Back in August I decided to do my Teaching English as a Foreign Language course, and have now become an online english teacher to students mainly in Asia.
I get to pick what hours and which days I want to work – I have to commit to 10 peak hours per week over 4 days, and have chosen to add an extra 4 hours to that. If I need to I can just add in extra hours or book time off when I want, and I love that flexibility. Being used to regularly working 12-14 hours a day, 5 days a week (and then catching up on emails at the weekend), I can hardly believe that I’m able to work just 14 hours a week. And doing this from home is lovely. With the time differences, the peak hours fall over late morning to 4pm ish, so I still get the morning and evening to do other things. So we’ve been back to our gestoria today to get me registered as self employed here.
Being self employed in Spain is not a cheap business – you pay 19% of your earnings each quarter towards your tax bill – then at the end of the year they look at your earnings, apply your personal allowance and other business allowances and then refund any overpaid money. BUT the expensive bit is the Autonomo payment each month – which is basically your social security payment like your National Insurance in the UK. The difference is that in the UK you pay a percentage of your earnings as National Insurance – here it’s just a flat rate of €265 per month – they have now introduced a gradual stepped approach so I’ll be paying €60 a month for the first year rising to €132 in year 2 then up to the full €265 in year 3.
There has been talk of changing it to a percentage of income, but with the political scene here in Spain a bit up in the air, no one knows when this might happen. This is one of the reasons why so many people here don’t declare their earnings (called black money). Apart from the fact we’re not into breaking the law (!) my earnings are being paid directly into the bank so it will be visible within the system, so we’d be daft not to be above board and do things the right way. And it’s only right that we contribute to the country that is now most definitely home.
Our outgoings here are less than a quarter of what they were in the UK so we’re not under pressure to earn vast amounts to meet our commitments. Just €800 a month will see us living very comfortably indeed.
It’s funny, we have fewer possessions and have to be a little careful with the pennies, but we’ve never been happier. We have managed to achieve that thing that everyone seeks – a proper work life balance. It is possible!