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Has anyone ever traded in the stockmarkets to make a living?


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I am wondering, as anyone ever traded in the stockmarkets to make a living? Including CFDs, spreadbetting, etc.... And whether they are all legal activities in France? All of these are totally legal in the UK. Trading in shares are obviously legal in France, but spreadbetting is regarded as a form of gambling in the UK and does not attract any taxation currently under UK law. This could change however. But spreadbetting may also be illegal in France as I know under certain jurisdictions they are frowned upon.

I am not referring to the odd dabble, but seriously working hard trying to make a living obtaining sufficient income to pay whatever is required by the french social and tax system, and taking care of a family. What taxes would be involved? Capital gains tax in the UK would be the norm, not income tax. What of France? Perhaps some of you who are Chartered Accountants like "Jenny" might have some access to french sites informing on these matters? As I have'nt found any worthwhile information so far. In the UK literally tons of advertising are easily found with full explanations to taxes, legality, etc... Perhaps I am not employing the right words to search with, hence the lack of results.  

Look forward to your replies and thank you.






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As a full time trader (although not these days) I researched this before moving here a year ago, and concluded that there is no clear conclusion, like so many things in France.

The best I could come up with is that tax-wise you are a profession liberale, which means registering with the URSSAF. Spreadbetting and CFDs are fine I believe, but all your income is taxable, and with the social charges as well, you are looking at paying out a total of 60% at the top whack. Making the French understand what you do for a living is an uphill struggle, they seem to want to believe you must be a broker!

There is a tax section on this French traders forum which might help more: http://www.pro-at.com/ and the "Novices" board also has some related posts.

Also the French section of the Interactive Brokers forum has some relevent messages and is worth a read (http://www.interactivebrokers.com/cgi-bin/discus/discus.pl - requires free registration to access).

Sorry can't be of more help. I reckon the safest thing is to try and find a good accountant who knows the subject.

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Hi Henry 87,


Thanks very much for your reply.

Explaining to the French authorities is exactly what I am afraid of, I don't think anyone understands fully what it is and therefore would probably be taxed at the highest end. As you know in the UK it is not regarded as an income or capital gains, and therefore does not attract any form of taxation. You say you researched this topic a year before moving.... Did you find any french companies offering spreadbetting facilities?

What did you decide finally on making a living, if not to impertinent of me.

Kind regards,





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Many thanks Henry,

I found the web site addresses you provided excellent.

I would have thought reading throught many of the concerns people have about making a living in France. Trading would prove an ideal alternative to no-employment or self employment with a high chance of failling.

If those who claim to be living off savings employed a very small fraction to trade they might be pleasantly surprised. Not a huge sum is required to trade these days.

In case anyone is interested, there are many companies in the UK that will allow an account to be opened on line. Whereby certain activities are still tax free of income and gains inthe UK. I have not found the answer for a french resident.

I thank you once again for the valuable information provided.










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Glad the links were useful. It's certainly possible to open and maintain Spreadbet and CFD accounts in the UK whilst resident in France (I still keep both for rainy day fun) as well as standard brokerage accounts. However, as a French resident all your worldwide income is taxable by the French authorities anyway, and so the tax-free benefits of a SB account are negated.

Given that fact, I would never recommend SpreadBetting as a trading vehicle to someone living here. The SBs cos are making their own market, and you are effectively trading against them, so it will always be in their interests for you to lose. It is possible to make money from them, but the games they play with regards to moving prices, taking out stops, and particularly with varying the spread, make the task a lot more difficult.

So, as you're going to have to pay tax on the profits anyway, I personally think you're much better off using a standard brokerage account and trading stocks or futures. Futures have the benefit of requiring a much lower account balance, stocks on the other hand (Nasdaq ones at least) are a darn site easier to profit from. The best explanation  that I read of why that is so was in http://www.day-trading-freedom.com

The other alternative worth considering is forex - foreign exchange. It's pretty easy (although it's all relative!) to trade, you can open an account for peanuts with brokers like http://www.fxcm.com, and it trades 24 hours. On the other hand, economic releases can kill you if you're not around to take care of them, and the whole thing generally moves much more slowly.

Ultimately it's all horses for courses. Trading is not an "easy" way to get rich, but there are so many ways of extracting profit from so many different markets, I agree that it is well worthy of consideration by anyone looking to make a living in France, and am just as suprised as you that the subject gets so little mention on this board.

Just my personal thoughts.


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