The World's Best Places to Retire in 2016


“With the Pensionado Visa, Panama offers the best retiree benefits on our beat. All you need to do is prove you’re receiving a pension of at least $1,000 a month and be over 18 years of age.

“You’ll be eligible for 50% off entertainment (such as cinema tickets, concerts, plays, and the like), 25% off electricity, 25% off restaurants, and 25% off airline tickets bought in Panama. You can also get 15% off hospital bills, 20% off medical consultations, and 10% off prescription medicines, among many other goodies.

“Terry Coles and her husband Clyde take advantage.

“My husband had a cold and went to see an English-speaking doctor for $6. He picked up three prescriptions for $25 after the office visit,” she says. “Our first electric bill was $16.80 for the month. Meals out at nearby restaurants are $3 to $5 and a hotel room with our Pensionado discount of 50% off is about $30, which includes a nice breakfast.”

“Whether it’s a short-term stay or permanent relocation, this category looks at the availability and ease of visas and residence. Once again, Panama tops the table.

“The process of acquiring Panamanian residence is both cheap and easy, making it simple for you to become a resident in the country.

“The Pensionado Residence Program is the most popular option for potential expats for many good reasons,” says IL Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch. “It is highly effective in drawing people to Panama because, in addition to providing a permanent residence solution, it also entitles retirees or Pensionados to a host of money-saving discounts.”

“As well as the Pensionado visa, Panama also offers a Friendly Nations visa (open to U.S. citizens) which lets you work or start a business in the country. Although you need a business or investments in Panama to qualify for this, plus at least $5,000 in a Panamanian bank account, you don’t need to live in the country full time. And after a few years you can even apply for citizenship and a second passport." “I crave variety, and here I have it all,” says IL Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch of her home, Panama City. “Past weekends have found me enjoying live jazz at the Danilo Pérez club in historic Casco Viejo, English-language plays at the Ancón Theater Guild, gourmet cuisine at renowned restaurant Maito, and even hand-rolled cigars at The Country Store, in the former Canal Zone.” - January 1, 2016

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