5 top tips when retiring to Spain

Retiring in Spain

When retiring to Spain as well as making sure your residency paperwork is all in order, there are of course many other elements you need to organise and put in place. Here are Upsticks’ five top tips of things you should keep in mind when making the move to Spain. This video about retiring in Spain is an interesting watch too.

1.Finances, taxes & expenses – where, when and how to pay them

Knowing when, where, and how to pay your new tax and finance liabilities is crucial when moving to Spain. Aside from restructuring your income, which often means adjusting it to meet residency requirements, you must also be mindful of where your income is sourced from and understand your financial structure in Spain. For instance, local vehicle tax is typically charged once a year, unlike in the UK where you can opt for monthly payments. As for property tax (known as IBI in Spain), the frequency of payments depends on your residential area: some regions require one or two lump sums annually, while others might offer a monthly payment structure, which is a big difference to the standard monthly council tax payments in the UK for example. Lastly, when it comes to insurance, it’s essential to plan ahead – if you’re considering switching providers at the end of your current policy term, you’ll usually need to notify your existing company well in advance.

2.Transport-  You have a car but what happens when It breaks down? Buses, trains, taxis, friends and neighbours. 

Having a reliable transport and communication network is essential. Many people buy properties in remote areas or places with limited public transport access, so owning a car is a necessity. But what if your car breaks down? It’s vital to establish connections with a trusted garage and perhaps even a backup one. Remember, many establishments shut down during peak holiday times like August, summer, and Christmas so having a Plan B is a good idea. Familiarise yourself with the local bus and train networks, and make sure you have the contact details of a dependable taxi service. Keeping a list of phone numbers of friends, neighbours and any nearby relative will prove invaluable in emergencies, when you can’t use your car or access public transport.

3.Food -, local supermarkets, shops, take outs and garages. 

Food, glorious food! All jokes aside, knowing where to source the ingredients for the famous Mediterranean diet is vital – and don’t forget those little emergencies like realising on a Sunday that you’ve forgotten the chicken for your roast. Spain does operate a bit differently from the UK; sometimes certain items are available only in specific places. While the larger towns and cities boast supermarkets like Mercadona and Carrefour, akin to Tesco in the UK, if you live in the “campo” (countryside) you may find yourself limited to local and speciality shops. It’s also worth scouting for local takeaways for those days when cooking feels like a chore or when you have guests. Surprisingly, local garages can often come to the rescue with essentials like bread and eggs.

4.Professional and paid network

Unexpected challenges are bound to arise as you get used to your new home. Whether it’s a burst pipe, a sudden power cut, or navigating the intricacies of maintaining a swimming pool for the first time, you’ll face situations that will need expert intervention. You might have the filter instructions, but when the timer breaks, who do you turn to? Or when summer brings a surge of ants you’ve never encountered before, who can help? From bug exterminators to electricians, have a comprehensive list of contacts for any eventuality, including cleaners, gardeners, or even babysitters for those times when family visits and you fancy a night out without the grandkids. Building and maintaining a network of trusted professionals and having their contact details at your fingertips is a great idea..

5.Thinking the unthinkable

Planning for a funeral right after moving might seem premature, but it’s an essential consideration. What measures have you taken for unexpected accidents, or the passing of a loved one? Is all your paperwork organised? Have you set up Spanish wills? Do you have a list of emergency contacts who can help with the necessary arrangements? This might be the single most important support network to establish while living in Spain, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. To ensure you have the best support during the toughest times, prepare a comprehensive funeral plan, ensure your finances are well-structured, and put together an emergency folder for those vital documents and make sure your family knows where to find it. One particularly challenging scenario to consider, especially for couples, is if something happens to both of you. How will your family manage your assets and inheritance in Spain? While it’s a topic many shy away from, it’s imperative to get to grips with it and sort it out sooner rather than later.. For more information,, check out our YouTube video titled “Are You Prepared for the Worst?”

The dream of retiring to Spain is one that we see realised at Upsticks week in week out,  with many of our clients now years into their journey. Having these essential elements organised beforehand will give you peace of mind, while you sit back and enjoy your new life in the Sun.

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