Retiring to Panama (Hope You Don’t Like Beef!)

If Loving the Lord is Wrong, I Don’t Want to be Right

 

If took me a LONG TIME in my faith journey to recognize how important Easter is.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless.” And goes on to even say this… “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

It was from this piece of knowledge that I came to realize Christianity is the simplest thing on Earth.  Either Jesus was risen or He wasn’t.

If He was, well, I’ll let you decide what that means. Seems pretty obvious to me, though. If He wasn’t,  His followers are to be pitied, according to Paul. Pitied because we have placed our hope in a lie.

Why we, as believers, get so caught up in the dogma and legalistic arguments has always boggled my mind. Did Jesus rise from the dead or not? Answer that and the rest of the ‘debate’ just falls off like leaves in the autumn.

Of course, once you’ve answered in the affirmative of Jesus’ Resurrection, you’re supposed to live as if you truly believe.  And Jesus actually makes this simple for us too.

He says in Matthew 22:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

But while Jesus’ command is simple it’s not easy at all.  It’s HARD TO LIVE LIKE THIS!

People make you mad. God doesn’t do what we need Him to do.
God, I know for me, is sometimes,  well actually a LOT of times, an afterthought.

I’ve gotta take care of number one first, right? And number one is NOT God, it’s me!

I also gotta make sure those nasty people on Social Media et al know how I feel. Being snarky gives me a sense of superiority. I’m better than you. So much that I make fun of you in my snarky way.

I do this ALL THE TIME. And I know my Lord, Jesus, would NOT approve. Yet, I still do it.  Why? Because I feel I need to make things right.

Yet, read Scripture and you’ll see time and time again it stated that God WILL bring justice.  For instance, Romans 19:

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. “

Who am I to inflict “justice”.  I actually should receive payback for my sins.  And I will.  You will too.  We ALL are sinners.  And we ALL need justice for what we’ve done.

But we also want to see justice done on those who’ve done us wrong too.  Guess what? Both of these things will happen.  God will make you whole for when you were deceived AND God will hold you accountable for your treachery too.

So, what can you do about this? Well, start living as if you truly believed… notice I’m saying it to myself.  I’m saying “Why Josh, are you bothering with negative comments on Youtube? Is that advancing the cause of Christ?  No? Then stop it!”

But then I say to myself, “If I don’t do it, then the words will go unchallenged… and thus it’s up to ME to set the record straight!”

Yeah, talk about pride. Only I, ole Josh, can set the record straight.  Ugh.   That is NOT what Jesus commands when He says to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Again, Ugh.

So, what am I going to do? Man, oh man, I hope to reduce my sense of self-worth and pride and not engage in silliness on Social Media. It does no one any good.

Does that mean I won’t continue to say what’s on my mind? Of course not.  But I am going to try to be better.  I say this every Easter of course and every Easter I’m back on my knees asking forgiveness.  Well, every day I am asking… but it’s Easter that gives me the sense of real purpose to change.

Because Easter is what matters. Jesus ROSE from the dead.  He predicted it. And He actually did it. This I truly believe.   As such, what am I doing not living like I do believe this? That is unacceptable behavior.  Time to change.

Blessings,

Josh

P.S.

In this day of quarantine and lock-downs, I can’t think of a better time to learn basic prepping skills.  Number one skill in prepping is to understand how to grow your own food.

I’ve been a fan of the Mittleider Growing method for years since I came across it while watching the LDSPrepper YouTube Channel.  You can see his playlist on this gardening method here.

I received an email this morning on a 33 minute video on learning the Mittleider method. Definitely watch this.  I’d recommend buying the book too.  It’s a great, great resource.

A guy, we’ll call Bob, writes in telling me about his experience in considering moving to Panama in retirement.  Obviously, this is just one anecdotal personal experience and assuredly won’t apply to everyone.   But I thought it’d be interesting to post.

 

My rent here in the U.S. in a totally remodeled 3bed/2 bath 1440 square foot brick home is $1250/month. I don’t buy because I move every two years.

I looked at condos on the beach in Panama which were smaller than my home and not as nice for $1100/month. Homes in the mountains were over $1000/month and also not as nice as the one I am in. We did see some homes up in a remote area for $600/month but you have to drive on a tiny two lane road up a mountain which is some what remote. The towns are not as nice as living in the US. The exception was Panama City (very expensive) and David. Streets are not as well kept, sidewalks are horrible to non-existent. Drivers use their horns more than their brakes.

To be able to stay in Panama long term, you really need a permanent residency visa. I wasn’t planning on taking my social security right away, so I could not qualify for a Pensionado visa. I would have to get a Friendly Nation’s visa. Cost of visa including attorney’s fees and starting a corporation run around $5000 if you have connections. However, you have to put $7500 in a Panamanian bank to show you are financially sound. This is the cost for a couple.

A lot of Panama is third world. You can save money on groceries if you buy local brands and shop at farmers markets. However, I can do a similar thing here. I visited a number of stores and compared prices. I really didn’t see that much difference.

One thing that stood out to me and my wife was every grocery store we entered had an overwhelming odor coming from the meat market. Strong fish smell and other strange smells I am not used to having to deal with in the US. Oh, if you love beef, this is not the country for you. Being a meatatarian who loves his steak, this was a big issue. You better like chicken and fish if you want to live here. Their beef is not very good at all.

One thing we were told is you have to become accustomed to the Panama way of doing things. They are not in a hurry and may not do what they say they will do. I found this was more of not wanting to do their job. I stayed in one hotel where my refrigerator was locked. I asked the front desk if they could unlock it. I stayed there for four days and they never unlocked it even though I asked multiple times. That is just not doing your job.

The one area where you might be able to save on cost is health care assuming you have health issues. We do not. Medicine is much lower there as are doctor and hospital visits. Again, if you don’t have health issues, no savings. If you really want to save through Panama, you can always go there to have a major operation and do it for 20% the cost. You don’t have to live there to get that benefit.

All in all, we were not the only people who came to the same conclusion while we were there. Many agreed with our conclusion that they could save as much money living in their area of the US as moving to Panama. And you don’t have to spend all the money and deal with the hassles of getting a visa, much slower service, and lower your standard of living. There were a few that thought the place was great and planned to return. Our assessment was the it’s an okay place to visit, but not a great place to save money for what you have to give up during your retirement.

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