Shane Clark moved to southern Spain in 2017 and set up EuroAmerican Financial Advisors. One of a growing number of Americans moving to Spain, we asked him what brought him here and how he’s finding life in Europe compared to the U.S., and about some of the financial challenges Americans moving to Spain face.
What inspired you to move to Spain?
I’d already been living in Europe, having done an MPhil in Financial Economics in Glasgow and then worked in Brussels. During this time, I’d visited Spain though, and my wife and I were taken by the amazing combination of the climate, cuisine, history and culture. As a financial advisor, I was also aware of the so-called ‘Beckham Law’ offering an initially lower flat tax rate for foreigners moving to Spain. (This was before the new residency visa for Digital Nomads was launched, which has attracted lots more Americans to Spain). Following Brexit, I also wanted to retain the ability to easily explore the rest of Europe too. So when we were looking to relocate, Spain was the obvious best choice.
What inspired you to start EAFA?
I’d previously been advising Americans living in Brussels, so I had a knowledge of the particular challenges Americans face saving and investing abroad. As an American in Spain, I also had first hand experience of the way U.S. tax and investment rules intersect with Spanish rules, and the related cross-border intricacies, so it made sense to use my expertise to advise other Americans living in Spain.
I founded EuroAmerican Financial Advisors in early 2022 in partnership with Tom Zachystal, who has over 20 years experience advising Americans living abroad. Just 18 months later, we now have clients in all Spain’s major cities and regions.
What are the main financial planning challenges that expats face?
The U.S. tax system is global for U.S. citizens, which means that Americans living in Spain are technically liable to pay both U.S. and Spanish taxes. In practise, we can claim tax credits to offset U.S. taxes, but we still have to file a U.S. tax return every year. We also have to report our Spanish financial accounts, including bank and investment accounts. The rules are complex, and keeping on top of them is important, and when investing in particular, an understanding of the U.S. implications can and should influence our investing decisions as Americans living in Spain.
Whether it’s best to save and invest in the U.S. or Spain is another challenge, which may depend on future plans as well as the relative potential and strengths of currencies and particular investments.
How is living in Spain different to living in the U.S.?
It’s definitely different. Firstly, the culture is very different, with an emphasis on family, socializing and tradition. The lifestyle is different too, with different working hours, in southern Spain at least, and also people eat and stay up later in the evening, socializing more on work nights as well as weekends. Cars and houses are smaller in general, and people seem to walk more, rather than always drive. There’s a saying that in Europe 100 miles is a long way, while in America 100 years is a long time that illustrates one of the most significant differences in the way Europeans and Americans think, and I certainly find being surrounded by all the historic architecture inspiring.
You can find out more about EuroAmerican Financial Advisors at www.eurousafa.com.