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Sarah Booth of Panama Holiday Homes &  Buyer's Consultant with My Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I love this saying "Wherever you go, there you are". If you are considering a move overseas to escape from something, anything.. you will likely not receive the same lifestyle benefits as most of us do. As well, basing your decision solely on cost of living, is probably not the healthiest reason either. I strongly suggest doing your research and due diligence and reaching out to those of us who have made the move successfully, and for the right reasons.
Mike Cobb of ECI Development – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Two retired people walking towards the beach – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingSome people are only happy when they are unhappy.   Moving overseas to fix a happiness problem isn't going to work because "no matter where you go, there you are." 
Zach Smith of Anywhere – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beach in Belize – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe Weather

One of the worst reasons to retire overseas is to do it because you want to be in a place with good weather. There are times when people decide to visit a certain place at a specific time of the year because somebody told them that they will experience the best weather. The same is not always true if you live in the same place for a whole year since the weather will change during the year. However nice the weather is at a certain time of the year, remember it can also can be the complete opposite during another season of year. Weather is a big factor when people make a decision to move to a different country but I think it also can be a letdown. The culture and the community are more practical factors with bigger benefits.
 
The Beach

A lot of people want to retire on the beach or live on the beach and that is great. The beach is beautiful and it has a lot of things that are attractive but it is particularly suited for visiting rather than living. The air on the beach is salty, which makes properties wear down. The sun is normally very hot on the beach and it gets uncomfortable. So if you live on the beach, you might find yourself constantly looking for shade.
 
There is not a lot of agriculture that can be supported at the beach. Vendors come to the beach on trucks in order to sell to the people there. That adds to the hustle and bustle brought about by visitors that come to the beach all the time. It is not ideal to be at the beach the whole year because it starts to wear on you after a while. I’ve known a lot of people who end up being more stressed out than any other time in their lives because they just had an impression that moving overseas and living on the beach was going to be perfect. Nothing is perfect, not even the beach. 
Ross of Abroad We Go – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ross at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe worst reasons to retire overseas are financial and health reasons. If you’re moving overseas because you need to be in a country where it’s less expensive, that sets you off to a bad direction. If you’re moving overseas with the primary reason of a lower cost of living, you need to be careful. 
 
Many retirees move overseas for a lower cost of healthcare. When you move overseas for healthcare, you need to understand that the quality of healthcare is typically lower than in the US, and the US healthcare that you may have through insurance or Medicare probably won’t work abroad. 
 
You should be retiring overseas because you want to explore the world and its different cultures. Don’t retire overseas because it’s going to save you money or because you can get cheap healthcare. Generally, it would save you money, but if that’s your primary reason for retiring overseas, that’s one of the worst reasons to do so. 
 
If you’re retiring overseas, you have to love and enjoy where you’re going, and you have to want to immerse yourself in that culture. If not, you would be miserable spending half as much money in the US, but you would still be miserable.  
 
(Ross at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, pictured.)
Jay Butler of Asset Protection Services of America – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
US Citizen Receiving Health care Abroad – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are a variety is issues which could give rise to avoid retiring overseas.  Of those reasons, herein are my “top 3” worst reasons to retire overseas:
 
HEALTHCARE
 
While some jurisdictions may, in fact, have superior healthcare facilities to those in the United States, the healthcare services of many countries are far inferior to those in America.  Consistent access to quality medication at affordable rates can, surprisingly, be more challenging than you may realize.  Also, when you are of retirement age and experience a serious medical challenge, it can be extremely expense, if not life threatening, to travel (or be transported) to a neighboring country which has qualified physicians needed to properly treat your ailment.  While you may do your best to choose a favorable jurisdiction for your golden age, countries which boast low-cost retirement havens often lack proper medical facilities.
 
FAMILY AND FRIENDS
 
Assuming you have children, you may find yourself missing out on watching your grandson’s first baseball game or granddaughter’s communion.  Lifelong friends, who are also of retirement age, may not have the resources to come and visit you but once every few years.  Unless you are part of a small community to provide you with the emotional support needed to maintain a healthy emotional state of mind, it is easy to become increasingly depressed living isolated from family and friends.  Are you mentally and emotionally prepared to communicate with your closest of friends and family via video or social media?  When you no longer wish to travel back to the United States, there may be extended periods of time when no comes to visit you either.
 
