Multiple Questions from the Newbie
Posted: 07 August 2017 08:38 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2017-08-07

Hello,

The wife and I are considering retiring in Spain.  We’ve just started poking around, so we have a lot of questions:

1) Is it as awesome as it appears?
2) What is the cost of healthcare?
3) What do US expats do about Medicare when they are eligible?
4) If our investments reside in the US, what are the tax implications, and how do we manage exchange rate risk?
5) How is the cost of living?  What could we expect to spend on an annual basis to live comfortably and travel a bit in the rest of the EU, etc?

Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Posted: 28 September 2017 10:40 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2017-09-28

Hi!

I’ll give it a go. I think others will have better things to say, but here’s my young-ish, outside-the-norm view of things:

1. Yes.
2. I can’t give you any numbers - I bet some others here can, though - but the summary version is: “a whole less expensive than in the USA.” Depending on your particular situation, you might even be able to afford health care expenses as they arise (as costs are always / necessarily so high as to absolutely require insurance to cover them). That said, bear in mind that, to get a visa, you’ll have to purchase a health care coverage (meeting certain requirements and minimums specified by the MAEC).
3. ???
4. Maybe some others will have something more experienced and knowledgeable to say about “risk” and market/currency volatility more specifically. I will mention, though, something very basic that can set you in the right direction when you’re thinking about currency / exchange implications of money movements more generally: that’s that you should definitely use a currency exchange broker. (That’s exactly what they’re called.) I did some research before my purchase and chose one of them (TorFX). It was good, I was happy with it. There might be better ones out there, and maybe others can offer better insight here, but that’s something to help you start researching.
5. Generally a lot lower than in the USA. Depending on your location in the US and your location in Spain, it’ll vary a heckuva lot. Still, in general, I’ll tell you that for me it’s a whole lot more affordable to live in Spain. (Background: I’m comparing between one of the lowest cost-of-living areas in Spain to one of the lowest cost-of-living areas in the USA, and I’m a real minimalist in some ways that are important to me.) I don’t know what living comfortably and travelling a bit mean to you, so I couldn’t put a dollar amount on it.

Good wishes!

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Posted: 29 September 2017 06:48 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2017-08-07

Thanks for the reply, lashend!

Glad to hear it is as awesome as it appears! 

In the meantime, my wife and I found health insurance through a company called Sanitas.  It’s very reasonable and we may never need Medicare.

Thanks also for the referral to TorFX.  It sounds like you converted your savings to EUR all at once.  Is that correct?  What if we were to convert on as-needed basis?  Would you still recommend TorFX, or would you recommend against the as-needed approach?

We also found a site called Numbeo (http://www.numbeo.com) that has user-inputted cost of living data.  That data suggest that if we spend $7,000/month in the US, we can maintain the same lifestyle in Spain for $2,700/month.  Kind of hard to believe.

flavafil

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Posted: 29 September 2017 07:25 PM  
Tourist
Total Posts:  3
Joined  2017-09-28

Dear Flavafil,
I’ve heard of Sanitas, and I understand it’s a well-reputed company. I don’t know anything beyond that, sorry.

Yes, I converted all my savings at once to EUR via TorFX ** because I was buying an apartment **. That was just about the entirety of my savings. (So, yes, I still need to work to make living happen in the day to day; in that sense, it definitely helps that I’m such a minimalist.) Regarding your situation, here’s my very JV answer: I think your question about converting all at once or little by little depends on what sort of financial game-player and risk-taker you are, and what sorts of predictions you’d wager (or not wager) on. Will the dollar crash altogether? (Obviously in that case, it will have proven a great move to have converted all your savings at once.) Will the euro? (And in that case, it will have proven a really bad one.) Will the EU disestablish? (In that case, ????) Will the USA implode? (And in that case too, ?????) I don’t have any idea. I do know that I have an apartment to live in, and that’s what drove my choice. The one helpful thing I might have to say on this question is that, though currency brokers (such as TorFX and similar) will (as far as I can tell) prove the most economical option for making these money transfers, there’s still a substantial cost involved in each of the transfers. (A little like a “big” version of the charges you get nailed with when you take cash out of an ATM from a different bank.) I wasn’t playing with enormous amounts of money, I didn’t want to see big chunks of it disappear in transfer / transaction fees, … so I made what was basically an all-at-once decision. It might prove to have been a good move or not, but that’s why I made it, and I think it was a good choice (for me, at the time, etc.) I guess those are the sorts of things to be thinking about. (Sorry if I’m saying things that are obvious and that you thought of already last year.)

Again, I don’t know where you live in the US or how you spend your money, and so on; and in any case I think I sense that, in terms of lifestyle, we probably live on different planets. (For reference, your monthly expenditure is more than my annual one.) So I don’t think I’m a good comparator in the 7200:2700 does-that-make-sense question. That said – again depending on where you choose to live and what sort of house / apartment / etc. living situation you choose and whether you’re going to go golfing every day and so on – it *does seem entirely possible to me that the 7200:2700 equivalence could pertain.

Good wishes! Feel free to contact me if I can be helpful somehow. Again, I think we’re living different sorts of lives (and in that sense if you can find someone more helpful who is “more like you,” I’m sure she’d be a better resource than me), but if you think I might be able to lend some insight, please feel welcome to touch base.

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