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What's It Like To Work With Expat Money?

22 min read

What's It Like To Work With Expat Money?

During my recent birthday bash here in Panama, my Chief Content Officer and dear friend Marc Clair sat down with a few of my private clients and business partners to learn more about what it’s like to work with me. What I love about my job is not only the positive impact I can make in the world but also the interesting people I get to meet along the way. 

Below, you will find Marc’s conversations with people from all different walks of life, including entrepreneurs, retirees, and real estate developers. It’s always fascinating to meet people from all over the world who are eager to seek greater freedom and prosperity for themselves and their families. 


My private clients are the foundation of my business. Without them, Expat Money wouldn't exist

My private clients are the foundation of my business. Without them, Expat Money wouldn't exist


Mark and Hazel met in England and have lived in various countries, including Germany and Australia. They have been on this expat journey for over 30 years, and they understand the importance of freedom. They’re still educating themselves on which residency options, such as Panama, speak to them the most. 

Marc: So, what brings you to Panama?

Mark: I've been working with Mikkel for a little while now. We're really enjoying it. We're looking at where we want to get our tax residency. Mexico is a lovely place to live, but not when it comes to taxes, right? We're down here looking at the place, going to properties, and trying to figure out how to manage our lives.

Marc: What have your impressions been so far with Panama–the locals and the expat community?

Mark: We've been around Central America for a few weeks. Panama looks amazing. We love Panama City. We've been here for a couple of days. We like this place [the beach] as well. Magic.

Marc: What do you think is the next stop? What is the next step for you guys on this expat path? 

Mark: Well, we never know which is cool, right? 

Hazel: Before we came here, we thought of Panama as a residency option, but only on paper. But I think now, since we've been here, it's a residency option for actually living here for a few months of the year. In part because it's got so much variety – it's got the hills, the beach, and the city. I reckon it's like opening up a whole bunch of other options.

Mark: I like it here. 



Chris is a fellow Canadian from Ottawa. His success is a testament to the speed of work we offer here at Expat Money. Among other things, by working with Expat Money he got his Panamanian bank account set up within a day, as opposed to other people who waited several months. 

Marc: So, how long have you been on this expat journey?

Chris: 18 months.

Marc: Okay, so it's still fairly new. How did you first come into contact with Mikkel and Expat Money?

Chris: Really, I was not enjoying where Canada was headed for some obvious reasons. I did a quick Google search and found a couple of options online, and I booked an appointment. Within two days, I had an appointment with Mikkel. The other option didn't work out. It wasn't really what I wanted anyway, so I spoke with Mikkel, and by that time, I didn't really need to investigate him much. I said, get me in here, okay? Then we continued that conversation, and I never looked back. Honestly, it was a pretty immediate connection, as far as I felt very comfortable with what he could achieve for me or help me achieve. And it's been an awesome journey. We’re still very close friends. 18 months later, I moved to Panama.

Marc: And you're already here? 18 months later. Wow. That's amazing. You were not in the exploratory phase at all!

Chris: No, no, you're right. To be honest, I actually moved here before ever having been here.

Marc: Oh, wow. Yeah, that is impressive.

Chris: Yeah. And through Mikkel, I actually purchased a property to achieve my residency by investment without ever having been here. The day I arrived, I arrived at 5 p.m., and I had dinner that night with Mikkel and a group of his clients. The next day, I had an appointment with my lawyer and a bank account set up by the end of that day, which is no small feat to get that done. I hear other people telling me it took them eight months. I had that done the first full day I was here.

Marc: So he made the process like clockwork for you. Well, last question. Since you already live here, I don't get to ask everybody this. How are you finding living in Panama so far?

Chris: I love it, I love it.

Marc: What do you love best about it?

Chris: For me, it's the culture, the people. You have to have the right mindset to understand what it is to be here. I see a lot of North Americans that come down, or Westerners, who maybe expect a different culture, a different response time on stuff. You need to have the right mindset to be here. 

Marc: ‘Tranquilo’ about everything.

Chris: Absolutely. And it's really good. I wouldn't change anything. Work hard on your Spanish. That helps. My Spanish is pretty decent now. I took eight months of Spanish school and am semi-fluent now, and I can get by. 


