Quarterly Financial Update

 

Newsletter July 2018-07-31

General News

Welcome to our second quarterly newsletter provided by our fantastic financial associates. Having launched this quarterly update for the first time back in late April, we are pleased to say that we have had lots of positive feedback. As always, if there is any topic you would like them to cover in our next update, please do not hesitate in letting us know.

Over the past 3 months we have seen many events worldwide that will make their way into the history books, both political and non-political. On the political side, we have seen important meetings such as the North Korea-US Summit 2018 in which Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un met for the first time in person, in Singapore. Mr Trump then did a European tour during which he first visited her majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle, before flying to Helsinki to meet with Vladimir Putin. On a lighter note, we have also had been treated to a very well organised (and violence free) World Cup in Russia, much to our surprise. From an English perspective, it was great to see everyone come together and celebrate the success in reaching a semi-final, despite the continued divide in political views.

During the quarter, global markets once again showed their volatility, keeping up with the trend set at the start of the year. For many indices, this quarter has been a very positive one, with the FTSE 100 as an example, posting its best quarterly return in 15 years, for the three months leading up to June 30th. It has not all been good news though, and one of the main sectors affected negatively in this quarter was emerging markets; the MSCI Global Emerging Market equities declined by 4.2% in June alone. The reason behind this mini crash was due to emerging markets being vulnerable to a strong dollar and rising interest rates. The Federal Reserve hiked rates by 0.25% in June, which was widely expected by the market, following strong macroeconomic data. However, the Federal Reserve changed their forward guidance to include two additional rate rises in 2018 and then another three in 2019. If implemented, this would take rates up from the current 2.0% to 3.25% which would be the first time in a decade that US dollar cash would offer a positive real return.

In Europe, the ECB (European Central Bank) moved to a slightly more relaxed monetary stance, deferring the end of its quantitative easing programme to the end of 2018 and announcing there will be no change in interest rates until the summer of 2019 under forward guidance. It has been a tough year for the EU, not only due to BREXIT, but also because of the political unrest and increased threat to the long-term stability of the Eurozone. Italy is a prime example of this with their government split between Eurosceptic populists (winners of the March elections) and pro-EU establishment politicians.

Fortunately, on a wider scale, the global economy is in good health, with macroeconomic data pointing to a pick-up in growth after the soft patch experienced in the first quarter of 2018. Inflation remains relatively subdued, with the biggest threat to inflation coming from the US, where the economy has been performing strongly and is being supported by accommodative fiscal policy from tax cuts and additional government spending.

Whilst on the US, it is fair to say that we could write a whole newsletter on Donald Trump alone each quarter, as his unpredictable character and let’s say “unique personality” never lets him get too far away from our TV screens. With this said, arguably the most important news headline of this quarter was the potential trade war between the US and China. At the start of July, both Washington and Beijing launched import tariffs on 34$ billion of each other’s goods, and while economists say the consequences of the spat between the world’s two largest economies can be contained for now, there are fears that Donald Trump’s stance on trade could cause serious damage to the global economy. It is possible however, that Donald Trump is seeking political gain ahead of the mid-term elections in November and is using empty threats in order to extract concessions.

Looking ahead, the geopolitical issues mentioned above will have a key role in deciding market movements and it is our view that markets will remain relatively volatile for the foreseeable future. The biggest problem with a potential trade war, the threat to the long-term stability of the EU, and the developments (if any) of BREXIT, is that they are all longer term issues and will not get resolved over night. Whereas an interest rate change happens pretty much on a set day/time and can affect markets temporarily, the negotiations of BREXIT or a trade war will inevitably have an ongoing grip on the market.

BREXIT

For many, this is turning into a long-winded, boring and tedious subject. The fact that the Government (now 2 years after the vote) is still arguing amongst themselves, says it all. The deadline for BREXIT is set as the 29th March 2019, at which time the transition period will start, running up to 31st December 2020. Some EU negotiators are doubtful that a full UK-EU deal will even be achieved at this point.

