Your Money

Administering your funds in Panama has its unique aspects. This broadly explained in the list of banks provided. At this web site it is also worth reading the comments of bank customers. It may be surprising to read that there are only 75 banks in Panama.

It should be noted that Panama is generally a place where business is done on a person-to-person basis. The use of e-mail messages is not common to provided instructions or requests to organisations such as banks. Also banks are very conservative in their day-to-day operations. Setting up an account may well not be easy or quick. No bank will be actively looking to do business with you. As with many other things which have been mentioned with respect to dealings with government offices it may be as well to arrange a bank account via a lawyer in the first instance. A letter of introduction from your own bank confirming your banking history and reliability would be useful. It is best to anticipate problems and delays and to ensure that access to funds is certain via ATMs with the use of credit or debit cards. The setting up of an offshore account at your own bank in the country of departure will be useful. An account in Panama needs to be able to handle local and overseas banking transactions. Exchange control is not a a difficulty with respect to personal capital transactions because they are not regulated. Even so, it is never wise to have all of your eggs in one basket so an offshore account in a major international centre, such as the Channels Islands or the Isle of Man, is a prudent measure and good insurance.

There are useful links under the "Resources" tab of this site and in the "Banking" section of that tab. Informaton on this subject is also available in the book "How to Retire in Panama" by Les Johns which can be obtained from this site.


For the Pensionado Visa proof will already have provided of the required income. Very often this will be derived from a pension. The decision as to whether to have income sent directly to Panama by the originating government or private company authority will be for the individual to decide and it will depend upon the freedom allowed by the pension paymaster. Many of the comments mentioned in section for Australia are relevant also for retirees to Panama.

Other Income

Working in Panama is not possible for a retiree on a pensionado visa. It is possible to derive income overseas, even if the physical work is done in Panama. Income tax is not levied on such income.As is the case with respect to "Pensions" the comments made in the Australian section are relevant. The use of offshore bank accounts will be essential to make the most of your funds and to achieve flexibility in income arrangements. Panama is also a centre for off shore banking, company formations and other financial structures for those not resident in Panama.

Again the links at the "Resources" tab of this site and the book "How to Retire in Panama" by Les Johns, available from this site, will prove to be good research starting points.