Shane Clark is one of a growing number of Americans choosing to live in Spain. Shane arrived in 2017, so before the current wave, and set up EuroAmerican Financial Advisors, an investment advisory firm for other Americans residing in Spain. We caught up with him in Madrid recently.
Shane will also be appearing at an upcoming financial event for Americans living in Madrid.
Why did you choose to move to Spain?
Before moving to Spain, I had already been in Europe for some time. Initially I was doing research on financial markets, and lecturing at the Strathclyde business school in Glasgow, then consulting for several years in London, and briefly in Brussels.
I visited Spain a lot, and loved the intoxicating mix of Spanish culture, architecture, cuisine, and the lifestyle, so when I decided to set up my own advisory firm, it made sense to make the move. This was before the new digital nomad visas that are really attracting lots of fellow Americans to Spain, though there was already the so-called ‘Beckham Law’ offering an initially lower flat tax rate for resident foreigners, so there was that added incentive.
As an American, it’s amazing having the rest of Europe so accessible, too.
Tell us a little bit about your business?
The U.S. has a citizenship based tax system, which means that all U.S. citizens have to pay tax on their worldwide income, even if they live abroad. While there are provisions we can claim to avoid double taxation, we have to file the right forms every year to do this, and there are more forms we have to file for reporting any non-U.S. bank accounts and investments we have.
There can also be U.S. tax implications for making certain investments in Spain, while retirement saving tax benefits in each country aren’t necessarily recognized by the other. All together, it’s a complicated environment for Americans in Spain to save and invest in while ensuring they stay within both countries’ rules and don’t pay unnecessary additional tax or inadvertently face penalties.
My firm, EuroAmerican Financial Advisors, helps Americans living in Spain to plan, save and invest through the benefit of my specialist knowledge in this area. Everyone’s situation is unique, so at EAFA we aim to understand our clients’ circumstances, plans and goals before creating a strategy to help them achieve them. We know all our clients personally, and that is the best thing about the job, getting to know other expats and hearing their amazing expat stories.
Expats are, in my experience, without exception incredibly courageous, intrepid, and lead the most interesting lives.
How do you find running a business in Spain?
Not without its challenges! As a financial firm in particular, it took quite a while to get the right licenses to operate here, but I think all countries have that to a greater or lesser extent, you perhaps just feel it more as a foreigner, especially when you’re not operating in your first language!
Is living in Spain better or worse compared to living in the U.S.?
Overall, living in Spain is amazing.
There are plenty of differences compared to living in the U.S., culturally, and it took a bit of time to adjust to the Latin way of life. You have to be patient sometimes, and not expect the same efficiency that you might in the States, however people are in general incredibly friendly and welcoming, and once you get used to it, it’s strange visiting family back the U.S.
It’s strange the things you miss though living abroad, apart from friends and family, it’s often small things, American sports for example, or your local take out.