Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Everything posted by Sprogster

  1. If I recall correctly CdeL left France because of the difficulty in making a living, the isolated nature of a French winter life where everything closes and the locals live behind closed shutters for four or five months! (French winters are much colder and wetter than many appreciate.) Also when he decided to sell he really struggled to find a buyer and eventually had to take a big loss. That is why renting for your first year might be a more sensible option because if you decide to move on again you don't want to find you cannot sell and the French property market, especially larger rural homes, are not in a good place these days.
  2. For anyone considering moving to France and finding employment I would strongly suggest they read the reports published this week by the IMF and PwC on the French economy, which make pretty grim reading, saying rather worryingly that France has now economically fallen behind both Spain and Italy to become the sick man of Europe. Furthermore, it is anticipated that France will fall back into recession, with recovery possibly taking 20 years, because of the structural reforms needed to the French labour market that are unlikely to happen anytime soon. Not so much a problem for those of us who have retired or are second home owners, other than continuing falling French house values and increasing taxes, but pause for thought if you need to make a living. By comparison growth in the USA and UK continues to accelerate and even Spain looks like it has turned the corner.
  3. The main comment I would make is not France specific but the danger of voluntarily taking yourself out of the job market for twelve months following redundancy. Firstly, the reality is that the current French economic situation is dire and now worse than Spain, with a very recent IMF report warning that France is likely to go back into recession. Therefore, the probability of finding work in France as a foreigner is remote and meanwhile having left the UK one has dramatically reduced the likelihood of finding alternative employment there. Also whilst spending Spring through Autumn in France is one thing, would they really want to spend a long cold dark winter in rural France, where everything tends to shut down. A lot of Brits have a totally misconceived idea as to the French climate and are shocked how cold and wet winters can be there. As for health care, personally I think it is irresponsible moving to France without proper health care coverage especially where children are concerned, which will probably in this situation include some element of private health insurance. As what happens if you are involved in a road accident for example, as you could find yourself with six figure medical bills that the French authorities pursue you back to the UK for.
  4. The EU runs a trade surplus with the UK and for countries like France and Germany the UK in many areas of manufacturing is it's biggest single country export market. Therefore, if the UK voted to leave the EU it undoubtedly would be offered the same free trade arrangements as Norway and Switzerland that have all the free trade membership benefits without being a member of the EU. Under these circumstances there would be no economic disadvantage for the foreign car manufacturers maintaining their UK presence. What will probably happen is that the Eurozone countries will move to further political and monetary integration and there will be an outer tier of countries that have the free trade benefits but not be a full member of the EU for political or monetary purposes. That said the Northern European countries like Germany, Scandinavia, Poland and the Netherlands will fight hard to keep the UK in the EU as a political counterweight to the influence of the Mediterranean countries, which would grow without the counterweight of the UK which has the second largest populace of any EU country after Germany and is forecast to shortly overtake France as Europe's second largest economy.
  5. Bide your time as French property market and economy continues to weaken, also the £ is forecast to strengthen further against the euro. Also beware if planning to buy apartments to rent in France whilst non French resident, that controversially the French government are imposing social security charges on unfurnished lets owned by non residents. These charges amounting to 15.5 per cent are not recognised as a tax by HMRC or other foreign tax authorities and allowed as a tax credit and you end up being double taxed and get no benefit in France either.
  6. Looked at the profile for the OP and found out they have never visited the forum since their initial and only post! Have started to do this with new members before responding to their questions if more than a few days old, as this seems to happen surprisingly frequently.
  7. My understanding is that there is an ongoing process in France to bring property valuations up to date for TF assesment purposes, as they had not been increased for many years. As a result it is expected that this will have an additional upward pressure on French property taxes.
  8. What probably did not help either is that the UK government in its wisdom decided that the passport issuing offices in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man would no longer be able to renew or issue British Island passports, as this would be centralised to a UK mainland passport office. This was despite the fact the passport offices in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man had no history of passport fraud and were paid for by the Island governments, so there was no cost saving for the UK Treasury.  
  9. Tinabee has highlighted a very important consideration in that the tax residence of a company or business is not determined solely on where its activities are based, or in what jurisdiction it is incorporated, but principally where the mind and management is located. So in the scenario mentioned by Hagg, if they lived in France, were majority shareholders, remained on the board and kept in contact by phone or video conference, then with any one of these factors there is a very strong likelihood the French tax authorities would take the view that the mind and management of the business was in France. Very important to get appropriate specialised French tax advice, as when moving to France contact will be made between HMRC and French Fisc, so not something you can keep off the radar these days.
