Panama Private Pension Pensionado Age Change??

In case you don’t read blog comments, I just received received the following URL as a comment related to the Pensionado Visa.

This firm looks creditable, but I have not been able to confirm the authenticity of the change it talks about.

UPDATE: The following was a reply that was posted on the Yahoo Panama Forum by SGG.

The information is untrue and unreliable, and it does not speak well of that particular lawyer that she has acknowledged privately that the information is wrong but has been too lazy to change her website. It is simply not true. The erroneous info has been widely debunked on panama_laws_for_expats.

20 thoughts on “Panama Private Pension Pensionado Age Change??

  1. Since they think that the Reforestation Visa “is apparently returning” when in fact it has been in effect for some time, I would not give too much weight to their opinions!

  2. Don,
    First, a few quotes to get you warmed up.

    From Shakespeare’s Henry VI (Act IV, Scene II) “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

    Next, if I may quote H. L. Mencken, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    On visa changes, a government that cannot control its borders ceases to be country. After all government is about control. Never a happy medium.

    On vaccines, if vaccines are so safe why has the U.S. government paid out more than $1.5 billion in its Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to families of children who have been injured or killed by vaccines?

    Flu vaccine info: On left hand side of page under vaccines.

    I think thats enough random thoughts for the day. Digest them slowly, I don’t want you getting an upset stomach.

  3. Sylvain – You are probably right. Maybe I shouldn’t have given their site any more traffic, but sometimes I think too much information is better than too little even when you have to weed out the chaff and it appears that SGG has weeded this chaff on the Panama Forum.

    Kevin – Thanks for tossing in a little Shakespeare. This site was in need of a little culture.

  4. This is really a super site; thanks very much Mr Ray!

    Was thinking about migrating to Panama but after seeing all the negative changes in the visa/immigration laws, I am changing my mind.
    Maybe xenophobia is developing in Panama or maybe there is now the perception that there are simply too many foreigners living in the country. Whatever it is, I do not care. I could qualify under the most expensive programme available if I wanted to. But seeing the ‘new attitude’ reflected in these new visa laws, I don’t want to. Have already lived too many places where these kind of attitudes have materialised and the eventual consequences are always unpleasant

  5. Traveller – Let the dust settle a little. These changes haven’t had time to firm up.

    As far as I am concerned, there is no other place i would rather be.

  6. It’s the second time I hear of someone who no longer wants to come to Panama because of these changes, which is very weird to me.

    30 days is pretty much standard for tourist visas and most counties will not let you get back to back tourist visas indefinitely.

    And if the new age restriction on the Pensionado visa is true, they are again just closing a loophole that allowed people of means to create a pension for themselves cand come to Panama with all the benefits that were originally designed for true pensioners.

    Hardly cause for concern. In fact, I think it shows that the government of Panama is maturing.

  7. Sylvain is right. I don’t think either change is anything to worry about. We’re still considering Panama for retirement, but we may just need to wait for an additional couple of years. No biggie. It’s always best to know upfront, and your website helps a lot in this regard!

  8. Again the hard line against anyone not 65. I am 52, and my wife 51, and we have enough money to retire in a country like Panama but not here in Canada. I am about to have a knee replacement and my body is just worn out from all the years of 12 hour shiftwork in the oilpatch. I have been told by doctors to enjoy my life now, as it will not be a long one. I have no Govt. pension to help out, so would be forced to use up what cash we have, and then rely on our Government to support us. As I stated before, not all people moving to Panama are out to take advantage of the Panamanian government. The government is not maturing, it is slicing its own throat.

  9. Don,
    I certainly have, and if all this stays the way it is, that will probably be our only recourse. I just hope I have the years left to wait.

  10. You are right Don. Each day we are this earth is a lifetime. Just have to make everyone count.

  11. Doug, I have it on very good authority that the 65 year old rule change is not true.

    BTW, I am also Canadian and about your age and I also know that my job is killing me and I plan to retire soon (in two years in fact, at age 50). We are lucky that my wife and I both took early retirement packages from the military in 1995 and we both have small pensions that qualify us for the Pensionado visa.

    But even if the Government did change the rule to 65 for non-government pension, I think that would not be a bad thing (except for a few exceptions like yourself of course). Such a rule change would be aimed at two types of people.

    The first is those who come here at a relatively young age under the Pensionado program, but with the intention to work here to supplement their revenu. They go against the spirit of the whole pensionado discounts and tax advantages which were designed for retirees, whether Panamanians or foreigners.

    The second would be those who have enough money to create their own pension and come here at an early age. Those folks really have enough money to come in under the Reforestation ($40K) program, or the person of means ($200K including your house) program, both of which are more beneficial to the country than the Pensionado program.

    So while I understand the predicament it would put you under, I fail to see how such a change would equate to the government shooting themselves in the foot.

  12. Sylvain, there are a few more aspects to look at. Very wealthy people may make that 200K deposit to simply buy their visa (essentially that’s it), buy a huge property and employ a few servants, but apart from that the impact of their presence to the local economy is probably not noteable. Countries like Panama do not lack money. They do lack knowledge. Those with money seldom participate in ventures where knowledge transfer takes place. Why should they? Skilled professionals are much more valuable to the local economy. But nobody in their right mind would even consider trying to set up something when a lot of red tape increases the risk. This is a developing country, the local market is very small, almost everything has to be imported and the only resource that is cheap is the people. How many Europeans or Americans will want to work 48 hours a week for less than $600 monthly to beef up a pension or actually make a living? They should be grateful for all and every influx of foreign knowledge to grow the local economy and eventually become able to export sophisticated products. A lot of entrepreneurs start as part of the “informal economy” and all these regulations keep exactly those persons out. In harsh words these and probably other changes may provide the path to Disneyland style islands for rich foreigners and create grief, envy and anger amonst the locals. But probably the “huega vivo” culture has the upper hand in this case and a short-term gain is more important than everything else.

  13. Stephan, I pretty much agree with everything you said. But I still don’t think the government would be doing the wrong thing by re-focussing the Pensionado program towards its orginal intent.

    One more avenue for people to come in, if they want to participate in the local economy, is to take advantage of the small-business program.

    And BTW, most of the rich gringos in the Island of “rich” that is Altos del Maria employ mutliple gardeners, maids, construction workers and other workers from the local area. Most of these people never had a job before. Many of the gringos also provide other services to the community by provinding things like free basic health care, pet care, construction materials, school uniforms, books, and even support of the local orphanage.

  14. Sylvain,
    I totally agree with you regarding the ‘affluent ones’ that can play with money as they wish, and probably do nothing to enrich the country they are in. I have read enough on other sites to show me that some, if not most, of those coming to Panama want to make it the U.S. or another such country. This is where I think the govt. is making their mistake. In giving ANY sort of visa to foreigners, maybe a forced guarantee of residence is in order. I do not agree with the come and go methods that some use to stay in Panama, or any other country. They are just dodging having to pay taxes. I am more than happy to pay for what I own in Panama, just as I do here in Edmonton. Why should there be a difference? Our plans are to take part in the community we live in just as we do here. Our Spanish is lacking, but we are both taking courses to improve it.
    It looks like for us to stay, we will probably have to do the ‘Reforestation’ thing, although it seems a very scary venture at best. One way or another, we will make Panama our home, simply because it is where we want to be..

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