7. Retiring in Spain
Many thousands of retired couples have successfully made a
new life in Spain, enjoyed some of the happiest years of their
lives here and just wished they'd made the move when they were
The mild year-round climate, in all but the most northern
areas, an active outdoor lifestyle and the company of like-minded
couples are among the many attractions which induce so many
pensioners to retire in Spain.
Many older people have found that the climate, especially in
areas such as the Costa Blanca, has worked wonders for their
health and improved various ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism
But, as usual, I have some words of caution for those of you
now considering retiring to Spain. Without wishing to be always
the voice of doom, I must tell you that for every couple who
have made a success of life here, there seems to be another
couple whose dreams have turned sour.
There are many reasons for this. The main one being a failure
to discuss the proposed move in sufficient depth before taking
such a dramatic step. I often talk to retired couples who came
to Spain with different hopes and expectations - and very often
it's the case that the wife was persuaded to make the move
against her deepest feelings and better judgement.
Problems inevitably arise when children are left behind, even
if they're grown up "children", and especially if
there are young grandchildren. Women usually feel the wrench
more than men and in many cases the homesickness is just too
overwhelming for the new life in Spain to be a success.
My advice to you, if you think you may be one such couple
(or even if you're both convinced that moving to Spain is the
right thing to do), is to rent a villa or apartment in your
chosen area for at least a few months before you buy anything.
Get a real feel for the place and the way of life - all year
round, preferably, not just in high season when resort areas
are quite different than in the winter.
You may decide that the lifestyle really doesn't suit you
at all, that one or both of you is too homesick or that you
like Spain but you've chosen the wrong area. All good reasons
for dipping a toe in the water before you take the final plunge.
And consider your own state of health and that of your partner.
No-one likes to think about the possibility of a long term
illness, much less their own mortality. But these are facts
which have to be faced and it's better to do it before you
move to a foreign country and culture.
If either of you is in poor health you'll need to consider
the availability and proximity of appropriate medical services.
And maybe you should consider buying property in an area with
all amenities on your doorstep in case one or both of you is
unable to drive in the foreseeable future.
Many rentals are available at a cheap rate during the winter
months so "try before you buy" - get to know other
retired couples in the area and glean valuable information
from those who've gone before you.
Next I'll be talking about the advantages (and of course
the drawbacks!) of buying a property within a community of
8. Buying within a community of owners
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