My Advice For Moving Overseas…Enlist the Experts

As a consultant to large corporations, I work with clients who ask for and use my expert advice to make important decisions. My wife, Abbe, also is a consultant to people who use her help to move.

So we took the same approach when we started to consider relocating overseas: Get the advice of an expert before making an important decision.

We developed and executed a two-year plan based upon reliable information, resources, and contacts we obtained when we attended an International Living conference in Las Vegas in 2013.

We looked at a number of countries when deciding where we’d move to but Panama’s proximity to the U.S. where all our family and friends lived, the money-saving Pensionado program, the cost of living, good medical care, and the country’s use of the U.S. dollar were big draws for us.

So in April 2014, we attended another IL conference…this time the Fast Track Panama Conference, held in Panama City.

At that conference, we asked many questions and gathered lots of information from the experts on the legal and tax issues, cost of living for housing, food, utilities, and medical. We also had fun, attending the cocktail parties, and meeting and socializing with other like-minded people.

Here are just some of the people we got advice from…

  • IL Panama Editor Jessica Ramesch was a wealth of knowledge and answered many questions during the breaks. Her specific feedback enabled us to narrow our targeted living choices to three.
  • Attorney Rainelda Mata-Kelley thoroughly explained the different visa types and helped us decide upon the best to suit our needs and situation. We also learned about the best way to title a home purchase, information on obtaining a work permit, and how to open up a bank account and deal with American reporting requirements. We hired her to set up our corporation and obtain visas.
  • We used the advice of one expat speaker, Ted Fuller, and learned how to determine “wants from needs” and to change our “want” of a bigger home to the “need” of a smaller more comfortable home that we eventually purchased.
  • We enthusiastically listened to IL Editors, and long-term expats, Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins discuss the benefits of “trying your targeted area on for size, visiting it, renting and not rushing to buy”. The experiences they shared about home purchases and ownership were extremely valuable. We had several chats with them and they taught us valuable lessons about maintaining a positive attitude, staying flexible, rolling with the punches, and being willing to learn and adapt, all of which we found useful in our journey.
  • We became very good friends with expat speaker, and Panama City resident, Roz Baitel. She provided information on several organizations where we could meet other expats and she scouted three potential city apartments to be our home base. After eight months of enjoying our apartment in the city, and visiting two other of our targeted areas to live, we felt very comfortable with purchasing a home in Pedasí, on the country’s Azuero Peninsula.

By asking questions, listening to the experts and following their advice, and making new friends, we were rewarded with a more satisfying, smoother move overseas, and with many less bumps along the way for our journey to our new overseas home.

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