Bert is an incredible person and a member client of The Hub. He has traveled extensively and is undecided about choosing Colombia (his wife's country) or Panama for his second residence

Bert is an incredible person and a member client of The Hub. He has travelled extensively and is undecided about choosing Colombia (his wife's country) or Panama for his second residence


Keith contacted Mikkel after reading his Amazon bestseller “Expat Secrets: How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas, & Make Giant Piles of Money” After a couple of emails and a Zoom call, he hired Mikkel, and they’ve been working together ever since.   

Marc: First things first. How did you first come upon Mikkel and become a client?

Keith: I read his book, Expat Secrets. Then, I reached out to him, had a couple of questions on the book, and shortly thereafter we were on a zoom call and he had a new client. 

Marc: Had you already been thinking about becoming an expat before you got the book, or was that what pushed you along the journey?

Keith: Yeah, so we’ve been thinking about doing it for ten years. The way I tell people is that the book kind of got me into second gear. And then when I chatted with Mikkel, you know, then I got into third gear. We came down here pretty quickly after that. Fourth gear, fifth gear. So, things just moved along at a very measured pace. Once, we got involved with someone who helped lay the plan out with dates, right?

Marc: Right.

Keith: Not just in a dream, but action. Get things planned out on paper, and then things will happen accordingly.

Marc: How did you decide on Panama? Did that become a clear choice very quickly, or were you looking at some other options?

Keith: We looked at Costa Rica. I looked at Mexico. We even got Mexican residency through Mikkel. But I'd say Panama; it was close enough to us that I could jump on a plane and get back to the US pretty quickly. The infrastructure is great. You know, the banking system, there's no central bank down here, even though it's on the US dollar. I just felt that the economy is very strong down here. What a lot of pluses. They are very nice people. The climate is great. I don't mind the heat.

Marc: So have you felt any sort of cultural transition, or how have you seen the culture from where you were before to being here now?

Keith: Yeah, a little bit. I mean, we didn't really know Spanish. We knew a little bit, probably enough to order dinner. So we worked on Spanish a little bit, and we’ve been getting better at speaking Spanish and are comfortable enough to make mistakes. And people don't really care if you try. That's all that really matters.

Marc: Any other stops on your expat journey? Are you still thinking about other residencies, or are you just kind of relaxed and settled in Panama now for a while?

Keith: Yeah, yeah, Panama is the base. You know, we have Mexico, and yeah, we're looking around elsewhere. We're headed to Spain next month and then to Scotland in July. And yeah, we're enjoying the journey for sure.



Bert, originally from the Netherlands, has been living in Seattle almost his entire life. He’s married to a Colombian woman, so he’s been open about moving abroad and exploring second residencies for quite some time. That’s why he decided to attend Mikkel’s birthday party–to check Panama out.

Marc: All right. I'm here with Bert, a member of The Hub, Mikkel’s private group. Bert, welcome to Panama.

Bert: Thank you.

Marc: Where are you from originally? And how did you first get on your expat journey?

Bert: Well, I live in Seattle. Originally from the Netherlands, but I grew up in the USA, and I found Mikkel somewhere around three years ago online. I don't remember exactly how, but I started following him and then–already being married to a Colombian who had lived in Panama–kind of sparked my interest. And when the Panama tour last year came around, we went on that. And so I learned more. And with everything that's been going on in the world and the USA, we got more interested in finding other options for living. And so Panama and Colombia are the ones that we are pursuing.

Marc: So you're currently pursuing a residency in Colombia and Panama. Are you trying one first and then the other? What does the order look like? I'm curious about it.

Bert: We're still working on which one.

Marc: Okay. So right now just trying to open up the options and then see which one is, you know, maybe the place to stay or maybe you bounce back and forth.

Bert: Yeah. Travelling, visiting different places, seeing what we like, trying to determine what kind of lifestyle we want. And we don't have the answers yet.

Marc: It's all part of the journey. What are some of the differences you're seeing in the possibilities between Panama and Colombia? Obviously, taxation will probably be a big one, but I'm curious about the factors you're looking into.

Bert: I think it comes down to personal preference more than anything else. Panama is more exciting, but Colombia is a lot cheaper in a number of different ways, which is attractive. We like both. Panama is smaller, and Colombia has a wider variety of environments. So we're working on it.

Marc: And lastly, just what do you think of the beach here at Playa Caracol?

Bert: The waves are incredible today, actually.

Marc: We're gonna be making waves here all night, Bert. Thank you so much. I'll let you get back to the party. Appreciate it. 


