Move to Spain?

I am retired by the U.S. military. I have a decent pension. I write books full time. I have much work done but nothing successfully published in any way. It is very, very difficult I have found to break into the USA book industry.  I am 54. I live in the USA in Massachusetts - nothing is keeping me here - nothing. I have pets. I will take three cats with me. I want to go to Spain - alone, no wife, etc. In a year or two, life can be short - and I don't want to wait ten or fifteen years from now. I want to know - what do I need to do to get the ball rolling? Should I live in Madrid? My Spanish is fair, I read it fluently, speak it fair -would you suggest I get on the Internet and start practicing it daily? I know for an American my age with zero college and no Spanish background it is rare to know as much Spanish as I do - I took it in high school and kept it up. I was thinking of Malaga, or Seville. Barcelona I hear is VERY expensive. I want to live in a decent apartment (in the U.K. - a flat) but not spend a fortune - a place that is not going to be burglarized. First steps - what would you suggest? A visit next year????          Glenn

First I would decide what type of life and lifestyle you would like, including weather, city, transport, costs, green spaces, expats, locals or a mix... make your list, do your online research.  Then plan a scoping trip.  Not everything is as it seems online, so it really worth a visit, even a day in each place, just to get the vibe and see if it is for you.   You should also look into what is needed for a long-term visa.  It sounds like you have a pension, so don't really plan to take a job in Spain, so that would be ideal for Non-lucrative or retirment visa.   We have loads of info on those as well as relocating.  Best of luck to you and let us know if we can help.

Glenn, i am a bit older than you my wife and i live in ct.(hope to bail soon) if its not too much trouble keep us posted on your findings. we spent about 3 weeks in spain this past may. Lovely people, lovely weather and from what we are used to VERY reasonable outside of Barcelona...  We found that the further south we went from Valencia, the quieter it got almost to the point of feeling deserted .Maybe we were there in the off off  season . there were some lovely towns . once you put your boots on the ground there things will clear up for you. best of luck stay in touch Bruce & francine

Hi, to both of you - I live in Westfield, Mass. near the Connecticut border. I have a pension. One big thing is I do not drive - so city living is almost a must. I am tired of living without good transportation, if Malaga is big enough - I might go there - it is far in the south. Maybe Seville. One woman I knew said Madrid was nice, but I do want to be near the beach. I heard Barcelona itself is pricey. I do not want to pay more than $1,000 USD a month rent - though my income is much more - so I have spending money to do things. I am a writer, but I have been trying to get published for about 15 years with no luck and many books done, but that is not going anywhere and I don't really expect it to, so I need to go on with my life - and move on outside the USA.

I have also lived in the Philippines. I was stationed there in the U.S. Air Force in the 1980s at the now-closed Clark Air Base, now Clark Economic Zone. However, the new president there seems very unstable, and I worry if I go there I would be kicked out as an American - there is no telling what the man would/might do in the coming months. I have been there - and know what to expect there, even though it has been over 30 years, I know what to expect there. I know the area around Clark - I know how to stay safe - and that I would find a wife there fast if I so desired. I am single. In Spain that would be a problem I am sure. In the next year - in the fall - I will see what the political situation is like in the Philippines. If it is very bad, I will travel to Spain. I was thinking of Puerto Rico, but many Puerto Ricans have told me the island is not doing well economically, and they turned me off from there - even though I have a pension and need not work a regular job.

You should take waggonersabroads advice and list what you want. Speaking some Spanish is helpful, it will be difficult coming up to speed in Spain, where Spanish is spoken quickly with an extensive vocabulary. A problem will be health insurance. You will need to check into the availability of a private plan as you will not be eligible for Spanish national healthcare. Both Barcelona and Madrid are expensive, but for $1000/month you should be able to get a decent apartment anywhere in Spain in a reasonably secure neighborhood. I have been living in Alicante off and on for 21 years and do not have a driver's license. Public transportation is excellent in larger cities. In this area, I would  suggest, Valencia, Denia, Torrevieja, Benidorm, or Altea as possible places to live as they have large expat populations. Menorca is another possibility. You may want to visit in winter as that is off-tourist season. In Alicante there is an expat organization that arranges meetings and social events. Check some of the cities you visit for that kind of thing. If weather is important, the Mediterranean from Valencia on down has great temperatures year round. Central and Northern Spain have cold winters and Galicia gets a lot of rain. Good luck.