  10. Hagg, It is important not just to look at the income tax costs of living in France but the French social security costs, as it is the latter that are often much higher and can catch out Brit retirees in France.
  11. Julie, your very good example highlights what has happened to a large number of Brits with properties in France and Spain, in that they cannot sell as their properties do not appeal to local buyers. This is especially relevant in France where Brits tend to go for older rural properties, whereas the French prefer new properties in suburban areas nearer job opportunities, that are inexpensive to heat and maintain.
  12. When French property prices were appreciating there was a degree in logic in buying rather than renting a property in France. However, with French property prices depreciating (OECD recently said French property prices were still 29% overvalued.) and forecast to do continue to decline for the foreseeable future, careful thought needs to be given, especially as to whether or not you should keep a foot in the UK property market. As statistically it is likely you will eventually return to the UK as most Brit retirees in France and Spain tend to do, usually because of missing family, illness, infirmity or death of a partner. Another consideration is that the £ is strengthening against the Euro and whilst that is good news for those with a UK source pension it means you get less £ for your Euros if you sell your French property and want to return to the UK property market.   My advice would be at the very least to bide your time if you are not looking to retire for a few years, as the risk in rushing to buy a property now, is that if it turns out you subsequently bought in the wrong place and want to move, selling could be very difficult without taking a substantive loss in the current French property market, especially in the price bracket you have budgeted for. One of the reasons a lot of Brits who retire to France often look to move after a few years is that the winter climate is much harsher than expected, or the property is just too big to manage as one gets older.   In summary, for most Brits retiring to France it is not a forever move and whilst I am sure you will have a fantastic retirement in France, it is prudent to have an exit strategy for the day that personal circumstances change and a move back to the UK, however reluctantly, maybe the sensible thing to do.  
  13. idun, non EU residents can only claim back TVA on goods exported outside the EU and most shops in France now have a minimum spend requirement for them to do the paperwork. Then the processing company who deal with the reclaim take a fee that seems to get bigger and bigger each year. Still worth doing but you don't get 20% back because of the fees charged by the reclaim company, most of which seem to be in Slovenia for some reason!
  14. I know of a lady in the UK who is in the situation of having to contribute towards her parents nursing care in France, and even though she is on a low wage and cannot really afford it, she does not complain and dutifully coughs up. But I do think it is unfair as it is adversely impacting her ability to save for her retirement and as her children also live in the UK she won’t have any recourse to them for her nursing home costs in the future!   One would like to think that foreign pensioners who can afford to retire to France budget for the eventual cost of nursing home care in that country, so as not to become an undue burden on their children or the French State, but I fear many if not most don’t and are unaware of the liability trap waiting for their children.    
  15. Jo, dare I say a lot of Brits and French would probably jump at the first opportunity to move to Canada if they could, cold winters aside, but as I am sure you are aware Canada has a very strict immigration policy and there is no retiree visa for EU citizens moving to France as far as I am aware.  London has a very large fast growing French population, as an increasing number of young French professionals move to the UK for better job prospects due to the poor economic situation in France. Curious to know whether Francophone Canada is experiencing a similar influx of French nationals?   
  16. Jo and Rich, the situation in France is no different in that the health care system whilst good has become increasingly unaffordable for the government and is one of the contributory factors to the current French dire economic situation, as a result of which it cannot keep up with ever increasing demand and standards of care are beginning to suffer. Believe me Canada is a utopia compared to the deteriorating economic and worrying political situation in France, so don’t think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence!  
  17. Interesting comment that people with dementia lose their second language capability earlier than their first language, as if that is the case it is a consideration  as to whether or not one would want to spend ones declining years in a foreign nursing home if communication became a problem much sooner, as compared to being in a nursing home that could speak your first language.   As for the economic migrant point, it can work both ways, as if you are dealing with a pensioner for example who moves to France only after retirement and lives on a relatively small pension income and pays minimal or no French tax and cotisations on their UK pension, is it fair for the French State to pick up the cost of providing nursing home and ancillary care for elderly expats, or should it be the UK where the retiree has paid a lifetime of tax and national insurance contributions, as would be the case for medical costs under the S1 agreement. This I gather is something several of the larger EU countries are currently looking at a result of which it is likely tighter rules for inactifs will be introduced restricting access to benefits in their adopted country of retirement.   The liability of non-French children to pay for their retired parents nursing home costs in France is contentious, especially where the children are estranged and or there has been an abusive parental relationship. Also I am sure there have been circumstances where this has led to adult children in the UK putting undue pressure on retired expat parents in France to come back to the UK when nursing home care is required.