In early July, the Cabinet was torn apart by disagreement over Theresa May’s “third way” BREXIT strategy, unveiled at the Chequers country estate. Her plan was to aim for a divorce similar to the set up of Norway – part of the European Economic Area and trading bloc, but with some opt outs for justice, immigration and regulation. Essentially, this would mean the UK would have to simply obey many European rules without having any say in their creation. It return, the UK would have access to the Continental market tariff-free. Following this development, several senior ministers, including BREXIT secretary David Davis, resigned.

Brexiteers are upset because it’s not really a BREXIT at all. Europeans are upset because it appears that the UK is trying to pick and choose which rules it will and won’t follow. Remainers are upset because the UK is simply giving up a commanding seat at the EU table for a complicated patchwork that leaves things virtually as they were. All in all, everyone does agree that it is a shambles.

In light of the above, an increasing number of people have suggested the idea of a second referendum. This has been backed by a select number of ex-Cabinet members and also some famous celebrities such as Gary Lineker. There was also talk only two weeks ago about the possibility of a second referendum with three options; to leave the EU with no deal, to leave the EU with the PM’s final negotiated deal, or to remain in the EU. Whether or not a second referendum is a genuine option is yet to be seen, but Theresa May, up to this point, has repeatedly stated “under no circumstances”.

We are taking a very different view on BREXIT and how to inform clients. We have seen a lot of our competitors run seminars, or advertise on the radio or in magazines, claiming to inform clients of what will happen. Many of the adverts are also used as scaremongering tools, something which we do not agree with.

The truth is nobody knows what is going to happen with BREXIT. It is impossible for anyone to say whether or not a deal will be finalised, because we simply don’t know. If the Government don’t even know themselves, how can we be expected to know? What we do know however, is the position as of today, and thanks to our flexible financial solutions, we can make sure your finances are in order so that it doesn’t matter if it is a hard or soft BREXIT.

Spanish Budget 2018

The latest Spanish budget was originally planned for approval in September 2017, but due to political instability in Spain and the lack of sufficient support to pass the budget, it had to be postponed. Although no budget was planned for 2018, the 2017 budget has automatically rolled over until the middle of this year.

On the 23rd May, the Spanish Congress finally approved the 2018 budget after weeks of hard negotiations. It has also now been approved by the Senate and was published in the Spanish Official Gazette (Boletin Oficial del Estado – BOE) on 4th July 2018.

The most important point to take from the 2018 budget is that it did not include any major tax changes and will have minimal impact on UK nationals resident in Spain. Wealthier residents may be affected by the extension of wealth tax for at least one more year, though this was expected.

The main changes are as follows;

The income tax return threshold has been increased from 12,000€ to 14,000€ gross per annum. So, in simple terms, if your annual income in 2018 is less than 14,000€, you do not need to submit an income tax return.
Wealth tax has been extended for yet another year and is applicable for the tax year 2018.
The minimum widower and state pensions have been increased by between 1% and 3% depending on the case.
There is a new 30% deduction for taxpayers who invest in new companies, up to 60,000€ per annum.
The tax-free threshold for Spanish lottery winnings increases from 2,500€ to 10,000€ in 2018, 20,000€ in 2019 and then 40,000€ in 2020.
The VAT rate for cinema tickets drops from 21% to 10%.
Paternity leave increases from four to five weeks.

Investments & Protection

Investments & Protection are two key areas that IFA’s should address when carrying out a financial planning exercise for clients.

Protection, in the form of insurance, is one of the most undersold and undervalued areas in our opinion. All too often we hear news about a family member passing away and leaving their loved ones in a difficult financial situation. Some of these cases however, could be resolved with forward thinking, in the shape of Life Assurance. Life Assurance nowadays is pretty cost effective and plans can be paid for monthly, semi-annually or yearly. Aside from the idea of leaving your loved ones with a lump-sum, these types of plans can also be used to cover any expected IHT tax liability upon death.

