Spain is by far the most popular country in the whole of Europe for people to retire to and there are excellent reasons behind this. Whether it is the relaxed way-of-life or the glorious weather that is nearly always a good few degrees higher than more northern climes, each and every year literally thousands of retirees set their sights firmly on this new country to settle down in. However, with such tremendous popularity often come myriad problems that you really need to be aware of before finally deciding to retire to Spain.
The Vastness of the Country
One of the biggest mistakes made by people looking to retire to Spain is presuming that the whole country is absolutely the same across its entire length. This could not be any further from the truth! You need to remember that Spain is exceptionally diverse and even more importantly—the resorts on the costas are definitely not representative of this country on the whole. Inland Spain is a million miles away from coastal Spain; just as the greener north is another world away from the dry and arid south. If you are considering retiring to Spain, it is always a good idea to visit several regions first and decide which one suits you best.
Again, down to the sheer size of this nation, do not presume that the weather is always going to be hot and sunny across the whole country. The weather and climate varies drastically across Spain: with the north and west tending to be wetter and cooler than the south and east.
Even more importantly, though, you need to be sure that the weather in certain parts of the country will be comfortable for you. Some areas can become exceptionally hot during the summer months—with values regularly reaching into the forties degrees Celsius—therefore you need to make sure you are fit and healthy enough to survive such conditions.
The Cost of Living
Yes, it is fair to say that many parts of Spain can offer a reasonably-priced standard of living—although there are definitely many cheaper areas in Europe and the world. However, you need to bear in mind that certain cities and more affluent resorts can be extremely expensive when compared with the rest of the country. Barcelona is a prime example here. If you are on a limited budget, do your research before you take the plunge and retire to Spain.
This is perhaps the most important factor on the list of mistakes made when retiring to Spain. You see, there are certain parts of the costas that are notorious for being crime hotspots—they’re not called the ‘costa del crime’ without good reason! It is imperative for you to investigate the local crime statistics before you decide on settling in a particular area. That said, it is worth noting that the vast majority of the country of Spain does not experience crime rates that would give cause for concern. It seems to be the unwelcome criminals who have settled along the costas who are responsible for the majority of the crime committed in these areas.
Too Remote an Area
Another common mistake made by people retiring to Spain is to settle in an area that is too cut-off and remote. Yes, a particular spot may look absolutely beautiful and will offer all the peace and tranquillity you would ever desire. However, do not choose to settle in areas that have no connections with the rest of the world. You do still have to liaise with local amenities and you do not want to be off the map when it comes to the emergency services.
Too Buy or Not to Buy?
When it comes to Spain, this really is the $64,000 question! We have all heard those horrific stories about ‘land grab’ and we have seen TV programmes reporting on poor retirees who have lost absolutely everything after purchasing property in Spain. Perhaps the best advice here would be to think about renting a property in Spain to start—while you find your feet in the country and decide whether or not buying a property here would be right for you. At such a time, if you still own a property in another country, there is nothing to stop you from renting this out and using this towards the cost of rent in Spain. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket and take the plunge straight away; especially if you have a few niggling reservations in the back of your mind.
Retiring to Spain could prove to be one of the easiest and most rewarding experiences of your life; however, if you fail to recognize the mistakes made by so many thousands of your predecessors, it could turn out to be an unmitigated disaster. Do yourself a favor and learn the 6 mistakes made when retiring to Spain to make sure you do not follow suit.