FINANCES AND EXCHANGE RATES
 
Lack of finances ranks among the primary causes of tremendous stress.  Unless you have reasonably substantial savings for your retirement, you may find yourself in an extremely uncomfortable position overseas.  Adding insult to injury, if you wished to work part-time to generate some additional income, most retirement visa’s do not allow for any formal work to be undertaken by a retiree as it places unnecessary burdens on the local community whom often struggle with finding work for their families.  Additionally, currencies and exchange rate are subject to slow degradations as well as massive swings.  Meaning, you may have moved to a country wherein you enjoyed a favorable exchange rate when you arrived but find yourself getting far less ‘bang for your buck’ as time moves on.
By Edgington – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Chicago Cubs baseball player – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingOne of the worst reasons I can come up with for retiring abroad is one of the most obvious these days, I believe: The political turmoil in the U.S., (at least for U.S. potential expats.) My wife and I did not move first to Panama, then to Colombia to escape the political rancor and polarization up north. We moved to escape the chilly winter weather. But people have asked if we left so we didn't have to hear Trump this, Hillary that, Bernie in between. When we arrived in Panama we realized that many folks retained their affiliations and perspectives, and to some it had become their persona. Colombia is a bit different, but there are still pockets of what I'll call political activism in Medellin, organized around the events of last November 8th.
 
The point is, don't expect to get away from U.S. politics, especially now. You won't. The only advice I can offer, if your expat decision is based on escaping all that foo-farah, is to learn what my wife and I have, to become adept at changing the subject. Our trigger phrase is 'how about those Cubs!' Any time the conversation meanders toward the political and/or liberal Vs Conservative Vs Libertarian etc., one of us says 'how 'bout them Cubs!' Come up with your own expression, and don't be afraid to use it. There are fine, engaging, fun and interesting folks in the expat community wherever you go. Try to engage them on that basis. Don't expect them to have shed all their 'home baggage,' but instead learn to steer them toward better, more satisfying topics. And don't retire abroad to escape the turmoil, it ain't gonna happen.
John Gilbert of PanamaKeys – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Gilbert family making friends at church, Boquete, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe worst reason that I can think of for retiring overseas is that you’re unhappy where you are. I have seen very few examples, if any at all, of somebody being fundamentally being unhappy where they are, and coming to a different country, and miraculously becoming happy. It’s very hard to chase happiness from that regard.
 
If you have a marriage that is failing where you live, it’s unrealistic that you’re going to move to a foreign country and miraculously save your marriage. If you have children who are failing where you are, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to come to another country and miraculously turn their life around.
 
There are things that go on inside your own home that you, and not your government, are responsible for. I’ve seen many people come to Panama hoping that Panama is a paradise for them, that all of the problems going on in their lives will become magically cured, and that’s absolutely the wrong way to look at moving abroad.  
 
(Gilbert family making friends at church, Boquete, Panama, pictured.)
Valerie Bennett – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Stream in Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn general, one of the worst reasons to retire overseas is because it will be "cheaper" than your country of citizenship.
 
It may or may not be true, but there are so many other items that should be considered.
 
(Pictured: stream in Panama.)
JIMJFOX – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Well... in my case I had little choice- my preferred country, Australia has become too expensive for me so I had to find somewhere that made my meager pension and savings go further. The argument that everywhere else is as costly as 'home' is false.
 
Originally my motivations were better prospects, warmer weather that cured my chest infections and a better future for my kids.  These are universal motivations, surely? Therefore I find some of the comments a bit wide of the mark. 
 
Besides that, I felt I had become a burden to my 'family' and this would get worse, meaning I'd be ever more dependent.   At 70 this was not an option. The ME age has been hard for most older people. So I live in exile, really- and I'm not alone in this. 
 
(Pictured: Opera House in Australia.)
 
 
 
 
David Truly of Dr. David Truly Ph. D. – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
David Truly with his expat band – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe worst reasons to retire overseas are to live like a king and the idea that you want to go overseas because it is cheaper because that usually doesn’t pan out very well. The other reason is the idea of retiring overseas just because other people did it and you’re thinking that it’s a cool thing to do, so you’re going to do it.  We live in a world where marketing and advertising, certainly, has a major sway on people.
 
Another bad reason to retire overseas is the impulsive move based on some difficult event or simply due to a very cold winter. They come down to this idyllic place, and say, “Wow this is great! This is it!”Bbut don’t really think it through. It’s not a good thing to come and retire overseas just because all of a sudden it seems to be the right thing to do for whatever reason. It should not be an impulsive decision for most people. Retiring overseas is something that people need to think about.
 
Strictly economic reasons, personal tragedy, or just thinking you can live better somewhere without really looking into it are bad reasons for retiring overseas, are often these cases don’t turn out very well for people.
 