The same could be said for funeral plans and Wills. The cost of a funeral has more than doubled from an average £1,920 in 2004 to almost £5,000 in 2018. If the cost continues to rise at this rate, in the next 4 years it looks set to cost around £7,000 (an increase of 160% since 2004!). Having a funeral plan in place and also a valid Will, will make the administration and cost on death much more manageable for beneficiaries during such a stressful period.

Investments on the other hand can come in all shapes and sizes, and can range from platforms/bonds, to direct investments. When analyzing to see if investments are suitable for clients, it is often important to look at where the investment is held, and where the client is tax resident. A good example of this would be when a British expat holding an ISA (Individual Savings Account) in the UK, moves over to Spain and becomes Spanish tax resident.

ISA’s are great investments as returns are not liable to income or capital gains tax, and tax-free withdrawals can be taken at any time. However, this only applies to UK tax residents, and once an individual changes to become Spanish tax resident, the investments loses all tax benefits. Any income taken from the investment would then be added to total income and taxed at their marginal rate.

Our associates are able to carry out a full review of your financial investments. They will then sit down with you and explain exactly what your money is invested in and also explain the tax position surrounding the investment itself.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Email: info@expatservicesspain.net

 

The Budget 2018

The Goverment’s budget for 2018 has finally been approved. Below is a summary of changes I  thought might interest you.

Starting with a positive one, going to the cinema is going to be cheaper, as the IVA/ VAT on tickets will decrease from 21 to 10. Effective immediatly.

Another improvement Paternity leave from 4-5 weeks and for ‘fucionarios’ the option to take leave once the mothers leave has ended. Effective immediatly.

Pensions will increase with 1.6% for a medium pension to 3% for a minimum pension, 1,35% for Autonomos not in receipt of minimum pension. The increased pension payments will be released as of August , but the measure will be implemented retro-actively as of January 1st this year, so during July all pensioners will receive an extra payment with the increase over the months January-July.

IRPF Income Tax Changes– The threshold of 12,000 euros will go up to 14,000 euros. Higher allowances for those with income from work between 14,000-18,000. Extra allowances for those with a disabled spouse or for large families. Effective this tax year, so as of RENTA 2019.

Autonomo contributions increase with 3.87 euros /month for those that have chosen topay based on the minimum ‘base de cotizacion,’ the large majority of self-employed in Spain.

Renewing your Spanish DNI or Passport is more expensive now. 12 euros for DNI and 30 for a Spanish passport.

For foreigners living in Spain, the ‘tasas’ to pay for official documents like NIE certificate (EX 15) or Residency Certificate (EX 18) have gone up as well. Prices now 9,64 euros for NIE and 10,82 for the green residency certificate.

Sound Advice - fairytales

Sound Advice – Fairytales

 

Politically Correct Fairy Stories.

With Brexit in chaos, and nobody agreeing on anything, Russia becoming very scary and President Trumps visit to the UK looming, you would think the British had more to worry about than politically correct fairy stories.

Cinderella was a poor, over worked woman and therefore not to be celebrated in any way, even though the ball and the wonderful carriage kept me and others enthralled as children, for a long time and still does.  Do you realise that Sleeping Beauty was not asked permission for the Prince to kiss her!  How could this happen, because he kissed her back to life, much to the joy of the seven dwarfs and countless children.  And how about this one, all new mothers should ask permission to change their baby’s nappy. How is this possible? Get a life and smile.

Read more

Unique House Policies

 

What interesting times we live in and I could add, quite scary times. I shudder when I think that the free world’s peace is controlled by a very volatile and frightening man. Is it acceptable to threaten another country’s leader via Twitter? What about the old fashioned way of diplomatic channels and ambassadors, in private? Still, I am an old fashioned gal who wouldn´t dream of going on Facebook to discuss my private life and to see the office of the US President using social media in this way, when there is a conflict, disagreement, or just lashing out, I find appalling.

