If you’ve just upped sticks, sold your home and moved to Spain, you are in good company. According to Regency for Expats, “You’ll be joining the ranks of millions of globally mobile people who have chosen to expand their horizons and are now enjoying the thrills and spills of life overseas.” The latest Office for National Statistics report (2015) put the number of people born in the UK and currently living in other EU countries at 1.2 million, of which an estimated 300,000 have set up home in Spain. “There are also millions of likeminded individuals from the remaining 27 EU nations who have ventured overseas, with a large proportion also dropping anchor in Spain.” Senior underwriter at Regency for Expats, Jonathan Wright, passes on some tops tips provided by customers that can help you get the best out of your expat experience in Spain.
• EMBRACE MAÑANA
For the sake of your own sanity you must learn to accept and embrace “mañana”. There is no such thing as “quickly” popping in to the bank or the town hall or visiting the doctor (see solution below) – everything takes time. This applies doubly in August – nothing will get done! If you can mentally prepare yourself for a seemingly unnecessarily complicated and long-winded process your happiness rating will increase instantly.
• LOSE YOUR RESERVE… ADMIT YOU’RE HAPPY
The next step is to forget your natural reserve or stiff upper lip. You live in Spain now so just admit that you’re having a ball. Ninety-two per cent of expats polled by InterNations.org claimed to be happy with their new life in Spain, which is incredible when compared to the global average of just 15 per cent.
• JUMP THE QUEUE TO SEE A DOCTOR
The Spanish health care system is one of the best in world but you still have to wait for appointments and treatment. Yet, private medical insurance is the norm amongst expats looking for speedy treatment by doctors who speak their language. There is also the pesky problem of Brexit: no one knows how this will pan out for Brits living in the EU. Regency for Expats’ international health insurance covers everything from cancer treatment to hostage negotiation and mugging.
• LOOK AFTER YOUR FINANCES – LIFE INSURANCE
No one wants to think about it but… the death benefit from a life insurance policy can ensure your family is financially secure after your death. Twenty-four-hour practical assistance relieves them from making uncomfortable decisions and managing your interment or repatriating your body. Unlike other life insurance, Regency’s cover includes geographical extension, so your policy will be valid even if you die in another country.
• LEARN THE LINGO
The more you can say in Spanish the further you can go and the better you can integrate. Even faltering Spanish is appreciated by your Spanish hosts, although they might answer in English. Persevere and it will open up a completely new and exciting world. We could go on, but you should be outside enjoying your Costa del Sol lifestyle… not reading about it.