(David Truly with his expat band, pictured.)
Neil Flemming – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Runners on a the park path along the river in Parque Nacional Chagres, Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI haven’t really thought about retirement so I haven’t really thought about the worst reasons for it. Sometimes people can change countries to run away from more personal problems than the actual problems that are associated with the country they’re from. And people think that by moving countries, they will be able to escape their problems. That doesn’t work because I don’t think the person really changes, just the location.
 
(Runners on a the park path along the river in Parque Nacional Chagres, Panama, pictured.)
Ginny Ophof of Rainforerst Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I love the saying and advice: Make sure that what you have left behind, you have left behind!
 
Question your motives for wanting to leave and move abroad.
 
Your reasons for leaving will have a huge impact on the experience and how you adapt to the new country, so leave for good reasons and not because you are running away from mistakes or for the wrong reasons.
 
Jennifer Moloney Jones of The Visitor – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Don’t go abroad thinking that you are going to escape your problems, because you will have the same problems overseas as you have at home. You still have to worry about taxes, paying the rent, paying the bills, etc., so going abroad really does not make you escape the day-to-day of things.
 
Moving abroad and thinking that everything is going to be paradise is a fantasy. It is not true. You could still meet people you don’t like. It is just the same stuff, but in a different place.
Terry Bradford of Origen Real Estate Panama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
One of the worst reasons to retire overseas is expecting everything to be very cheap. It’s not. I lived in Hawaii for a year and 90% of everything in Hawaii is imported, so it is cheaper to go out to eat. It is the same in Panama. There are things in Panama that do come from the US, but you pay the extra cost of having that.
 
Panama is a developing nation and the rising standards of living reflect that. Some retirement companies seduce people by saying that you can buy a beach house for US $59,000. Well, there may be something out there for that amount, but it would be a shack on a beach that is not yet developed.
 
Some retirement companies tell people that the price of fuel, groceries, and similar things in the US is very cheap here in Panama, and that is not 100% true. They make people go to their seminars. You will pay for your own flight; you will pay a ridiculous amount for your hotel accommodation in Panama City. Then they have seminars and they rush people to different places, such as to an immigration attorney they know, who will fix people’s paperwork. If you want to buy property, they will tell you to go to a specific attorney, and they all get paid under the table for things that we do at no charge, and that is disappointing for us.
kevin obrien of BarefootPanama – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
The worst reason for retiring overseas would be moving to another place and wanting it to be like home, because sometimes things do not work the same way as they do back home.
 
For example, the work ethic here in Panama is different from the work ethic back home, where I'm from, in the US. Here in Panama, if you want to have internet connection in your house, you would not get it by just asking for it. You have to make an extra effort. After I applied for an internet connection, I waited for a month, but they had not done anything. So when I got the opportunity, I parked my car in a way that one of their company vehicles could not escape and asked them to give me the internet connection I applied for a month ago. I am not a bad guy; I just need the internet. So if you decide to live overseas, you have to be ready to do things differently because sometimes if you do things the proper way, it just doesn’t work.
Holly CarterHolly – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
In my opinion, the worst reason to retire abroad is if you think your moving to "Paradise".  Many people listen to the hype of certain publications that just want to sell you things and tout "Paradise".  Any place you live will have it's problems and no place is perfect.  Especially when moving to a different country which will have a different culture, different foods, possibly a different language that you will have to adjust to and learn to live with.  You have to not only 'be okay' with all the many different things about living in another country but if you actually 'enjoy' it and embrace the differences you'll be happy.  It's so important, (in my opinion) to embrace the place you choose to move to. If you want to live in a gated community and isolate yourself from the people then you might as well stay in the States or Canada or wherever you came from.  If your expectations of living abroad are that you will find all the same things there that you had wherever you came from you'll be very unhappy. If you expect to experience a completely different way of living then you will be in for the time of your life.  Don't move for "Paradise", move for an Adventure! :)
Karyn Saunders of Inside Panama Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
I often meet expats who made the move and are now finding it is not working for them.  Some of the most common reasons are the following:
  1. They thought their family would visit and that did not happen, so they are moving back to be closer to kids, parents, grandkids...etc.
  2. Language and cultural challenges.  This is a Spanish-speaking country that is slowly becoming bilingual.  I find that the Panamanians do try to communicate with us whenever they can and we should always try and do the same.  If you do not at least make an effort you will find that you are becoming frustrated on a daily basis.  It is the same as an expat moving to the States or Canada.  We are not going to start learning Japanese or Punjabi etc. to accommodate the expats in our country so we should not expect our adopted country to do the same for us.
  3. It is a slower pace of life and with that said many processes and procedures are slower and are done differently.  Remember your decision to move to Panama was to slow down, now is the time to put that into practice.  Patience and tolerance is essential and without it you will not survive.
  4. It is hot 365 days for the year in the lowlands.  The temperature does not change, the rains and the winds do.  From May to November is the rainy season which is like a Toronto summer and from December to April is the dry season where we have guaranteed weather...no rain not a drop.  Consider this before making the move.  If humidity is not your cup of tea reconsider.
If you are looking for new adventures and a totally new way of life then the tropics will work for you.  If you can adapt and go with it you will find you feel younger and more alive.  If you are going to fight the system and try to change it you will not enjoy Panama and you may want to consider a country with more a more North American lifestyle but that always comes at a higher price tag.
Ian Usher of House Sitting Magazine – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
There are many good reasons for retiring overseas, and I'll address them elsewhere in another answer. The worst reasons? I have a list of some things to consider:-
 
