Special Features

Money makes the world go 'round

Panama: Asset magnet

By: Staff at Panama Offshore Legal Services / E-Mail: info@pos-inc.com || Phone (507) 227–6645

Money is a very interesting subject. Apostle Paul said ,"The love of money is the root of all evil." George Bernard Shaw said, "The lack of money" should be blamed for the same.

For others, money is a means of security. Oscar Wilde said, "When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is."

The world's governments see money as a way to control their economies or populations by issuing debt, printing money and regulating lending rates. Milton Friedman said "Inflation is taxation without legislation." Thomas Jefferson said, "I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution ... taking from the federal government their power of borrowing." He also said, "No generation has a right to contract debts greater than can be paid off during the course of its own existence."

Banks see money as a commodity that they use to capitalize on by borrowing it from their customers at low rates and lending it to their customers at higher rates, however, through fractional reserve banking, the government allows the banks to lend ten times more money than they actually have borrowed, which is the reason that many large banks around the world are either broke or have been bailed out by their governments. Thomas Jefferson said "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies."

In reality, money is simply a medium of exchange, it is not evil in itself, and it is a blessing to those who use it for the good. Everyone needs money to live. The wise ones are those who save up enough money to last them throughout their retirement years.

The problem most people have is that they are convinced (by their own governments and banks) into saving and investing for retirement in their own broke banks and broke government social security pension plans.

Keeping all investments in one's home country is the same as keeping all the eggs in one basket. Cross border diversification is the key. Warren Buffet said "Diversification is a protection against ignorance." Miguel de Cervantes said "The gratification of wealth is not found in mere possession or in lavish expenditure, but in its wise application."

Those brave enough to think for themselves and outside of the box have found that there are some great alternatives out there for investing for retirement. Emerging growth economies, such as Panama, are one of those alternatives. Throughout the last six years, and during the entire global financial crisis, Panama's economy has had almost double digit growth.

Panama's government has implemented an ambitious investment program, simplified tax structure, a growing economy - and the US Dollar currency further reduces risk. More than 100 multinational companies including Caterpillar, 3M, Dell and Procter & Gamble have recognized the opportunity and are now firmly established here. Panama is Latin America's leading recipient of foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis.

Panama's banks and credit unions offer excellent stability and better returns on time deposits on US Dollars than one can find in North America or Europe. The Panamanian government does not tax interest earned in banks or credit unions. Some banks even offer multi-currency accounts in Euros and other currencies.

Many investors buy gold, silver, or rare industrial metals and store them in safe deposit boxes in Panama. This is an excellent way to diversify in commodities and protect assets offshore.

Other investors seeking offshore shelter for their money buy real estate in Panama. Panama rental properties offer some of the best returns with a strong rental market that is internationally diversified. Panama's beach front properties have proven to be excellent investments as well.

Panama also offers excellent asset protection structures including offshore corporations and Private Interest Foundations that provide the ideal vehicles for international investors to diversify and protect their assets.

North American and European investors and retirees living in Panama are now taking advantage of these opportunities and so should everyone.

Ol' Jack the film buff

In one of my other lives, I spent 25 years as a published movie reviewer, the last 13 on local television. (I know what you are wondering-How old is this guy? The answer is old.) Anyway, I can tell you that ol'Jack is very excited about the upcoming International Film Festival of Panama (IFFPanama), even though I wish they had named it the Panama International Film Festival so we all could call it "PIFF" for short.

If you're at all interested in movies, you need to check out their website www.iffpanama.org and then make plans for the festival which runs from April 26 through May 2. One of the sections on the web site has suggestions on "How to enjoy the Film Festival." Well, I've simplified it to one suggestion-attend.

Obviously, however, the dedicated organizers of the festival felt that some potential viewers might need some help and Ol'Jack is willing to add his two cents worth. After all, one of my jobs as a critic was as a consumer advocate-I saw a lot of bad movies so my readers would be warned and not waste their money. So if you're uncertain, here's some advice from a guy who used to see nearly 300 films a year.

Under the category "How do I know which movies I'll like?" The simple answer is you don't. Suffice it to say that a qualified jury of film experts selected the flicks being shown, with an emphasis on Latin American films. Don't worry, if the movie is in Spanish, there will be English subtitles and vice versa. If the picture is in yet another language, there will be captions in both English and Spanish.

The text of the website goes on to suggest that a viewer might base their selection on who's the director or by country or theme and the website does provide the films organized under those categories. Or you could make the choice based on when you're actually able to attend. Take a chance, if you're available after work at 5:00 p.m., go to the movie showing then. Of course, some of Jack's elderly retired friends have all the time in the world, so they have no excuse for not making a day of it. The regular shows start at 2 p.m. and run all day and into the night at the Cinemark theatres in Multicentro with plenty of free parking.

Of course if you're into making the scene, and who's not, you can plan to attend the red-carpet.

Week-long interpreter spots open to assist in Global Brigades’ effort

Global Brigades, an international non-profit organization that brings northern university students to Panama on volunteer trips to put into practice skills that they have learned at University, is seeking interpreters for its upcoming activities.

Interpreters will be incentivized with a $100 bonus, plus lodging and meals during the week-long “brigades” that will be carried out in eastern Panama later next month. The students have business, environment, law, medicine and dentistry backgrounds. The volunteer activities will be carried out in the communities of Piriatí Emberá, Torti Abajo, Guacuco Kuna and Ipeti Kuna.

A round of interviews will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Global Brigades office on Via Argentina, Edificio Via Argentina, Suite 5-A. For information, call 6454-5459 or write panamastaff@globalbrigades.com.