As Lief points out, Europe is on sale right now, thanks to the faltering euro. This is great news for all of us interested in that part of the world as a place to spend time and money… and particularly great timing for us personally. As I’ve been pointing out to my husband, the still-falling euro makes our daughter’s France wedding this summer more affordable all the time.
Meantime, it’s not only the euro that the dollar is surging against, but the Colombian peso, too. Lief and I will be in Medellin later this week to finalize plans for our May conference in that city and to meet with friends and colleagues in that town about further investments we’d like to make to take advantage of this window of currency opportunity.
I strongly suggest you take a look at what’s on offer in Colombia in general and in Medellin in particular right now, too.
“So enjoy all of your letters and information, Kathleen. Originally we had signed up for info on Panama, but our focus has now changed to Europe. We are taking a five-mouth scouting trip in June to try and decide what country and/or region we might like to live in. Our considerations are Spain (#1 pick), Portugal, France, and Italy.
“Spain is first because my husband is of Spanish decent and he reads, writes, and speaks proper Spanish. But in looking at the visa process we are wondering about taxes, etc., and how to transfer money from the United States to the new country.
“If you have Social Security, pension, and IRA investments, what is the best and least cost way to get money to the new bank? And does your new home country tax this money? Can you open an online banking account with an international company like ING/VOYA and simply have money deposited there? Would foreign transaction fees apply when used overseas if the account is opened in the United States?
“One of our current bank accounts allows three ATM withdrawals per month, but we have no idea how much we would be allowed to take out each time. And of course using the debit card from most of these banks has the foreign transaction fee.
“We meet all of the requirements for these countries. We have health insurance that works anywhere, our finances meet requirements, and we do not plan to work in any of these countries.
“Looking forward to hearing back from you.”
–Kaylee F., United States
Wow… so many questions!
I address all of these questions, by the way, in my 52 Days course (though generally and not specifically for Spain or any other country). We also answer all these kinds of questions and many others in detail during our country conferences. Alas, we aren’t planning one this year for Spain.
All that said, let me try to respond to your Spain-specific queries…
Spain, like most European countries, taxes residents on worldwide income. However, pension and retirement income would fall under the country’s double-taxation treaty with the United States. I haven’t read the Spain-U.S. treaty specifically, but I can say that pension income is usually taxed in your country of residency while Social Security income is usually taxed in the source country. In other words, Spain would tax your pension income, but the United States would tax your Social Security income.
Transferring money is another complicated subject. Wiring funds, you incur fees from the sending bank and also usually from the recipient bank. You’ll also have currency exchange issues to consider unless your bank in Europe allows for U.S. dollar accounts. If it does, then you could transfer money to sit until you’re ready to convert it to euros.
In the end, the best way to handle these kinds of particulars depends on the individual situation.