TEN years ago, no conversation with Spanish friends was complete without mentioning ‘la crisis’.
The credit-fuelled construction boom leading to bad debt and a dramatic property price collapse, combined with the global downturn, conspired to produce one of the worst financial problems in European history.
Banks collapsed under the pressure of the bad loans and homeowners simply handed back the keys.
Fast forward ten years and today we see a completely different Spain.
Construction only represents around half of its previous weight in the Spanish economy, exports are up from 25% of the economy to 33%.
Even unemployment, traditionally Spain’s Achilles’ heel, has fallen from a peak of 26% to a still high 17.1%, according to the EU. Still a long way to go on this one particularly bearing in mind the youth unemployment rate of around 38%.
All of this paints a very rosy picture for the future of the Spanish economy with most economic commentators agreeing the tide has turned and Spain is on the up.
“That’s all great” I hear you say, “but how can us expats benefit?”
If my experience with clients is anything to go by, the majority of, for example British expats, still have their investments in UK assets and in Sterling, despite living in Spain and needing Euros to fund their lifestyle.
There are a large number of investment funds which invest either wholly or in part (via a European fund) in the Spanish stock market.
Tax-efficiency is important when considering the most appropriate Financial Instruments in which to hold the investment to make the most of your money. Expats can access investment in Spain via Pension (QROP’s, International Self Invested Pensions), Lump sum investments via Spanish Tax Compliant Bonds (more on these in a future article) or monthly Savings Plans. Exactly how this is structured needs to take account of your circumstances, risk profile and many other factors.
If you want to live in Spain long term or even permanently, you will need to apply for either permanent residence or become a Spanish citizen.