Friday, June 9, 2023
HomeMillennial MoneyReader Case: Can I Transfer to Spain?

Reader Case: Can I Transfer to Spain?

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

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

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

Good day: 

I’ve learn your e-book Stop Like a Millionaire and I’ve been impressed. However I’ve met with 2 monetary advisors and so they each inform me I have to preserve making my present wage till I’m 50- however based mostly on what I’ve realized in your books I believe I ought to be capable of cowl my bills for the subsequent 7 years of so and my present investments ought to cowl me till I retire. The massive distinction between what I’ve learn and my monetary advisors recommendation is that they have $10k/ yr for medical insurance between the age of 50-62 after I can get on Medicare within the US. After which they’ve budgeted $60k/ yr for finish of life take care of 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 repeatedly been slicing folks for the previous couple of years as they’re hit with spherical after spherical of layoffs. And I simply misplaced my finest 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 surroundings full with sexual harassment. I really feel like I deserve a break. I like biking- I biked 10,000 miles final yr whereas working full time. I very hardly ever drive my automotive that my monetary advisor tells me to maintain. So- I wish to take a yr 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 I ought to point out I’m a US citizen dwelling in Minneapolis and I’m 33 years outdated. 

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

Listed here are my funds: 

  • Your gross/internet annual household earnings: $135,000
  • Your month-to-month household spending- ~$40,000
  • For any money owed you could have, please embody: No money owed
    • The rate of interest
    • Your minimal month-to-month fee
    • The excellent steadiness
  • Any fastened belongings you could have (home, automotive, and so on.): 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid (can promote for ~$6k final I checked)
  • And investments or financial savings you could have (money, bonds, shares, and so on.)
  • 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 in no way stunned that the monetary advisors advised you that it’s essential work till you’re 50. Monetary advisors hate the FIRE motion as a result of a) we give away all our funding recommendation without 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.

In addition they are typically advocate that their purchasers save up far more cash than obligatory. Generally it’s as a result of the monetary advisor is extra danger averse than the consumer, however I believe more often than not it’s greed. Price-based monetary advisors are paid a proportion charge of their consumer’s belongings, so the larger their consumer’s financial institution accounts are, the more cash they receives a commission yearly.

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

Let’s MATH SHIT UP to seek out out!

Abstract Quantity
Revenue $135,000 (gross), $100,000 (internet, assuming single filer and maxed-out 401k)
Bills $40,000
Property $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 are able to 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 executed a fantastic job of changing her excessive wage into a powerful internet price at such a younger age. Nice job!

Nonetheless, is it sufficient to retire? At her present spending stage, 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 stage she must be to completely retire.

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

12 months Steadiness ROI Financial savings Complete
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 yr in insurance coverage prices into her price range. That appears a bit pessimistic for the reason that ACA would kick in if she had been to depart her job, however let’s simply take this at face worth and add it to her FI goal. $10k a yr x 25 = $250k extra she would want to save lots of, and he or she would get to this quantity in…

12 months Steadiness ROI Financial savings Complete
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 price range more cash for end-of-life long-term care, might be not obligatory since by the point she’ll want this, her portfolio could have grown so massive that she will be able to draw down on her principal when that occurs.

FU Cash

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

Aside 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 surroundings full with sexual harassment. I really feel like I deserve a break.

Uh…sure. You most definitely do.

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

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

If our reader was in large quantities of mortgage debt, then that alternative turns into extraordinarily troublesome. 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, , received’t deal with her like a chunk of meat. She will be able to inform her office to go F themselves tomorrow and he or she’ll be nice. She doesn’t need to put up with that shit remedy for a single second longer.

Can She Afford the Spanish Way of life?

However what about her dream of shifting to Spain? She might not be capable of 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, but it surely appears downright extreme in Spain. In response to Numbeo, if our reader had been to maneuver to Madrid, the typical value of lease for a 1 bed room condominium near the town centre is about €1000, and the estimated value of meals/transportation/leisure for a single particular person is an extra €700, for a complete month-to-month value of €1700.

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

At that spend stage, she is 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 value of dwelling would drop much more. There, complete value of dwelling drops to €1469 a month. That’s about $1600 USD, or $19,200 a yr. 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 provide authorized recommendation.

That being mentioned…

Spain has one thing known as a non-lucrative visa (which we wrote about right here) that can be utilized to dwell within the nation for as much as 1 yr. It’s important to show adequate means, that means a financial institution assertion with a sufficiently big steadiness. And it’s known as a non-lucrative visa since you’re not allowed to work.

On the finish of 1 yr, you could 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 yr 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 circulate truly works out fairly effectively for DreamingOfSpain, as a result of she will be able to give up her poisonous office now, take a yr off biking by Europe. After that yr, she could 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 could have taken a yr off biking by Europe.

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


Poisonous work conditions are, sadly, more and more widespread lately. 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 received’t fall to items. If something, she will get to take a 1-year biking journey round Europe. That ain’t dangerous!

How our reader chooses to deal with this case 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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