Rich Novak, THE Man in Panama! of Overseas Radio Network Interviews Chuck Bolotin of Best Places In The World To Retire

 

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Oro Valley, Arizona, USA—June 13, 2013— In a broadcast that aired live today, Rich Novak interviewed Chuck Bolotin of Best Places in the World to Retire on Rich's show THE Man in Panama!, broadcast on The Overseas Radio Network.  The audio of the show is available for listening and download on a dedicated page on the Best Places in the World to Retire website as well as on the Overseas Radio Network website. 
 
Rich and Chuck discussed how the Best Places in the World to Retire website is a “win-win” for everyone involved, from those researching retiring overseas (who receive the answers to their questions from a diverse, credible and authoritative group of experts), to vendors who provide services to expats (who receive an introduction to potential clients in a credible way).
 
Chuck also gave just a small sampling of some of the questions answered on the site and of the diverse group of interesting and entertaining individuals who provide the answers.  The transcript of the interview is below.
 
Rich:
 
Hello, this is Rich Novak, THE Man in Panama and the Overseas Radio Network.
 
Chuck:
 
Hi, Rich, this is Chuck Bolotin, with BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com.   How’s that new radio equipment of yours working?
 
Rich:
 
Chuck, it’s working great.  We should tell our listeners that we’re trying out some new radio equipment today.  So far, so good.  THE Man in Panama has figured the radio equipment out, I hope.
 
 Chuck:
 
Everyone had faith in you, Rich.
 
Rich:
 
Thanks.
 
Audience, Chuck is from a brand new, innovative, interesting, and very useful website named BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com.  It’s taken Chuck’s company over a year and a half to develop the website, and Chuck tells me they’ve put in a lot of investment capital, time and research.
 
Over the next 2 ½ years, Chuck tells me that they plan to have 12 countries on the site, but for their first country, they’ve chosen Panama, which THE Man in Panama totally agrees with.  Chuck, why don’t you tell us about BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com?
 
Chuck:
 
Thanks, Rich.  But before I get started, please let me tell you how much of an honor it is to be on your show.  I’ve been a big fan of yours for quite some time now, enjoying your personality and insights on Panama.  It’s a great show.
 
Rich:
 
Well, thank you so much.
 
Chuck:
 
As you mentioned, Rich, Panama is our first country, and the site is brand new.
 
Like any good product or service, BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com was designed to make it easier for people to do things.  The first group of people we wanted to make things easier for are primarily the people in the US and Canada who are researching retiring overseas.
 
Rich:
 
OK.  Like the people who are listening to our radio show right now.
 
Chuck:
 
Right, exactly.  One of the first things most of these people do when they’re thinking about retiring overseas is to type in some search terms into Google.  For example, if they’re thinking about retiring or moving to Panama, they may enter something general like “Retire Panama”, or, if they’re further along in their search, they may type in something like “Retire Fort Clayton” or “Is Casco Viejo safe?”
 
Rich:
 
Right.
 
Chuck:
 
And when they do so, they’re taken to a variety of web sites, some of them are good, some not so good, some credible, some not so credible, and all of them containing just a fragment of the information they’re searching for.
 
Rich:
 
So what do they typically do?
 
Chuck:
 
Well, if they’re very determined, they keep putting in search terms and keep going to one website after another, searching for information they can trust on hundreds of topics, probably just like you did before you moved to Panama, Rich.
 
Rich:
 
Right, that’s exactly what we did.  I don’t mind telling you, it was really frustrating.
 
Chuck:
 
After all, just moving within the US is scary enough, so of course, moving overseas is an even bigger step and even more scary.
 
So, what do these people do who are looking for credible information do?  After going to countless sites with varying degrees of credibility and fragmented information, all set against a backdrop of the natural anxiety that comes from having to make a big decision, most of them just give up on the idea altogether and just stay in their home country.
 
Rich:
 
Which is a shame, because if they could have found what they wanted from a credible source with less aggravation, they may feel more confident in going further.
 
Chuck:
 
Rich, that’s exactly right, so we set out to create and give these people exactly what they wanted: a site where people doing research into retiring abroad could find all the information they’re looking for in one, credible place.
 
Rich:
 
How do you do that?  What’s the format?
 
Chuck:
 
Rich, given our time constraints, let’s talk about how just one area our site does this: the Community Q & A section.
 
Rich:
 
OK, tell us about that.
 
Chuck:
 
Rich, this is where we answer the hundreds and hundreds of questions the people in your audience most often type into Google and the other search engines about retiring abroad.
 
Rich:
 
OK, Chuck, so your team answers the questions?
 
Chuck:
 
I’m really glad you brought that up, Rich.  No, our team doesn’t answer the questions.  In fact, not only don’t we answer the questions, but we have no point of view whatsoever and have no interest in promoting anything.
 
