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POLL : Is Spain still a great option for retirement abroad?
10 July 2014 @ 17:31

Spain still tops the list of favourite overseas destination for British retirees despite its economic woes and rocky property market, although that seems to be on the turn around shortly. The country still tips the polls as the number 1 destination followed by France, Australia, Ireland and Cyprus and further down the list you can find Thailand the UAE and so on.  

Retiring abroad is a dream for many people. The thought of an easier pace of living, better weather and cheaper property than the UK is still proving to be a strong draw and even though Spain does have its drawbacks, in my honest opinion it still offers all of these advantages with only a short flight home. It may not be as cheap as it was in the past but it is still cheaper than the UK. OK it has its bureaucracy but you get used to it. I think Spain still has an awful lot to offer and can be a fantastic place to retire to if you do your homework correctly before moving.

Do you agree?



Like 1




35 Comments


Mickyfinn said:
11 July 2014 @ 07:43

A better question might have been 'Where is the best overseas destination for retirement?
Answer if you are rich Costa Rica. If you are relatively poor probably Spain.


mac75 said:
11 July 2014 @ 09:02

I tend to disagree with you Mickyfinn, why is Spain just for the poor? And what is so attractive about Costa Rica? Maybe for a holiday, but to live there all year…?
Spain has options whatever your financial position,poor, comfortable, doesn't matter. That is one of the reasons it has been so popular. Certain areas attract different people.



Mickyfinn said:
11 July 2014 @ 09:41

Costa Rica is one of the original overseas retirement destinations. It’s been welcoming expats for more than 30 years; a legacy of the year-round warm weather, as well as long time political stability and public safety.

And it’s still going strong because the country continues to tick the boxes of those looking for their place in the sun. Plus, because of its long history as an expat haven, it’s easier than ever to start a new chapter in your life.

Anywhere you choose to move there are plenty of services set up to make the transition easy, from getting household goods and pets down to finding a dream home on a tight budget to securing residence…and everything else.

One of the biggest draws of Costa Rica is the ease of becoming a legal resident. It offers a great program for pensionados, or retirees. The main qualification is an income of $1,000 or more per month from Social Security, disability benefits, a pension, or similar source. One spouse must show that income, and then they can bring their better half along as a dependent.

Of course, one of the biggest perks of residency is the public health system, known as Caja. After a monthly payment based on income (most expats pay between $50 and $150), you receive completely free care: doctor’s visits, testing, prescriptions, and even major surgeries. Public facilities are some of the best in Latin America. And there are no age or pre-existing condition exclusions—everybody can join. One expat I know in the Central Valley moved to Costa Rica with multiple sclerosis and is completely taken care of for less than $50 a month. His insurance costs in the U.S. were more than $1,200.

There are also private clinics, hospitals, and doctor’s offices located throughout the country. You can use insurance (most international policies accepted) or pay cash. But even out of pocket, costs are a half to a third or even less of what they would be in the U.S. for the same procedure.

It’s just one way expats cut down on their cost of living. Plenty of expat couples live on less than $2,000 per month, including housing and transportation costs. One way to save is to shop like a local. That means heading to the feria, or farmers’ market, each week for fruits and vegetables; fish, chicken, beef, or pork; eggs; honey; bread…pretty much anything you need. My family of four spends about $40 per week at the feria—and the fridge is filled to bursting. You can eat out affordably too. A tasty meal at a local restaurant will run you $4 – $5.

These are few of the many “practical” reasons Costa Rica makes sense for retirees. But on a cultural level too, Costa Rica offers a lot. Ticos (as Costa Ricans call themselves) are happy, friendly people in general—polite, too. In fact, Costa Rica was named the world’s happiest country in the 2012 Happy Planet Index—it won in 2009 as well.

They like to make friends with their new “gringo” neighbors. And if you make an effort, you can quickly become part of the community and be invited to family gatherings—family is huge in Costa Rica— and town festivals. And you don’t have to speak Spanish by the way—just a few words go a long way. A smile is universal. There’s also an ingrained respect for the older generation. In Costa Rica, retirees are valued members of society. By law, they’re given head of line privileges at banks and government offices. And at stores and other places of business it just happens—it’s how people were raised.

It’s all part of the Pura Vida attitude that permeates life in Costa Rica. It means people work to live, not live to work. And above all they value time with friends and family. As a result things move at a slower pace…and expats soon adjust.


Mickyfinn said:
11 July 2014 @ 09:44

Costa Rica is similar to Spain but without all the tax disadvantages.
If you are rich that matters. If you are relatively poor that matters less in Spain.


jagudelo said:
11 July 2014 @ 09:44

For me choice number one is Spain (proximity and other factors already mentioned) and number two is Panama. Yes, it is a long way, but offers the best pensionado program in the world.


