In Panama, it’s WHO you know
Whoever said, “It’s not what you know, but WHO you know” must have spent time in Panama. For survival in a place like Panama, you definitely NEED to know these people:
1. Lawyer — you’re going to need at least one lawyer. You pretty much need a lawyer for all of the following, and most lawyers aren’t experts in all of these:
- selling or buying a car
- real estate transactions
- corporation setup
- opening a bank account
2. Courier / Assistant — there’s a LOT of waiting in line in Panama. If you’re like me, you have the patience of a Little Rascal and thus, should pay somebody to wait in line for you who is probably far better at it.
3. Guy Who Can Get Things — remember that movie The Shawshank Redemption? When Tim Robbins’ character goes to prison, he meets Morgan Freeman’s character, who pronounces himself to be, “the guy who knows how to get things in prison”. This turns out to be a very key person for Robbins’ to know. So it is in Panama. Sometimes you need things, like a left-handed smoke shifter, for example, and don’t know how or where to get them. You need to have that friend, usually a local, who knows a guy who knows a guy…who just decided to sell his smoke-shifter collection.
4. Maid — absolutely essential if you want to really enjoy life in a developing nation where you can still pay somebody a reasonable wage to iron your dress shirts. Be warned…a bad maid is worse than a bad girlfriend.
5. Bureaucrat — if you do anything in Panama worth writing home about, you’ll probably run into some sort of government red tape. That’s when it pays to have a friend that is somehow related to an important political figure. This seems to help things along nicely.
Living and retiring in Panama is NOT paradise. But is anywhere, really? It takes some adjustment and flexibility and most of all….PATIENCE. Finding the right support team that includes the roles above is vital.