The American financial journal Money. Inc., noted recently that Americans may never go back to a traditional office. Then, they took a deep dive to identify what people should look for in a work-from-home location. Some people are right where they should be, but not being tethered to a 40-hour-a-week office opens the possibilities!
The authors ran extensive research with 157,000 data points and looked at 2,000 US cities to consider as ideal locations for at-home employment. Cities such as Reston, Virginia and Ann Arbor, Michigan popped to the top along with Parker, Colorado and Greenville, South Carolina based on factors like having a great internet connection, easy access to parks and a robust “other” life including a wide variety of restaurants and unique sporting options. Cost-of-living, mental and physical health factors, diversity, education, amenities, the housing market and economic health were all considered. One of the most important factors was crime and safety.
Fast Reliable Internet
Of course, I was quick to compare the top cities to those in Panama. Without too much detail (unless you want it) I’ll mention Panama City has been named in the top 50 cities worldwide for having great internet. Speeds are only going to get better as more cable is laid along the Panama Canal. If ocean-going vessels can slip through the canal so can fiber optics!
The aggregate average cost for a residence among the top ten cities identified by Money Inc. was $401,000. Greenville was the lowest at $250,000. Stunning two-bedroom residences overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean or the Bay of Panama will cost much less in Panama and provide roof-top pools, private clubs and shared workspace with on-going technical support. The pure variety of residences available in Panama make it almost impossible to comment about the different options. If you are looking for a cosmopolitan urban luxury environment, a laid-back beach community or an area almost off the grid, Panama has it all, but remember that Panama is well developed so the prices may be more than you imagined.
Easy Access To “Other” Activities
What the new digital nomads do when they are not working is also a consideration. While Parker, Colorado can offer stunning views and easy access to world-class ski resorts, it is a rare city that can offer proximity to all-things athletic and wild than Panama. The world’s best deep-sea fishing, rainforest with multiple zip-lines, an inactive volcano just waiting to be hiked, offering the reward of viewing both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans from the top spot.
All things water can easily be accessed in Panama with miles and miles of white and black sand beaches, surfing, boating, scuba diving and simply relaxing. Money Inc. insisted their top spots have easy access to parks and clubs such as triathlon training and bike groups. Panama offers all that and world-class golf courses. Just because you can work remotely doesn’t mean you don’t want to leave the house!
Since Panama is the defacto economic capital of Central America there is great diversity in everything from its residents to restaurants and schools. In addition, there are generational differences. Expat retirees easily interact with Millennials and young children in volunteer opportunities such as teaching English as a Second Language, learning Spanish or working with rescue dogs.
One thing that totally distinguished Panama from so many other cities is healthcare. Great healthcare is available all over the United States, Canada and other top-spots on the globe and it’s great if you can afford it. The other day I heard from a client that she was having her hip replaced. She explained Medicare covered 80% of the cost and then a supplemental insurance policy kicked in for the approximately $32,000 balance. She is a lucky one to have it covered in the US! In Panama, at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins International Medical facility, the total cost–including physical therapy and medications is a flat $20,000. This type of medical care carries over for dental, vision and other specialties.
It’s just easier in Panama. The public transportation system is top-notch and growing. The subway links effortlessly with metro buses and everyone will share the new fourth bridge currently under construction. It’s easier in that life is more laid back. While the Mañana attitude, can be infuriating, if you are able to let go just a bit, it is readily apparent the wheels don’t automatically fall off the bus!
Panama knows where it wants to go and there is no easy answer as to what is absolutely right for Panama to ensure growth into a world-class economic and lifestyle juggernaut. The closest comparison is another tiny country–Singapore. With advantageous geography linking North and South America, a business sector economy with the rapid development of English speakers, a focus on foreign investment and the generous nature of taking care of its citizens, Panama has more than enough to establish itself in the same league with Singapore.
Will You Be My Neighbor?
For digital nomads, the lucky individuals who can work remotely and for those who want to operate their business from a sunny location with a laid back atmosphere and impressive lifestyle amenities, Panama is also not shy about telling you they want to be your neighbor!!.
Tax abatements, for up to 15 years, for individuals who purchase property are common. The fact there is no double taxation on money earned outside the country is very attractive. You’ll need to pay taxes in your home country, but you won’t in Panama. How many bars of homemade lavender soap did you ship last month while directing everything from Costa del Este? Nice!
Now, the government is offering rapid permanent residency after purchasing a property worth $300,000. Property developers will even take care of the legal work that can be accomplished in 30-days.
As a worldwide transportation hub, travel from Panama is easy to Europe, the United States, Canada, South America and even the far east via a direct flight to Istanbul. With the economy pegged to the US Dollar, Panama cannot just print money and devaluate the currency. Panama must remain fiscally conservative! Such a close association with the US is sometimes a bit binding for Panama, but like having older siblings, many times it works for the better!
No urban center is completely safe, but Panama is by far the safest country in Central America and much of Latin America as well as most Canadian and US cities. Panama’s attitude of taking care of its citizens has helped maintain equilibrium even through the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s easy to see that Panama offers many of the factors that contribute to an exceptional lifestyle. We have universities, great restaurants, agreeable people, low taxation and the ability to work independently. Parks and open green spaces are everywhere and easily accessible. There is also a pride in their country exhibited at every soccer match along with interesting people conducting research at the 12 locations of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute located in Panama.
If you are ready to consider Panama as a possible new work-from-home location, I can answer your questions. Just reach out to me via your preferred method of communication. I think I’ll take my computer out on the balcony and look over the Pacific Ocean. I’m thinking about seafood pasta for dinner and am glad the day boats will be docking shortly so I can secure some fresh fish! Chilean Sea Bass has gone up to $3.00 a pound, but the shrimp are still a great bargain!