Dallas is an incredible guy, a long-time follower who finally decided to meet me in person. He obtained his residency in Panama affordably because he acted at the right moment

Dallas is an incredible guy, a long-time follower who finally decided to meet me in person. He obtained his residency in Panama affordably because he acted at the right moment


Dallas has been living all across the US for multiple years, residing in states like Hawaii, Colorado, and his hometown of Oklahoma. But one day, he decided to work with Mikkel and pursue his residency in Panama. He’s now working on getting citizenship.

Marc: Welcome. I'm here at Playa Caracol with Dallas. Great to see you.

Dallas: Great to see you, too.

Marc: All right. So when did you first get a little bit of that expat itch, and how did you come across Mikkel and Expat Money?

Dallas: It was probably 2015, actually, that I started getting the itch and started listening to things. And I've been listening to Mikkel for many years now and finally came out to meet him. 

Marc: So, is this your first time in Panama?

Dallas: This is my third or fourth time. I’m actually a resident.

Marc: How did your residency process go? 

Dallas: I got it before they changed the $5000 requisite.

Marc: You get another handshake for being ahead of the game.

Dallas: I got the bargain. Yeah, that's me. Now it requires a lot more. All the more reason to act with people here that are interested.

Marc: So you're still living in the United States and then coming back and forth a little bit. Do you plan to eventually make a move to Panama as a full-time resident, or are you just kind of using it as a residency?

Dallas: I'm using it for residency. I'm planning on getting my citizenship, and I'm sure I'll be back and forth, at least for vacation. I may make it a permanent home. I haven't quite decided yet.

Marc: On that note, how did you find the culture and the people of Panama, in particular, when you were here?

Dallas: I've been really surprised. The people of Panama are very friendly, and I've always felt safe here. I think it's a wonderful culture, a lot better than where I've lived in the past.

Marc: No doubt about that. Well, Dallas, there's a fun party going on. I don't want to keep you from it. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Take care.


Related content: Navigating The Expat Experience: The Essential Role Of An Expat Consultant



After listening to Mikkel’s podcast, Shelly – a fellow Canadian – decided to work with him to achieve ambitious goals. Within a year, not only did Mikkel build an amazing relationship with her and her husband, but he also helped them get their Panamanian residency.

Marc: All right. I’m here with Shelly. Shelly, a pleasure to see you. You've been a client of Mikkel’s for about a year or so.

Shelly: It'll be a year in April.

Marc: A year in April. Right. So, how did you first come across him?

Shelly: We were listening to some podcasts about expat living and international living, and we were just really impressed with what Mikkel had to say. His whole demeanour. So we reached out.

Marc: And you've been on a pretty quick pathway because you said you reached out about a year ago, and now you're already here. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Shelly: We are.

Marc: Wow, amazing. 

Shelly: Our first meeting with Mikkel was in April, and he said, “I'll go as fast as you guys want to go.” And he was amazing. We just set up weekly meetings, and we came up with a list, and he’d answer questions and give us things to go off and do, and we went off and did them and came back the next week. And so we just kept moving through because we had a goal we wanted to achieve. And he was just there with us every step of the way.

Marc: Where are you from originally?

Shelly: Canada.

Marc: Canada. Okay. I mean, I could ask you why you left, but we know there's a long list, and we don't have all day. I think we can imagine some of the reasons. Were you thinking about being an expat for a long time, or were some more recent events really pushing you further along so fast?

Shelly: No, actually, we were halfway through, well, two-thirds of the way through our career looking at retirement. For the last number of years, each winter, we would go off and check out different locations. And we were actually in Costa Rica the year before last, and we had been in Nicaragua, and we reached out to Mikkel specifically because we wanted to work with somebody that could fast track it, and we just didn't want mistakes and issues and things to deal with. And we've been totally satisfied.

Marc: Right. Well, amazing. And lastly, how are you finding Panama and the transition and the culture so far?

Shelly: We love it. We absolutely love it because there's enough of everything to go around. If you want to be chill, if you want to be at the beach, if you’re living up in the mountains, if you want to meet expats, if you want to work and do something with locals, it's all here.

Marc: Everything right? It's all here, and it's all here at the party, too. I'm going to let you get back to it. But thank you so much, Shelly. Really appreciate it. Thank you.


