BALTIMORE /APRIL 24, 2018 (STLRealEstate.News) — “Florida has long been the go-to option for American retirees seeking a warmer climate and lower taxes, but its appeal appears to be diminishing—with Florida-based retirees turning their eyes to better-value options abroad,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor, International Living.

“The destructiveness of hurricanes in Florida—which typically increases insurance rates and reminds retirees of the risks—has likely contributed to this trend. In addition, retirees are becoming more aware of the lower cost of living in certain havens abroad, where they can save as much as 50% on their costs in Florida. That, when paired with good weather and the draw of an adventure, is increasing the appeal of locales south of the border.”

Mike and Fran Smith, for example, wanted to escape the tropical storms that plagued their home in Florida. They researched several countries and when Mike, an engineer, received his retirement package from Chevron, they decided to make Panama their permanent residence.

They lived in several places in Panama before settling down at their beach home in Barqueta Nice, a community on the black-sand beaches of the Pacific coast, a short drive from the city of David.

“We enjoy going for a drive on the beach one day, then driving into the mountains the next,” says Mike. As well as Panama’s varied landscape and comfortable atmosphere for retirees, the Smiths appreciate the country’s investments in infrastructure and health facilities that continue to improve their living conditions.

Panama uses the U.S. dollar as its currency—one of the big deciding factors for the Smiths in moving to Panama 13 years ago. Here, they don’t have to think about exchange rates.

Thanks to their retiree status, the Smiths do not pay any property taxes—helping stretch their pension and retirement funds a lot further. Panama’s Pensionado