There are people who move to Panama to live on their social security. If you want to live like a local, it can be done (and I'll write a blog about it in the next few weeks), but I'll be honest...I like the finer things in life. My decision to move to Panama was mainly because I could live a luxurious lifestyle without the premium price tag.
For those of you who enjoy a simple lifestyle, skip this blog. This is my brag-blog where I get to tell you about my champagne and caviar lifestyle. I know it's not for everyone, so just be patient and I'll write about a more normal lifestyle in few days.
For those of you who crave luxury, keep reading. After I tell you all of the details, I'll actually reveal to you how much I pay to live like a millionaire in Panama. (Plus, I'm going to be honest in a way that people in America rarely are when it comes to money.)
Here is a bit about my life in Panama.
I live in a luxury beachfront apartment that has more marble than the Taj Majal. We have so many amenities that I recently spent an entire blog post listing them all. (Click here to see a full list of amenities at Casa Bonita.) Although my apartment might be expensive by Kansas standards, it's laughably cheap when compared to other luxury beachfront resorts around the world. Just for fun, I compared my condo to other properties in comparable communities. I literally searched through dozens of properties that were similar in size, features and amenities so I could do an apples-to-apples comparison. My apartment is 1,475 square feet (137 m2) with marble floors, granite counters, high-end appliances, and a great ocean view. The Price Tag: I paid $370,000 for my apartment, I have a 20-year exemption on my property taxes, and I pay $400 per month for my HOA. Here is the price tag on comparable apartments.
- Miami Beach, FL: A condo in Sunny Isles Beach costs $1,050,000 for 1500 square feet (139 m2). Taxes are $8,915 per year, and HOA is $712 per month. Plus, homeowner's insurance costs about 1/10 in Panama than in Florida because Panama has no natural disasters, but I'm not including this in my comparison. My Savings: $680,000 on the condo and $12,659 per year in property taxes and HOA fees.
- San Diego, CA: A comparable beachfront condo in La Jolla is $1,413,000 for a 1500 square foot (139 m2) condo. Plus, HOA fees are a whopping $2,050 per month, and property taxes are $26,837 per year. My Savings: $1,043,000 on the condo and $46,637 per year in property taxes and HOA fees.
When comparing prices across the board on lifestyle expenses (such as restaurants, massages, live events and other forms of entertainment) Panama comes in about 25% to 50% less than a mid-tier city in the US--such as Dallas or Orlando--and 50% to 75% less than big cities such as New York, Chicago or San Francisco.
Price tag: I spend about $300 a month on fine dining and elegant entertainment for our weekly "date night," getting together with friends a few times a month, and regular spa treatments. One of the reasons I'm able to have so much fun on such a small budget is because I utilize Oferta Simple (the daily deal website in Panama) for discounts on restaurants, spa services and other entertainment, as well as my Royal Card for 50% discounts at local Bern restaurants. (The Royal Card is a perk for living at Casa Bonita.) This doesn't include my wine budget... but that's a topic for a different blog.
I drive a beautiful luxury car. The secret I rarely tell people is that it's nine years old. Because it's in mint condition and has less than 34,000 miles on it, everyone who sees it thinks that it's brand new.
The key to getting a great deal on a car in Panama is to buy a used car from a retired North American. They take great care of their cars and put relatively few miles on them. The Price Tag: I paid $14,000 for a Mercedes E350, and I pay $87 per month for full-coverage car insurance.
Since I'm being painfully honest, an American man this beautiful would never look twice at me in the US... unless I had a Swiss bank account number tattooed on my forehead to sweeten the deal.
Part of my million-dollar lifestyle is the beautiful man who is now my husband. There isn't a woman on this planet who can find a hubby more handsome than mine, no matter how many zeroes are in her bank account. Plus, because of his family-oriented Latin upbringing, he is loving, chivalrous and completely devoted to me. Price tag: Priceless!
Now, here is the good part. The price tag for my million dollar lifestyle in Panama... about $50 thousand a year to live the life I've always dreamed of. Honestly, moving to Panama is one of the smartest moves I've ever made.
If you want to learn how you can live like a millionaire in Panama, click here to send me an email. We can chat about options that fit your needs and your budget.