I am now going to drop a bit of a bombshell. Do you realise that when you get your Residencia accepted by the Spanish authorities, it is a European document which states you live in Spain. However, to be a full legal resident in Spain, you must be a fiscal resident. This means you must be registered by the Spanish tax office and submit yearly tax returns in Spain. This does not mean you necessarily have to pay tax in Spain, but you must do a yearly tax return, which is a legal requirement. This costs very little and protects you from a fine. If you are autonomos or working on contract, you are a fiscal resident. I feel, with Brexit on the horizon, it would be very wise to get your paperwork in order, because obviously there are checks being carried out on behalf of the governments in both Spain and the UK already. IBI, Basura and road tax are a totally separate issue, as they are in the UK. Would you consider Council Tax, rubbish collection and car tax in Britain as your tax return? Of course not!

Staying on the subject of legality and as part of Expat Services, when talking to my chosen financial advisor, he reminded me of a very good piece of sound advice. Although the company you are dealing with may be authorised to sell financial investments, did you realise that the advisor offering advice also has to be fully registered and regulated? Unless they are, they are not allowed to work in the UK at any time or offer advice in any other country, so take care and select your advisor very carefully, because it could spell trouble with a capital T.

If you are in any doubt on either of these two issues or wish to do a tax return which is due in June, you can always organise an appointment with one of my associates (the first consultation is free), telephone 966 461 690 or visit www.expatservicesspain.net.

I am very excited about my new advertisements that are just starting to appear in the newspapers. I hope you agree with me that they are very ‘relaxing’. There are eight different advertisements informing you of the services that we offer, one of which is a unique house insurance for your largest asset.

It is a very good policy, especially designed for the Expats and as far as I am concerned, knowing my way around the market as I do, it is the best. It might however, not be the cheapest but the extent of the cover is exceptional. Liability, water loss and especially accidental damage on both the contents and the building, are unique. A big percentage of the claims that come through my office are the result of accidental damage. With regard to contents cover, my Sales Consultants will advise you to take out a realistic sum and you would be amazed when you think about how much you spend on furnishing your home, clothes, personal items and valuables. Be very careful when it comes to expensive jewellery, paintings, watches and collections. For example, it you have rings and watches, you will need a full risk policy, not just insurance cover when they are locked in a safe. Also, do not be persuaded to under insure, because when it comes to total loss, you will find yourself in trouble with the insurance company. Never forgetting out-buildings, solar panels and pools, garden furniture, the list is endless. When you take all of this into consideration, you should expect to pay a realistic premium to reflect the cover. If it seems too cheap, whilst at the same time being assured it covers everything, I suggest you look very closely before committing. Liberty Seguros has specially designed policies for second homes, and for those properties that are rented or uninhabited for a certain length of time.

When you are renting your property legally, long term, special landlord insurance is a necessity and includes cover for non payment of rent and Liberty also have policies for tenants to cover their own contents and liability. Protect yourself and your home in the best possible way.

For more information or a quotation, please contact one of my consultants or visit my website www.jennifercunningham.net.

 

Confused or concerned about your Investment/ QROPS or Pension?

We’ve found recently many new clients have come to us with some sort of investment wrapper-typically a Spanish Compliant Portfolio Bond or Qrops/ pension arrangement that most could not answer YES to these 3 questions:

 

Do you know exactly what you are invested in?

Do you understand all your investments?

Do you understand structured notes?

 

Over the recent months we have been helping these new clients understand EXACTLY what they have, enabling them to confidently answer YES to all of the above.

We work with 2 fully qualified individuals who have over 40 years experience in both the UK and Spain advising clients on financial and tax planning matters. individuals. Qualified with the CII and are regulated and registered with the Gilbraltar Financial Services commision, the FCA in the UK and both the DGS and CNMV here in Spain

If you have any queries concerning your existing investment, whether they include Structured Notes or not, empower yourself..do something logical and get in touch. We’ll help you understand exactly what it is you have and advise on all financial and tax planning matters to ensure you are getting the best.

 

 

Would you send your children to be taught in a school where teachers are not qualified?

Just 1 Question…

Would you send your children to be taught in a school where teachers are not qualified?

Qualified

Is your financial adviser qualified?
There are a variety of qualifications within our industry, and as in many industries the level or, quality of qualifications, vary. From a qualification perspective, the UK is probably one of the most robust and rigorous environments.