Thanks, I am able to converse OK in Spanish. I read it fluently. I have been told by Spanish speakers I would be fluent in six months if I moved there. Weather is important to me. Puedo leer espanol mejor que yo hablo el idioma, yo puedo decir muchos cosas en la lengua. I think I could get by OK and I was told - quite fast. Something is starting to pull me to the Philippines - I don't know why? I will wait a year. If the political situation in the Philippines stabilizes I will go there in 2018, if it worsens horrifically - I will go to Spain.  I was stationed in the Philippines and I feel comfortable going there without any "test run" so to speak. My twin sister and her husband will help me move to wherever I am going.

Is there health insurance foreigners can buy into? There is in places like Costa Rica and Panama - and I believe the Philippines -?

I just checked online - ALL of my veteran's benefits and healthcare are paid out in the Philippines for some reason. In other countries - not necessarily - some things maybe not - like healthcare  in other countries, the pension - probably? I will be covered there. There is a V.A, in Manila - a clinic. I think if I go to a hospital in the Philippines - everything is covered. I will ask. I will go on the Philippines site. Thanks for all of your help.

Hi Glenn... I am a retired federal employee and my wife (former Navy) and I moved to Valencia, Spain with our daughter.  We faced many of the same issues that you are thinking of.

I think that you have a lot to think about.  A few things worth noting- you can buy health insurance for very competitive rates that will probably surprise you.  For example, we know of a family that brought the grandma with them, she is in her 70s, and they only paid around $160 for health coverage that's really quite comprehensive.

For VA healthcare benefits, be sure and double check.  It was my understanding that you have to have a disability rating from the VA to be eligible for healthcare in the Philippines; on the VA's web site it says "To be eligible for healthcare while in the Philippines, Veterans must have conditions or disabilities incurred in or aggravated by military service rated by the VA at 0% or greater."

However, it does sound like there you would get full healthcare for *any* condition; in the rest of the world, you only get coverage for the service-connected disability.

When we were looking, we saw many 3bd apartments, furnished, for prices ranging from 500-900 euros a month.  For a single person who doesn't need such a large one, you can easily stay in the 400-600 euro a month range. 

Valencia is, like many Spanish cities, very walkable. We don't have a car and just walk everywhere, or occasionally grab a taxi or use public transit (which is very good).

Speaking Spanish is going to be a huge help.  I don't speak any, really, but my wife is fluent (it's her first language) and so navigating everything was much easier.

Good luck.  Taking a scouting trip is probably a good idea, especially when you consider that even if you decide to not move there, you still got to take a vacation in Spain!

We live in Valencia.  It would be easy to find a 2 bedroom apartment between Eu 450 and 600.  In the 500 to 600 range, you could live in Malvarrosa, which is a beach area, and with no more than a 100 yard (meter) walk to the beach

We have private insurance with DKV, it is Eu 400/month for 4 of us.  That's much more affordable than in the US.

We don't have a car, and feel no need to have one.  Public transportation is excellent, the weather is good, everything is within walking or bicycling distance.

Castello de la Plana is north of us about an hour by train, it is also on the beach and even less expensive.  Nice town, smaller than Valencia.

I would suggest making a visit or two.  Concentrate on one area per visit, say mediterranean in one visit (Malaga, Alicante, Castello, Valencia, Benidorm, La Manga as an example); I'm not familiar with other areas but I suspect they're nice too.  But if you are looking for beaches, I think this is the area


Thanks, Blue Moon - I would go to the Mediterranean. I can afford that all OK. My pension is not one of wealth, but it is generous. I am not a rich man, but I'm not poor either. I am in the USA - but the cold weather is affecting me badly. It is either someplace like Spain or Arizona. Right now I don't have any help to move. It would be in 2018. I write books, but I have had no success trying to break into the U.S. book market since the late 1990s. I just keep writing. I have a lot of work done, and a lot of future work plotted out. That is how I keep busy.  I was worried about health insurance if I go someplace like Spain. I am OK here in the USA with it as a veteran.

Thanks, Blue Moon - I am retired at 54 and I am able to write full time and I own property here in the USA in an area that is not exactly cheap.  Social Security alone is a pittance in the USA, and I am very fortunate and blessed I was in the military.    Glenn

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