That’s one of the reasons why the site is so credible. The site isn’t selling or promoting anything.  All we’re doing is providing transparent, diverse information to the people who are asking for it—those doing the research on the Internet about retiring overseas.
 
Rich:
 
OK, then how does it work?  If you don’t answer the questions, who does?
 
Chuck:
 
Well, we present a wide variety of opinions, from a wide variety of sources, all who are independent of each other, and of us.  Some are women, some are men, some are older, some are younger. Some are retired, some are still working, Rich, like you and me.  When researchers come to our site, they see a variety of viewpoints, which gives them more confidence that the answers they’re getting are believable.
 
Rich:
 
How many people do you have providing the answers?
 
Chuck:
 
At last count, and we’re still new, slightly over 100.
 
Rich:
 
Wow!  More than 100 different people answering questions?
 
Chuck:
 
That’s right, Rich.  And growing all the time.
 
Rich:
 
How many answers do you have?
 
Chuck:
 
At last count, more than 850, and growing daily.
 
Rich:
 
Double wow!  Can you give me an idea of some of the questions on the site?
 
Chuck:
 
Sure.  Here’s just some random ones: “What’s the cost of living in Bouquet?” “What are the expats like in Casco Viejo?”  “Do I need to speak Spanish?”  That type of thing.  Anything someone doing research into moving to Panama would ask.
 
Rich:
 
Can the visitors to your website find out about the people answering the questions?
 
Chuck:
 
That’s a great question, Rich, and this is really important.  The answer is “yes”, they can.   We call the people who answer questions our  “contributors”.  Every contributor has a profile on the site, where they can put their picture, their name, and, if they represent a company, the name of their company.
 
In each contributor’s profile is an “About Me” area, where they can introduce themselves to the visitor and tell a little about themselves.  The “About Me” area is part of our “full disclosure” policy, giving the visitors full information so they can know a little more about the person answering the question.
 
Rich:
 
I can see why people doing research would love to come to your site.  However, you haven’t made it clear yet why anyone would want to become a contributor and answer questions on your site.
 
Chuck:
 
Again, Rich, thanks for asking.  We have lots of different people, from all walks of life contributing answers.  Some are just nice people who like to be helpful and answer other people’s questions.
 
Rich:
 
How about people who answer who also represent companies?
 
Chuck:
 
Again, Rich, great question.  Well, to begin with, many people who represent companies are also nice people who like to be helpful and answer other people’s questions, but it can also be very, very good for the businesses of these people, as well as good for their customers.  Everyone wins.
 
Can I use THE man in Panama as an example?
 
Rich:
 
Of course, I’d like you to.
 
Chuck:
 
The listening audience should know that THE man in Panama, Rich Novak, was the very first person we spoke to about our site, well over a year ago.
 
Rich:
 
Actually, my wife Janet was the first person you spoke with, Chuck.
 
Chuck:
 
Rich, you’re right, again.   Janet was the first person, and she introduced us to you, the second person.  When we met in that deli in Casco Viejo, Rich, why did you agree to become a contributor and answer questions for visitors to our site?
 
Rich:
 
Well, the first reason was that you asked me to and you seemed like a very nice guy.
 
Chuck:
 
Great lesson for anyone dealing with Rich: he’s such a great guy that, for most things, if you just ask him to do something for you, he probably will!
 
Rich:
 
Well, not everything, but I always try to be helpful.
 
Chuck:
 
Rich provided the very first answer on our site.  But from a business and relationship standpoint, Rich, why did you do it?
 
Rich:
 
Well, it’s really pretty simple.  You’ve set up the site to get lots of people each together month who are researching moving to Panama.  If I can be helpful to them and answer some of their questions, if they later decide to come here and look for a real estate, and they liked my answer, they can look up me up at Re/Max Beaches and City.
 
It’s a great way to get an introduction to a potential client who I’ve already helped by my answers, so we can base our relationship on trust and goodwill.
 
That’s how I like to do business: first I provide value to my clients by helping them.  Then, if they decide they need a real estate firm, they’ll tend to come to me because I already helped them.
 
Chuck we need to go away for a commercial break, but after we come back, I’d like to hear more about your new website.  How does that sound?
 
Chuck:
 
It sounds great, Rich, thanks.
 
Rich:
 
OK, we’ll be right back.
 
[Break]
 
Rich:
 
Hello, welcome back to the show.  This is Rich Novak, THE man in Panama, and we’re having a conversation with Chuck Bolotin, who’s one of the creators of a brand new website.
 
Chuck, I understand you view the website as a community?
 
