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Living on a pension


roadster

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Hi All

I am new to the forum. My name is Bob and I live in Grantham UK. I would imagine that this type of question has been asked many times, however is it possible /practical for a couple to move to France and live on a pension of £14,100 per year? I will have no mortgage or overheads.I understand this question is much like asking 'how long is a piece of string' but a general idea would be helpful

Thanks

Bob

[8-)]

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Hi Bob and welcome to the forum. I think most people would say you probably could live on that, but you wouldn't have much to spare. My own view is that overall the cost of living works out roughly the same as the UK (others will disagree), some things cheaper, some more expensive. One thing to bear in mind is that the exchange rate is terrible at the moment and I know that British people with UK based income and without much contingency are finding life very difficult. Of course, many of our French neighbours live on much less than that, but I know that they find it very hard, especially with increased fuel and food costs.

regards

Lisa

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Welcome to the forum.

Knowing very little about your circumstances this may not be realistic for you. With what little we know may I suggest that you rent for six months or so while you decide if it's really a possibility without having cut off your retreat ?

Hoddy
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Bonjour, Bob

I wanted to reply to your post so that you know that there are people interested in your concerns and there are many here who are "experts" on many aspects of life in France.

As you yourself reaslised (from the way you worded your post), there are many variables involved and what seems a pittance to some will be as good as abundance for others.

We ourselves have been living here for little under a year and I find that I am still unable to work out a budget and stick to it.  This is because we had a lot of initial expenses to do with obtaining services (electricity, septic tank, water, telephone, etc etc) for the house.  Then we bought a LHD car and we have also had family and friends come to visit and, as we all know, that alone can throw out any budget!

LisaJ speaks good sense.  I personally find most things slightly more expensive than in the UK but this is probably because I haven't been able to suss out which is the most economical way of doing things.  I would say that on the sort of money you are talking about, you can probably manage, particularly if you are "good with money", being able to stick to a budget and so forth.  However, as has also been pointed out, you won't have many margins within that sum.

I hope that doesn't sound too discouraging.  On the plus side, you will be amazed at how many things that you feel are essential in the UK no longer seem so important once you are in France.  And I don't mean flashy cars and expensive holidays either, I mean, for example, the need to heat every single room in the house all the time (which is what we did with our central heating back in that other life!)

Hoddy's suggestion is an excellent one and it will give you a chance to do it on a short-term basis before you do it for real.  I do think it also depends on how comfortable you are with risk-taking.  We ourselves just threw all caution to the winds, sold up and came and, to date, we have not had a moment's regret.

Good Luck whatever you decide. 

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I would say: Yes it is possible but .... it depends on what sort of standard of living you are used to. You should be able to live a reasonably comfortable life on that but I wouldn't have thought that you would have much spare. So if you need to return to the UK often or you like extended breaks abroad etc then it might not be enough for you. As others have said there are plenty of French living off less. 
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Yes I think you could live on that amount in France. The two biggest expenses we have found are fuel and vehicles. Living out in the country we need at least one vehicle - in fact we have two - and unfortunately have had a lot of expenses with breakdowns and accidents. If you settle in a small town or village with public transport you will not need a car and live much more cheaply. And it is also a good idea to have a sum set aside for emergencies. There are not the welfare safety nets here that there are in the UK.
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[quote user="Patf"]Yes I think you could live on that amount in France. The two biggest expenses we have found are fuel and vehicles. Living out in the country we need at least one vehicle - in fact we have two - and unfortunately have had a lot of expenses with breakdowns and accidents. If you settle in a small town or village with public transport you will not need a car and live much more cheaply. And it is also a good idea to have a sum set aside for emergencies. There are not the welfare safety nets here that there are in the UK.[/quote]

Be aware that this is one persons perception though.

When I lived in the UK I had a 300 mile per week commute to work, 20 mile return trip to the supermarket, paid for over priced fuel and paid road tax on top of that. Now I don't work, drive 16 mile return trip to supermarket, use cheap diesel and there is no road tax here. I don't think that breakdowns or accidents are any more frequent in France than the UK. I never was entitled to any welfare safety net in the UK because of my RAF pension and would not expect to need one here either.

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The big initial cost is housing but you can have equivalent size with land much cheaper than in the uk. outside of the big cities and more popular areas of France.

