In 2019, Spain was officially ranked a the #1 country in Europe for retirement, with the UK coming in at #17. If you’re considering retiring in the Spanish sunshine yourself, read on to learn why Spain is so suitable for retirees, and for advice on how to take those first steps.
Spain leads the way as the best country for retirees.
20% of Spain’s population are now aged over 65, and we certainly see plenty of Brits looking to retire in Spain come through our doors. Whilst the lure of all-year sunshine and the sea may play a part in your decision to retire abroad, we know there are a lot of other factors to keep in mind.
Important considerations when choosing your retirement location:
Property prices and cost of living
For those considering retirement in Spain, the first thing you’ll be pleased to learn is that Spanish property prices remain remarkedly competitive. For the average price of a 1 or 2 bed flat in the UK, you could find yourself with a delightful detached bungalow in Murcia for the same cost!
Importantly, it’s not just the property prices that are low. The cost of living in Spain is also very reasonable, meaning that pensions are able to stretch further. Fresh food can be picked up from the local markets at a fraction of the cost of supermarket food, and even meals out are very affordable, allowing you to enjoy the Spanish cuisine without breaking the bank. Council tax is also on average 75% cheaper than that of a comparable UK property!
Healthcare for retired expats in Spain
We know that this is a huge consideration for those thinking of retiring in Spain, and thankfully, the healthcare system in Spain is very good.
Spain has a public healthcare system (the SNS) that is currently accessible for anyone with a Spanish social security number. Expats over 65 who qualify are entitled to free healthcare, just like you’re used to in the UK. If you would prefer, there are also excellent private healthcare options.
Spain’s hospitals and medical facilities are well-regarded, with almost all doctors speaking English. You’re never far from good quality medical assistance if you should need it, something which we know isn’t to be taken for granted.
It’s not just the healthcare system itself that should be highlighted when talking about retiring in Spain – the climate offers wonderful benefits to the health too!
Many people have recounted that their arthritis and asthma symptoms have dramatically reduced, if not disappeared completely! Additionally, the warmer all-year climate does wonders for circulation, meaning that the prevalence of heart-related diseases is also dramatically reduced.
If that wasn’t enough, it’s predicted that Spain will have the longest life expectancy in the whole world by 2040! Need any more reasons to retire in Spain? Learn more about the health benefits.
Quality of life when retiring in Spain
This has to be the most important thing, right? Spain has plenty to offer when it comes to quality of life:
- Relaxed lifestyle – in Spain, everyone takes things at their own pace, particularly in the more traditional villages. The culture of ‘siestas’ still remains strong!
- Established retirement communities – even for expats, there are a number of already established ‘retirement hotspots’ for those looking to retire in Spain with like-minded individuals. We can advise you on the areas most likely to suit you.
- Sunshine – Spain’s south coast benefits from an average of 320 days of sunshine per year, allowing you to get out and enjoy your retirement whilst getting a Vitamin D boost too!
- Something for everyone – from trying the mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine from the many local restaurants, visiting Spain’s wonderful historical sites, sunbathing on the beach or getting out in nature, Spain has something for everyone.
New build properties
Due to Spain’s increasing popularity with expats, many top property developers are now investing in the area. This means you can benefit from modern, quality builds that come with a 10 year architect’s warranty as standard.
A key advantage of purchasing a new build property is that as many are available to reserve prior to completion, you often have the opportunity to amend the designs to suit your specific needs. This could include adding a pool or accessibility features.
Spain has an abundance of lovely apartments that are often ideal for retirement due to their central locations and community aspect. If you no longer want the hassle of maintaining a whole house and garden, an apartment is a great choice.
Villas offer you that bit more space, meaning they’re perfect for if you like entertaining or plan to have family visit. A key benefit is having your own garden, which means that you can soak up the sun or enjoy al fresco dining in privacy.
Pensions and Spain
When it comes to retiring in Spain and your pension, there are two options for you to consider. Both of these are outlined below.
Pension payments directly to your Spanish bank account
When you set up your Spanish bank account, you’ll receive an International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and a Bank Identification Code (BIC). These are the two pieces of information you need to transfer your pension.
Once the transfer is done, your pension will automatically arrive in your Spanish account. This is preferable for those who don’t want to fuss with transferring it every month, but doesn’t give you any control over the exchange rate used during the transfer.
Pension payments to your UK account
By keeping your pension payments going to your UK bank account, you have full control over when and how you transfer it into Euros to go into your Spanish account.
Many people choose to use a currency exchange specialist who can help them get the best exchange rates on the market at that time. Some specialists also allow you to fix an exchange rate for future transfers which may give you peace of mind.
Safety and security
You’ll be pleased to hear that Spain is within the top 10% of safest countries in the world! Although no where is immune to criminal activity, the crime rate in Spain is extremely low.
Generally speaking, the most common crimes are small pickpocketing or petty theft activities, usually in the larger city centres. Voilent crimes are extremely rare so you can rest easy.
For added peace of mind, many new build property complexes come with security features such as electric gates and CCTV as standard!
Finding your own retirement property in Spain
If, like many of our clients, you’ve decided that retiring in Spain is right for you, the next thing you’ll want to do is see some Spanish properties in person!
Spanish property viewing trips
Since 1985, we’ve offered £99p.p. viewing trips to help our clients safely find their dream Spanish homes.
From the moment you arrive on your 3-4 day, all inclusive property trip, everything will be taken care of for you. One of our friendly, English-speaking property experts will meet you at the airport and be your guide for the whole trip.
You can ask them about any and all aspects of retiring in Spain, the best locations for retirees and any other advice you’re looking for.