Why Spain???

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Why Spain???


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Old 10th June 2011, 09:22 AM
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Users Flag! Originally from uk. Users Flag! Expat in spain.
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I'm having one of my "thoughtful" moments!! (scary)

Why is it people gravitate to Spain?? The sunshine? the memories of carefree holidays? the atmosphere? the space? the people? or the most popular one is "we're fed up with the UK"

It does seem that many, many people who come onto the forum with their dream of "living in the sun" think that it is the answer! But it is a dream and as such, isnt real!! A holiday is nothing like living here!

Spain is a truly lovely place to live and to be. BUT, it isnt an easy place to live and it isnt a cheap place. There is mass unemployment, millions of half built or empty properties, poverty, crime, drugs, a black economy and a government who seems to be trying to be all things to all men (and the EU) and possibly failing (Sorry, I dont do politics)

To live in Spain, you need an income cos there is no social security, child allowance, unemployment benefit, free healthcare, family credit, housing benefit etc as there is in the UK. Yes, there are people here who "duck and dive" and live from hand to mouth, but that isnt easy and its dog eat dog in that environment, and dont forget, there is nothing and nowhere to fall back on when there is no money - I doubt that anyone would even be prepared to pay for your flight home if you fail. So no, Spain isnt as easy to live in as the UK and of course the systems here are complicated - even getting the infamous NIE number is a trial, especially if you are new and dont understand the way things are here. then if you are lucky enough to get proper work here you'll need to get a social security number (not easy), or if you want to start your own business theres the hurdles with going autonomo and having to pay the 250€ fee each month.

To buy a car and the rules of car tax, ITV/MoT are different and bringing your UK car here is complicated unless you drive illegally and dont bother to matriculate it and hope you dont get caught or kill anyone in it. Alot of expats do and for some strange reason think its ok - altho they'd be the first to berate someone doing that in the UK! But the authorities here are clamping down big time on British car drivers - they are seen at our international school most mornings - cos why would a tourist be taking their kids to school in Spain?????

To actually live here is probably a bit cheaper than the UK, rent is cheaper without a doubt, electricity is about the same, food etc is maybe a bit cheaper, petrol, booze and ciggies are cheaper, elctronics and cars are dearer. So thats a plus, altho without an income, taking out the various benefits you'd get in the UK, its possibly a break even scenario.


I'm not being negative. I'm trying to say that Spain IS a great place to live, BUT, it is not easier than the UK, it is not the cheap, easy option for those who are fed up with the UK. The days of coming here to escape the nanny state back there are gone. The nanny state is claustrophobic and OTT, but its nanny who is always there when things go wrong and she aint in Spain! Dont come here simply cos you want to escape that and think life is easier here - especially if what you have back there is solid and secure!

So the decision to move to Spain has to be that you want to live here and not just a carefree place in the sun. You are prepared for the differences and to be self reliant and informed. That you know that you're not coming here to live the easy life, sitting on a terrace is the sunshine, with a glass of vino watching the kids frolicking in the pool. You're coming here because you have a plan and a well thought out budget, that you are prepared for the hard work and know where to go and how to sort things out here.

I'll shut up now

Jo xxxx

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Old 10th June 2011, 09:33 AM
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Users Flag! Originally from uk. Users Flag! Expat in spain.
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Good stuff Jojo.

Why Spain? Top of my list is the people. I have been to many countries all round the world and the only places I really felt I could happily fit in and live the sort of life I wanted were the West of Ireland and Southwest Andalucia, So I chose the place with the better weather.

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Old 10th June 2011, 09:43 AM
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Well, it is not the weather for me, SA has fantastic weather, not people, I have great friends....my reason was pretty simple really. Culture.

I have travelled to many places, experienced many different cultures and customs but none intrigued me more than the Spanish. Love the culture, even the manana attitude