You can easily check to see if your adviser is qualified to UK standards, by simply going to the Chartered Insurance Institute website, www.cii.co.uk . If you click on membership and then member search, you can then type in your advisers’ name. If they don’t appear with at least the designation Dip PFS next to their name, they would not be able to give advice in the UK.

Regulated
I am sure, like us, you will see many adverts in the press and on Social Media from firms and individuals offering to provide Financial Advice. Sadly, many of these are not regulated at all.
Being regulated ensures that you have important protection against unscrupulous advisers. If the firm is regulated, you will have protection and some recourse action should the advice be deemed to be inappropriate to your personal requirements. In addition, any regulated firm has to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance, which adds another level of protection for you.

Any firm who is regulated will always state on any advert, or on their website, exactly who they are regulated by. Any firm that is regulated will be happy to share their licences with you.

Would you happily get on a plane knowing the pilot isn’t qualified?

Our Consultants are regulated by the FSC in Gibraltar, Registration number FSC1118B, and also registered with the FCA (UK) and both the DGS and CNMV in Spain.
They are qualified to level 4 with the CII, and are members of the Personal Finance Society. Both hold the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.
In addition to being both regulated and qualified, clients will also have peace of mind, in that they are dealing with a Family business which is here for the long term.
So, if you are unsure of your advisers’ regulatory status, or qualifications, why not contact us now for a free consultation?

Is your Financial advisor regulated AND fully qualified?

It has come to our attention in recent months that there are a number of Financial Advice companies advertising on the mainland, and in the Canaries, claiming to be fully qualified and regulated. Unfortunately, some of these companies have very limited permissions, or none at all in some cases.

In the first instance, you need to ensure that the company you are dealing with is regulated. This is extremely important and provides you with a level of protection. Equally important, however, is that the individual sitting in front of you, and providing the advice, is fully qualified.

To check to see if a company is regulated is fairly straightforward. On any advert or marketing material, an advice firm will always state their registration number as well information on where and who they are regulated by. Typically, the regulation will come from either the FSC in Gibraltar, the FCA in UK and either the DGS or the CNMV in Spain. Any advert without this information is likely to be from and unregulated entity.

You are also able to see if an adviser is qualified to UK standard, which many claim to be. To do this, you can go to the official CII (Chartered Insurance Institute) website, and click on member search. When searching for an individual, they should have the designation DipPFS next to their name, which means they have reached Diploma status. If they do not have this next to their name, they are not qualified to UK standard.

We are proud to work with two fully qualified advisers who both have both completed the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. We pride ourselves on delivering easily understood, tax efficient solutions for expats living in Spain. You are safe in the knowledge that the advice you are receiving is from fully qualified individuals and a fully regulated business.

We work with our advsisors who are a trading style of Tourbillon Limited, regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (Registered Number FSC1118B). Under our network, we are also registered with the FCA in UK and both the DGS and CNMV in Spain.

 Don’t be caught out, ensure your advisor is qualified and fully regulated. You will be very suprised how many aren’t. After all you wouldn’t send your children to school to be taught by an unqualified teacher, neither would you board a plane with a pilot without the right training. Don’t put your financial affairs at risk.
Contact us for trusted, safe, secure and fully regulated advice

Is it wise to keep your pension in the UK?

Pension planning has always been an important part of financial planning and never more so than
now. The pension industry’s legislation is forever changing and everyone should review their
options.

On top of this, we find ourselves in a transitional period where the UK are in negotiations with the
EU, hoping to obtain the best BREXIT deal possible. This, as one would expect, raises lots of
uncertainty and concerns about how UK pensions will be affected by BREXIT and equally, what
impact this has on individuals who live overseas.

We have seen an increasing number of clients living abroad opt to transfer their pension to
an overseas, tax beneficial, jurisdiction. This has given them peace of mind that their pension will no
longer be subject to unknown changes caused by BREXIT.

