Spain ranks No. 22 of 25 as wealth hotspot for expats, survey finds
The 2010 Expat Explorer survey released its economics report revealing a low-scoring Spain sitting at No. 22 of 25 in terms of a wealth hotspot and high income area. Retirement plays a factor, results show.The 2010 Expat Explorer Survey results conducted by HSBC Expat ranked Spain at a low No. 22 of 25 countries in disposable income and overall finance for expats.
For its third year in a row, HSBC Expat continued their annual survey, upping the total sample to over 4,000 expats in more than 100 countries who completed questionnaires related to essentials such as business, quality of life and family environments.
Expat Economics is the first of three reports, revealing the economic climate among expats in 25 countries ranked by measurements in finance and economics. Two pending reports on expat lifestyle and family are set to be released by the end of this year.
Spain flounders with finance
Well-surpassed by BRIC countries and areas like Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Spain sat at the bottom five slots for an expat's income, disposable income and a hotspot location for wealth.
"Expats are earning more, the economy is growing, and there are better career opportunities in the BRIC countries," says Lisa Wood, Head of Marketing for HSBC Expat in Jersey. "It's where expats will make more money."
The majority of expats in Spain see the economic climate as relatively unstable, and 93 percent have seen it worsen over the past year.
To compensate, expats are spending more cafeully than before – 41 percent admit to monitoring their spending more, and over a quarter have noted a jump in prices on everday items.
"A few years ago the eurozone was the place to expatriate. It was good for business," says Dr. Noeleen Doherty, Senior research fellow at Cranfield University School of Management in Bedford, England. "Expatriation comes in waves, and there's a downturn in EU countries and an upturn in BRIC countries."
In addition, HSBC results show nearly one-third of expats living in Spain admit they have less disposable income than in their home country.
"In this report, Spain hasn't done well because the economy has deteriorated. But the type of expats living here is a factor," says Wood.
Retirement plays a role
Unlike the majority of countries where finance is a top occupation amongst expats, almost 40 percent of expats in Spain are retired and almost half are aged 55 or older.
This demographic plays a role in Spain’s bottom listing in these economically related results. Despite concerns about Spain's deteriorating economic climate, 83 percent of those who noted the worsening economic climate say they will not be looking to head home.
"Money is not always the answer. Career opportunity upon return, importance of host location, the element of choosing, cultural distance, political instability, schooling for children… Packages vary considerably, and companies have to be careful on what they offer," says Doherty.
Results also show expats in Spain are more likely to have a swimming pool and own nicer or larger property – placing Spain at No. 13 in Luxury rankings, the highest Luxury ranking in Europe.
"There is a tradeoff between lifestyle, family and finance," says Wood. "There are different motivators for going to different countries. It's all about balancing out different things."
Expats in Spain are also least likely to invest in company shares or repatriate their earnings – 35 percent use their income to invest in property and savings within Spain.
The majority of expats sampled in France are from the United Kingdom (71 percent) with 9 percent noting education or unemployment as an occupation. (30 percent marked 'other').
Spain Editor / Expatica
Photos: alancleaver_2000, natloans
Click here for more information on the Expat Explorer surveys.