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Viewing posts categorised under: Moving to Spain

In for the long haul

By Susan Worthington - Topics: Investments, Mallorca, menorca, Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 4th June 2020

04.06.20

As a financial adviser, during lockdown I had the luxury of time to keep in touch with clients, albeit remotely.

In the first few weeks, the mission was to send out some facts and reassurance so that my clients all knew I was still there, whatever the current circumstances. But as the weeks went by, I had time to learn about how clients were reacting and whether they might feel their situation was under threat in any way. Was anything I was saying, helping them; was I missing any vital signals where help was needed?

My first experience with a major stock market crash was in 1987 and from that I learnt that the priority, when investing money, is to ensure you have a sufficient emergency reserve. Doing so will allow the upheaval to resolve itself without the desperate need to draw on investments during the most unfavourable times. Those needing income from their investments worry the most, but as long as everyone remains invested they have better potential to recover from sharp falls. March presented the toughest time.

At The Spectrum IFA Group we maintained weekly Zoom meetings with fellow advisers in Spain and from this came the concept of a questionnaire to send out, which I adopted to become The Lockdown Questionnaire.

in for the long haul

The results were reassuring and informative, giving me the opportunity to provide additional support where it was needed. It is still ongoing as not everyone has yet responded, although have told me they will do soon.

In brief, the results so far revealed the following:
8% only, had found lockdown difficult.
70% were very comfortable talking over the phone, on video chat or email.
78% were worried about their investments but understood that sitting tight was the key.
31% only, felt that now was a good investment opportunity.
78% have saved on their spending and felt in control financially.
31% felt their priorities with money had changed through lockdown.
92% which was reassuring, had enough emergency money set aside for the short term.
100% which was an excellent result, have an up to date will.

This is evidence to me that health comes first, but knowing that their money was doing the best it could under the circumstances and having regular contact does help to give peace of mind.

There is much ongoing activity for me now to follow up with. Some more hand holding, some more reviewing of income requirements, without any need to recommend a will!

If you would like to discuss managing your money in these volatile times, don’t hesitate to contact me with the details below.

Atypical expat family living in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 15th May 2020

15.05.20

Once upon a time there lived a British family in Southern Spain. I say British but in fact the wife had dual nationality, being both American and British. In fact they are still here.

They have 3 children, one adult son from her previous marriage living in the Middle East, their second son in boarding school in England and the youngest, their daughter, with them in Spain. His last position had been as an eminent surgeon in a well known teaching hospital in London. She had been a very successful realtor (estate agent) on the East coast of the USA. They had met through mutual friends when he was at medical conference in Boston. She brought with her to the marriage a respectably sized share portfolio which she had accumulated over the years.

They have a large five bedroom house in leafy suburbia in Surrey, UK. They have owned it since the arrival of their first child, several years after marrying. He sold his flat in central London a couple of years after their wedding and commuted to work every day from Dorking. Summer after summer brought nothing but rain and unpredictable weather. They finally decided to throw in the towel and move, lock, stock and barrel to Andalucia where they purchased a lovely house with gorgeous views over the Mediterranean. There in their retirement they play golf and have grown a circle of good friends, enjoying the lifestyle they had dreamt of in the UK. They rent out their Surrey home to visiting foreign film crews and have it managed by a competent agent.

They have a fair sized investment portfolio with a UK stockbroker who has underperformed their peers over the previous decade, which he learnt from talking to fellow golfers in the 19th hole at the club. He has become keen to change his broker and the portfolio, but is very concerned about the potential Capital Gains Tax.

estate planning

Relations with their eldest son have become increasingly strained due to his stepfather’s disapproval of her son’s lifestyle in Dubai. It has reached a point whereby he has changed his English Will to exclude him from his half of the joint estate. The parents do not have Spanish Wills.

Also growing is the worry about their house in the UK with rising maintenance costs and property taxes. The decision has been made to sell it. In any event, over the years they have owned it they are sitting on a very fine profit. But it seems that they can no longer label it as their prime home. After all, they have been resident in Spain for some considerable years.

Brexit arrived rather suddenly and they have become aware of their potential position as non EU citizens after the final deadline in December 2020.

While they have appointed a UK estate agent to handle the sale of their UK home, Covid-19 has arrived on the global scene. They watch with horror as their portfolios tumble in value. Before the arrival of the virus, they had a sale agreed and their lawyer has taken a large deposit on exchange of contracts. Now the property market is falling away.

Several of their acquaintances both in the UK and in Spain have contracted the virus and they are getting nervous of their own position, their children’s and what to do if they catch it. He is over 65 and becoming more vulnerable as time passes.

