Skip to the main content.
Why Did I Move To Panama With My Family?

5 min read

Why Did I Move To Panama With My Family?

Being a Canadian, I always get asked why I moved out of my home country and decided to explore the world. Most Westerners freak out when they see that another Westerner moves abroad to make more money or simply reclaim their freedom.

While many immigrants move to the West to provide a better life for their families, people like me think differently. If you see countries like the US, UK, Canada and some European countries, it’s not difficult to find foreigners working a lot to offer their kids a better life.

I totally understand their perspective, but after over 20 years of experience, I can tell you that I don’t regret moving out of Canada, especially after what’s happened since 2020.

I work online and just need an internet connection to help expats and expat-hopefuls secure their new lives abroad. I currently have multiple citizenships, residencies and, overall, more leverage, which is helping me to provide my family with a better life in all aspects.

I’m blessed to have lived in 9 countries, including the UAE. Having lived there and moved to Panama, I wrote an article explaining why I decided to quit the UAE, but I’ve never written about why I made Panama my home.

This article will help you understand why, out of all places, I picked this Central American country as my new home.


Panama City is an amazing place, and I don't regret at all making Panama our home. - The streets of its cities held the promise of adventure and exploration. Despite the challenges that relocation inevitably brings, we saw it as a chance for growth—a chance to navigate the adjustment process together.

Panama City is an amazing place, and I don't regret at all making Panama our home


From an early age, I decided to explore the world beyond my home country. I left my homeland as a teenager and embarked on a journey that helped me become a seasoned traveller.

In fact, I’ve circumnavigated the globe 400 times, setting foot in more than 110 countries and living in 9 of them during my over 20 years of continual travel. This has helped me gather valuable information and contacts I use to help my clients.

Apart from my private consultations, I help countless individuals through my podcast, books, and appearance at interviews and events. I’m all about helping people like you understand immigration, international investments, and how to get more freedom, privacy and protection. While I enjoy my job, I love dedicating time to my wife and two children, providing them with the attention and care they deserve.


Related article: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency


Casco Viejo is a beautiful historic neighborhood in Panama - The relocation itself was not without its challenges. Adapting to a new system, understanding the local differences, and acclimating to the vibrant streets of Panama were part of the adventure. It wasn't just a change of location; it was an immersion into a new lifestyle.

Casco Viejo is a beautiful historic neighborhood in Panama


Many expats would love to settle in the UAE thanks to its low taxes and great opportunities to know high net-worth individuals. While all this is true, there was a huge problem:



As I said in my previous article, at first, expats like me were celebrated, but that was when the price of oil was about $98 USD a barrel. However, in 2015, the price of oil went down to $34 USD, so expats like me, who wanted huge incomes, were deemed as a problem. That was the first reason why I considered other options.

I won’t dive deeper because I already did in said article, but the bottom line is that I wanted to build a life with more freedom, privacy and self-sustainability.

Taking into account many factors aligned with my family’s aspirations and values, my wife came up with the idea of the “Freedom Criteria,“ which is a comprehensive list of essential elements that would define our new dream location. Panama checked our boxes.


Related article: Best Things To Do And See In Panama


Panama has a lot of amazing places to visit, like the San Blas Islands - Panama, with its unique blend of cultures and opportunities, became the canvas for our family's journey. The initial challenges we faced only strengthened our resolve to make the most of this experience. Our expectations were met with the reality of a dynamic and welcoming community, eager to share the richness of their country.

Panama has a lot of amazing places to visit, like the San Blas Islands


The Freedom Criteria served as our guide to finding a destination suitable to our needs and interests. These criteria included:

  • Educational and Lifestyle Factors: We wanted to ensure that homeschooling was legal and there was a supportive homeschool community for my children. Food, water and energy independence were also vital for self-sustainability and security. While many countries are inundated with GMO foods and rely on other countries to get their energy, Panama is very much protected against these threats;

  • Business and Financial Considerations: Seeking a pro-business environment, zero income tax and attractive residency program that could lead to getting another passport. In fact, I help many of my clients get a Panamanian visa thanks to all the benefits they have;

  • Safety and Stability: Prioritizing a stable and safe country not only in terms of crime but also asset protection laws;

  • Connectivity and Travel: Access to a well-connected, strategic location that facilities travel for both work and pleasure;

  • Lifestyle and Amenities: Finding a place with good infrastructure, amenities and opportunities for family-friendly activities.

