Here are some tips for retirement in Spain:
1. Research and Plan to Retire – Read every book and article you can lay your hands on about moving to Spain. There are lots of magazines available on moving to Spain, living in Spain and retiring to Spain, so read them and learn from other people's experiences. The Internet is also a great resource for researching Spain and the moving process, and there are expat forums you can register on and ask questions.
2. Finances in Spain – You need to do some careful financial planning. Do you have enough income from pensions and policies to live comfortably in Spain? Can you afford a property of the style you want in your chosen area? What will your living costs be? Remember to budget carefully for your property purchase and to budget approximately 10% of the purchase price for fees and taxes.
3. The Worst – Consider what you would do if your partner dies. It's not a nice thing to think about but, if your partner dies and you cannot drive, you do not want to be stuck in a villa in the middle of nowhere. This is something to consider when picking an area and a property. You might want to live on an urbanization or in a community of other retired people from your home country.
4. Location – Think carefully about the best location for your needs. What facilities do you want and need? Are you going to be near medical facilities?
Make a list of facilities and use that list to narrow down your area. Also think about whether the area is going to get overcrowded in the summer and be like a ghost town in the winter.
5. Property – Consider what style of property would suit your requirements. Do you really need a pool? Remember that you will have to budget for pool maintenance unless you live in a community with a communal pool.
If you find moving around difficult, you may want a villa or an apartment with an elevator rather than a three storey town-house. Don't waste your time viewing properties that don't meet your needs or your budget.
6. Health Cover in Spain - Get health cover sorted out before you leave and make sure that you complete all of the necessary forms and have the correct documents. If you are a British pensioner, make sure that you have form E121 from the UK to register in Spain for free healthcare.
7. Get professional advice – Get tax advice before you move and after you move, so that you know your tax and financial situation. Use an abogado (lawyer) to help you with your Spanish property purchase and with making Spanish wills, and use a gestor to help you with Spanish bureaucracy.
8. Make a Spanish will – You will need a will made in your home country for any assets there and you will need a Spanish will covering your Spanish assets. See an abogado and tax adviser for inheritance planning.
9. Consider moving to Spain for a "retirement" trial period – keep a base in your home country and rent in Spain for a trial period. If living in Spain doesn't work out for you, it is easy to move back home. Rent in the area you are interested in, this will allow you to learn more about the area, view properties and research.
10. Take your time – Don't rush the decision and don't rush into buying a property. Spend your time researching, planning and finding more tips for retirement in Spain.