To counteract some recent gloom about the falling pound and the struggle to make ends meet, it is worth reflecting on the positive side to life in Spain particularly for those approaching or in retirement. On November 15th, I celebrated my birthday with a family picnic bathed in warm Autumn sunshine and counted my blessings. But there some more practical and immediate benefits to living in Spain than the ability to enjoy great weather in an uncrowded, beautiful and relaxed country.
Free Card Trick
If you are approaching retirement don’t think you can avoid the inevitable “bus pass” comments and jokes just because you moved to Spain. They have similar benefits here on retirement. The regional government issue a card called the “tarjeta sesentaycinco” to all residents aged 65 and over which entitles the holder to, among other things:
50% discount on bus travel for all journeys within Andalucia
Up to 55% of glasses and hearing aids
Discounted entry to hotels, cinemas, monuments, theme parks etc
Subsidies for home improvements, handrails, ramps etc
Up to 100% off the state’s Telecare service, a handsfree 24 hour support callout service
It is free and can be applied for online at www.juntadeandalucia.es (search for “tarjeta sesentaycinco” and go to the English section)
In fact, in Spain, the benefits of growing older kick in well before retirement. For example the regional government has a “Grand Experiences” scheme offering excursions, activities and holidays, mainly during low season, at discounted rates for those aged 55 and over. On the English language version of the website you can download a catalogue or browse offers, many for groups, online. Some examples:
Wine-tasting in Cadiz with tour, lunch and drinks included for 19,50€
The world of honey and bees in Jerez including food and tasting from €4
Guided Tour of “Hidden Seville” from 25€
2 night “Spa and Caves” trip to Nerja from 82,50€
Link (in English) http://www.grandesexperiencias.com/en/index.html
Why stick to the bus? For 5€ Renfe issue a “Tarjeta Dorada” to the over 60s. You can get one instantly from Renfe stations and travel agents with a passport and residencia or NIE. This entitles you to a 40% discount off all fares for journeys from Monday to Thursday and a 25% discount off weekend fares as long as you book your ticket in advance. As the price of rail travel in Spain is already quite low this can make even long journeys affordable and save a lot of driving.
It is easy to focus on the negative particularly during a recession, but one revolutionary social change that we have seen in our lifetimes is the way the majority of people are able to do much more for much longer as they grow older. Hopefully this article has shown that Spain is doing its bit to further this positive trend.