Sunday, September 23, 2007

South Floridians find haven from high prices and hurricanes

Panama booms as retirement hot spot for Americans

PANAMA CITY, Panama - Retirees Jovita and Don Franco thought the home they bought nearly a decade ago in Palm Beach County would be their last. But after visiting this bustling Central American capital, the globe-trotting couple decided to move overseas.

The Francos, both in their 70s, this summer sold their Lake Worth home at a profit and settled in an upscale gated community in an area Jovita calls the "Palm Beach of Panama." They enjoy the tropical weather, cosmopolitan flair and low costs, including household help. And they're glad to be outside the hurricane belt and away from South Florida's rising property insurance and taxes.

"We look at life from a global perspective, so the adjustment for us is not as difficult," said Don Franco.

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