In the month since my new “How To Retire Overseas” book was published, I’ve been interviewed by a dozen reporters and editors intending to review the book in their respective media. A common theme has emerged:
Americans are ready to make a move. They want out. They’ve had it with health care “reform,” rising taxes, and an uncertain future. They want to find a way to hold on to the assets they’ve worked their whole lives to accumulate. More than any generation of retirees that has preceded them, they’re ready to take action to take control.
They’re even ready to retire overseas!
When I began covering this beat 25 years ago, I was a little ahead of my time. Back then, the suggestion of retiring to a foreign country was most typically met with raised eyebrows or confused silence.
Today, a quarter-century later, leaving home and hearth, loved ones (especially grandchildren) and everything familiar at this important phase of life no longer qualifies as nuts. More and more would-be retirees are recognizing the sense, even the wisdom in the idea.
Still, you might call it an outside-the-box strategy.
And, frankly, the more closely and seriously you consider your retire overseas options, the more intimidating the whole notion can seem.
I’ve been reminded lately just how daunting the idea can be not only by the reporters whose questions I’ve been answering, but also by a new friend, Brian, in Panama this month continuing his preparations for eventually moving to this country full-time.
We met Brian in February, when he joined us for our Live & Invest in Panama Conference. Brian attended the conference free, for he’d taken the step to become a Panama Circle Member. Panama Circle Members are invited to join us for every Panama event we sponsor as our guests.
Brian is a successful businessman and an independent sort with an adventuresome outlook. In other words, not the kind of guy who looks for someone to hold his hand through life. Yet Brian recognized early on in his retire-overseas thinking that, if he were going to do this, he might be wise to get help.
Brian has been in and out of our office in Panama City this past week, asking directions…enlisting help making plans to visit Taboga Island, Boquete in the mountains, and Los Islotes on the Azuero coast…consulting maps…borrowing a computer to check his e-mail. He’s become like part of our little Live and Invest Overseas community, and we’ve been enjoying his company.
Brian’s returning home to the States today, but he is making plans already for his next Panama visit next month. Panama Circle Member’s Liaison Kim Coffey will be at his disposal between now and then, to help with his return travel arrangements, to make appointments in Panama City related to processing his visa and opening a bank account, to plan further exploration throughout the country, whatever Brian needs. Our Panama City office is his Panama City office; our Personal Assistant is his Personal Assistant; our resources are his resources.
I’ve enjoyed watching Brian make use of the benefits and services of his Panama Circle membership this past week, and the experience has helped me to realize what I’d say is the biggest benefit of all of this association.
As I mentioned, Brian has been coming and going from our office, checking in from the road by cell phone, enlisting our help whenever he has a question. He’s discovering Panama on his own, finding his own way. But he’s not alone. We’ve got his back. Brian can venture off, embracing opportunities to lose his way in this country (literally and figuratively), knowing that we won’t let him go too far wrong and that, whenever he does make a wrong turn, we’re only a phone call away.
Watching Brian work to pull together the pieces of his emerging new life in Panama…and watching Kim and the others in our Panama City office support him along the way…I’m recognizing anew the value in all this.
Right now, we can offer this level of support in Panama only. But, yes, as readers write to ask regularly, our growth plan calls for developing this service in other key markets, as well. We’re moving as quickly as we can to that end.
Watch this space for further details.
Kathleen Peddicord www.liveandinvestoverseas.com