Chuck:
 
Yes, Rich, I do.  We’ve established an absolutely wonderful and wonderfully diverse group of people to answer questions, all with different backgrounds, different points of view, different attitudes and different expertise to offer to people who are researching retiring abroad.  Your listeners can come to our site and meet this great group of people and read their answers.
 
Rich:
 
OK, so tell me about some of the people who answer questions on the site.  Given the short time we have left, let’s make it a lightening round, with me giving you the topics, if that’s OK.
 
Chuck:
 
Shoot.
 
Rich:
 
Let’s start with the person with the most diverse background.
 
Chuck:
 
OK.  Off the top of my head, Chris Fronchaux, of Semusa Realty.  Chris started as an attorney in Switzerland, worked for the Red Cross in Argentina, lived in Europe, Miami, New York and Africa, managed a liquor manufacturing plant, a rice mill and a ceramic tile manufacturer, now he’s a real estate agent in Panama, and along the way found his true love—a wonderful Panamanian woman.
 
Rich:
 
That’s enough for one show all by itself.  How about “Most Natural”.
 
Chuck:
 
Anne Gordon de Barrigon.  Anne runs Whale Watching Panama.  Anne came to Panama as an animal trainer, married a Panamanian man from the Emberá Tribe and has really interesting insights to share into everything from marine life to Panamanian culture.
 
Rich:
 
OK.  How about “quirky stories about Panama”?
 
Chuck:
 
We have lots of those, Rich.  Let’s try Allen Rosen, from Chiriquí Coastal Real Estate.  Allen is originally a Canadian lawyer.  At last count, Allen has 12 rescue dogs and 3 rescue cats.  He also has very funny stories on our site about neighborhood alligators and becoming an international pet smuggler.  I can’t tell you any more; you’ll have to come to the site.
 
Rich:
 
OK.  How about financial advice.
 
Chuck:
 
Jay Butler.  Jay runs Asset Protection Services, out of Switzerland.  Jay’s a really bright guy who’s lived in probably something like six countries.  He’s an expert on many things, including, as you might imagine, asset protection and wealth management, so, of course, those are the types of questions he answers.
 
For tax accounting, we have Tabitha Paddock of Expat Services in Montreal, who can comment on everything for your listeners from taxes to travel to kayaking, and Diane Syrian of EpatriateTaxReturns.com in Michigan, also, obviously an expert in these things.
 
Rich:
 
Hotels and B and B’s
 
Chuck:
 
We have Bern Hotels.
 
Rich:
 
All 8 of them?
 
Chuck:
 
Yes, Rich, all 8 of them.
 
Rich:
 
Wow.
 
Chuck:
 
Reading their contributions to the site is like going to the concierge of a great hotel, except that, on BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com, we have them all these concierges in one place for you.
 
We have the famous Coronado Golf and Beach Resort, represented on our site by Nicolas Baldrich, who was born in Spain, studied in Boston and now lives in Panama.  Nicolas, who is still a very young guy to have accomplished everything he’s done, has also lived in four countries, is very articulate, and, of course, is an expert in Coronado.
 
We have the Veneto, which is a Wyndham Grand Hotel, a huge resort. Giovanni Jimenez contributes for them.  Giovanni was born and raised in New York and now lives in Panama to answer questions for you.
 
We’ve got a whole bunch of B & Bs, including Manglar Lodge, which is run by Ivan Marquez.  Ivan’s built and runs the lodge himself.  He’s a really talented guy.  He’s a surfer, an entrepreneur, and a native Panamanian who has a wealth of information to share with your listeners.
 
I don’t want to leave out Bill and Meike Hamilton.  He’s from the UK, she’s Dutch.  They lived in Spain for 40 years and have great insights into all areas of Panamanian life.
 
Rich:
 
How about the person most completely integrated with their community.
 
Chuck:
 
I’d have to choose Patrizia Pinzon, of Arco Properties.  Your listeners and you may have seen Patrizia on House Hunter’s International; they ran her segment twice.  Her love, knowledge and insights into Casco are probably unrivaled anywhere.  If you’re thinking about Casco, you’ve got to read what Patrizia writes.
 
Rich:
 
OK.  How about tourism?
 
Chuck:
 
Well, in addition to Anne already, we have Colonel Davis Stevenson, of Condor Travel.  Davis founded Condor Travel.  He was born in Panama and is an absolute expert.  He lives in Georgia now.
 
We also have Judy Tovar, who runs Easy Travel Panama.  Judy wins the award for the best attitude probably of anyone in any country on earth!  She’s a native Panamanian, and also an expert.
 
Rich:
 
How about the business least able categorize?
 
Chuck:
 
How about a gestoria?
 
Rich:
 
A what?
 
