The other day, Betsy and I gave a driving tour of Puerto Armuelles to a couple of ex-pat Americans who have been renting in Boquete for the past year and a half.
They said that the house that they have been renting in Boquete is being sold. They are now looking around & weighing their options, before buying some place. They seemed to really like Puerto Armuelles.
As we were showing them our available properties around Puerto, we also pointed out a couple of houses that are for sale by expats in town.
Expats who are moving back to the states, after as many as ten years of living in Puerto Armuelles.
We were happy to put these potential house buyers in touch with the sellers. With luck, these buyers and sellers can come to an agreement. (Please note, we are not real estate agents. But we are always happy to hook people up with others who might have what they are looking for.)
Couples in Conflict Over Panama
The interesting point about both of the sellers of these houses in Puerto Armuelles, was that they are both retired couples who have been in Panama longer than they would have liked. In each case, the husband was the one who really liked life down in Panama, for its simplicity, and for the low cost of living.
Both wives have told us that they would much rather have stayed in their home states, to be closer to family and friends. The move to Panama, from the outset, was not the best decision for the women. It was more to please her husband. The decision seemed more based on the low cost of living than a desire to live in Panama and to explore what Panama has to offer.
In each of these cases, thanks to a recently more vibrant real estate market, the people in question have either sold their properties or are generating interest from potential buyers. So they will soon be able to move on with their lives. However, things could have turned out far worse.
Visit & Research Before Buying
This story is a perfect example of why we strongly recommend that those who are considering a move to Panama take our quiz and do their own research on Panama.
Above all, do not purchase land, before you get to know the country. In particular, get to know the area of Panama in which you want to live. Go there and then wait at least six months before buying. Although, we didn’t didn’t do that.
Do not get caught up in feelings of scarcity, or competition. If someone else buys your dream property, then it was just not meant to be. No matter what your “instincts” tell you. Moving and investing in Panama is a decision that you should make with your pre-frontal cortex. Analyze everything. Don’t listen to the pretty beach property saying, “Buy Me Now!” Just take a deep breath, and let it be for awhile.
Partners Need To Communicate
It is very important for couples to communicate honestly and clearly about their personal wishes for their retirement “adventure” in the tropics. For example, if the husband is focused on investing the family’s entire life’s savings in tropical real estate, but all the wife really wants is to spend a few peaceful years in the tropics swimming in the ocean and doing some serious reading, then this is a recipe for conflict, emotional stress, and possibly divorce.
Of course, who can say that these couples might not have found some other trap to fall into, if they had retired in the States rather than in Panama? These restless husbands might have invested all their money in a trailer park in the States, and the couples might have discovered that they hate running a trailer park. Or he could have bought the Brooklyn bridge… But like moving to Panama, these life decisions should first be investigated fully – and together.
The lesson that I am hoping to share is that, while our family has benefitted greatly from the many new experiences that resulted from our decision to move to Panama, this might not be the right decision for your family.
Consider carefully. Do your research. Talk to people.
Visit Panama at least once, for at least a month, or two, or six. You may love it, as we do. However, maybe in your case, the answer might simply be “No” it’s not for you, or not for your partner (this should mean “no” for both of you, unless you were planning on divorcing anyway). It is better to be happily married in Alberta, than unhappily married in a tropical paradise.
Or, maybe you are better off planning your finances carefully, so that you can afford to live part time in your home in the north, and part-time in Panama. Or, it could turn out that Panama is absolutely a perfect fit for you, and your partner, full time – for your retirement, for your business, for your investments.
In conclusion, I would say, give Panama a try. See if it is a good fit for you and your partner. But, be patient, don’t try to force Panama to fit your retirement dream. Especially, if it is evident that it is not going to be a comfortable fit.