Wanting to retire in Panama

Archive for June, 2013

House is Sold!

Well we did it! We have completed the first step to achieving our retirement goal and sold our house. Of course, this brings us into a bit of a dilemma since we are not planning on moving to Panama until next year – and that is “where are we going to live until then?” Many concerned family and friends have asked us this very same question . We also get the question asked alot “why did you sell your house already if you aren’t ready to move yet?” This too is a valid question and I am going to do my best to answer both.
First off – why did we sell already? For us, there was more than one reason.
Reason #1 – We currently have a very big house – 4500 square feet worth of house – and quite frankly – with our son having “flown the coop” in February and our daughter following close behind by leaving for university this fall – simply put – it is just “too much house” for only two people.
Reason #2 – As the real estate experts say, you must watch the market and follow your gut so this is what D and I had been doing for the last year – gauging the market and trying to decide when the best time to sell would be. As it turns out, the market in Cold Lake has been very “hot” this year and it appeared that a lot of bigger, higher priced houses that were on the market for over a year (some for as long as two years) were all of a sudden selling! This got us to thinking – “is this the right time for us to sell?” We were told that because of the size of our house and the price that it would be listed for – that we would have a very small window of prospective buyers and it may take awhile to sell. After much discussion, we decided that we did not want to wait for next year in the off chance that the market took a down turn and we would not be able to sell it right away…… which brings us to the situation we are in now!
Reason #3 – Try to bring our living costs down until we make the move. For anyone who lives in Alberta, they can relate to the exorbitant amount that we pay for heat (although natural gas prices have been holding at a pretty low rate for the last while) and especially electricity! and being that we currently live in the countryside, our costs are even more expensive because of the “transmission” fees. Last year, our average cost for electricity alone was 317.00 a month – over half of these fees being the “distribution and transmission” fees. This is just one of the areas where we will be able to save – although it will in no way ever be as low as the electricity costs in Panama!
Second question – where are we going to live now? Are we going to rent or are we going to buy a smaller place?
Cold Lake is fast becoming the next Fort McMurray of Alberta. With the new technology of SAGD (steam-assisted gravity drainage) for removing bitumen from the ground, the oil companies are quickly moving in and expanding, expanding and still expanding. This is causing a bit of a problem for the Air Force Base that used to be the main driving force for its economy. With all the oil companies moving in, it is making it unaffordable for your average joe to live. People are being forced out of their homes that they have been renting because landlords are jacking up rates. To rent an average run of the mill house in Cold Lake right now you are looking at between $2500-3500 a month – so much for trying to cut down our living costs until we move – lol! This is why we have chosen to buy again, although something much smaller that will be easier to sell next year and who knows, maybe we will make a buck or two if the market continues to jump!

Itinerary is in Place!

I woke up on the weekend realizing it is already June and only 6 weeks until we make our debut trip to Panama!    It got me panicking a bit, realizing we need to finalize our itinerary.   Alas, after “umpteen” emails and reservation requests, everything is now in place!   

I was talking with one of my wonderful sisters a couple weeks back about what we would be doing, where we would be exporing and the wonderful virtual people that we have met thus far that we are hoping to get together with.  Naturally, like any concerned loved one would be, this raised some red flags in her head and she made the comment, “you want to get together with people you met on the “”internet?”” – lol.   I assured her that I felt completely comfortable with these “virtual friends”.  These are people who take the time out of their day (some almost every day) to sit down and write about why they decided to move to Panama and the trials and tribulations they  encountered along the way (the paperwork they needed, the services they used, the contacts that they have been able to provide, etc, etc etc) and without this information, moving to a foreign country would be a much more difficult task.  It gives others like us, who are still in the early stages of planning , some reassurance that, although there are still a lot of hoops to go through, a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross,  it can be done and that it will be all worth it in the end.

So thanks to all you bloggers out there – you know who you are!