Spanish Retirement Nightmares

More and more people who retired to Spain several years ago are finding that retirement life in Spain isn’t panning out as expected. Many people who chose to buy a retirement property a few years ago are finding that they didn’t plan ahead for their futures enough. In Spain, social care is done by the family rather than the state, therefore if anything unforeseen happens such as a partner dying, or ill-health, retirees are finding that they don’t have enough resources to cope.

And it’s not just retired people – it’s happening to all age groups. There are people in their twenties who bought into time-share schemes in the hope of making some money, only to see them collapse. In Spain, if you have a job, all is rosy; without one, you lose most entitlements to benefits.

The Foreign Office in Spain says that thousands of foreigners in the country are now in dire straights. The British Consultate in Malaga says that most of their time is spent dealing with the elderly who have resided in Spain for a good few years, but who did not have adequate preparations for their new life and are now paying the price.

According to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), it’s a problem is likely to grow in the near future with many more foreigners buying their retirement properties in the sunshine of Spain. It is such an issue that British charity Age Concern have setup an office in Majorca to help out those retiress in need.

It is important to plan for the future and to plan for the ‘worst case scenario’. It is worth remembering that there are often no old people’s homes, no district nursing, community care or meals on wheels, so you must ensure that if something happens to your health, you have a good support system around you to enable you to cope. When you repatriate to another country and you officially become a resident, you should be entitled to the same support as any other citizen of the country. However, support varies from country to country, so investigate what may be available fully before you move.

Financial planning should feature highly when you are considering a move abroad – remember that most budgets go over their expected amounts, so add a little extra in. If you are renovating a property, make sure all costs including legal are included. If you can, learn the language – the IPPR report shows that an inability to speak the local language is one of the biggest barriers when it comes to settling down in your chosen country.

So, the moral of the story is to do your research well in advance and make sure your plans cover every possibility.

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