I’ve been asked to address this question, so here are a few key points. I will write a post to elaborate, but meanwhile, here is an overview.
Why Spain, as opposed to any other place, say Portugal, Belize, Costa Rica or other popular expat retirement place, (or in my case, sort-of retirement, since I’m only there in spirit right now)? Portugal was a close second, but Portuguese seemed a tougher language, and not as widely spoken for travel to other countries. Maybe a good location for a second home, though! Belize proper is too remote and I’m not sure of their violent crime per capita, which gave me pause. Ambergris Caye is too small for forever, but I am in thinking of a vacation condo there, to be close to my children in the States. Costa Rica and Panama are too humid and bug-gy for me and South America doesn’t seem to have all the amenities I want as I leave a first-world country. Important Note: Know yourself! Many of these reasons may not apply to you.
How I decided what place in Spain I liked best? I have liked Madrid since the first time I came here. It’s large enough to have everything I want and has great air connections for world travel. Europe is so much safer on a daily basis than the U.S. because it’s not a handgun culture so that fear of a large city isn’t necessary. But I am considering a vacation place on the coast because prices here are crazy cheap for beaches right now compared to any other first-world beach. The economy is still slow in Spain, with unemployment still over 20% and the U.S. dollar is strong. Then you can rent it out when you’re not using it because most all of Europe vacations in Spain. Right now, though, I need to focus on paying my day to day expenses so that’s my focus!