Working with my clients ensures that I both teach and learn in a virtuous cycle that transcends the consultant-client relationship. It is the building of a solid and lasting friendship

Working with my clients ensures that I both teach and learn in a virtuous cycle that transcends the consultant-client relationship. It is the building of a solid and lasting friendship


Rafa and Mikkel met just a few months before his birthday party in March to work on some residential real estate projects in Paraguay. He’s from Spain and has been an expat for multiple years, mostly focused on real estate development in Jamaica. 

Marc: All right. I am here now with the man, the myth, the legend. Rafa, how are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you doing here in Panama at Mikkel’s birthday party?

Rafa: I am from Spain. I met Mikkel online through Fernando, my partner. We have a residential project in Paraguay, and we had the pleasure of meeting him. I know the whole team and we've been in touch with each other because he’s actually one of our investors there, and he invited us to his birthday party here. And here we are.

Marc: I think there’s cause to celebrate because, correct me if I'm wrong, it wasn't that long ago–I want to say a few weeks ago–you did a webinar presenting what you're selling there in Paraguay. Those things flew off the shelves.

Rafa: Exactly. I mean, we were so impressed. We had a webinar, as you say, a couple of weeks ago, and it was so pleasant to see so many people interested, so many people knocking on our door, and even some people visiting our project in Paraguay right away and coming over. We did quite a few sales. And so happy to have this new Canadian angle and new neighbourhood with Canadian people in our project. And hopefully we will build it up from now.

Marc: It's going to be a whole Canadian enclave there. Lastly, have you been to Panama before?

Rafa: I had been here a couple of times, like laying over in the city, but this is my first time in the countryside and I'm loving it.

Marc: And how are you finding it, being here at the party with people of all different walks of life, who are all expats and all on a similar journey in some way?

Rafa: Well, it's amazing to find people who have basically the same profile, and they are travellers, and they're curious, and they ask questions that regular people don't normally ask and they’re on the same page, so to speak. It's so interesting to hang around with you guys. I mean, well, to me, it's been so surprising to find this marvellous site. The project is amazing.

Marc: Yeah. We need to talk more about this beach because I don't think you've been to Playa Caracol before. This place is incredible.

Rafa: I mean, the beach is outstanding. I think it has so much potential. Yeah.

Marc: You don't see white sand like this everywhere, not nowadays. Rafa, amazing party, so I want to let you get back to it. Thank you so much. 



Sofia is an example of perseverance and personal growth. After being diagnosed with a spine problem, she's been living in Latin America for quite some time. As a well-travelled, seasoned expat, she’s always on the lookout for new residency and investment opportunities. 

Marc: Sofia, I know you've been in Panama for a little while. Why did you first decide to come to Panama?

Sofia: I had been here before, and I liked it. I liked the infrastructure of the place. I like the variety you get in the area. I like the city and the variety you have there, of the cultures, the restaurants, the entertainment, and actually a lot more than that. I came from Costa Rica, which is also beautiful, but there's just a little bit of a faster pace here.

Marc: So you were already an expat from your native country of New Zealand before you came over here to Panama. Why did you leave originally? What first sparked that bug?

Sofia: I actually am very well travelled and lived overseas already four or five times in five different places, but I left in 2017 because of health reasons. I cannot do the winters in New Zealand because I have a spine problem. It's very painful for me. And the stem cell treatment I was doing was based either in the Cayman Islands, Mexico, or Costa Rica. So that got me over to this part of the world.

Marc: Because of regulations and whatnot, you can't get those treatments in places like where you and I are from, I suppose.

Sofia: My doctor was in Houston, one was in Houston, and one was in San Juan, Costa Rica. So that got me very well-travelled, yeah.

Marc: And how did you first meet Mikkel and end up here with us today?

Sofia: Oh, looking through the website and just interest in being an expat. And then we started talking last April, I think maybe a little bit before that. And we've been working together on a few things since about November last year.

Marc: Very cool. That's going well. Cool. So nice to see you. Enjoy the party.

Sofia: Thank you.


Unique individuals from various places around the world, but all have one thing in common: a love for freedom and the desire to build a Plan-B

Unique individuals from various places around the world, but all have one thing in common: a love for freedom and the true desire to build a Plan-B


Fernando has been an expat, even though he never used that word before meeting Mikkel, for over 15 years. During that time, he’s been doing a lot of business in South America. Like Rafa, he is a real estate developer from Spain.

Marc: Great to see you, Fernando. You and Mikkel haven’t known each other for too long. It's a pretty recent relationship. So, how did you first come into contact with him? What are you working on?

