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Expat life is a two-way street, which is why the weak pound is not all bad news

Expat life is a two-way street, which is why the weak pound is not all bad news

A strong British pound was always great news for British holidaymakers, but expats in Spain benefit when the euro rises.Last week it was confirmed that the two-year process of pulling the UK out of the EU – the triggering of Article 50 – will begin in early 2017. This news prompted the predictable flurry of doom-mongering articles and mild panic. That was to be expected. What was perhaps more surprising was the sharp drop in the pound against the euro that was recorded immediately afterwards…
 A strong British pound was always great news for British holidaymakers, but expats in Spain benefit when the euro rises.

And while the pound has subsequently recovered somewhat, it is still rather weaker than it has been for years. A year ago a pound would have bought you €1.34. Today it gets you just €1.12. That is some fall in the space of a year, and many economists argue that it is only going to get worse as Brexit approaches.

But it should not be all doom-and-gloom for current or future expats. Right now, the euro is at its strongest point for more than three years, and that is unlikely to last. The euro’s value ebbs and flows more than the pound’s, so as Brexit approaches, there will certainly be a few more ups and downs between the two currencies.

Another point to consider – perhaps the most pertinent one of all – is that expat life is a two-way street. Living in Spain and earning or spending in euros does not mean that the pound’s fortunes no longer matter to you.

Indeed, for many Brits who currently live in Spain, the cheaper pound is a godsend– it makes it that much more affordable to fly back to see family, to have their favourite goods shipped over, to fly friends over, and to purchase things online with their UK bank card.

Sure, Brits looking to sell up and move to Spain may find that their home will be worth slightly less, but a more affordable property is easier to sell, meaning they can secure that life overseas more quickly than they perhaps could have while the pound was strong.

There are many nuances to foreign exchange rates, right down to how rich you are compared to how rich you feel. If the pound is suddenly worth less, then those euros in your pocket feel like they are worth more. That alone is a good feeling for current expats.

And for those unsure whether to take that next step and move to Spain, then the knowledge that the euro is among the world’s most stable currencies should be reassuring enough – there might well be no better time than right now, before Brexit, to make that move to Spain.