.
- Car. Car payment of $260/mo for a new car.
- Car Fuel: $100/mo.
- Car repairs & maintenance: $100/mo budgeted
- Car insurance: $120/mo.
- Monthly Expenses. $3,350
- Capital Investment. There was a total of $61,000 invested up front to make the move to Panama.
- So, the bottom line is – A family of five lives in Panama City for $670 per person, per month.
20. A New Low In The Mountains of Los Santos
A retired couple lives in the province of Los Santos in Panama. He’s 71, she’s 61.
He’s retired from the US Navy and also has income from US Social Security.
They live in a small mountain community and have a good sized garden. They don’t like to go into town very often, and they’ve been living in Panama for eleven years.
They rarely travel back to the US to visit relatives – and when they do the relatives pay for the plane ticket.
- Capital Investment. Spent$62,000 in labor and materials to have the house built. So they have no mortgage
- House maintenance. They budget about $30/mo
- Groceries: $325/mo
- Eating Out. $20/mo. They only eat out at restaurants about once a month
- Utilities/Internet/Phone: $40/mo for electricity, 25 cents/mo for water (not a typo!), Internet is $60/mo (for the “Mobilnet ripoff” as they describe it), and two cell phones for $40/mo.
- Car. They bought a used SUV for $5,000 cash when they arrived, so no car payments.
- Car Fuel. They spend about $40/mo on diesel for the car.
- Car insurance. $200 per year (or $16.66/mo)
- Car Maintenance & repairs. Last year they spent a total of $350 (or $29.16/mo) on maintenance, tires, and car repairs.
- Medical. $50/mo for medicines. $25/mo on dental.
- Monthly Expenses: $676.07 (for 2)
- Capital Investment. Initial cash investment, 11 years ago, of $67,000 to build a house and buy a car. Their total monthly cost of living is $676.07 for two people.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple live in the mountains in Los Santos for $338.03 per person, per month.
21. Loving Life On The Beach in Las Tablas
A retired couple lives in Las Tablas, specifically Playa Las Comadres in the Azuero peninsula.
They have been in Panama since 2003, but consider themselves to be “part timers.”
- Capital Investment. They spent $30,000 to have a two bedroom, to bath home built which they own with no mortgage.
- Utilities/Internet/Phone: $4/mo for water, $25/mo for electricity, and $80/mo for cell phones and Internet access.
- HOA fee: $5/mo.
- Car. They shipped a car down from the states.
- Car Insurance $12/mo
- Car fuel $200/mo
- Groceries only $100/mo on food – which I doubt is accurate. No other family has reported spending only $50 per person, per month on food.
- Monthly Expenses: $730 – although they only included $426 in specifics – and because of the suspected lack of accurate reporting I’m going with the higher number.
- Capital Investment. An initial investment of $30,000 to build a house.
- So, the bottom line is – A retired couple live on the beach in Las Tablas for $365 per person, per month.
22. Single Man Getting By Quite Nicely in Boquerón on SSA
A 70 year old man lives alone in Boquerón. It is located to the West of David in the province of Chiriqui. He lives in a Panamanian neighborhood.
He’s been living in Panama for two years and his only income is the $1,200 he receives each month from the US Social Security system.
- Capital Investment. None.
- Rent. He rents a fully furnished and renovated house with a/c for $175/mo. He does not use his air conditioning,
- Utilities/Phone. Electricity, on average, $19.64/mo. Water for $5/mo, Garbage collection for $3/mo, $44.40/mo for Internet access. He uses a pre-paid cell phone, but hardly spends any money on it at all.
- Motorcycle. He recently bought a motorcycle, but didn’t report how much he paid, or what he spends for fuel.
- Groceries. He spends $250/mo for food
- Tobacco: $150/mo.
- Eating out. $20/mo. He does not eat out often.
- Cooking gas: $5/mo
- Monthly Expenses: $672.04
- Capital Investment: Zero
- So the bottom line is – A retired man lives alone on his Social Security check in Boquerón for $672.04 per person, per month.
23. Hallelujah in Cabuya for Part-Timers
A couple, ages 58 and 56, live in Cabuya, located just outside of Coronado, near Panama’s Pacific coast.
They are part timers who have been coming to Panama for 4 years.
They only spend about 4 months per year in Panama.
- Capital Investment. They paid $235,000 for their home and have no mortgage.
- House Maintenance is $75/mo
- HOA fee: $100/mo,
- Home Insurance: $276 per year (or $23/mo)
- Groceries: $130/mo
- Eating out: $50/mo
- Utilities/TV/Internet/Phone: $50/mo for electricity, $4.50/mo for water, $18/mo for cable television, $50/mo for Internet access, and $10/mo for cell phones.
- Car. In the transportation category they only report $80/mo for fuel.
- Monthly Expenses: $590
- Capital Investment. Initial cash investment of $235,000 to buy their house
- So, the bottom line is – A part time couple lives part-time near the Pacific beaches for $295 per person, per month.
24. Family in Panama City – With Kids in Private Schools
A family of four lives in downtown Panama City – two adults, and two kids under age 12.
- Capital Investment. They made an initial cash investment of $120,000 to buy an apartment. They spent another $15,000 on improvements and renovations before moving in.
- Car. They bought a used car for $8,000 in cash.
- Car Fuel: $80/mo
- Car insurance is $500 per year (or $41/mo).
- Condo maintenance fee: $185/mo
- Home insurance: $200 per year ($16/mo)
- Other condo fees. They report an expense of $800 per year (or $66/mo) for “anonymous SA fees for the condo title.”
- Property taxes are $100/mo
- Utilities/Phone: $125/mo for electricity, $18/mo for water, $20/mo for cell phones.
- Bus fares: $180/mo – transportation for the kids to get to school.
- Health insurance. For the family of four is $800/mo.
- Private school tuition and fees: $1,500/mo.
- Groceries. They didn’t report any cost for groceries so I’m going to add $400 for that.
- Monthly Expenses: $3,531
- Capital Investment. Initial cash investment of $143,000 to buy the apartment, fix it up, and to buy a car.
- So, the bottom line is – A family of four lives in an apartment in Panama city for $882 per person, per month.
25. A Family Of 4 In A House in Panama City
A family of 4 lives in a house in Panama City.
- Capital Investment. They put $7,000 down in cash to buy the house and have a mortgage.
- Mortgage: $615/mo on the mortgage
- Required mortgage insurance: $85/mo
- Car. $15,000 cash total to buy two cars, and have a loan on one of them.
- Car payment. $235 /mo
- Car Insurance: $40/mo
- Car fuel: $120/mo
- Car maintenance: $40/mo
- Groceries: $800/mo
- Eating Out: $150/mo
- Utilities/Internet/TV/Phone: $200/mo for electricity, $30 for water & garbage collection, $80/mo for Internet, cable TV, and a telephone line. They spend $160/mo for two cell phones on contracts.
- School. $400/mo for tuition. They have two kids in school
- Health insurance: $200/mo
- Maid: $250/mo
- Gardener: $50/mo for a part-time gardener.
- Monthly Expenses: $3,295
- Capital Investment. Total cash investment of $22,000 to buy the house and the car.
- So, the bottom line is – A family of four lives in a house in Panama City for $823 per person, per month.