Thursday, 26 September 2013

Moving to Spain

Some Key Issues

This is not intended to be a definitive list but I come across so many problems amongst UK nationals in Spain which can be put down to poor or even no planning. Even though there are costs, to get professional advice is almost always cheaper in the long run.

1.    Research
In the internet age there are huge numbers of resource waiting to be read. However, I always ask you to consider who is giving you the information. Beware of vested interests!

The more independent information you can gather, the better. The archive to my blog or my website are based on my own experiences but I encourage you to look at other resources. Financial Pages in Spain

2.    Know your area before you move
If you’ve been somewhere on holiday, and loved it, do you really know it? From my experience many people move on that basis and only then begin to know the place. It’s part of your initial research really.

I found the British Embassy in Madrid very helpful and follow them on Twitter (@ukinspain)

3.    Consider ‘Rent before you buy’
My Estate Agency friends and contacts will tell you I’m wrong because there are so many bargains to be had! I still think this caution is good advice and I’ve written about it before Rent before you buy in Spain

If you do buy, the research and knowing your area are even more important.

4.    Take health very seriously
Spain has one of the healthiest lifestyles in Europe and generally has excellent medical facilities. You must remember that whilst a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covers you as a tourist, once you settle in Spain, you need to register locally. This procedure can be different according to area so you need local information about health services and facilities

5.    Work out your finances including tax
I apologise if this seems obvious, but based on my INBOX, it doesn’t happen often enough!

Choosing a Bank is often an early decision. It can be a problem if you choose the wrong one. Personally, I prefer Internet Banking but it doesn’t suit everyone. Whether you can speak Spanish is another key issue, as the local service you get can vary. Another reason to ask around and see which one gets the most positive comments. There is no ‘best’ or even ‘worst’ bank but local knowledge is, in my opinion, key.

Getting Professional Advice for which there is no substitute is also very important. I often refer people to advisers that I have checked out or my contacts have recommended. After 11 years experience, in Spain, I’ve learned only to recommend the very best advisers.

Tax is vital and often misunderstood. Some people have said to me (in summary) ‘I thought it would be the same as in England’, that’s so, so wrong. From my own experience the starting point is that it’s always different from the UK! Especially in the early days and vitally if your Spanish is poor, you need a Fiscal Representative, mainly to help with the endless paperwork. It maybe a service your solicitor could provide but if you need specialist tax advice please Email me.

6.    Get independent legal advice
If you were buying a house in the UK, chances are you’d choose your own Conveyancing Solicitor or one recommended by a friend. That should apply in Spain too, but buyers seem happy to accept the recommendation of the builder – he’s not independent or even on your side – he’s the builder’s solicitor

Your solicitor, knowing your situation, is also the best person to advise on a Spanish Will which you do need

If you don’t know a solicitor, please ask around or I will recommend one if I know a proven one in your area. Certainly in your early days in Spain, you need an English-speaking legal adviser. Email me for a recommendation.

7.    Put your UK affairs in order
In many respects it’s the mirror image of what you need to do in Spain. I would however suggest in particular that you tell the tax authorities. If you don’t then HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will chase you for years to come. Timing your departure can also be beneficial in having a tax-free year, if applied correctly. Email for more information.

The Department of Work & Pensions need to know of the change in circumstances whether or not you are retired and should be informed. You should also tell your local authority and GP.

8.    Don’t become isolated
Even if you get to know many British expats, learning Spanish can really help your life in many respects. I’ve always found the Spanish very tolerant even if you only try to speak their language.

Courses are widely available and always of value

There is much more information on many subjects in my BLOG ACHIVE but the following are especially recommended;

Offering better rates and service than the banks, internet facility available 24 hours per day.

If you live in Spain, should your savings be in the UK. It’s worth considering.

Serious reasons to move to Spain but my light hearted review

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Thursday, 12 September 2013

La Torre Fx – Foreign Exchange

By-pass your bank for a better deal, saving time and money.

LaTorre Fx provides this excellent service, with great rates and high quality customer service, by linking to the very best Foreign Exchange Platform – FTT Global.

Questions and Answers

What does FTT Global do?

FTT allows you to exchange currencies at market leading exchange rates. FTT will transfer your purchased currency to your nominated bank account anywhere in the world. Check out LaTorre Fx

What does FTT NOT do?

FTT does not provide facilities for you to gamble on the currency exchange markets. FTT does not provide travel money for your holidays.

How can La Torre Fx provide the best exchange rate?

FTT has developed smart technology to reduce the costs of trading currencies. We pass these cost savings onto our clients. Other currency brokers employ teams of highly paid traders to talk to clients and convince them to deal through their brokerage. This is an expensive way to run a foreign exchange trading company and the costs are passed onto their clients. Banks have a long established history of charging high fees and providing poor rates of exchange which nets them fat profits at the expense of their clients

What hours are La Torre Fx and FTT open for business?

FTT is open for online trading 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year at LaTorre Fx. FTT is open for telephone based trading between the hours of 9am and 5pm British standard time.

How can I get help or support?

FTT is fanatical about providing a fantastic support to our clients. Between the hours of 9am and 5pm British standard time, call us on +44 (0)203 004 4444. Email us 24 x 7 on, mentioning La Torre Fx. There is always someone ready to respond.

How do I open an account with La Torre Fx?

Any private individual or company can open an account with La Torre Fx through FTT Global. Click the 'Open Account' button on any of the FTT pages. You will need to fill in a few pieces of information but it is a very quick process. In fact, we aim to open your account and have you up and trading within 5 minutes of you clicking the open account button. Note that we do have strong anti-money laundering procedures in place. You can Register here

What are the fees, charges and commissions?

