Worthwhile Read

Another prominent blogger, in Chiriquí, is Richard Dietrich, His current blog is probably a worthwhile read. I usually don’t direct people to his blog because I view it an a “for Profit” blog as evidenced by the $1,144,000 property he is selling, other ads and promotion of his books.

The fact that he spends more time on cruise ships lecturing than living in Panama makes his Panama experiences different than the majority of people moving from the U.S., thinking they are moving here for a slower paced and cheaper way of life.

Depending on one’s age, it may be neither of those.

In his current post, he touches on items such as the “Pensionado Discounts”, “Gringo Bingo”, “Healthcare” and a new chapter to his latest book called “Exit Strategy”.

It is the Exit Strategy, I would like to spend a little more time on. No book, magazine article, or blog should be sufficient for making the decision of a permanent move to Panama, or any other foreign country for that matter.

At best, they may provide a reason for a closer look. The closer look needs to be intensive. You have to live like a resident for a minimum of 6-10 months in both the rainy and dry seasons. The longer the better.

You need to experience waiting in lines to pay bills, waiting in lines to get over charges removed from bills, language and cultural differences, water outages from hours to weeks, electricity outages from hours to days, continuous electricity fluctuation (which may damage connected devices), non English TV, gringo pricing, Internet outages (assuming you can get Internet), healthcare, healthcare insurance, and on and on.

With those 6-10 months, you may not need an exit strategy. You will either realize that Panama is a mistake for you or you will know a few of the things you have to cope with. I have lived here going on 13 years and continue to have new experiences.

And yes, I do believe you shouldn’t move here without an Exit Strategy. I know people who are here, who want to move back and can’t do it.

It may be because they put all their life savings into moving and can’t pull together enough money to make the move back. It may be because they came here and a health problem hit and they had no option to return because their health wouldn’t permit it. Many have had health bills in Panama that totally depleted all their savings. Of course, that happens in the U.S. too, except no one ever told you that the U.S. had cheap healthcare.

As a disclaimer, when I moved here, my long term plan was to live here for a maximum of 20 years, sell my property for a $1,000,000 and return to the U.S. I moved with an exit strategy in mind. In that regard, I was no different than my fellow blogger Richard.

However, an error in judgement in a second marriage removed that as a possibility. No I didn’t marry after moving to Panama, but was married in the U.S. exactly 10 years prior to my move to Chiriquí. The good news is that I would never have met Lilliam and her family if I hadn’t moved to Panama.

This reminds me, don’t move here, because you think the move will be good for your marriage. If your marriage is on shaky ground before the move, this move will end the marriage.

Bottom line, buy all the books you can and take advantage of all the media on the Internet to better understand living in Panama. The cost and time will be insignificant compared to a permanent move.

Just remember this old saying my dad used to tell me “ I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

No article, book or blog will compare with your individual Panama experience. HERE is Richard’s book, if you want to assist him with part of his exit strategy.

9 thoughts on “Worthwhile Read

  1. I want to mention another issue when you live in Panama.

    Insurance companies are different.

    In March of this year, was hit in the rear of my car by the large SUV vehicle of a very wealthy Panamanian woman, who was a doctor’s wife, who lives now in Boquete as a retiree. She readily accepted blame. She signed the paperwork that is now customary here in Panama to fill out whenever there is an accident, and again, accepted blame and culpability.

    The damage was not that great, but it so happens, that the part to replace that was damaged on my car is not made anymore, and cannot be found anywhere in the world, for any amount of money.

    Her insurance company never made me an offer. They would cover what the part cost, if it was available…and an unacceptable amount for painting and body repair.. but never made me a formal offer.

    In the United States, the rule of thumb is, when your vehicle is damaged by another driver’s negligence, that your vehicle needs to be returned to its condition before the accident.

    I told them this, and they never responded.

    After repeated calls and visits, I have gotten no where with them.

    I hired an attorney. But he is being stonewalled too. In fact, I haven’t heard from my attorney in about a month. I have no idea of what is going on, if anything.

    The whole scenario is disgusting to me.

    I am driving my car around with duct tape on it, to keep what is left of my tail light from completely falling out. When it does, I probably won’t be able to drive it legally anymore, particularly as a North American.

    So apparently in all this, I have no legal recourse, and as a result of the damage to my car, which was valued at $5K before the accident, it is now worthless.

    People ought to be aware that such actions by insurance companies down here can happen to them, and they should always have full coverage on their vehicles, no matter how old the car or truck.

    I just gave up full coverage this past year, and had only liability insurance. And wel-la, like clockwork, this situation has occurred.

  2. I’ve read Richards book and read his blog, but I am also a fan of your blog. Both provide excellent but different perspectives on a variety of both important and fun subjects.

    Bottom line, we love you both 🙂

  3. I do have an exit plan. I plan on living in Panama until I die. I plan to make the best of any situation here. I plan on following the law and being a good citizen and a good Christian. Whatever I can do to help the good people of Panama, I will do. There are quirky things here and things move very slowly. My point is I am committed to staying here no matter if the water is turned off and there is no electricity and the tribes here all start revolting and the policia decide that they can’t work with so little pay. Whatever. In my mind, I am a Panama permanent resident and wild horses is not going to drive me away. Any US government official who comes here and says I have to leave will find out different. Amen.

  4. Very good post. I just returned to Maui from 3 weeks in Panama. We will be moving over in March. My wife and I read Richards book and found it very insightful. One of the many blogs that we have been reading has been this one. I want to thank both you and Richard for helping us to prepare for our first trip and to help us further with the move. We are probably like so many of the expats, both excited and a little scared about the adventure ahead of us——-but that’s what makes it an adventure. See everybody in March!

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