Liz Larroquette
Helipad Casa Bonita

A Helicopter, Hotel Nights and a Limo May Help Retirement Decisions!


Knowing where you want to retire is a huge decision, requiring a great deal of soul searching and reflection. When people come to me for advice, I take it very seriously and I work hard to help find the perfect place. It is my experience, when someone makes a poor choice, it is either because they didn’t ask enough questions or they didn’t ask the right questions.

There is no judgement; just observation. The most common questions I get are about cost. How much it takes to buy or rent a retirement home is certainly important, but so is how you envision your actual retirement. I find that people are not going to be happy, even if they can live well inexpensively, if they are miserable about other things that come along with retirement.

Are you really ready to stop?

Lots of people, who have suited up and gone into work for decades, think they will be ready to flip a switch and just stop. I rarely find this is the case. I had a woman tell me she couldn’t wait to get in better shape, run along the beach every morning and read all the books she had allowed to stack up while she had practiced law for 40 years. She was as convincing as I would expect from a trial attorney.

Woman on beach sunset

Successful retirement takes more planning than just how to put away enough money.

After settling into her beach-front condominium for about six months, I asked her how things were going. “I don’t think I can do this,” she said. “I feel totally marginalized; almost invisible as a retired person. It’s hard to explain, but I need to do something of meaning. I’m too used to being in charge. Now, I just seem to get in the way of other people who have places to go, people to meet.”

“What about running on the beach? Reading those books?,” I countered with concern.

“Not as cracked up as it sounds. I’m just displaced. I thought retirement would be easier. It’s actually hard,” she continued. It wasn’t long that she moved back to the States and, I’m told, back into the court house. She’s kept her place here and comes for short visits, but she wasn’t ready for full-time retirement. The good news is property in Panama continues to appreciate in value so it’s been a good investment.

Other retirees have explained they had thought they wanted time to meditate more often, study mindfulness or learn to make pottery. It sounds good, but the Baby Boomers I’ve known, are often-times wound too tight to just stop. I encourage people to really consider how they may react to full-time retirement in another country.

Helicopters, rooms and rides!

When working with clients, I have the ability to offer interested property buyers different options for looking at prospective properties. For example, if needed, I can use the company helicopter to show people property. It’s fast and it always provides a great view of how things are situated geographically. It also sometimes gets us over the Bridge of the Americas in rush hour traffic.

If a person tells me they are interested in Royal Palm, which is located in Nueva Gorgona an hour’s drive from Panama City, it might seem logical I should offer that helicopter ride. I’m always happy to do that, but it’s also incumbent on me to ask why they don’t want to drive. I can also offer a driver and vehicle.

If they tell me they don’t have time, I have to worry they are not really looking at what retirement might be like. You know, when there are no helicopters or chauffeured cars. If someone is too busy to do the research, they might not be ready to retire. Sometimes taking the drive is important to get the feel of really being among the day-to-day of it all!

If someone is simply interested in investment property where they aren’t going to be regularly making the drive, then looking at the options via helicopter is completely appropriate. I love showing property several thousand feet in the air.

Panama looks good on paper, but…

Casa Bonita Panama

Staying a night at luxurious Casa Bonita, is another treat I can offer clients who are thinking about what retirement would look like for them if they lived there!

When people tell me they have done all the necessary research on Panama without actually visiting Panama, I know it’s appropriate for me to start questioning. Panama always looks great on paper, but you cannot, should not, make a decision so important as purchasing retirement property without breathing the air, walking the beach or trying a few of the restaurants.

When I know people need to visit, I usually will offer some nights at a company owned luxury hotel. A try before you buy deal that allows folks to experience Panama on me before actually committing to buying property. It’s important to me not to just sell property, but to sell the perfect property to the right person.

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About the Author Liz Larroquette

Whether you are looking to retire in Panama, relocate your family, or buy property as an investment Liz is a wealth of knowledge you can and should tap into.

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