worst reasons retire overseas expat gringo Bocas del Toro Panama boat challenges – Best Places In The World To Retire – International Living1). Don't head overseas just because you are running away from something!
 
It is no good going overseas to retire just because you don't want to be where you are now. You have to do your research, and have to really want to live in the place you decide to retire to.
 
2). Don't think it is going to be easy!
 
For reference, see the picture above. Wherever you go things are going to be different, and there will be challenges to face and hurdles to overcome. Maybe you won't have to rescue a boat from the seabed, but you will face challenges.
 
A new language to learn. New customs. Distance from friends and family.
 
3). Social circle.
 
You are more than likely going to move to a place where you know few, if any, people. You will have to develop a new social circle and support network in your new location. It's fun to do, but you will have to be prepared to make the effort to do so too.
 
4). Do your research!!
 
This is so important, and is what this website is all about. Make sure you are fully informed and fully prepared before you make the leap. The biggest mistake is not knowing what to expect, and therefore being completely unprepared.
 
Once you've done your research, and are confident you are ready for the challenges and adventure ahead, jump in with both feet. After all, life really is meant to be an adventure, isn't it?
 
Here's to a happy and fulfilling retirement.
Linda Jensen – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
So you think you can give up the American lifestyle for a slower, more rustic place to live? It is easy enough to think about leaving it all behind due to the current political situation in the USA and high cost of living. Just chucking it all and move to another country seems plausible, but is it? Is it because you are lonely? Not a good plan.
 
What do you do? I suggest you do some research first. The cost of living is an important category. Healthcare is another very important matter. The political status of a foreign nation is also at the top of the list. You may want to consider the climate, diseases,  transportation, entertainment, business opportunities, events and sports or activities. The flight time and distance from your homeland are concerns to consider.
 
If you need many people in your life perhaps you want to rethink leaving that security blanket. You will be mostly on your own in a country where the language is different, as well as customs.
 
It costs money to move to a foreign country, so check out the costs before you decide it is what you want to do.  Do some online searches about air fares, shipping businesses, postal companies. You will find mail is an issue. Getting a cell phone is easy, but having reliable electric service is iffy, at best. Water is not a big deal in Panama. (However we always boil our drinking water.  No problem; just a precaution.)
 
You can rent a car with full insurance for about $60 USD a day, catch a cab  or take a bus for much less than in the USA. 
 
Small communities seem to have a Catholic Church or a Seventh Day Adventist Church. A few communities have a Church of Christ or Christian church, but not like in the USA; very small and mostly in Spanish.
 
All legal documents must be in Spanish.  You cannot use any English document here as a legal document. All documents regarding visas must be certified, signed and apostilled by the US Department of State and translated into Spanish.  It is recommended to use an attorney. Be careful and check their credentials.
 
There are language schools, but remember the language, the customs and laws are different. Getting service is different, and waiting is part of the deal.
 
Are you ready to be away from all that you know and love? Can you enjoy life at a slower pace and not hold the grandchildren near your heart except once a year when you go home?  Do you mind waiting, seeing military police on the highways, seeing a security office in every store and business?  When you may find many things in Panama that are difficult to deal with, it is important to smile, put that American temper under control and be calm.
 
Personally we love it in Panama. We respect the people and enjoy the expats. We drive and walk, ride buses, and take cabs.  It is different but it feels like home and we do love it very much.
 
There is much to consider.  I suggest you thoroughly check out this site and make sure you get as much information as possible before coming to Panama to live. You will not find instant gratification here or anywhere. There is always a downside to everything. I suggest  you do not runaway from where you are, but look into and study where you want to be.

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