Most people will depend on a pension to provide them with their income in retirement. Their
pension may come from the State, from a company sponsored pension scheme or from a private
pension arrangement.

Governments around the world are increasing retirement ages and reducing the benefits that the
state provides, so we all need to have the means to support ourselves. Furthermore, with our life
expectancy increasing through breakthroughs in medication and education, our pension funds need
to last longer than ever before.

It is not uncommon for people to lose track of their pensions over time, or even forget about them
all together. If you want to maintain a certain level of lifestyle in retirement or have the option of
retiring when you want to, it is vital you have a plan in place.

We are able to carry out pension audits and reviews of existing schemes, whether your
pension be based in the UK or overseas. We will explain what your options are in plain English,
without the jargon, so that you can make informed decisions on how best to achieve your goals.

Contact Expat services today and we’ll put you in touch with a tried, tested and trusted advisor recommended by Jennifer herself

Wills, Taxes and Residencia- Time marches on for Brexit

Time marches on. Thousands of words are spoken and still there is great optimism in the UK that Brexit is going to bring wealth, prosperity and a standing in the world similar to that from the past. Personally I think that is going to require a miracle. Needing to be part of a collection of countries when the world is a very dangerous place to live in, became apparent when Theresa May flew to Brussels to request help and support regarding the dreadful situation with the nerve gas poisoning in Salisbury. Will this be able to continue at the same level? No doubt due to the unsettled situation, sadly the British are not coming to Spain in the numbers they used to. They are being superseded by other nationalities. Let´s hope this reverts very soon when we are made to feel a little bit more secure on deciding to make Spain our home.

You will need, if you are Resident or Non Resident, to be registered to either pay or prove that you are paying taxes outside of Spain. Please do not ignore this legal requirement because there are more taxes than IBI and Basura to be assessed, especially if you are a Resident, and a huge fine could follow if you do not comply. If you are thinking of making a will, can I suggest that you do this as soon as possible, as without a will the problems, time and money that this will cost your loved ones, can be extremely high and stressful. If you are living with a person who dies, and you are not a blood relative, then it could turn into a nightmare, especially if the deceased has a son, who in Spanish law can supersede a common law relative. There is also the cost of dealing with a death, and having no life insurance or funeral plan, or the provision to pay the inheritance tax, finding these amounts of money fairly quickly, could cause a very unpleasant and worrying time for your loved ones. Everything I have mentioned here has been gained by the experience of others and myself. You must take on board that there is no help available from the government of Spain – you are on your own. But you have no need to be. My very professional associates can ease this situation if you contact them and take their advice. I appreciate that my company is an insurance company, however there is no point in just protecting your car and your house, you need to protect your family. Once again we can help you with a Bespoke Life Insurance policy, which can be as little as € 120 per year. Can you afford not to do this, because sadly accidents and illness do happen? You need to make all these decisions if you choose to live in Spain, to keep you and your family secure. You know it makes sense. All you have to do is visit www.expatservicesspain.net and contact my company for more information and to arrange an appointment with our associates.

When considering contacting us for your insurance, please remember that Liberty Seguros, the company I deal with, has a special division for Ex Pats. Please do not take this terminology lightly as the investment in the Ex Pat policies is very high, as they are different policies than those offered on the Spanish marketplace. For example, when calling for the grua, check how much distance is covered by your insurance as in most cases this is limited and over that level, you will need to pay, which is not cheap. Also the telephone number you call to make a claim is usually a premium number, which can be very costly. Liberty Seguros offers unlimited grua mileage, and you can call my office on a local number to speak with my Claims Administrator, who of course is bi-lingual and there to assist you. The house policy offered by Liberty Seguros is comprehensive and despite what you can be told, other house policies in Spain, I can assure you, do not have the same coverage. There is even a certain amount of water cover available, which is unique. When you consider the house purchase is the biggest purchase you make, please do not go on price alone and false promises. All the Liberty Seguros policies mentioned offer a Cashback bonus at the moment, for all new business, so now is the time to change. I can also assure you that on renewal you will not be given a huge increase on your premium, as can often happen when you are given a very unrealistic cheap price for your insurance.

