Questions to ask yourself before retiring abroad
As with any big move you need to ask yourself a number of questions to decide on whether you are making the right decisions. Considering retiring to the sunny climes of Spain? Then take a look at the ten most important questions you should ask before you take the plunge.
What sort of lifestyle do you want?
The main question you should ask yourself. Just what sort of lifestyle do you want? Spain offers a nice relaxed pace of living in the rural areas whereas in the cities it can be anything but. Seeing as your looking to retire overseas a quieter more sedate pace of life might be just the thing, but then again just because you’re old doesn’t mean you necessarily want to hide from the world. Decide on your lifestyle choices before migrating!
What income will you have?
Before moving you should make sure you have enough money in your pension and savings pot to live comfortably. Another major factor that will impact your finances is the exchange rate. Using a Foreign exchange company, like TorFX, for your currency transfers instead of a bank will certainly save you money!
Are you ready to leave behind your friends and family?
This is by far one of the most common reason s for expats returning home. You may be craving the Spanish climate but you should always keep in mind what you will be leaving behind. If you have children and grandchildren you need to ask yourself whether you are prepared to miss out on large chunks of their lives. Before moving to Spain try and future proof the move by making sure you move to a place that is close to an airport and always keep enough travel money in reserve.
Should I learn Spanish?
Yes is the answer. By learning the language you will find that your experience becomes far more fulfilling once you immerse yourself fully into the Spanish way of life. Not to mention the benefit of being able to communicate with your neighbours if necessary.
Should I make a UK and Spanish Will?
Make sure you make a local will in Spain to cover all of your assets in the country. You should also have a will in your country of origin to deal with your money and assets there. Do not leave it until it’s potentially too late to get your wills sorted – no matter what age you are, if you’re an adult you should be responsible enough to have a will so that your family does not have the additional stress and trauma of sorting out your estate when you die.
Do I need an accountant?
Having an accountant is vital if you want to make life easier. Taxes in Spain are very confusing and the purchase of a property and sorting your foreign earned income can become difficult to juggle. Having the service of an accountant will make things a lot easier.
Should I just buy a property?
No! The Spanish housing market is a potential minefield for any expats looking to invest in a Spanish property. Before looking hire the services of a reputable lawyer to help you navigate the risks. Another good idea is to rent before you buy to ensure that you genuinely enjoy the area and property. After all once you’ve retired you have all the time in the world to discover Spain, there’s no need to rush.
Do I need central heating in Spain?
Oh yes! Just like any other country the weather does get cold in the winter months. Split unit air conditioning units are not sufficient in the dead of winter. Ignore anyone who tells you otherwise!
Will I/We need health insurance?
Probably the most important thing to get sorted is health insurance. You should be covered upon your arrival if your home country has a reciprocal agreement with Spain. However, if you’re retiring early or want more than just access to basic health care, you will need to look at getting private health insurance. The sooner you search out a suitable policy the better, as some insurers refuse to cover those over a certain age unless they have already been paying into a policy for a set term.
The best way to exchange our money?
Foreign exchange (or Forex) brokers follow market movements and trends and can help you choose the right time to make a transfer, allowing you to get more for your money, and they don’t charge commission or transfer fees. They can also offer you a more flexible rate than banks. Typically, banks will set a rate for the day and it won’t alter, regardless of what the markets are doing. The rate a Forex broker can offer isn’t fixed but reflects the current situation in the marketplace; by using a Forex company for your transfer you ensure that you don’t miss out on a positive movement. Forex companies can also give you the option of ‘fixing’ a rate several months in advance – a benefit few banks provide.
It can also be far more convenient to use Forex Company, particularly if you have to make regular transfers (to pay a foreign mortgage or international school fees say). With TorFX, for example, you can quickly and easily set up a regular overseas payment scheme, taking all the stress and hassle out of transfers.