In 2007, my wife and I were ready to make a change. We were looking for a more affordable, healthier way of life and there was one country that ticked all the boxes: Panama. Before we moved, we did a lot of research on Latin American countries that we could consider retiring to. Panama's benefits really stood out. The country is stable, with a literacy rate higher than the U.S., health care is inexpensive, and the country's diet is healthier. Additionally, the currency here is the American dollar and the culture is friendly and welcoming.
When you come from San Diego, California, most people think, “You are already in paradise, why would you ever leave?” But after traveling throughout Thailand and Malaysia, Ron Bond fell in love with Koh Samui, Thailand. So he went home, tied up loose ends, and moved there three months later. Back in the States, Ron had it all: a booming hypnotherapy business, a beautiful home near the beach, and great friends and family. But he also had a severe back problem that left him constantly needing prescription drugs to manage the pain.
The cost of elective procedures such as dental and cosmetic surgery is cheaper in these four countries than in the U.S., even when you take the cost of travel into account.
Health insurance—qualifying for it, paying for it, and keeping it—is one of the biggest worries we hear about from folks in the U.S. But since I moved abroad it hasn’t been a problem for me. And if you’re thinking of moving abroad, it likely doesn’t have to be a problem for you, either. As an expat, you’ll have a range of health care solutions available to you. Your choice is deciding which options makes the most sense for your situation.