We are very rich in the things that matter – family, friends, happiness, a good life, and having what we need. But, this post is about money.
We are in an interesting situation here. We are from the USA but there, we are considered poor, not poverty level but close to it. We are too poor to owe taxes. I am poor enough to have subsidized health insurance. We are poor enough to not want to admit to our meager income.
We could not live in the USA without working. To retire there would mean a large drop in our income, and we would have to give up a lot just to survive. And, even if we were willing to work longer, what if one or both of us was unable to work? We knew we needed to find an alternative and that led us here to Panama.
We live in Panama now where we have more money than many of our friends and neighbors, and probably more than a large percentage of the population. We don’t want to discuss our income because it seems like we’re too wealthy. We have enough to cover everything we need, and even some travel and other fun things.
I’ve thought about this many times and I’m actually thankful that we were forced into this move. It has been a wonderful experience beyond any expectations. If we could afford to live comfortably in the USA we probably would have missed out on all of this.
I have thought about this more recently as the deadline to sign up for Obama Care is almost upon us. I have spent most of my adult life without insurance. As an independent contractor I would have had to pay full price out of pocket and it was an impossible amount. Blue Cross actually laughed at me once when I called them for a quote (I weigh more than their height/weight charts limits – talk about a humiliating experience). Even putting me on my husband’s work policy was about equivalent to our mortgage payments. Thankfully I am healthy and have needed next to nothing over the years because a serious illness or accident would have wiped us out. But now, I have coverage for $1/month, $6250 maximum out of pocket per year (which you can run up just walking through the door in an emergency room!). I am so thankful. If I get in a jam and can make it back to the US, I can get care. Thank you Obama.
Money can’t buy happiness, but not having enough for necessities can certainly buy stress, frustration, and unhappiness. As a home health nurse I saw plenty of that among my senior age patients. We are so lucky to be here where we have a really good life, and we also have enough money to meet our needs.
I still can hardly believe I have health insurance…