For more information contact one of my offices or visit my website www.jennifercunningham.net. My consultants are there to help you with good honest advice, supported by one of the biggest insurance companies in the world.

Could it get any worse?

Could it get any worse? Every time a politician opens his mouth to speak, it is a different story. All I know is that it is becoming a bit of a dangerous farce. There are so many issues and differences to be discussed and many agreements to be made. One example is Northern Ireland, I cannot see an easy resolution happening here and when did the Irish ever resolve anything quickly, especially when it comes to border control and customs.

There have been many warnings of the effects of coming out of the EU, but especially the customs union and trade agreements. These warnings do not seem to be taken on board and there is a mountain to cross regarding the negotiations. I think if I lived in the UK I would be making an exodus to live elsewhere in Europe whilst I had the chance to do it relatively easily, making Spain one of the first choices.

I understand there are a number of people panicking about being able to stay in Spain. I have no fears whatsoever, as both Rajoy, the Prime Minster, his Foreign Minister and the Consulate have many times assured us that we are very welcome to stay (of course we are – the economy would drop enormously without us).

The advice given by the Consulate is to request your Residencia as soon as possible and they are advising that to do this you must have proof of healthcare and if you are not entitled to state healthcare, you need private health insurance, with a certificate which must be presented and approved by the police.

My company can provide you with this certificate when you purchase and complete payment of a health insurance policy. All my offices can assist you with this process, with the applications then be forwarded to my Head Office and your application for your health certificate processed.

I am a little disturbed by many applying for this certificate and after a year, cancelling the policy. Unless you are accepted into the state health system, you will, of course, not have any cover at all in Spain. At this moment it is not illegal to be without health insurance whilst living in Spain but it is very foolish. Accidents and illness happen far too frequently to be without cover. Not only could the costs be high, depending on the illness and if you are unable to pay the invoice you will find yourself with embargoes on your home or bank account.

The other situation you could find yourself in, is needing to reapply for health insurance and find yourself in another age bracket, or have a pre-existing condition, which will both increase the premiums and the pre-existing condition could affect your coverage. Another issue with the state health care is the huge waiting lists and the pressure on the resources. So take care.

Currently I am re-launching Expat Services and have introduced a new service which is named after my Sound Advice programme on Bay Radio – “Jennifer’s Sound Advice Surgeries”, starting in my Javea and Els Poblets offices and extending to the southern offices shortly. I have selected very trusted professionals, who are all fully regulated, to work alongside me, offering their experience of living and working in Spain and what is required to do so. This includes solicitors, financial advisors, currency exchange and a structural surveyor. Two pieces of advice I can give you now is to go to a solicitor when you are thinking of purchasing a property and make sure your solicitor is independent, especially when buying off plan or a new build. This advice will be invaluable, before you even start looking for a property.

When you need any insurance, always go to a specialist, not your bank or solicitor, as in all probability the result will be a Spanish policy, not a policy tailored for the Expats, which my company specialises in. This particularly applies to life insurance. The premiums could be far higher than necessary and you may not be sure of exactly what is covered. When purchasing Mortgage Protection, a medical may be necessary and if you are not offered this and have a condition, your estate may have problems when trying to claim.

It is that time of year again where we are thinking of going on holiday, camping, travelling, hotels or cruises. My company has an excellent policy which you can pay in Sterling, which has many benefits, especially the optional extras when you go on a cruise, which includes cover if you are confined to your cabin due to illness and miss pre-booked excursions, and cover for missing ports or connections during your trip. And of course, all the normal cover of lost luggage, illness and repatriation and being able to speak to someone in your own language is always beneficial.

For those who live near the Els Poblets office, where the Renewal Department is based, I require a part time Sales Consultant to sell general insurance. Sales experience is necessary and other languages would be an advantage. Please send your CV to accounts@jennifercunningham.net.

For more information, please contact one of my offices or email info@jennifercunningham.net and to book an appointment for the Sound Advice Surgery, email info@expatservicesspain.net.