Fernando: Well, we got into contact in October. I was more in contact with Susan, organizing. I really didn't know what Expat Money was, and I was so impressed. Then I started digging, seeing what they were doing. We were introduced by some German friend, you know, and I met Mikkel in Paraguay. And in Paraguay, together with some wine and one of the best steaks of my life, we started thinking about or discussing what my experience was and so on. I see that we have many things alike. So we're just now focusing on showing what Paraguay has good for the expat community and getting to know and show the rest of the people why there is good in this country and some real estate projects that are ongoing right now, as well as some others that we will be launching this year as well.

Marc: And you're an expat yourself, is that correct? Where are you from originally?

Fernando: Yeah, I'm originally from Spain, but I've been doing business in South America for 15 years. But specifically in Paraguay, it's 11 years, and every year that comes, I'm digging it a bit more because I see how many things I know. I didn't know I was an expat, like you guys say. So that's why I'm very much an expat myself, yeah.

Marc: Until you heard the word and thought, “I guess that’s me.”

Fernando: Yeah, I learned it. I learned it.

Marc: Would you call Paraguay your new home, or is it possible you might venture off like other expats?

Fernando: We have the capacity to find homes everywhere, you know. So I land in Madrid, and I feel at home, and I land in Asuncion, and I feel that lovely chaos and that lovely, lovely potential. And I feel at home there as well.

Marc: And are you feeling that here in Panama, too?

Fernando: I'm starting to feel like that because there are a lot of similarities, but we don't have this beach, right? I can get used to that.

Marc: The white sand, yeah. You can't get over it.

Fernando: No, no, this project is amazing.

Marc: Right. Well, Fernando, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Fernando: Great to see you. Thank you, everybody.



Joshua Sheats is a great friend of Mikkel’s, and recently, they hosted a Panama investment tour together. He’s a crypto and finance expert, a true professional, and you should check him out if financial freedom is your goal. Go to 

Marc: All right, I'm here with Joshua Sheats.

Joshua Sheats: Great to see you.

Marc: And you as well. You organized a conference with Mikkel last month in Panama. 

Joshua Sheats: It was the first time we'd held a conference together.

Marc: Tell us a little bit about what you did there, for those who don't know, and then we can talk a little bit more about Panama.

Joshua Sheats: Mikkel and I hosted a Panama investment tour. I invited a bunch of members of my audience, and every single person loved it. The experience was great. Mikkel had great people and a phenomenal itinerary that kept us interested every single day. It had the perfect amount of continuity, a great focus on Panama, and a great amount of diversity. I got nothing but great reviews from it.

Marc: And Playa Caracol was part of that tour. 

Joshua Sheats: We stayed here, we toured the facilities. Every time it gets better, they're building it faster and faster.

Marc: I'm curious too, then, from your perspective, because I know things have moved really fast here. Have you seen a lot of progress, even just from when you were here two months ago?

Joshua Sheats: Yeah, you can see that everything is getting filled in, making progress, getting the units ready, all kinds of progress.

Marc: Josh, I'm curious. Where are you on your own expat journey? Are you somewhere on that path?

Joshua Sheats: Yeah. So I left the United States as an expat. I live all around the world. My first entry into the world of expatriation came with the classic PT [Perpetual Travel] theory. So I became aware of the idea of being a perpetual traveler. And my wife, my five children, and I kind of started to do that all around the world.

Marc: Amazing. Where are you? Are you based out of anywhere in particular? 

Joshua Sheats: I'm trying not to commit to where I'm from.

Marc: Very cool. Lastly, how are you enjoying being at this party and mingling with so many like-minded people?

Joshua Sheats: It's fantastic. I flew in just for the party. Mikkel told me he does this, and I looked at some of his videos, and I said, do I want to be there for the next one? So here I am.

Marc: All right. Joshua, it's so great seeing you. Enjoy the party.

Joshua Sheats: I appreciate it.


Claude is a distinguished client and a very kind gentleman who is already in his golden years. With a lot of experience and energy, he continues to seek adventures and make the most of his retirement

Claude is a distinguished client and a very kind gentleman who is already in his golden years. With a lot of experience and energy, he continues to seek adventures and make the most of his retirement


Originally from Oregon, Justin first came to Mikkel’s Fly’N Buy tour (, as he’s always been interested in Panama. He’s still working out what countries to opt for, as well as what his next moves will be.

