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David Rowe Spain

My thoughts and experiences on living in Spain

N26 Bank, a word of warning about this APP Bank
12 September 2018

N26 Bank makes App Banking Painful.

David Rowe, has been an N26 customer from when the Bank first started their social media advertising.

He was using the Bank to pay small bills and run it alongside his traditional Bank account.

The main problem with the APP Bank was the ability to withdraw cash as the ATM card had a small limit.

David thought that when N26 offered him a black debit card with a €2,500 daily limit this would make the having the account worthwhile and so he would use it for most of his banking.

But for David, that is when his problems started.

Firstly he was aware that ATM machines would not allow 2,500 to be withdrawn, his friendly customer service person via APP Chat overcame that problem, just use a few ATMs one after another or use the same one twice!

This is what David did, until one day his card was blocked.

N26 told him this was a master card issue.

David waited, and waited and waited.

Emails sent, help chats written, each time he was told a different Story.

Until one day he had a reply from N26 to say his account was terminated and access to APP blocked and Card Blocked.

But would you transfer out or withdraw your balance.

How could he do this with no card or not APP access?

So he started writing to the Bank.

Guess what, no replies.

The chat support refused to help.

So today David has lost over €4,000 and the wonderful new way of Banking has let him down.

Be very careful of which of these APP Banks you sign up with.







Like 0        Published at 11:13   Comments (0)

I was told I would not make it to 50, that was 2 years ago.
28 April 2018

I have lived on the Costa del Sol for 20 years, i came to spain at 30, looking to change my lfe and what i thought was start afresh leaving my problems behind.

Life on the Costa has been wonderful but the style of my life was killing me and after a mild heart attack my doctor told me that unless i changed my life style i would not make 50. I did not listen and carried on my wild ways.

2 years ago on the 24th April 2016 I realised I was killing myself, I made the best descion of my life, I quit drinking. I have made big changes and today am 45 kilos lighter, I don't take blood pressure pills, I no longer have type 2 diabetes.

Has it been easy...NO....has it been worth it..YES....thanks to the people and the fellowship that helped me get to where I am today. We are never too old to change.....The Photo below is April 2016 and April 2018.

One of the biggest changes was my move to Ardales 1 year ago, I came for a new life I never thought It would also be a place where I could find a new opportunity for the business i foinded 7 years ago.

Touchstone Ardales is the only professional property company who are promoting and constructing New Build apartments in the Pueblo, as well as offering a full service Real Estate Agency.
Ardales known as "The Gateway to Caminito del Rey". is where Touchstone International as a business relocated in 2017 after 7 successful years in Marbella.
Many people scoffed and thought that I the founder had truly "lost his mind", but his vision and determination and belief that Ardales was a hidden gem and the next "Benahavis" but closer to Malaga and the airport has driven Touchstone forward.
It has just Been announced the caminito del Rey will be extended and made into a circular route, this will double the 1000 people per day who currently arrive to walk "Europe most Dangerous Hike".
In short this means more visitors, more accommodation required and more people visiting and falling in love with the area and wanting a holiday home or permanent home.…/extension-caminito-announced-…


Like 0        Published at 15:07   Comments (0)

My Life in Spain
20 February 2018

20 years i have been in Spain and have had the best highs and worst lows. The accident i had fighting the fire in Calahonda and putting me in wheel chair for 12months was one of the lows. Along with my health issues and getting sober and separating from my wife Irina.

The recession and closing my office was another, but 7 years ago i started a small business Touchstone Spain, working from a back bedroom. I worked with Banco Popular, offering clients a Bank Repossessed Property. Well 7 years later i am pleased to say that by just sticking to my dream and working hard, we now work with 20 Spanish Banks and no longer from a back bedroom.

This Year i hit 50 in January, 45 Kilos lighter than 2 years ago, mentally and physically in the best shape i have been in 25 years.
I achieved a Goal i have had for many years, that is to become a Promoter and Constructor.
Under our Brand Touchstone Promotions we are Promoting and Building on the Gateway to the Caminito del Rey, in the historic Pueblo Ardales, just 35mins from Malaga. There is a reason why we have chosen Ardales....but its our secret!

If you truly believe in yourself and your dream then stick at it, ignore the negative comments and people trying to cast doubt and run you down or remind you of your past mistakes. We are all winners, keep the dream alive!

Like 1        Published at 00:38   Comments (1)

I feel at last the years of hard work are paying off.
18 February 2018

20 years i have been in Spain and have had the best highs and wrost lows. The accident i had fighting the fire in calahonda and outting me in wheel chair for 12months was one of the lows.

The recession and closing my office was another, but 7 years ago i started a small business Touchstone Spain, working from a back bedroom. I worked with Banco Popular, offering clients a Bank Repossessed Property. Well 7 years later i am pleased to say that by just sticking to my dream and working hard, we now work with 20 Spanish Banks and no longer from a back bedroom.