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Old 10th June 2011, 10:02 AM
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A very thoughtful and perceptive post, Jo.
Obviously, people come here for many different reasons.
I think that for many people, Spain is seen as 'safe', not too foreign. If your experiences of Spain have been package holidays especially then you could easily be mislead into thinking that life here would be not that much different from life in Bognor, Bradford or Bournemouth.
Hence perhaps the many posts from wannabe immigrants along the 'living in Spain is our dream, can't speak Spanish, will do anything' variety.
As you rightly point out, life ain't like that.
Why did we come here?
Well, I think OH always wanted to settle in Spain for a few years.I didn't, I'd always wanted to live in Central or Eastern Europe. As a vegetarian, life in Prague wasn't easy for OH and she began to fade away.
The winters were real brass monkeys there, often snow from November to April and temperatures of minus twenty -five C at times.
I have to confess that we are both a trifle materialistic in that we like the availability of 'good' shops, restaurants etc. within easy reach if not on our doorstep where we like it to be very tranquil. Hence our settling in this quiet neck of the woods but near to the fleshpots of Puerto Banus etc.
Another reason was that our family has property here and visits very frequently.
So we upped and offed.
A few friends raised their eyebrows when I said we were moving to the CDS and tbh I wasn't sure I'd like it as I 'm more 'Central European' inclined.
But I feel so comfortable here, we've made loads of friends of all nationalities and have involved ourselves in community life.
There must be evil Spaniards, of course...but we've yet to come across one.
So Viva Espana......but don't let's run down the UK which is still a pretty good place to live.


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Old 10th June 2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojo View Post
I'm having one of my "thoughtful" moments!! (scary)

......To live in Spain, you need an income cos there is no social security, child allowance, unemployment benefit, free healthcare, family credit, housing benefit etc as there is in the UK. Yes, there are people here who "duck and dive" and live from hand to mouth, but that isnt easy and its dog eat dog in that environment, and dont forget, there is nothing and nowhere to fall back on when there is no money - I doubt that anyone would even be prepared to pay for your flight home if you fail. So no, Spain isnt as easy to live in as the UK and of course the systems here are complicated - even getting the infamous NIE number is a trial, especially if you are new and dont understand the way things are here. then if you are lucky enough to get proper work here you'll need to get a social security number (not easy), or if you want to start your own business theres the hurdles with going autonomo and having to pay the 250€ fee each month......

Jo xxxx
Whilst I agree with the sentiment of the post JoJo, I do wonder at how much these posts reflect a like for like comparison as otherwise, who gets something for nothing when they arrive in another country?

If a Spaniard goes to live in the UK and immediately "goes on the social", I believe they'd get pretty swift reality checks wouldn't they? In fact, would they even get a doctor immediately?

Your points are all valid, but not really relevent within the "different", as you say, Spanish system. For example. "No child benefit".... not entirely true. No, there isn't a direct payment to the mother of a certain amount every month. But allowances through the tax system are large enough to more than make up for it. In Spain, a person with 3 kids can earn well over a 1000 per month before paying any tax. Not so in the UK.... anymore - in fact, since child allowance came in, a maried guy with 4 kids pays exactly the same tax as a single man on the same amount. So, the point of your comment is right, if you don't have any earnings of any sort, there is no "child allowance", but if you do have earnings, there are in fact quite generous ones - though not paid in the same way as the UK.

Also, there is Unemployment benefit -in fact, some argue that it's way too generous. People, in the good times, used to take 6 months or even a year off, if they got on well with their boss, because benefit payment is so high that you can virtually work 3 years on and half off, then just get another job. The bad news is that it has to build up and risking that, today, is a bad idea as the jobs aren't around any more. Many have said and I agree, a payment similar to the UK of far less for far longer would be of much higher benefit to the country.

Also there is a major benefit which so far as I know, doesn't exist in the UK. Anyone who is made redundent at or after age 52, gets what in effect is a half pension for life or until they get a job up to retirement age. This is based on the last 6 years of earnings. Clearly this is, once again, for people within the system who loose their job.

The above two scenarios are both for people who are in the system and end up loosing their job. Healthcare depends where in Spain you live. In some Autonomies you only have to be empadronado to get it free, in others, you only get it if you earn under a certain amount of money (sin recursos does not mean homeless and broke). Either way, given the cost of private medical insurance in Spain, if you can't afford a private policy, chances are your income is low enough to get Social Security cover under the Sin Recursos laws.

Getting an SS number is as easy as going to the nearest SS office, showing them your NIE and getting a number assigned to you. Doesn't mean you're entitled to anything, but getting the Association Number, in my experience, can't be much easier.

Getting a NIE, for EU citizens, is a bit of slow beurocracy I admit, but recently improved a lot via the move to the National Police Provincial offices from the previously slow Foreign offices... now left for non EU people.

Last but not least. The famous 250€ autonomo fee. I was self employed in the UK, and I wish it was as little as 250€ per month including my pension payments.
Be interesting to know how much your OH (I assume he's working under Ltd status) pays accountant fees, companies house, VAT etc., etc. Given the closure of Schedule D for all, unless you're a plumber or electrician working for the general public, being self employed in the UK ain't cheap either.