Marc: All right. We're here with the morning-after edition, you might say. Justin, how are you?

Justin: Wonderful, wonderful.

Marc: So, Justin, first things first. Where are you from?

Justin: I'm from Oregon.

Marc: All right. So, what brings you down here to Panama?

Justin: I always had an interest in Panama. I came down last month on the Fly 'N Buy Tour and checked it out for about a month, and Mikkel invited me back for his birthday.

Marc: Did you stay for a month the first time?

Justin: Yes, I stayed for one month.

Marc: You came right back.

Justin: I went to Colombia for a month, and then I came back here. Mikkel said, go to Colombia and come back for his birthday. So I did.

Marc: Perfect. That was wonderful. And are you currently still physically based in Oregon? Like, where are you on your expat journey?

Justin: Yeah, I currently still have a lot of roots in Oregon, still there and learning. Where is my plan B? Where do I go next? Where do I diversify some of my network?

Marc: So these past couple of months between Panama and Colombia…is one of them pulling at you a little bit more?

Justin: Yeah, definitely.

Marc: Do tell. Or keep it close to the hip if you need to.

Justin: Yeah, it's still hard.

Marc: No pressure.

Justin: They're so close in proximity. But they're very, very different countries. Panama has a ton of tax benefits. It's very easy. I think it's super easy for the North American mindset to come here versus Colombia. You're going to need to know some Spanish. You're a bit more on your own in Colombia, and residency and all that stuff is very, very, very different than in Panama. Panama has been very good. It's hard to say which one I like more. I just spent a month in each, and I'm fresh off Colombia. Also, I went around on my motorbike for one week. That was wonderful.

Marc: Did you go to different parts of Panama?

Justin: Yeah.

Marc: On your own? On the bike?

Justin: I hired a bike tour guide —a motorbike tour guy—and followed him around the whole country.

Marc: What was your favourite part of the country that you saw outside of Panama City?

Justin: Oh, the beaches in the north, Playa Venao and some of the northern beaches.

Marc: Do they have the white sand that we have here at Playa Caracol?

Justin: Oh, it's similar. It's not as white as this. 

Marc: So Justin, what's the next step? Are you going back to Oregon soon, or are you gonna be able to stay travelling for a bit more?

Justin: I have a flight back.

Marc: And you don't sound that excited about it.

Justin: No. Not that excited. I've been outside of the country for a couple of months, so my perspective has definitely changed, starting with this trip. And I've spent three months off of the mainland. So now my whole perspective has changed on what I want. And my daughter is at an age where she can be on her own more, and she's off at university. What does my next chapter of life look like? That's what I'm in right now, right? It involves a lot of travel and living out of a backpack.

Marc: So maybe the next step for you is to get back to Oregon, somewhat experience that culture shock, and then sort of reassess and look back on your time and then think about where to go next.

Justin: Yeah, some of the cool things about meeting people at this party last night was hearing people's stories about going home, selling all their stuff and then relocating. Right. And one of the things I've learned is that less is more. I've lived out of a backpack now for three months.

Marc: And you're probably not missing a lot of the stuff that you have back there, I'm gonna guess.

Justin: No, it all feels very heavy and it would be nice to let it go. I've had thoughts about going home, selling everything, and just coming here and having a really good life here. I think there are a lot of places in the world, but Panama is especially appealing.

Marc: Yes. Well, Justin, it's the morning after the party so I don't want to keep you for too long, but it's great seeing you. Have a great time.

Justin: Thank you.


Related content: FAQ: What Makes Expat Money Different?



Claude comes from Switzerland and is 71 years old. He used to live in Thailand but then moved back to Switzerland because of Covid restrictions. Upon working with Mikkel, they got his Pensionado Visa (the visa for retirees in Panama) in little time, so now he’s got a great residency with lots of benefits to live his golden years just the way he deserves. 

Marc: All right. I am here with Claude. Claude, nice to see you.

Claude: Nice to see you, thanks.

Marc: Well, first things first, Claude. Where are you from originally?

Claude: I am from Switzerland. I was born in Geneva, but I made my life in Zurich. 

Marc: How many languages do you speak in total?

Claude: In total, three. French, German, and English. Fluently. And a little bit of Spanish. I have to learn. 

Marc: We're a long way from Switzerland. What are you doing here in Panama? How long have you been here?

Claude: Okay, I'm doing what I'm doing. I'm retired.