Panama ticks all these boxes, but let me show you some of the other options we had in mind:

  • Thailand: rich culture and fantastic cuisine. But the visa situation and language barrier were challenging, and the time zone would considerably affect my business operations;

  • Portugal: It offered an amazing Golden Visa Program, but the associated costs and tax implications didn’t align with our financial aspirations;

  • Costa Rica: Stunning natural beauty, but its immigration process and infrastructure fell short of our criteria;

  • Hong Kong: Thriving business hub as an Asian Tiger, low taxes and lots of money to be made. But, the exorbitant real estate prices (the most expensive in the world) and the lack of space for homeschooling and remote work were a huge turnoff.

One by one, we crossed countries off our list, and eventually, Panama stood tall as the last one standing. In the end, the decision was clear. Panama was the perfect fit with its blend of advantages and opportunities. Now, let me tell you more about Panama and why it should be on your radar.


Related article: The Top Four Visas For Moving To Panama


Panama Canal Miraflores Lock, Panama - In the midst of the relocation challenges, we found a plethora of opportunities. The diverse cities became our playground for exploration, each unveiling its own charm and possibilities. What began as a leap of faith turned into a deliberate choice for a life filled with growth, adventure, and a sense of belonging.

Panama Canal Miraflores Lock, Panama


Panama really checks our “Freedom Criteria” boxes, out-competing other countries we had in mind. Here are some unique advantages this country has to offer:

  • Residency and citizenship opportunities: Panama’s residency program was not only straightforward but also provided a potential path to getting another passport after living in the country for five years with permanent residency;

  • Warm weather, beaches, and natural beauty: Life is not only about making money and dealing with taxes and paperwork, so we wanted to be in an environment with warm weather and nature;

  • Ease of learning Spanish: As English speakers, the relatively easy-to-learn Spanish language in Panama was a welcoming factor, facilitating our integration into the local community;

  • Good medical facilities: Panama offers top-notch medical care for an affordable price, ensuring our family’s well-being and peace of mind;

  • Vibrant international community: Panama’s cultural diversity attracts people from over the world like us, allowing us to connect with individuals from different backgrounds and forge lasting friendships;

As you can see, Panama meets our “Freedom Criteria" and captures our hearts with its warmth, beauty and boundless opportunities.

After years of living here, we’re happy to say that we’ve discovered a country that resonated deeply with our values, offering the freedom and self-sustainability we’ve always been looking for.


Related article: Top Notch Health Care In Panama For Pennies On The Dollar


Panama is a city with a rich historical background and Ruins of Old Panama is one of the tourist attractions - Moving to Panama with my family was not just a change of scenery; it was a conscious decision to embrace the unknown and, in doing so, discover the myriad ways in which we could contribute to and benefit from this beautiful and thriving country.

Panama is a city with a rich historical background and Ruins of Old Panama is one of the tourist attractions


As you can see, we were quite demanding when choosing a country, especially because of our Freedom Criteria. With a deep understanding of the world, I evaluated various destinations, seeking the perfect blend of advantages that aligned with our family’s aspirations and values.

After considering places like Thailand, Costa Rica, Portugal and Hong Kong, Panama emerged as the best destination on the list. From legal homeschooling to food, water and energy independence to low taxes and more, Panama was a compelling option that would facilitate our freedom and prosperity.

Ultimately, after over 4 years of living here, I’m glad to say that Panama has become our cherished home, as it is a country aligned with our values that has offered us boundless opportunities to live the life we have always envisioned.


Investors Workshop Capitalizing On The Globally Recognized Resort Brand Coming To Panama (2)



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 37,000 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.

Recent Posts

E-Apostilles: The Easiest Way To Legalize Your Documents

E-Apostilles: The Easiest Way To Legalize Your Documents

Dealing with bureaucracy, though often stressful, is an unavoidable aspect of interacting with public administration. Whether you're obtaining...

Continue Reading
Golden Opportunities: Using Self-Directed IRAs To Purchase Precious Metals

Golden Opportunities: Using Self-Directed IRAs To Purchase Precious Metals

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK faced a significant financial upheaval, highlighting a crucial lesson for financial planning. UK pension funds,...

Continue Reading
Investing In Your Freedom: The Benefits Of A Second Passport

Investing In Your Freedom: The Benefits Of A Second Passport

A solid international strategy goes way beyond tax mitigation and asset protection – it also includes global mobility and freedom. Because of the...

Continue Reading