We were hit hard by the recession. We took huge financial blows in the US. In spite of everything we tried, the situation did not improve. It was time for a major adjustment. Our solution was to reinvent ourselves in Panama and now things look much brighter.
We moved to Panama from Colorado in search of a simpler, yet better lifestyle. Our standard of living in Colorado had deteriorated. With our reduced incomes, our monthly bills were killing us. We lost our retirement savings, our medical insurance, and were looking at the very real possibility of having to survive on Social Security.
In contrast to this rather bleak picture, today we are much more content. Right now, Doug is feeding the fish off the dock while I relax in our garden, totally surrounded by tomatoes, flowers and banana trees, as I write this story.
Never the types to surrender to a grim fate, we looked at all our options, put our creative minds to work and decided that a move might be the solution to a new beginning of mental, physical and financial prosperity.
We were no strangers to exploring overseas, having traveled extensively in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica and the Caribbean Islands. We both had a smattering of Spanish in high school and collage. In addition, our daughter-in-law is Belizean. So with all this exposure, we were familiar and enamored with the Spanish culture. Through the years, we had heard many good things about Panama. The first exploratory visit confirmed what we had been hearing.
That is a story in itself that I will tell you sometime in another writing. To make that exciting story short, we bought some land on an island off the coast of Bocas del Toro. This area was supposed to be developed into a master-planned community, but it took so long for the developer to finish the infrastructure that we got impatient and ended up buying a house in town. The house needed some renovation but Doug is handy that way and we soon had a cozy little place. We loved the laid back style of the Bocateranians and our Expat friends. Soon we were building little casitas on the property and renting those out. That went so well we realized that we could make even more money if we rented an apartment and leased out our home.
Bottom line is that we can now cash flow our property which has nearly paid for itself and the improvements and still supported us. Meanwhile, the climate can’t be beat and the cost of living is really low. We can actually afford to go out to eat here. A luxury we had been forced to give up years ago in the states.
We’ve been here 9 years now and don’t regret a thing. Each year, during the summer months, we travel back to the US to visit our kids and grand kids. We have both been able to develop new businesses and careers that we love and are on the path to re-establishing our financial security.
In future writings, I will tell you more about how all this developed and how life is in the tropical community we chose to live. There is so much to tell about gardens, and sailboats, friendly people and all the other reasons that we choose to stay. It’s impossible for me to get it all down at once. Stay tuned! The adventure begins….