Mickyfinn said:
11 July 2014 @ 10:09

Yes I agree Panama is also an excellent choice. The problem tends to be it's a haven for dirty money, retired gangsters, drug dealers and money launderers. Bit like Spain was and still is.

Costa Rica is cleaner and has strong law enforcement.


camposol said:
11 July 2014 @ 13:57

Unless your tax situation is very simple , and you have few savings , Spain is not a good place to retire.if you want to be legal it's stressful.
If you live under the radar obviously it's cheaper and stress free.
The Spanish tax system is hell bent on punishing expats rather than welcoming them, inheritance tax being one of them. Why allow one region to abolish the allowances and another to give generous allowances.It's an injustice.
I find most expats don't understand the tax implications of living here, don't want to either, and and of course are happy to continue their stress free life out here.


Mickyfinn said:
11 July 2014 @ 16:18

Yes I agree with that last comment. Most people who say Spain is a great place in which to retire actually live outside the system.
There is no incentive to be a fiscal resident just pain.


Abby said:
11 July 2014 @ 21:14

Income tax in Spain for single people on pensions is much higher than in the UK. It is also increasingly expensive to fight any injustice. For me, retirement should be relaxing and life in Spain isn't anything like that.


Ron said:
12 July 2014 @ 03:40

You might want to read up on the latest news from Costa Rica. Parents are sending there children to the US to escape crime. I spent a month in Ecuador in 2010. I wouldn't go to ANY Latin American country after that, and things have just gotten worse. Things cost what they cost for a reason. If you want to save money, pitch a tent in the wilderness. Same, same.


1100 said:
12 July 2014 @ 07:17

I have lived in Catalunya in a village for 14 years. My flat is the most beautiful place to live, cost a million in London where I live, the people are the nicest people in the world. I have seen a lot of other places. Not only are the spanish nice, they are very tolerant of some of the terrible british that live here.Costs well the rates in London, you could live on that kind of money.


molly said:
12 July 2014 @ 07:22

I have lived in a village in Catalunya for 14 years. The spanish are the nicest people in the world, and I have travelled all my life. They are also tolerant of some terrible drunken brits.
My flat is the best you could imagine. Cost a million in London. The price of London rates, well you could live on that here. Have a lot of family and friends in London, but have not bothered to go back and look, for many years.


windtalker said:
12 July 2014 @ 07:23

If you have a good private pension then Spain is a good option if you only have a UK state pension and no other way of supporting yourself then it is a bad option IE stay in the UK your state pension will go alot further.


Mickyfinn said:
12 July 2014 @ 07:58

Ron wrote: You might want to read up on the latest news from Costa Rica. Parents are sending there children to the US to escape crime.

Are you sure you are not confusing Costa Rica with Honduras?

I am not knocking Spain and I understand the reaction by those who have committed to the country.
I am simply saying there are other choices in life and sometimes they are preferable ones for very good reasons.
It depends entirely on the individual. It's personal choice not a beauty contest.


Diez66 said:
12 July 2014 @ 07:58

So far, so good.
Just hope the EU stays together and/or all healthcare and pensions remain the same.
Wonderful



Magners1 said:
12 July 2014 @ 08:06

There are many good reasons to move to Spain especially if you are retired and still paying a mortgage. I was and it swallowed 60% of my pension. I could have sold and rented but for what I have in Spain it would cost all of my pension. Instead with the small equity I had, I bought a property that is more than adequate and I now have no Mortgage and a good standard of living on my pension.


rob said:
12 July 2014 @ 09:14

The Property Market may be on the turn
I am afraid i do not agree
the Spanish property market still has a long way to go to recover
and if you get caught up in anything legal in Spain whether property related or other your stress free life goes out the window
and however much you do your homework things happen


Janet White said:
12 July 2014 @ 09:41

Retirement in Spain is great if you have a decent pension and as many have said, you don't have to deal with anything legal. If you go to work, work on the black market because Spain makes it expensive to live your life by the book which is why I guess the majority of Spanish people work and save money out of banks and on the black market, it is the only way they can survive. We have been waiting for our 3% tax retention for 21 months and still no sign ! I wouldn't touch another property in Spain with a barge pole. My daughter and her partner are out there renting and we are shortly to visit her. They are enjoying life at the moment but have little work so will probably end up coming back, there is little future in Spain for working people which is why thousands like in other countries flock to the UK for work and if possible to work below the radar which is why the UK is sinking fast.

Spain is a wonderful country if you have no money worries !

The UK used to be the best place to live, pretty


Mickyfinn said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:21

Unfortunately because of the EU and the Euro most of Europe has become fairly unattractive to find work. The south of Europe is economically depressed and I cannot see how it's going to turn round any time soon. Negative financial contagion is spreading to France and Germany, traditionally the powerhouse of Europe.