Opening an account with LaTorre Fx and FTT is FREE. Trading amounts over £3000 is FREE. FTT will wire your purchased currency to your nominated bank account anywhere in the world for FREE. Fixing a rate for the future is FREE. Placing an order to be executed if the currency exchange rate reaches a particular level is FREE, even if you cancel the order 5 minutes later. FTT does not apply any hidden commissions or fees. The only fee that FTT will ever charge is if you exchange an amount below £3000. In this case we will charge you £10 for the telegraphic transfer fee to deliver your purchased funds to your destination account. FTT earns revenue by applying a small price difference between the exchange rate at which we buy currencies and the exchange rate at which we sell currencies.

What are the maximum and minimum amounts that can be traded ?

You can trade any amount from £100 or equivalent upwards.

How will I know the status of a trade or payment?

We confirm by email when you have agreed a trade. We confirm by email when we have received your payment to fund the trade. We confirm by email when we have sent your purchased currency to your nominated account. You can log into your account 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to review the status of your trade. You can contact us anytime to request a status.

Can I trade on-line?

Yes, FTT has developed a unique online trading system which is easy to use yet very powerful. This system is not available through any other currency broker or bank and is unique to FTT.

Can I trade via telephone?

Yes, some of our clients don't like to trade online and prefer to call or email us.

Can I fix a rate for the future?

Yes, there is no need to be exposed to future currency fluctuations. You can fix a rate for all major currencies up to one year. When you fix a rate for the future, we require you to put down a 10% deposit to secure the future rate. We have to do this in case the exchange rate moves against us and a client defaults on the trade. Surprisingly, future exchange rates can sometimes be cheaper than the current exchange rate. It is always worth checking the future rate of exchange.

Can I place an order to ensure that my exchange will occur if a certain rate is hit?

Yes, if you want to trade at a particular rate then you can Pre-order currency at the rate that you desire. FTT will monitor your exchange rate around the clock and notify you immediately if your order is filled. Take profit orders allow you to target a better exchange rate. For example, I would like to buy $US10,000 for pounds sterling if the exchange rate exceeds 1.5. Stop loss orders allow you to protect yourself if the market moves against you. For example, I need to buy $US10,000 for pounds sterling but I want to wait and see if the rate improves. However, if the exchange rate drops I want to make sure that the worst rate that I pay is 1.4.

Can you predict future exchange rates for me?

No and please don't trust anyone that says they can. Anyone who could accurately predict the currency exchange rates would have a limitless supply of money and would be living on their own island somewhere. Currency exchange rates are acknowledged as the most difficult rates to predict within the financial markets. Treat them with respect and reduce your exposure to currency fluctuations where ever possible by fixing a rate for the future.

How do I pay for my purchased currency?

The best way to pay for your purchased currency is through electronic bank wire. Contact your bank and ask them to transfer the required amount to the FTT bank account held at Barclays Bank in London. Our bank account details can be found by logging onto our system. If you are based in the UK, your bank can provide the FASTER PAYMENT SYSTEM and this normally takes less than two hours. If you are based outside of the UK, your bank can provide a SWIFT payment.

How do I receive my purchased currency?

FTT will transfer your purchased currency to your nominated bank account anywhere in the world using the fastest electronic bank wire method available for the receiving country. Outgoing payments are cleared the same day in the UK and same or next day in the US and Europe. Allow 1-2 days for payments to clear outside of the UK, Europe and the US. However, we are always seeking to improve our service to clients and recently we have cleared payments to China the same day so don't be surprised if your payment arrives earlier than expected.

Don't banks hate what FTT is doing?

They sure do but there is not much that they can do to stop us. As more people discover LaTorre Fx and FTT Global we expect the banks to get even more upset.

La Torre Fx – Foreign Exchange is a trading name used by Financial Pages in Spain

Though Financial Pages in Spain is a website and Blog for British and Irish expats and property owners in Spain, La Torre Fx can offer trading in Worldwide currencies.

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain

Tuesday, 10 September 2013


Where are your savings?

I have been surprised to learn just how many British and Irish citizens, living in Spain continue to keep their savings in the UK in sterling. Apart from interest rates lower than inflation, there is always an exchange rate risk.

In April 2013, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) took over most of the powers of the previous regulator the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Naturally, the new regulator wants to show it means business and the latest announcement affects Savers.

·        Inflation on the agenda

·        What interest rate are you getting?

·        Do you have a financial plan?

Many UK and Irish residents in Spain still have significant Savings in UK Banks and Building Societies. There are a variety of reasons for this but the one which concerns me most can be called ‘inertia’.

 “I should do something about it but I never seem to get round to it!”

The FCA says you should, and so do I

This announcement may affect you;

“Savings ‘teaser rates’ face FCA enquiry”

You may also want to be proactive yourself. If you want any of the following please email me

  • Protect your savings from exchange rate fluctuations
  • Protect interest rates from taxation
  • Get good returns
  • Have a general review of your finances

After over 20 years as a financial adviser myself, I now specialise in writing about the subject. I have many, many contacts of advisers that I trust and know. I am happy to refer readers of ‘Financial Pages in Spain’ on a no obligation basis. Just email me a few details and I will get you the best advice possible.

Further reading from ‘Financial Pages in Spain

 Getting Professional Advice

Getting a Second Opinion

QNUPS – written under ‘pension rules’ but highly flexible to protect your assets from tax

David Goodall
Financial Pages in Spain