Chuck:
 
I’m not certain I’m pronouncing it right.  A gestoria.  A gestoria, I’m told by Roy Canon, one of our contributors, is a company that does the government paperwork for people.  Roy was born in Florida, lived in many European countries, including Spain, where they have “gestoria”.  Roy brought the concept to Panama.  Roy’s contributions are very, very helpful and quite authoritative.
Rich:
 
And healthcare?
 
Chuck:
 
Craig Morrissey, US-born, in Panama for 10 years, contributes for Hospital Nacional, which I think I did pronounce right.
 
Rich:
 
OK. And how about any other larger vendors like Empresas Bern?
 
Chuck:
 
Panama Pacifico, which as you know is redeveloping the former US Air Force base into an entirely new city.  JuliAnne Murphy is a high level corporate executive for the firm, now in Panama for 5 years, who brings her Southern instincts and sensibilities to her contributions.
 
Rich:
 
And how about writers?
 
Chuck:
 
We have three who I know are published.
 
Elizabeth Vance, a charming US expat living in Panama for six years now with her husband and dog.  Elizabeth wrote The Gringo Guide To Panama.
 
We also have Dianne Heidke, famous for her book The Boquete Handbook.  Dianne contributes for us.
 
Our most recent contributor-writer is James David Audlin, who’s written something like 20 books.  James lives in Volcan.  He’s another fascinating character, fluent in probably more than 10 languages, musician, retired college professor, among other things.
 
 
Rich:
 
OK.  Locations.  Maybe like El Valle?
 
Chuck:
 
Two come to mind.  The first is Neil Stein.  Neil’s from New York, Santa Cruz, and most recently, Hawaii.  Neil’s developing a business bringing people from Kauai to Panama.
 
There’s also who I call “The men from abc Realty.”  There’s Bill Brunner, who knows Panama like the back of his hand, Adam Brunner, who is his son and a very active and great contributor to the site, and Charly Garcia.  Dr. Garcia is a locally very well-known native Panamanian who, I’m told is also the best dentist in El Valle.
 
 
Rich:
 
I know Charly.  He’s a great guy.  And how about Boquete?
 
Chuck:
 
Panama Jim, one of your co-broadcasters and also a jack of all trades, has been great, contributing something like 30 answers on a whole range of subjects.
 
One of our newest contributors is Linda Jensen.  Linda moved to Boquete from Texas within the last year, so her perspective, Rich, is really fresh.  One of the great things about Linda’s contributions is that, when you read them, it feels like she’s taking you along with her.  She has pictures, insights, tells you what she purchased, that kind of thing.  Very first-person and personal contributions; just what people doing research into moving to Panama are looking for.
 
Rich:
 
And who else comes to mind?
 
 
Chuck:
 
How about… Let’s talk about Pedasi.  Alan Stone and Jade Wills, of Pedasi Palms.  Alan is from the UK and Jade is a recent expat from North Carolina. Both provide thoughtful, interesting, useful contributions.
 
Also, I should never forget Renate Jape.  Renate came to Panama from Germany and in 1985, Rich, when she settled in Playa Venao, which no one had ever heard of then.  She has great stories and insights of raising her family there.
 
Rich:
 
Wow.  It looks like we’re going to be running out of time; we maybe have a minute left in this segment.  I know there’s a lot more to the site and many, many interesting contributors who are worth mentioning.  Chuck, would you come back for an additional segment in the future?
 
Chuck:
 
Sure, Rich, I’d love to. I love talking about this stuff and helping people find the information they need.  We have great contributors and we’re excited about being able to provide a platform for what they have to offer.  Everyone wins.
 
Rich:
 
OK, Chuck.  And what’s the name of the website again?
 
Chuck:
 
BestPlacesInTheWorldToRetire.com.  I welcome all your listeners to come to the site and have a look around.
 
Also, very importantly, if any of your listeners feel that they can answer questions, we invite them to join our community.  If any of them represent a company, they should register as a Vendor.  If they can answer questions but don’t represent a company, they should register as what we call an “Expat or Other Knowledgeable Person
Rich:
 
OK.  We need to check out Chuck.  We appreciate the information and we’ll have you back on the show in the not too distant future.  Thank you.
 
Chuck:
 
Great, Rich.  I had a lot of fun.  Thanks a lot.
 
 
About Best Places in the World to Retire
 
Funded and run by an experienced group of entrepreneurs and investors based primarily in Southern Arizona, BestPlacesintheWorldtoRetire.com is dedicated to providing the current or “almost” retiree with organized, unbiased, credible information about retiring abroad, all in an easy to use format. The three main areas of the site are: 1) Community Q & A, with thousands of answers to questions, provided by a community of experts; 2) Location Advisor, an interactive, fun and informative guide to the best places to retire, presented in a questionnaire format; and, 3) Expat Stories, where real expats tell their experiences.
 
Contact:
 
Chuck Bolotin
 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 (520) 498-0427