Friday, May 26, 2023
HomeRetirementReader Case: Can I Transfer to Spain?

Reader Case: Can I Transfer to Spain?

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After we first left Canada in 2015, we thought travelling internationally was a luxurious that we might solely afford to do for a short while. Little did we all know that it might turn out to be our unfair FIRE benefit since it may be used to manage your dwelling bills utilizing geographic arbitrage (in non-pandemic occasions, no less than).

So this topic line instantly piqued our curiosity. Spain is among the Europe’s favorite retirement locations due to the sunny climate, pleasant locals, and surprisingly reasonably priced price of dwelling.

So can geographic arbitrage rescue our reader? Let’s discover out!

Hi there: 

I’ve learn your e-book Stop Like a Millionaire and I’ve been impressed. However I’ve met with 2 monetary advisors they usually each inform me I have to preserve making my present wage till I’m 50- however primarily based on what I’ve realized in your books I feel I ought to be capable to cowl my bills for the subsequent 7 years of so and my present investments ought to cowl me till I retire. The large distinction between what I’ve learn and my monetary advisors recommendation is that they have $10k/ 12 months for medical insurance between the age of 50-62 after I can get on Medicare within the US. After which they’ve budgeted $60k/ 12 months for finish of life look after the final 3 years of my life. 

I really feel like they’re being too cautious. Here’s what I hope to do. I hate my job. They’ve constantly been chopping individuals for the previous few years as they’re hit with spherical after spherical of layoffs. And I simply misplaced my greatest friend- my canine. Within the final 6 years I’ve misplaced each main relationship in my life and had a well being scare whereas working in a hostile work setting full with sexual harassment. I really feel like I deserve a break. I like biking- I biked 10,000 miles final 12 months whereas working full time. I very hardly ever drive my automobile that my monetary advisor tells me to maintain. So- I wish to take a 12 months off and transfer to Spain on the non-lucrative visa and spend a while biking round Europe. I ought to point out I’m a US citizen dwelling in Minneapolis and I’m 33 years previous. 

I’m wanting to surrender my revenue for a year- and I don’t suppose after I return I have to proceed making the identical revenue. If I begin working in the direction of Spanish citizenship I might considerably scale back the well being care prices in retirement- do you agree with my evaluation? I imagine I can no less than preserve my month-to-month spending in Spain- I can spend much less on hire, however extra for insurance- I feel it’ll work out. And meals shall be less expensive. And promoting my automobile would scale back another bills. 

Listed here are my funds: 

  • Your gross/web annual household revenue: $135,000
  • Your month-to-month household spending- ~$40,000
  • For any money owed you might have, please embody: No money owed
    • The rate of interest
    • Your minimal month-to-month fee
    • The excellent steadiness
  • Any fastened property you might have (home, automobile, and many others.): 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid (can promote for ~$6k final I checked)
  • And investments or financial savings you might have (money, bonds, shares, and many others.)
  • 401k: $302,000
  • HSA: $12,158
  • Roth IRA: $30,100
  • Firm Inventory: $31,000
  • Taxable Brokerage Account: $183,000
  • Money: $30k



To start with, I’m under no circumstances stunned that the monetary advisors advised you that it is advisable work till you’re 50. Monetary advisors hate the FIRE motion as a result of a) we give away all our funding recommendation at no cost and b) we advocate for low-cost ETF-based investing, which doesn’t require a monetary advisor. So we mainly argue that monetary advisors are ineffective. Comprehensible why they might hate us.

Additionally they are typically advocate that their purchasers save up far more cash than obligatory. Typically it’s as a result of the monetary advisor is extra danger averse than the consumer, however I feel more often than not it’s greed. Payment-based monetary advisors are paid a share payment of their consumer’s property, so the larger their consumer’s financial institution accounts are, the more cash they receives a commission yearly.

So wanting on the similar numbers, what will we see? How far is DreamingOfSpain from her dream?

Let’s MATH SHIT UP to search out out!

Abstract Quantity
Revenue $135,000 (gross), $100,000 (web, assuming single filer and maxed-out 401k)
Bills $40,000
Belongings $302,000 (401k) + $12,158 (HSA) + $30,100 (Roth) + $31,000 (Firm inventory) + $183,000 (taxable) + $30,000 (money) = $588,258
Debt $0

Proper off the highest of the bat, we will see that DreamingofSpain has choices right here. $588k in financial savings on the age of 33 as a single particular person? That’s fairly damned spectacular proper there. She’s accomplished a fantastic job of changing her excessive wage into a formidable web value at such a younger age. Nice job!

Nonetheless, is it sufficient to retire? At her present spending degree, no.

Bills of $40k require a FIRE portfolio of $40k x 25 = $1M to finance. At $588k, she’s greater than midway there, however not on the degree she must be to totally retire.

How for much longer does she have to work? Provided that she’s in a position to save $100k – $40k = $60k per 12 months, it’s going to take her…

Yr Stability ROI Financial savings Whole
1 $588,000.00 $35,280.00 $60,000.00 $683,280.00
2 $683,280.00 $40,996.80 $60,000.00 $784,276.80
3 $784,276.80 $47,056.61 $60,000.00 $891,333.41
4 $891,333.41 $53,480.00 $60,000.00 $1,004,813.41

…4 years.