  18. Morocco is becoming an increasingly popular retiree and winter sun destination, especially for the French. Reasons being it is politically stable, French speaking, relatively safe, inexpensive  and easy and cheap to get to being served by the low cost carriers.  The French keep it to themselves as they probably don’t want all us Brits descending on mass!    
  19. For retirees looking to retire abroad health care is one of the biggest considerations and often overlooked, as understandably most countries are reluctant to allow a retiree immigrant to join their government funded health system that they have not financially contributed to during their working lives, unless there is a reciprocal funding agreement with the immigrants home country, as operates within the EU. So retiring abroad is usually only a practical consideration whilst you have reasonably good health and can afford to privately fund your health care, unless you are an EU citizen retiring within the EU.  
  20. I would not discount the option of returning to the UK as a large part of the equation must be how integrated is your friend into French life. If she does not speak the language and finds herself isolated and struggling, where would she prefer to be under the circumstances. If she has been in France a relatively short period of time and would prefer to be back in the UK, where she might get more support from friends and family then that might be the answer. Also although her partner is estranged from his child that is probably another factor, as notwithstanding if it was me, I would not want to burden my children with my nursing costs,  if they were struggling financially themselves.
  21. Hi Jo,   Welcome to the forum.   As  non EU citizens you have two major considerations that do not affect other members of the forum who are mostly EU citizens and that is to stay in France for more than ninety days you will need a long stay visa and private medical insurance. ( I am presuming when you say you are French Canadian you come from the French speaking part of Canada, but do not hold French nationality?)   As a retiree you should be able to obtain a French long stay visa which are aimed at wealthy non EU retirees, but be aware employment is prohibited and you have to demonstrate sufficient means to live without the need to work and that you have fully comprehensive private medical insurance, which can be problematical if either of you have pre-existing health conditions such as high blood pressure. A more recent long stay French visa requirement is that you have to undertake a comprehensive medical.   EU citizen retirees moving within the EU including to France are covered by an EU reciprocal agreement whereby their home EU country pays the other EU country where they are retiring for their health care under what is called an S1, subject to them having a sufficient social security contribution record in their EU home country, which I think is normally ten years. So even if you can get EU citizenship through ancestry you won’t qualify unless you have worked in the EU for ten years.   For retirees the private medical insurance issue is a biggy, because once you get north of sixty finding cost effective insurance becomes increasingly difficult and the development of a serious health condition can lead to the renewal of insurance being denied or premiums becoming prohibitively expensive. Hence why in the USA you have Medicare for retirees and Canada and most of the EU have a government funded health system.
  22. In the Var air conditioning in the bedrooms at least is a necessity, if you want to get a proper night’s sleep in high summer. That said recent summers have not been too hot, but it looks like we could be on course for a hot one this year, which is a bit of a mixed blessing as the Var is very prone to serious forest fires during prolonged hot and dry spells.   Down on the Cote D’Azur recent winters have been very wet and seem to be part of a climate change trend so I would take the historical winter sunshine records with a pinch of salt. So, if mild sunny winters and reduced heating bills are a requirement for you, I think the whole of France is too far north and you need to get much further south. I believe a lot of French retirees go to Morocco to winter?  
  23. Pat, Cannes is in the Alpes-Maritime, but yes you are right in that nearer the coast the more expensive property tends to get. As for Jonny, now that he has retired I guess he will be leaving France as quickly as possible to more friendly tax climes back in the UK and a lucrative job commentating on TV!
  24. Welcome to the Forum. Just to encore what Norman has said in that you are doing absolutely the right thing, especially as French property prices are forecast to continue to decline for the forseeable future and if you buy in the wrong place selling can therefore be a challenge and very expensive. Ideally, you should have kept a foot on the UK property ladder, as statistically you are likely to return to the UK eventually and you will probably find yourself priced out of the UK property market, but I accept not everyone can afford to keep a property in the UK. Another consideration is that the Euro is also forecast to decline in value as the year progresses, so would recommend getting advice as to when is likely to be a good time to sell your £'s.
  25. Well I am in the Var down on the coast where I have had a house for over ten years. Inland the winters can get very cold and summers exceedingly hot, so would recommend you visit the region in all seasons before committing. If I am honest I have been disappointed with the climate as there is no doubt the weather has become a lot wetter and more unsettled between late October and early May in recent years and you are affected by the Mistral.  
  • Create New...