Well, you’ve gone and done it. You’ve fallen in love with Panama.
Can’t say I blame you; it happened to me, too. Though, I was lucky enough to have met my husband while traveling through Latin America. I was young, after all (or should I say younger) when I first planted my flag in Panamanian soil.
Your situation is probably different.
Out of the many couples I’ve advised in Panama real estate, I find there is often one spouse who is more gung-ho about the move than the other. This isn’t always the deal-breaker you would think it might be, but it is a roadblock on your potential path to Panama.
So what can you do?
1. Address Their Concerns
First, you need to truly understand the reasons behind your spouse’s hesitation. What is it, specifically, they are afraid of? Some of the most common fears include:
- Losing touch with loved ones
- Having to learn a new language
- The given safety of the area
- Investing in a foreign country
- Being unable to find work
- Not having a solid social network
To a certain extent, these concerns cross the mind of anybody thinking about moving to a foreign country. In the case of Panama, however, most expats find these fears to be ultimately unwarranted or resolvable.
For instance, it’s easier today than ever before to stay connected across international boundaries. Free technologies like Skype, magicJack, and Whatsapp make keeping close from afar astoundingly simple.
And yes, learning a new language can be intimidating. But it can also be a fun and low-pressure endeavor that brings you closer together. It’s not as if you’ll need to be fluent by the time you land; Panama offers several English-speaking communities and resources.
As for the other concerns, each is a topic in and of itself worthy of it’s own article (or 10!) Let’s just say: if safety, investment, career, or community were seriously pressing issues, Panama would not have become the top relocation destination it is today.
Once you and your partner have run through all possible concerns, it’s time to meet in the middle.
While step one may have softened some of your spouse’s hesitations, it’s likely that they are going to have a concern or two left over. For these, try to find a way to compromise.
Let’s say that losing touch with family is the primary concern. You could take a page from the book of the many “Panama part-timers” who split their time between Panama and their home base. This works especially well for those who live in cold climates. What better time to retreat to Panama than when the snow starts piling up!
Being a “Panama part-timer,” by the way, comes with some serious advantages. Many residents of Coronado Golf (shown above) spend their winters in Panama and rent out their condo during the rest of the year- bringing in an attractive monthly sum!
If safety is a top priority (and it should be), agree to only look into Panama’s many safe and established expat communities. That right there will also settle the “not having a social life” issue. In fact, I would put money on you having an as strong, if not stronger, inner circle as you did before.
Another good way to curtail many of these concerns is to simply book a ticket and GO! Take an impromptu vacation with a side agenda of research. Spend some time in your could-be communities, talk with other expats, really experience what life is like in Panama. Chances are, you’ll see how much of a non-issue most concerns are.
As for those concerns based on matters of investment or career, well, I’m not going to be able to talk you out of them in one conversation (nor would I try!) It’s important for you to realize that the same goes for you and your spouse. It’s not enough to grab one piece of evidence, a brochure or an article on CNN, perhaps, and insert it stealthily amongst their morning papers.
Researching whether or not Panama is right for you is something that you should be doing together. And really, it should be half of the fun. Moving to Panama is, inherently, an adventure. The experience will add another layer to you and your spouse, both as individuals as well as to your partnership.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the journey together- from start to finish.