This Year i achieved a Goal i have had for many years, that is to become a Promoter and Constructor. Under our Brand Touchstone Promotions we are Promoting and Building on the Gateway to the Caminito del Rey, in the historic Pueblo Ardales, just 35mins from Malaga.

There were times when i wanted to give in and once even thought of leaving Spain, but i got up each day and stuck at it. I am feeling blessed to have good friends around me who keep me going each day.

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A message of hope from a Recovered Alcoholic....
31 December 2017

A few more hours left of 2017, which on a personal level was the worst year of my life. There were a few people who where there in my darkest hours. I hit my rock bottom but hey i survived and became stronger. I was not looking forward to the holidays as this was my first Christmas without my wife and kids, after 2 years of recovering she told me she no longer loved me!, But I will say I had a great and peaceful time. I have learned that being alone does not have to be lonely....I am in a probably the best physical and mental condition I have ever been in and now I am ready to take 2018 head on and make it my year. I have great gratitude to the 12 step program of AA which saved my life. I wish you all love and peace.

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My Christmas Message
13 December 2017

A Christmas Message from David Rowe, Founder of Touchstone International.

A big thank you to staff and clients for their support in 2017. 2018 is our 7th year in Business and we are looking forward to an exciting New Year.

Just to give you the heads up we are closing as always 22nd Dec, until 8th Jan.

Touchstone Promotions is now very much live and active with several constructors now approaching me asking me to evaluate their projects and promote. Our own construction will start in 2018. I am in the process of securing a Credit line to allow us to construct and promote.

Bank Repossessions still will be the driving force but as time moves forward and the Stock is sold we will move across to become a developer and promoter, we will not become an Estate Agent. However I have opened Ardales Estates, simply as the folks in the Pueblo have bombarded me with direct listings.
Ardales Estates will be a High Street real estate office and I am looking at several sites.

Touchstone Franchise is still growing and we are talking to several different people, Colin Anderson starts in January as our Franchise Director, he is based in UK and owner of Touchstone Sussex. Colin has many years of experience in Franchise Network Growth and Company Management.
The Franchise fee will be increased in 2018 to 24,995.

We are launching Touchstone Fractional Ownership and also Touchstone Turkey ( direct development projects ) also Touchstone Dubai ( again direct development projects)

Have a Happy Christmas and See you all soon

Dave Rowe

Like 0        Published at 11:50   Comments (1)

Spanish Holiday Rental Scam
03 November 2017

Please beaware of a woman called Paula Neal AKA Paula Ariza AKA Christina Lori, she has been advertising holiday lets on facebook and other social media sites.

She simply takes the deposit or rental money and there is no property to rent.

She said she was a widow with 2 kids, retired actress, 10 years doing Chicago on stage in London, now a script writer on Flash, had worked on Arrow before, the company is in Canada but she works in Spain writing at night as that’s when her office is open.

She is wanted by the Spanish police.

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7 years of hard work now Touchsone Spain is growing.
02 November 2017

7 years ago I started a small business working from home, with 1 Spanish Bank. Banco Popular, offering clients a chance to purchase Spanish Bank Repossessed Property direct from the Bank with my help. I started the business with very little investment and hard work and dedication is starting to pay off. We no longer are based in a back bedroom and the business is no longer just myself. David Miller joined me 4 years ago as a partner after his brief break from Spain to open a Beach Complex in Vietnam. We have now grown to working with 20 Spanish Banks all direct and all offering our clients a chance to purchase a Bank Repossession direct from the Repossessing Bank.

As part of our expansion we launched Touchstone Franchise this year and have now Franchise offices in Czech Republic, and in the UK. We are seeing to expand our Franchise network and my focus is now on growing the number of Franchise Partners across the Globe. So i am seeking partners who want:

"Sun, Fun, Property & Profit"

We are now looking to expand the Brand into other countries and have launched Touchstone France.

Our next project is Touchstone Promotions,

Touchstone Promotions are seeking a JV partner for their 2018, Luxury Villa Project on the New Golden Mile, Costa del Sol. This project is currently off market and will be released to a select few clients in 2018.
The project is to construct a Luxury Complex of five Villas on a plot of 5,500 M2. Located in the Las Dunas area of the "New Golden Mile".

The Plot is only 200 Meters from the beaches of Las Dunas.

This plot has been secured by Touchstone International direct from the owners and the Architect and Project management team are in place.

Hard work and dedication is what drives me and i am pleased that i have been able to offer employment to people and i am building a team who share my vision of "Working for the client NOT the Bank"

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Moving Away From the Coast
25 August 2017

I came to Spain 18 years ago and have lived in Estepona, Marbella, Coin & Calahonda, after seperating from my wife of 11 years I decided to make a change and have moved to the Village of Ardales. Just 50 mins away from Marbella yet you could be in another world.

I had enough of the Costa del Sol and needed a break and space, the move to a small Spanish Village has been just that. Rents are half the prioce of the Coast, food and drinks are approx a 3rd cheaper and the pace of life is so much slower. I supose i am lucky that I speak Spanish and so able to communictae with the people of the pubelo.

Happy to give anyone any tips or advice on moving inland.