One thing I am totally with you on. The fact that the autonomo route is ALL there is in Spain. No limits for VAT registration, no way to clean someone's garden or pool once a fortnight and other minor earners without being "fully" in the system. But then, how are those jobs done in the UK? - No income tax, no VAT, no money back, no guarantee......

... and those folk are on the rock and roll as well, and on dissability and on housing etc., etc.... for now. I think Mr Cameron has other ideas!

Xose

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Old 10th June 2011, 01:07 PM
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I guess my thoughts were directed at those who "stare" longingly at Spain with rose coloured specs on and think coming here is the answer, like a visitor I've recently had here. He initially thought he could get a cheap property, do a bit of "this and that" to make money and spend the rest of the time living as if he were on holiday - easy!!

Yes, the spanish and those who are in the system here are covered - well just!!! But for those who are thinking of just coming over for an easy life - none of it is available!! And thats my point. Its a serious move, that needs serious and careful planning. Its not something you do cos you're fed up with the UK and its not an easy transition

Jo xxx

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Old 10th June 2011, 01:18 PM
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Cos its closer to the UK than Australia

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Old 10th June 2011, 01:21 PM
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Cos its closer to the UK than Australia
or in my case cos it's almost as far away from Aus as the UK is

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Old 10th June 2011, 01:36 PM
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Just for the record I lived and worked in the UK for a few years. I worked hard, two jobs. I paid my duties, I paid my dues, I paid council taxes, work taxes, VAT's, Tv taxes, and lots of different taxing- things.
I found paper work just as annoying as anywhere else.

The Driving Code is much much much easier than in Spain, so I did my test there ,and I passed. I had never managed to pass in Spain after several attempts.

My flat got mugged. Twice. Police didn't help, but they gave us some nice looking brouchures

Then I got sick one day and went to get emergency treatment, but after severa hours waiting they were no doctors available, so I went back home. THe thirthy or so people that required emergency treatment were still waiting when I left.

It pissed down all the bloody time. The metro was never on time. Same for the bus service. Traffic was nightmarish. Petrol too expensive, and I didn't know how to pump it myself.

My best friend was from Seychelles. She was fun and we are still very good friends, but god, she was lazy. Her husband was a proper loser, and earnt his living out of selling weed. One day she got pregnat and they got a free house in Hounslow. How cool is that? Now I can see where my taxes were going.

I was relieved when we left, we moved from London to Qatar at the time and I understand why people want to get away from working their butts off just for paying other peoples lazyness.
I would go back , should we be in a situation that we desperately need to find a job.

Why Spain. I suppose the weather is nice, and it is not so foreing as Egypt, or Tailand or Fiji. It's a short flight from other european destination. It's not cheap, but people don't rip you off on a daily basis, like in other european resorts . It has nice landscapes. I don't like to say about the people , cos I always encountered friendly people everywhere I have been, probably friendlier than in Spain, but we aren't particularly agresive.

But there is no jobs.

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Old 10th June 2011, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonrisa View Post
Just for the record I lived and worked in the UK for a few years. I worked hard, two jobs. I paid my duties, I paid my dues, I paid council taxes, work taxes, VAT's, Tv taxes, and lots of different taxing- things.
I found paper work just as annoying as anywhere else.

The Driving Code is much much much easier than in Spain, so I did my test there ,and I passed. I had never managed to pass in Spain after several attempts.

My flat got mugged. Twice. Police didn't help, but they gave us some nice looking brouchures

Then I got sick one day and went to get emergency treatment, but after severa hours waiting they were no doctors available, so I went back home. THe thirthy or so people that required emergency treatment were still waiting when I left.

It pissed down all the bloody time. The metro was never on time. Same for the bus service. Traffic was nightmarish. Petrol too expensive, and I didn't know how to pump it myself.

My best friend was from Seychelles. She was fun and we are still very good friends, but god, she was lazy. Her husband was a proper loser, and earnt his living out of selling weed. One day she got pregnat and they got a free house in Hounslow. How cool is that? Now I can see where my taxes were going.

I was relieved when we left, we moved from London to Qatar at the time and I understand why people want to get away from working their butts off just for paying other peoples lazyness.
I would go back , should we be in a situation that we desperately need to find a job.

Why Spain. I suppose the weather is nice, and it is not so foreing as Egypt, or Tailand or Fiji. It's a short flight from other european destination. It's not cheap, but people don't rip you off on a daily basis, like in other european resorts . It has nice landscapes. I don't like to say about the people , cos I always encountered friendly people everywhere I have been, probably friendlier than in Spain, but we aren't particularly agresive.

But there is no jobs.
Its great to hear the "other side"!! Somone from Spain moving to the UK!!

Thanks

Jo xxx

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