I guess retirement abroad is all about making sure you are financially secure before you move. So Spain is probably as good as anywhere else in the EU. However for the more adventurous there are many attractive and more interesting alternatives.


molly said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:37

No living in spain, I dont have a private pension, a half pension £326 a month from London. A wonderful flat and bungalow from the sale of an ordinary flat in London.
No morgages, rent out the bungalow, and live very well here.


eddie said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:41

My Wife & I love it here,the people,the Spanish NHS,the attitude of the locals where we live,the food of course.
What we don't miss at all are the patronising opinions/comments of people like "mickeyfinn", who I must inform,we are certainly not poor so I suggest he stays in his beloved CR.
Salud.


Passinthru said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:49

Early days yet. However I feel a wobble coming on dealing with tax issues and the yet to arrive so called complimentary property tax.


Mickyfinn said:
12 July 2014 @ 11:37

If Spain works for you Eddie then I'm very happy for you. You must feel very satisfied you made the right choice.

However many have discovered Spain can at best be difficult and isolating. At worse a total nightmare.

Moving abroad probably for the first time in ones life is full of risk. It works sometime and not others. It often does not live up to expectation. The worst policy to pretend it does.


smith said:
12 July 2014 @ 11:52

Some are very happy in Spain,we were caught in the illegal property scams although we bought through a reputable estate agent with a lawyer and Notary,we have lost our home and savings as so have many of our neighbours . The Mayor was a crook and has not been dealt with , there is no one to go to either, the Lawyer we paid to help us fight ,took 1000e and disappeared! We are much happier back in UK,although it has its faults. My advice be very careful ,get a morgage that way its safer


Janet White said:
12 July 2014 @ 13:06

There are too many illegal activities for my liking in Spain and the authorities are the most corrupt taking people's money without a by your leave and it takes years to get it back as we have found. Also the bureaucracy is enough to drive you mad.

I love Spain but have come to the conclusion that it is great for visiting and holidays for perhaps a few months at a time but I would (and did) always want to keep a base in the UK. The property market has collapsed in Spain and my brother can't even sell his San Jose Quad in Torrevieja for half what he paid for it. I can't see the market picking up for the next 20 yrs given the state of the EU and the lack of empathy or endeavour on the part of Brussels to do anything to help things. They seem happy to take their money but from where I am looking they are sitting around waiting for countries to collapse without lifting a finger ! Spain (as with the UK) would be better out of the EU and then things might start to move in the right direction.


elizabeth said:
12 July 2014 @ 20:37

I also love Spain. We used to live there about five years ago. Had to come back because there was no work. We even thought about going back to live now that we are OAP. We have decided not to do that. Just to go for holidays and catch up with our friends who live there.


molly said:
12 July 2014 @ 20:42

I must say people who have lost here, have done things I would never do financially, like coming over here, to young for a pension, no job, got 90% mortgages on more than one property, taking no notice of the land rules or housing rules.
Self employed for the first time in there life. Thinking all profits were pocket money. To say nothing of drinking themselves silly. Weve all done it I know.
But many older couples came over sold in England, built or bought something for much less money, and have never lived so well on little money.



Big Al. said:
13 July 2014 @ 12:08

My wife and I, have made several visits to Spain, over the last few years, (mainly seeking to retire there), however, after doing extensive research, and also listening to the experiences of people who had already "made the move", we have decided against it, as it would seem that the amount of "Agro" involved, would be the last thing one would need, in retirement.


molly said:
13 July 2014 @ 17:30

Ive just seen what MickyFinn says 2,000 dollars a month
I live in a new flat everything incl car food only comes to about 700€ its cheap here.


Mickyfinn said:
13 July 2014 @ 18:35

If living on €700 per month works for you Molly thengood luck to you.


Brian said:
13 July 2014 @ 21:24

You start by thinking its a good climate but soon realize Spain is a lot lot more than sunshine. Yes its a wonderful place to live especially if you accept the culture and way of life as your own.


molly said:
14 July 2014 @ 21:30

Thank you Brian, I think its like marriage you only hear about the bad ones.


Terry Boyle said:
16 June 2015 @ 18:19

short stays ok but not to live there officials just want you money but give nothing in return.


Terry Boyle said:
16 June 2015 @ 18:20

short stays ok but not to live there officials just want you money but give nothing in return.


AlanR said:
19 March 2016 @ 01:17

Moderation in all things!
Living in Spain for less than 183 days a year avoids
need to interact with tax system there. It is still
possible to gain a "green card" NIE and certificate
of local residence if one has a full-year property
address. Rental is cheap where I live on El Hierro.

My budget is about £6000 per year out of my UK
income to cover life in Spain. I stay in UK for the
summer and a couple of other trips each year. An
extra cost was buying a car on El Hierro but my
rental includes a garage for when I am away.

Living on a small peninsular I have sea views to
the front, back and side with less than five mins
walk to the actual sea. With year-round climate
including 18-22 degrees what is not to like?


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