I have just set up a facebook page Ardales Life if any one wants to follow it.

Like 0        Published at 06:43   Comments (1)

Britons in Mijas Costa Fret over healthcare after Brexit.
01 January 2017

British pensioner Judy Swatridge's spine is held together by titanium pins and plates since breaking her back over 10 years ago. She needs regular check-ups and takes prescription drugs for illnesses including diabetes and high blood pressure.

The 75-year-old is one of tens of thousands of British retirees in Spain worried that they might lose their free access to Spanish health care, currently assured by European Union law, as a result of Britain's exit from the bloc.

"I'd have to go back to the UK, I'd have no choice," Swatridge, who sold her house in Britain to move to Spain 13 years ago, said after attending a meeting of pensioners with similar concerns in the southern coastal town of Mijas.

"I've looked into it," she added.

Britons retiring to Spain are attracted not only by a warm climate and Mediterranean lifestyle but also by free access to a well-regarded health system, with London ultimately picking up the bill by refunding Madrid for their health costs.

It is unclear if that EU-mandated arrangement will continue as the issue is likely to become tangled in divorce negotiations set to begin by March. Pensioners meanwhile worry they may have to return to Britain's stretched health system, another example of unintended Brexit consequences rippling across Europe.

A return of ailing pensioners to Britain would threaten to further strain its National Health Service (NHS) where patients can wait for hours in hospital corridors before they are treated - not an outcome envisaged by Brexit campaigners.

The Brexit campaign had argued the NHS would benefit from a break with the EU, saying funds no longer spent abroad on EU projects could be freed up to boost health funding at home.

Spain is the most popular European retirement destination for Britons, home to around 300,000. Around a third of them are aged over 65. Together, Spain and Portugal account for almost a quarter of all Britons living in Europe, U.N. data shows.

In total, more than 1 million Britons live in Europe, and over 3 million EU citizens in Britain - potential bargaining chips in the upcoming divorce between London and Brussels.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has pushed for an "early resolution" to the anxiety facing foreign residents. But EU leaders have ruled out talks on mutual residence rights until she triggers the exit process under Article 50 of the EU treaty.



Britain is by far the biggest user of Spain's state-funded, universal health care system amongst foreign nationals, social security figures show, running up a bill over three times greater than the next biggest users, the French, last year.

Britons cost Spain 285 million euros ($304 million) in health care last year, including tourists and pensioners and accounting for nearly half of Spain's total spend on foreign European Union nationals.

This dwarves the cost of Spaniards' medical care in Britain of less than 150,000 euros last year - or just 0.05 percent of Britons' cost to Spain, according to Spanish social security data. Spaniards living in Britain tend to be of working age.

Under rules governed by European law, Spain and Britain compensate each other for their citizens' medical care bills. This more or less covers costs on an annual basis, Spanish social security figures from the last nine years show.

A British government spokeswoman said nothing had yet been decided on the future of reciprocal healthcare arrangements, adding that Britain remained a full EU member with all the accompanying rights until exit negotiations were concluded.

"The government is considering the various options that may be available, and it would be wrong to set out unilateral positions in advance of the negotiating process," she said.



Spain will seek an agreement with Britain for it to continue reimbursing Madrid for the healthcare of Britons, former Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo of the ruling People's Party said in September.

Without such an agreement, pensioners have no guarantee that Spain will continue to give them free access to health care.

Some could seek Spanish citizenship to secure access to the health system, transferring the cost of their care to Spain, but only those with a Spanish spouse or parents, or those who have lived in Spain for at least 10 years, would be eligible.

Even those who qualified for Spanish citizenship would need to renounce their UK citizenship, a tough decision for many reasons. For example, their estates would become subject to Spain's more prescriptive inheritance laws.

    Under Spanish law, foreigners resident in Spain for five years or more could be eligible for access to state health care regardless of current EU arrangements, but that too is not certain to be a safety net for ailing pensioners post-Brexit.

Lawyers advising Britons in Spain say their status has yet to be determined by exit negotiations, so it is unclear if that provision would still apply to them after Britain's exit.

Spanish municipalities where retirees spend their cash in shops, restaurants and golf courses are also eager for a deal to conserve Britons' access to free health care.

British state pensions cashed in Spain totaled 583 million pounds ($733 million) last year, the highest value globally outside of Britain, government figures show.

The mayor of Mijas, where more than one in 10 residents are British, says he is lobbying the EU parliament and Spanish government to preserve Britons' free access to health.

"These people choose Spain because of the quality of life and this service is an essential consideration for them when they decide where to live," said mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado.

Further down the coast from Mijas, at a bar on the seafront in the neighboring town of Fuengirola, pensioners worry about the future as they play bingo and take part in a raffle organized by a charity with prizes of wine and chocolates.

"How long is the uncertainty going to last?" says Jean Baker from Essex who has lived in Spain for 13 years and uses the health service for check ups on her heart and blood pressure.

"Theresa May should come clean and tell us - she's making it too hard for people to know what they're going to do."

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