Retiring to Spain
Jostling with France each year as the most popular destination for retiring overseas, Spain leads the way as the most popular retirement destination for Brits. And with good reason. The exceptional climate, slower pace of life, unrivalled accessibility and lower living costs means your happiness, social life, life expectancy and pension stretches further here than almost anywhere else.
But you knew most of this anyway. Convincing a pensioner that retiring to Spain is a good idea is one of life’s easier tasks. The hardest part is convincing them just how easy it is to do. Investors may have been temporarily stung by the last few years of property tumult and turmoil, but buying a retirement property in Spain remains a sensible choice filled with variety, value and plenty of sound, professional advice available at every step.
How VIVA can help
- Finding the right area The Costa del Sol is a big place. There are so many areas suitable for retirees that it usually comes down to a matter of personal taste. Our knowledgeable and friendly agents will work hard to identify which towns, resorts or pueblos will best suit your needs – do you want isolation? Sure thing. Views of the Mediterranean or mountains? Not a problem. Swift access to the airport? Consider it done.
- Finding the right property Your VIVA representative can tailor an inventory of properties that suit your budget and preferences, arrange for you to fly over for a property tour, and advise on any new developments or bargains on the market. Not sure if you want a villa, a townhouse or an apartment? VIVA can help you make this life changing decision.
- Trustworthy legal advice Due diligence is not to be taken lightly – after the horror stories that have befallen a number of expat property owners in Spain in recent years, the market is more transparent than ever. But it is important to seek out professional, impartial advice, and VIVA will support you at every step of the way, from the moment you decide to buy to the day you collect the keys on your dream home in Spain.
- Thorough after care service Once you have bought your retirement property, VIVA’s Homecare team swings immediately into action, ensuring that your new life in the sun gets of to the very best possible start. The dedicated team can help with a whole variety of things you’ve probably forgotten to consider, including organising electricity, water and gas, sorting out an internet connection and telephone line, having new keys cut, arranging insurance quotes for cars or contents, and a whole host of other essentials. This is an optional service, so if you’re at ease with your move and have decent Spanish, you can of course go it alone.
Claiming your UK pension in Spain
If you are retiring to Spain, collecting your UK pension is an extremely straightforward process. It can be paid directly into your Spanish bank account in euros, for free. You can even claim your pension online.
However, before you leave the UK, it is advisable to contact the International Pension Centre, who will look at your individual situation and advise on how best to proceed. As a recipient of a UK state pension, you are automatically entitled to free access to healthcare, but the water becomes a little muddied if you have ever worked in Spain. If not, then it is plain sailing – give your bank details to the International Pension Centre and tell them how you would like your pension paid. There are more details here –
If you have worked or paid pension contributions in Spain
If you have ever paid tax or pension contributions in Spain, then even as a British national, if you retire here it is likely that you will be entitled to a Spanish retirement pension, rather than a British one. Fear not, for this is as straightforward as claiming for a pension in the UK. The Spanish government should have a record of your contributions, and so all you have to do is contact your local pension office, called the Instituto Nacional de Seguridad Social (INSS).
Things to remember
- Contact the International Pension Centre, HM Revenue & Customs’ National Insurance Contributions Office, and your local tax office before you leave
- If you have ever worked in Spain (or any other EU country for that matter) contact the local government where you paid tax – this will be taken into account when calculating your pension
- Will you be retiring permanently to Spain? If so, then you will be classed as a non-UK resident, and this has tax implications. Contact www.direct.gov.uk to find out more
- Healthcare > Including details on claiming state healthcare.
- Food and drink > Live the healthiest lifestyle around!
- Language > Learn the lingo and become part of the Spanish community.
- Money matters > Find out more about claiming your pension from Spain.
- Transport > Make sure you know how to get about if you're not a driver.