Her monetary advisors additionally advise constructing in $10k a 12 months in insurance coverage prices into her funds. That appears a bit pessimistic because the ACA would kick in if she had been to go away her job, however let’s simply take this at face worth and add it to her FI goal. $10k a 12 months x 25 = $250k extra she would want to save lots of, and she or he would get to this quantity in…

Yr Stability ROI Financial savings Whole
1 $588,000.00 $35,280.00 $60,000.00 $683,280.00
2 $683,280.00 $40,996.80 $60,000.00 $784,276.80
3 $784,276.80 $47,056.61 $60,000.00 $891,333.41
4 $891,333.41 $53,480.00 $60,000.00 $1,004,813.41
5 $1,004,813.41 $60,288.80 $60,000.00 $1,125,102.22
6 $1,125,102.22 $67,506.13 $60,000.00 $1,252,608.35

…6 years.

The final level her monetary advisors made, which is to funds more cash for end-of-life long-term care, might be not obligatory since by the point she’ll want this, her portfolio can have grown so massive that she will draw down on her principal when that occurs.

FU Cash

In some other situation, I’d write that 4-6 years isn’t that unhealthy, and that our reader ought to take into account sticking it out in her job till she hits full FI.

Apart from this line:

Within the final 6 years I’ve misplaced each main relationship in my life and had a well being scare whereas working in a hostile work setting full with sexual harassment. I really feel like I deserve a break.

Uh…sure. You most actually do.

No one, and I imply no person, ought to ever need to put up with sexual harassment within the office, and happily, you might have choices.

60% of the way in which to Monetary Independence may nonetheless seem to be a great distance off, however monetary freedom isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. You achieve progressively extra freedom and extra means to face up for your self at work as you make progress in the direction of your objective.

If our reader was in large quantities of mortgage debt, then that alternative turns into extraordinarily tough. However DreamingOfSpain has practically $600k within the financial institution. Even when she doesn’t retire, that’s greater than sufficient runway to search for one other job, one which, you recognize, gained’t deal with her like a chunk of meat. She will be able to inform her office to go F themselves tomorrow and she or he’ll be superb. She doesn’t need to put up with that shit remedy for a single second longer.

Can She Afford the Spanish Life-style?

However what about her dream of transferring to Spain? She might not be capable to retire within the US, however will geographic arbitrage save the day?

From private expertise, $40k of spending within the US appears a bit on the excessive aspect for a single particular person, nevertheless it appears downright extreme in Spain. In response to Numbeo, if our reader had been to maneuver to Madrid, the typical price of hire for a 1 bed room residence near town centre is about €1000, and the estimated price of meals/transportation/leisure for a single particular person is a further €700, for a complete month-to-month price of €1700.

This interprets to about $1860 USD, or $22,320. That’s a bit over half of DreamingOfSpain’s present funds!

At that spend degree, she’s going to solely want $22,320 x 25 = $558k in her portfolio. She has $588k now, so she’s there now!

And that’s dwelling in Madrid. If she had been to maneuver south to a smaller metropolis like Malaga, her price of dwelling would drop much more. There, complete price of dwelling drops to €1469 a month. That’s about $1600 USD, or $19,200 a 12 months. That quantity would solely require a $19,200 x 25 = $480k portfolio to assist.

So does her plan appear believable? Completely.

Spanish Citizenship

However what in regards to the half about working in the direction of Spanish citizenship? What was that about?

OK so right here’s the half the place I re-emphasize that I’m on no account an immigration lawyer, and on no account certified to offer authorized recommendation.

That being stated…

Spain has one thing known as a non-lucrative visa (which we wrote about right here) that can be utilized to reside within the nation for as much as 1 12 months. You need to show ample means, which means a financial institution assertion with a large enough steadiness. And it’s known as a non-lucrative visa since you’re not allowed to work.

On the finish of 1 12 months, you might have two choices: renew it, or convert it into a piece allow. This lasts for two years.

After that, you renew it for an additional 2 12 months interval.

And after that, you’ve now been within the nation of Spain for five consecutive years, which allows you to apply for everlasting residency.

This circulation really works out fairly nicely for DreamingOfSpain, as a result of she will give up her poisonous office now, take a 12 months off biking by means of Europe. After that 12 months, she can have a 3-way choice to make:

  1. She decides she hates it in Spain, and goes again to the US. She will get a brand new job, and works in the direction of full FI.
  2. She decides she likes it in Spain, and continues dwelling there, through which case she renews her non-lucrative visa.
  3. She decides she likes it in Spain, however needs to return to work. Apply for a job, then convert your non-lucrative visa into a piece allow.

Whichever she chooses would be the proper alternative for her, however on the very least she can have taken a 12 months off biking by means of Europe.

That sounds precisely just like the type of break she deserves.


Poisonous work conditions are, sadly, more and more frequent today. And that’s when the ability FU cash actually comes into play.

Having that a lot saved within the financial institution provides our reader the power to plausibly say “I don’t need to take this shit anymore,” storm out the door, not look again, and her monetary life gained’t fall to items. If something, she will get to take a 1-year biking journey round Europe. That ain’t unhealthy!

How our reader chooses to deal with this example is her choice and hers alone. However she’s marching into battle with the most effective weapon of all:



Thanks and good night time.

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