Retire in Spain

Concerns for those looking to retire in Spain

If you are looking to retire in Spain, you’re not alone.

A recent survey found that Spain was the top retirement location for over-50s looking to retire overseas.

The study, carried out by Canada Life, revealed that nearly half (49%) of Brits wanted to retire in Spain. Still, there are some concerns for would-be expats.

Despite the global pandemic, Brexit still remains the biggest obstacle. 

50% of those looking to retire abroad said that Brexit was causing them to rethink where they might go. However, 47% said that the uncertainty caused by Brexit had caused them to rethink their retirement plans altogether.

Where you choose to retire can have a significant impact on pension. Here, we look at what you need to know about the UK state pension if you are looking to retire in Spain.



We previously revealed that nearly half (46%) of expats were unaware that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is still valid.

The research from Canada Life revealed that expats are also in the dark when it comes to their pensions.

Only 19% of those planning to move abroad knew which countries had a reciprocal social security agreement (RSSA) in place. 

Moving to a country that doesn’t have an RSSA in place can have a significant impact on your pension pot. More specifically, if it will determine whether or not your pension benefits from the triple lock system.


Why the triple lock matters

The state pension benefits from the triple lock guarantee in the UK, meaning it increases each year.

The triple lock considers three points:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the cost of living
  • Average wages
  • A flat rate of 2.5%

Whichever of those three is higher is how much the state pension increases by that year.

The triple lock does apply to state pensions abroad, but only in certain countries. Moving to a country where the state pension doesn’t benefit from the triple lock means your pension will be frozen at the rate it was when you left the UK.

Data from Royal London shows just how much of a difference the triple lock makes.

Someone who retired with the full basic state pension in 2000 received £67.50 per week. Thanks to the triple lock, their state pension in 2021 increased to £137.60.


The UK state pension in Spain

Knowing where the UK state pension is not frozen should be something you consider when retiring abroad.

Despite all that has changed since the UK left the EU, the triple lock system remains in place in Spain.

Those who retire in Spain can have their state pension paid into a UK bank or a local bank. You should be aware that you need to inform the government offices that deal with pensions if you plan to move abroad.

Of course, you will need to be eligible to receive a UK state pension first. The number of years of National Insurance contributions you have will determine your eligibility and how much state pension you will get. 

For more information on National Insurance and to find out how you can check your record, you can find our detailed article here.

At the time of writing, it seems that the state pension is unaffected by Brexit. However, there is always a chance that this could change. The UK government website has all of the up-to-date information should things change.


Take the hassle out of retirement planning

For those looking to retire in Spain, the state pension still being covered by the triple lock system will be welcome news.

However, it’s probably not enough to fund your retirement completely. Having the right plan in place is essential for making sure you are financially secure when you come to retire.

At Holborn, we are specialists when it comes to retirement planning. For over 20 years, we have worked with clients to develop successful, bespoke retirement planning strategies.

Enjoy the retirement you dreamt of by speaking with one of our experts. To find out how we can help you, contact us using the form below.

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