This Is the Best Country to Reinvent Your Life in Retirement

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Retiree outside his house in sunny weather
Monkey Business Images /

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Live and Invest Overseas.

In all my 40 years of experience covering the live and retire overseas beat, one country has stood out above all the others.

I named this country the world’s No. 1 overseas retirement haven for the first time in 2001. It remains the best place in the world to reinvent your life overseas in retirement today, with some caveats.

I’m talking about Panama.

Key points on Panama, a great country

Panama City, Panama
Milosz Maslanka /

Panama is also:

  • A tax haven. As a foreign resident, you can pay zero local tax … and you can operate your business here tax-free, too.
  • One of the easiest and most advantaged places in the world to establish residency, thanks to a suite of the world’s best residency options.
  • Home to the smartest beach, river, and mountain property buys anywhere on the planet.
  • The best place in the world to base your business. I speak from long experience when I tell you that this is an entrepreneur’s playground.
  • One place in the world that’s enjoying continued growth and prosperity and that is positioned for a whole lot more of the same over the coming decade.
  • A great place to call home … a beach-lover’s delight … and an eco-traveler’s paradise.
  • The ultimate escape. Based here, you and your family no longer need to worry about what’s going on in the rest of the world.

Why I love Panama

People in Panama
hanohiki /

I’ve been making the case for what many call the “Hub of the Americas” for more than 20 years, and I’m more bullish on the opportunities and upsides available in Panama than ever before.

Bottom line, if you are in the market for a place to live, retire, invest, or do business overseas, you’re doing yourself a big disservice if you aren’t looking closely at this little isthmus.

Too much of the world is struggling through troubled and uncertain times right now, but you’d never know it in Panama.

This remains a fast-moving, ever-expanding market … a land of opportunity … and an ultimate safe haven.

Before I go further, let’s regroup on some fundamentals.

Big-picture perspective of Panama

Shore of the Panama canal.
Galina Savina /
  • Home to more than 940 species of birds as well as 220 species of mammals and 354 reptiles and amphibians … from howler monkeys to caiman, from tiger cats to turtles, from ocelots to crocodiles, and from pelicans and toucans to king crabs and iguanas … plus the Central American tapir, the American crocodile, the scarlet macaw, many species of eagle, humpback whales, dolphins, and hammerhead sharks…
  • Blessed with two long coasts and myriad sand-fringed islands, plus some of the best deep-sea fishing, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving anywhere. Around its Coiba Island lies the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of the Americas…
  • A U.S. dollar jurisdiction — that is to say, Panama has been using the U.S. dollar as its currency for 100 years — mean that living and investing here, you face no currency exchange risk…
  • An established medical tourism destination and home to the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Punta Paitilla Hospital in Panama City…
  • Home to both a World Heritage Site (Casco Viejo) and a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site (the province of Darien)…

More Panama fundamentals

Panama City, Panama
GTS Productions /
  • Because of its unique geographical position, Panama harbors a greater diversity of wildlife than any other country in Central America. Located on a natural land bridge connecting the two continents, Panama is home to both North and South American species of wildlife. About 29% of the country’s land area is protected in 14 national parks, more than a dozen forest reserves, and 10 wildlife refuges…
  • The biggest international banking center in the region…
  • Without question, the best place anywhere in the world today to start and operate an international or internet business (that’s why my husband, Lief Simon, and I moved here from France 15 years ago)…
  • One of the few Latin markets where it’s possible for you, as a foreigner, to borrow locally to buy real estate…
  • Home to more than two dozen top-notch international schools…
  • One of the world’s true tax havens, a place where you can live and do business tax-free…

A small country brings so much to the table

Houses of typical construction on the sea in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
KikoStock /

As so many nearing retirement are wondering and worrying how in the world they’re ever going to be able to afford to stop working and embrace the retirement they’ve long imagined…

And, critically, where in the world they can go for safe haven in the face of world events…

Safe haven for themselves and their money…

Panama can be the answer.

Retirees you meet in Panama aren’t losing sleep over their futures. They’re embracing them.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.