UK share portfolio

This couple faces several significant problems:

  • She has a US share and bond portfolio which is fully exposed to US taxes
  • He wants to sell out their UK portfolio and change holdings. It still shows a considerable gain
  • They want to sell their UK home which is still showing a considerable gain
  • They have no Spanish Wills which would cause problems in the event of first death, not least if the eldest son invoked Spanish Succession Law, to inherit his share
  • Although resident in Spain from several angles, they are not actually tax resident here but still tax resident in the UK
  • Apart from tax considerations, their residence status would become questionable in December 2020 (if the Brexit negotiations deadline is realised)
  • They need to complete the sale of their UK home as soon as possible before the market falls much further and their buyer pulls out (despite the hefty deposit he has made)

You might think this is just a story, but with only a few changes this was the reality of two of my longest held clients. Not all of the above may apply to you, but I’m sure certain elements of this brief bio resonate with many of you. The important thing to remember is that every element of this situation has a solution. As advisers here in Spain, we are expats too, and over the past years we have come across all (and more) of these situations. And we have always delivered a solution.

Do you relate to, or are you faced, with any of these issues? Do you know someone who does? They all have a solution. Why not call me for a chat over a coffee? If we are still in lockdown, we can talk about it on the telephone, all in the strictest confidence, of course.

Moving to Spain – When should I take financial advice?

By David Hattersley - Topics: Financial Planning, Financial Review, Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 2nd March 2020

02.03.20

For the majority of those who move to Spain, speaking to a qualified financial adviser, who is regulated where you plan to live, is something which happens after you have made the move. But, talking to one before you embark on the journey can help avoid some of the issues that expatriates can find themselves encountering.

Many UK based advisers are not fully regulated to offer advice for Spain and may not be aware of the most current regulations or tax efficient solutions for your needs. A Spanish regulated adviser can ensure you are financially prepared for your move in terms of any investments, savings and taxes which can be due on both income and windfalls you may be expecting after your move. A local adviser will also be able to clarify the potential impact of Spanish succession tax.

An additional complication in Spain is the variety of laws in each autonomous area. The classic example is the differing laws between Andalucia, Murcia & Valencia, so it makes sense to deal with a regulated adviser who is based in or near the autonomous area you are moving to.

Many people buy in Spain with plans of using their new Spanish property to retire to, either now or eventually. If it is the latter, in the interim period the property may be used to produce rental income, either via summer rentals or long term rentals, so there will be tax considerations. Depending on how long you are planning on living in Spain each year, residency may also become an issue. When holding property both here and in the UK, “Cross Border” regulations and differing types of tax are applicable to each country. Having a “Partner“ relationship brings its own complications.

Everyone’s situation is unique and there is no single ‘recipe’ that we can give to navigate buying a property in Spain. A regulated local adviser has no vested interest in which property you buy, yet will have a long history of experience of the path you are undertaking and will be able to help you create a plan to fit your own specific circumstances.

Investing an hour of two of your time to go over your project with an adviser before you make the move to Spain can provide direction, peace of mind and financial comfort when planning your new adventure. Rules and regulations can change. The potential impact of Brexit provides an example of how quickly this can happen, so consider taking action sooner rather than later.

Why don’t you contact me to arrange a free, no obligation discussion of your plans – either you will get confirmation that everything is in order, or perhaps some points will come up that you hadn’t thought about. Please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations that we provide.

Advice before you arrive in Spain

By John Hayward - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 21st February 2020

21.02.20

For the majority of those who move to a Spain, speaking to a qualified financial planning adviser, who is regulated and licensed in Spain, is something which generally happens after you have moved to Spain. It makes sense to understand the implications of moving to Spain in relation to existing investments and the taxes that come with those. Positioning one´s wealth correctly prior to moving can save thousands in unnecessary taxes.

Therefore, by talking to an adviser, especially one that has lived in Spain for more than 15 years and has experienced the life with his own family, before you embark on the journey can help avoid some issues which expatriates can find themselves encountering:

Many UK based advisers are not fully regulated to offer advice for those in Spain.

They are almost certainly of the most current regulations or tax efficient solutions for your needs, especially as the rules differ from one autonomous region to another.

A Spanish regulated adviser can ensure you are financially prepared for your move, in terms of any investments, savings and taxes which can become due on both income and windfalls you may be expecting after your move.

Tax free and favoured investments such as ISA´s, lump sums from pension funds, and Premium Bonds, are not tax free in Spain.

For those planning on using a property as the main source of income, an understanding of the overall cost and the Spanish taxes that property attracts is essential.

Making a Spanish Will, even if one has an English Will, is vital in order to make certain that wealth is distributed correctly.

Organising a funeral in Spain is a much quicker process than in the UK. For many the funeral is very traumatic if only for what needs to be organised, in Spanish. We can help you arrange a plan for you and your children to escape this trauma.

People overpay when it comes to currency exchange, many using their bank. What appears to be a free deal actually can cost you a lot of money. The exchange rate banks give can be way off the commercial rate. We can save you potentially thousands on your currency especially when you purchase or sell a property.

Investing an hour of two of your time before you make the move to Spain can provide peace of mind and financial comfort when planning a new adventure. We can help with all of the above, and much more.

Please contact me today to find out how we can help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports, or recommendations we provide.