Moving to a new country is sure to be one of the landmark moments in anybody’s life. It comes with a to-do list as long as your arm – from applying for a visa and arranging accommodation, to the process of actually settling into your new place of work or study.
Amid all the activity, it’s worth taking a moment to consider how you can make sure you get off to a great financial start in Spain. This is where our guide comes in. We’ll run through some key points every newcomer to Spain should consider, from the tax system in the country to how best to send money abroad.
Tip 1: Set Up a Local Bank Account
Creating a new bank account in Spain can really help lay the foundation for your new life here. You’ll be required to show official documents, including:
- Photo ID, such as your passport
- Proof of your Spanish address, such as a utility bill
- Proof of your status as an employee or student, such as a staff contract or student ID
- Your NIE, or foreigner identification number
Bear in mind that the documents must be translated in Spanish in order to be acceptable. This will have to be done by a certified translator, known as a “traductor jurado”. Fortunately, it’s fairly straightforward to find a certified translator by looking online.
Choosing the right bank is important, too. Spain has a host of options, including big names like Santander, CaixaBank and BBVA. Do some research online beforehand and check what services are offered by each bank, paying particular attention to any fees that may be charged for the running of the account.
Tip 2: Understand How Tax Works
Learning the ins and outs of tax is nobody’s favourite part of moving to a new country, but it is of course essential to know what’s in store when it comes to the following:
- Income tax
- Social security contributions
Income tax is worked out according to how much you earn – in other words, your tax bracket. The higher your tax bracket, the more you could be liable to pay. However, in Spain the situation is complicated by the fact that income tax is split between the national and regional governments. The national government applies set rates for each tax bracket which apply across Spain, but the local rates charged by regional governments will vary. This means that how much you need to pay in total will depend on where exactly in Spain you live.
Social security contributions, meanwhile, are largely covered by your employer, although you’ll also be liable to pay a percentage of your salary or wages towards it.
Both income tax and social security payments are automatically deducted from your pay, and it’s important to check what the tax-free allowances and payable percentages currently are. This way you’ll know exactly how much you’ll take home from your job.
Tip 3: Plan Your Budget
The vibrant culture, gorgeous architecture and golden weather all help make Spain one of the most sought-after places for expatriates. But the living expenses can be more steep than what many are used to. It’s a good idea to factor this in, so you can plan your spending according to your income and lifestyle.
We recommend sitting down and writing down your anticipated costs in a given month. This budget plan should include:
- Rent payments
- The total cost of your utility bills
- Broadband and mobile phone bills
- Food costs
- Transport costs
- Money to spend on socialising and entertainment
Tip 4: Stay Aware of the Exchange Rate
We know that one of the reasons you’ve moved to Spain may be to work and send money back to help loved ones in your home country. If so, it’s important to keep on top of the exchange rate between the euro and your nation’s currency.
Exchange rates are prone to fluctuating all the time, depending on economic and political influences. This means that sending the same amount in euros may lead to different amounts being collected by your recipient, depending on the day or even the minute you choose to make the transfer. Thanks to the internet, you can very quickly check what the relevant exchange rate is, and decide whether it’s worth sending the money now or at another point.
Tip 5: Find a Cost Effective Way to Send Money Home
There can be all kinds of reasons you need to make international money transfers. You might want to send a gift to a friend on their birthday or provide regular financial support for family members who depend on you.
No matter why or how often you need to send money, it’s wise to compare options, as some will cost more than others – both because of higher fees and because of potentially unkind exchange rates that mean your euros will translate into less of your home currency. Thanks to the Remitly app and website, you’ll have round-the-clock access to a fast, secure remittance service that won’t charge high fees and always has crystal-clear exchange rates laid out.