If you are serious about living a better lifestyle at a lower cost than continuing to live in the UK then retiring to Spain should still be given serious consideration in spite of the negative image portrayed by newspaper articles and television programmes in recent years.
After all can you list five TV programmes or newspapers that focus on communicating good news? The probability is that you can’t as bad news sells and unfortunately good news instils envy.
Having lived here in Spain for nearly 25 years and having worked in some thirty countries before we retired here, we can truly say that if you decide to set out to know understand and make the best of Spain there is no better place to live well inexpensively for many reasons including the following.
Great Cost Saving Opportunities in Spain
THE SUN AND SUN TAN IS FREE
With some 300 days of sunshine a year one soon forgets the autumn days of monsoon rains occasional frosts and snows and one can choose not to go out in the midday sun when temperatures very occasionally rise to over forty degrees. Just an hour a day of sunbathing early or later in the day will maintain a healthy tan and vitamin D levels. Once here you can save the money you used to spend on travelling to deserted foreign beaches and busy beach resorts.
HOUSING IS LESS EXPENSIVE
Quality for quality housing is lower than the UK except in jet set areas. In some quiet areas housing is extremely inexpensive provided you genuinely want to live as a hermit. Recognise that if you live an outdoor life you rarely use the house except to sleep and use the kitchen and bathrooms so the house can be smaller unless you decide to run an expensive summer holiday camp with continuous visitors. In the latter case it will not be cheap to retire to Spain!!.
HEATING AND COOLING COSTS CAN BE LOW
Twenty five years ago we could not find anyone in Spain who knew about heat pumps and geothermal or solar heating to be able to take advantage of the suns energy direct from the sun or stored in the earth. Today that has changed and self-sufficiency is possible.
Without those options when our house was built we learned to do what the Spanish traditionally did. Install heavy wooden shutters and close them during the hottest part of the summer days and open them up in the evening for balmy breezes but leave them open on sunny winter days and close them up as soon as the sun goes down in the winter.
We eat in the garden or on a south facing covered terrace glazed on the westward windy side – breakfast lunch and dinner most days of the year – retreating inside to a log fire in the living room – the only heating we need – on the coldest days in mid winter.
YOU SPEND LESS ON CLOTHING
You rarely need to dress up to the nines as leisure wear is mostly worn and most is inexpensive. But don’t throw away your favourite sweaters when you leave England as they will come in handy in the coldest months once the sun disappears and dusk falls especially on cloud free nights.
Even in December midday temperatures can be well above twenty degrees in the sun but night time temperatures might fall to 2 to 12 degrees centigrade depending on location. Naturally if you move onto the central plain or villages or an isolated house in inland mountain areas where temperatures can fall to minus twenty degrees centigrade the picture is different but very few expatriates or even Spaniards live in such places these days. Unfortunately much of the Spanish clothing and shoe manufacturing has been replaced by importation from low labour cost countries.
BEACHES AND MOUNTAINS
If you like to explore you will find that good sandy beaches and mountain scenery abound and there is no need to travel outside the country for expensive foreign holidays. Exceptional opportunities for short and long distant walks exist.
More on Living The Good Life in Spain
The second part of this article, Move to Spain for the Good Life & Cut Costs gives more good reasons why you should think about Spain if you want to emigrate.
Article © Clodagh and Dick Handscombe November 2009
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