Mallorca After Brexit #
Spain loves Britain! Sun, Sand and Sangria - all here to stay.
News just announced the U.K. Parliament will delay Brexit but no second public referendum will be held. Whether you transit through London on the way to Palma or you want to pop up to the City for a long weekend, life will change when Brexit happens. The news from Number 10 is like walking through the House of Mirrors while the distance to Parliament feels like we’re riding a roller coaster 24/7 after drinking a dozen gin martinis. Unlike the morning after a raucous night, hope is on the horizon.
“Bilateral agreements between Spain and the U.K. will guarantee that Spaniards who’re living there and Britons here will maintain all of their rights, even the right to vote in municipal elections.” Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borell, Jan. 14, 2019
The Brits' Country of Choice #
More British people live in Spain than any other country in the EU. 300,000 UK citizens currently live in Spain, down from a high of 400,000 in 2015 before Brexit and the drop in the Pound’s value. 40% of UK residents in Spain are aged over 65 years. After Brexit, when it happens, the British population loses the right to residency, work and healthcare. More than 400,000 citizenship applications are pending for British Nationals to renounce their U.K. citizenship and become citizens of Spain.
The governments of Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and UK PM Teresa May have been working on a bilateral agreement to maintain the current status quo and both nationalities will have the right to vote and stand for office in local elections in the other’s respective country. Spain has bilateral agreements with 12 other countries including Norway to allow their citizens to vote in municipal elections in Spain and visa-versa. This is democracy at its finest.
Catch 22 #
At the height of British prominence, the Pound bought a lovely villa in Santa Ponca, an apartment in Puerto Andratx or paid for a week’s stay in Hotel Formentor. I remember the days when Guy Hamilton (of James Bond fame) lounged on his yacht, Peter Ustinov (amazing fabulous actor) lounged with friends and Joe Bamford (famous British businessman) walked from his sprawling estate at La Mola into the Port. The affluent will not struggle to pay for properties, jet around or eat out every night. But what about the rest of us?
My younger British friends who want to live on Mallorca full-time are in a Catch 22: prices for properties in the UK have fallen and the Pound to the Euro is not good either. How to make the move and afford to stay? Jobs don’t pay great here on the island so learning to live on a tighter budget is the order of the decade but well worth the effort.
A Life that Dreams are Made of #
Many are cutting back on the finer wines and eating out less. They are choosing to vacation in Turkey and taking care of dental work in Bulgaria or Thailand. I know that sounds like the life of the lux set. But the prices in all those places are reasonable for global citizens like the Brits who live on Mallorca. Fortunately, with easy travel on and off the island to anywhere in the world, options are plentiful for living an extraordinary life that dreams are made of. A neighbour of ours is the envy of Andratx and S’Arraco for her incredible journeys to Galapagos, Cambodia and beyond. She lives a magical existence.
To be fair, most of UK’s seniors on Mallorca seem unfazed with Brexit except that the pension doesn’t buy as much. For now. They have properties they can sell here and there even if pensions are worth less. Healthcare in the UK is much less advantageous compared to Spain but that isn’t an issue until a catastrophic event happens…like breaking a hip, cancer or dementia.
Be Pro-Active! #
When Brexit is finalized, healthcare costs most likely will not be subsidized anymore. The financial burden creates further stress because Brits will have a different tax scheme and compliance issues with different banking regulations with higher fees. Being pro-active is a good idea. Here are a few ideas:
- Talk to a good healthcare insurance broker.
- Engage a good tax lawyer in Spain to investigate options for mitigating any tax issues.
- Explore banks that offer no fee accounts.
Learn more about digital currencies, bartering and other ways of trading goods and services.
Here are a few lifestyle options to stay and enjoy life on Mallorca:
- Live in a less expensive part of the island that is just as fun. Brits in Alaró live in the village to enjoy walks to and from the pub at home prices that are easier to manage that the Port of Andratx. C'an Picafort is a funky beach town close with a tiny art community, clean beaches and within an easy drive to Artà, Alcúdia and Pollensa. Since every part of the island is no more than 1-1/2 hour from any place else, you can live anywhere and enjoy the riches of island life.
- Buy your produce (fruits and vegetables) at the local village markets. This has an added bonus of getting to know your neighbors. You’ll get the best of village life on a budget and not have far to take your food home.
- If you live in the village, do you need a car? Or could you just sign up to rent one on the days when you travel to Palma for the doctor or to see your notary? This saves money on car repairs, insurance, parking and taxes. I’ve had a car all of my adult life. Feels quite freeing not to have the burden here on the island. Especially since public transport works well. Consider the train next time you go from Inca to Palma.
- Internet/Wi-fi. If you work remotely, I can tell you that you might really want the Moviestar hook-up. During the times I have not had internet at the apartment, I get frustrated at not being able to easily call my business colleagues. But if you are a leisure-user of the internet and only use social media to show friends and family the latest, most every village now has public wifi access. It’s high-speed and works great, most of the time.
Relax and Enjoy the Affordable Lifestyle #
Brexit or No Brexit, you will be just fine. You can still enjoy a pint at the pub. If you click on our Events Page, you’ll see the happenings that are usually free or reasonably priced. Affordable Mallorca shows you how to live well, do good and enjoy all that Mallorca has to offer. No matter what happens, Affordable Mallorca provides a few insights to stay safe and hold onto your wallet.
By Memphis Holland
19 March, 2019