Rich Americans have had enough of the U.S. Like the elite of London, many are upping sticks and looking for opportunities elsewhere. But what’s driving this trend?
The reasons aren’t the same as you might expect in Europe. America is still a civilization on an upward trajectory, despite media reports suggesting the contrary. However, it doesn’t make sense to stay – at least for many of the wealthiest families and individuals.
Seven Seas Worldwide is a company at the forefront of this trend. It ships boxes and belongings all over the world and has flexible storage, just in case there are any hiccups when customers move house.
“The demand for shipping belongings to Europe and Spain is growing,” a company spokesperson said. “The trend is clear, with many wealthy clients looking for different living arrangements that improve on the ones they experience in the U.S. It’s not just about taxes, but that’s part of it. It’s also a result of quality of life factors.”
This sentiment from Seven Seas Worldwide is on the right track. Many wealthy Americans have a certain ennui with the nation’s state of affairs. The constant internal struggles and left-right divide are causing exhaustion and restlessness, provoking people to look overseas for alternative living arrangements. At the same time, services like Seven Seas Worldwide are popping up to deal with the new demand.
“We see Americans moving overseas as an opportunity for us to expand and provide customers with more flexibility,” the firm says. “It should be just as easy to send parcels and packages internationally as it is domestically, and that’s what we’re aiming for.”
Perhaps the biggest reason Americans are moving to Spain is the lifestyle opportunities it offers. The Spanish aren’t like other Western countries. People aren’t hustling or trying to get ahead. Instead, individuals are content to take a slower-paced approach to life, enjoying things besides work and consumption.
There’s a tremendous family-orientated approach in Spain. Catholic culture places an emphasis on not working on Sundays and leaving parts of the calendar free for religious observances. Sleeping in the day is still acceptable in many regions, and the working week is short.
Of course, the pay and income per person is lower, but that’s not a concern for the many wealthy individuals who move there. What matters more is the environment.
Of course, those who move to Spain can benefit from substantial tax advantages, too. The country is famous for offering generous tax incentives to encourage highly skilled migrants to move there, including its new digital nomad visa for stays of up to a year.
For ultra-wealthy individuals, the tax benefits can be considerable, particularly when drawing down on income. However, Spain also has property taxes, so it matters where you keep your wealth.
Wealthy Americans are also moving to Spain for its unique housing options. While Spanish-style villas are available in places like Santa Fe and Scottsdale, they aren’t the real thing.
Spain, though, is replete with inexpensive housing. The country’s falling birthrate means that the pressure on the housing stock is low, causing prices to decline.
The Spanish property boom ended years of speculation in the late 2000s. Property prices had been high, but subsequently fell dramatically, particularly in rural areas. As such, governments in the Balearics and Catalonia are looking for ways to bring in more wealthy foreigners to supplement local demand.
The Golden Visa Program
The Golden Visa program is another factor driving the movement of Americans to Spain. The controversial immigration policy allows rich individuals to essentially buy residency in the country, as long as they invest enough in real estate.
The program is similar to the one that operates in Monaco, but buyers get much more housing for their money. A million dollars would buy a gigantic estate in rural Spain while it might only get a single-bedroom apartment in Monaco.
The Transport Network
Another little-known secret of why Americans are moving to Spain is its network of high-speed train lines. Trains from Seville, Barcelona, the South Coast, and Leon in the northwest all descend on the capital, allowing people to get across the country in mere hours from any location without flying.
Spain was able to complete this network because of its unique population density profile. Almost everyone lives on the coasts or in the small patch of fertile land on which Madrid sits. The rest of the nation is semi-arid and mountainous, making it unsuitable for farming or any kind of large settlements. This geography meant that planners had no problem laying thousands of miles of high-quality railways between the major population centers, offering perhaps the best internal transport system of any country, anywhere in the world.
Education And Healthcare
Wealthy Americans are also moving to Spain for improved education and healthcare. The country is famous for offering quality services to all its citizens through a combination of insurance and state provisions.
“Many of our clients tell us that moving to Spain is for healthcare. These individuals trust the European system more because it is less beholden to vested interests. If you pay your premiums, you can still get great healthcare services, but at a fraction of the price you’d pay here, and without those pesky deductibles.”
The fact that these services are among the best in the world makes the country attractive for families. While average wages might be low domestically, these publicly-provided services are highly efficient.
Finally, Americans want to move to Spain for their culture. Many are descending on regional capitals, like Barcelona, to get a taste of the Old World. Seville and Madrid offer numerous attractions for anyone who likes and appreciates art, history, and culture.
“This is certainly a factor playing into our clients’ decision-making,” Seven Seas Worldwide says. “People want to experience the real thing, not an imitation, which is what so often happens in the U.S. Destinations, like Spain, provide precisely that for individuals seeking a different kind of life.”
Featured image provided by Biel Morro; Unsplash; Thanks!