Marc: So jealous.

Claude: Yeah, I got a visa for retirement, and it's really easy. I came to Panama because I was living in Thailand. I had to go back to Switzerland during the pandemic, and I had a visa, permanent visa for Thailand. But they refused to let me re-enter because it was not a proper visa type. Huh. So I said–Plan B. Is Panama activated? Okay, one week later, I was here.

Marc: So Plan A kind of turned you away, so all right, here we go.

Claude: Yeah. And one week later, I was here. Just, you know, booked a ticket. Air France and KLM at the time and flew over.

Marc: So, how have you been finding Panama so far?

Claude: Very well. For me, Panama is a highlight. It is easy. It's really an easy country after Thailand. Thailand, it's a lot of paperwork. Always. Here I go. I came here with no paper, no nothing. Just stamp in the airport. Mikkel sent me to his lawyer, and he told me, okay, I need this. Then I had this paperwork come from Switzerland, UPS and DHL, and three months later, four months later, I had my permanent residency. Right.

Marc: And how long have you known Expat Money?

Claude: I learned about Mikkel on the internet already—three years, at least three years. But only, you know, his videos and conferences and stuff. And then he opened the hub last summer. You remember? Yes. And then I said, okay, Mikkel is really an interesting guy. So, let's fork out the $900. And I was a hub member. I couldn't come last year because I was not here yet, but this year I said “I can.”

Marc: So, Claude, do you think Panama is the last stop for you, or are you still going to maybe travel around and try some other residences?

Claude: I'm not the youngest, but as long as I can walk, I will travel.

Marc: Oh, you seem like you have the energy to me. 

Claude: Yes, yes, yes, yes, I'm 71. Yeah, going on 72. Panama will certainly stay my permanent, my primary residency because Europe is not that far. Yeah, you can go here to Mexico, too. You know, it's a great hub for anywhere you want to go, whether it's across the globe to the international airport or locally. It is a really excellent location. I like the country. I like the people here. It's different than Thailand. But once you understand the ways here and you know the rules, I think it's working for me. I can only say if you adapt, I can adapt.

Marc: Ok, Claude, well I can say you seem very happy here. To me, it seems like it's working out great.

Claude: Yes. It's great. So Panama is a great city and a great country because what I really like also is the north. I was in Boquete, too, and I was twice in Bocas del Toro. My daughter came to Boquete, and she really enjoyed it. It is also great to be a little bit higher in the mountains. It’s fantastic to hike. It's really nice. Also, in Boquete, there are things you can do for two or three days. Nice waterfalls. You got any kind of landscape you could desire out here, except maybe snow. But that's okay. This is why I'm here. I'm not in winter.

Marc: That's the benefit, in this case.

Claude: For me, it's a benefit.

Marc: Thank you so much. It's been great seeing you. I'll let you get back to the beach.


Expat Money is a family-oriented company, and I have the privilege of working with my mother. Susan is my strength and a central pillar of the company. Having her with me makes everything smoother, in addition to her being an extraordinary professional and much loved by everyone

Susan is the strength and cornerstone of the company. Her presence ensures everything runs smoothly, and she is both an exceptional professional and cherished by all


Thanks to my colleague Marc Clair for speaking to this group of my Private Clients and Partners in the expat space. I hope these snippets of these conversations give you a glimpse into the importance of our work at Expat Money.

My Private Clients are the cornerstone of my business. Without them, Expat Money would never exist. I appreciate each and every one of these amazing individuals, all from various backgrounds and with different goals in mind. I don’t simply love my job for the sake of it; rather, it's about the people I get to work with, both my clients and partners.

I understand my clients' exact needs since I’ve been an expat myself for a long time. Even though we come from different countries and cultures, our values are very similar. We desire greater freedom for ourselves and our families. I discuss ideas with them, learn from them, and find the right strategies to secure their new lives abroad. 

If you want to become the next success case, go to our website,, and click on the button in the top right corner that says “Work With Us.” You can also go to  to get your FREE special report on how to get second residencies and even passports quickly.


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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



If you want the best intel from the expat world, including profitable offshore opportunities, little-known tax-saving strategies, and hard-won insights on immigration, passports, and Plan-B residencies, all delivered to your inbox every single week, then join our daily correspondence, EMS Pulse. Currently enjoyed by over 84,000 expats and expat-hopefuls worldwide. Fill in the form below to join our newsletter free:


Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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