With a garden you can grow yourself many of the basics apart from it keeping you fit.

If you do not like too much heat then restrict your search to the centre of France where winters are similar but summers normally hotter than most of the U.K.

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You may well find that your tax burden is not as great here as it was in the UK. You should take advice on that. Also we do not indulge in retail therapy as much as we used to do in the UK.  There are people in the UK living on less than your pension and having a decent life. There is no reason why you could not do the same here but as somebody before me said, it is all about budget, budget and budget.

Lots of people would also advise you not to burn your bridges. There is lots of information on that subject on this forum. Good luck whatever you decide.[:)]

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Wow

I am amazed at the welcome and excellent advice I have received in such a short time. This forum has gone along way in helping me make up my mind. I thank everyone for answering my somewhat open query with their honest opinion. Just the problem of health insurance to sort out.

Thank you all

Bob

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Being single I cannot really comment on the costs for a couple.

I certainly live on a lot less each month than I ever used to in the UK (really significant).  I've been here for long enough now that I cannot make UK/France comparisons.  Certainly, when I first moved here 4 years ago French shops seemed a lot cheaper and as somebody else said you then get to find what is best value where (which made things even better).  Maybe France has experienced inflation faster than the UK.  Last Christmas when I helped family shopping in the UK I was horrified at UK supermarket prices - but that is not a very scientific comparison.

Irrespective of the cost of your "EU standard shopping basket" comparisons what really matters is what you need to spend each month.  I found that my lifestyle changed such that I no longer needed to buy anything like as much as I did in the UK.  I have not yet started limiting what I do and not yet started "living frugally".  I find loads of things to join in with and they are all free of much cheaper than similar activities in the UK.

Ian
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Thankyou Roadster for asking the question.  I shall be in a similar situation on a similar amount of pension although will be leaving a property in the UK for kids to live in and pay for, so a bolt-hole if need be and TOH's pensions will add to mine once he's 65.  I think we can last 5 years on that, looking at all the responses you've had.  I shall be interested to see how you get on !

Go for it !

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Hi Bob,

Agree with all that has been said, we sold up in the UK and came over to france last June, we already owned the house here the major renovation works done and paid for whilst we were still working. We have no debts, a lump sum invested at a fixed rate which will provide us with around £4,000 in June this year for holidays or larger items.

My pension is £11,000 per annum having been greatly reduced due to taking early retirement at 52.

We definately would not go back to the UK and to put things into context one year ago between us our salaries were in excess of 5 times our current pension.

Budgeting is of prime importance and is a new concept to us ! However like others on this forum we now do not have a need for retail therapy again a new concept to us but one that we wanted to adopt. It is amazing what you don't need and when you pay by cash you are more aware of your needs.

Our council tax and water bills are peanuts in comparison to what we paid in the UK and electricity runs at around the same level - we have electric heating and a marvellous wood/coal burning cooker which creates a great deal of heat.

We brought both a small renault and a sports car over with us - two cars and no road tax - great.

We have to pay for top up insurance for our health and will eventually have to pay into the french system but that is in our budget figures.

And we have a jollies envelope that we put 160 euros in every 4 weeks to cover entertainment !

We manage perfectly OK on this amount.

Hope this is of some help.

Chris

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Hello

Same Pension as myself, we had worked out that we could just manage on that figure but it did not leave much spare cash. Now that the health Care has been changed we are not now going to make the move over on a permanent basis but we will keep the Cottage for holidays.

We were not intending to work in France as I retired from work in Dec 2000 ( 49yrs) and Carole was going to stop teaching, hey ho such is life.

Carole's mum will need looking after very soon so we are buying a larger house and have seen a nice one near Rothbury Northumberland so a good compromise.

Best wishes on whatever you decide

Shane, Carole and Kai

 

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Hi Roadster,

Very important that you allow a safety margin for exchange rate fluctuations, if you are reliant on a £ Sterling pension, especially with the general prognosis amongst currency analysts for a continuing weakening trend of the £ against the Euro.

Another consideration is your age, as I cannot understand how those people who retire in their fifties on small pensions will cope in ten to twenty years time, as unless one can afford to save some money to offset inflation, your buying power will greatly diminish over time.  

 

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Sprogster, It is easy to forward plan. I retired at 46 with a small non-index linked RAF pension, much smaller than the OPs. I had calculated that after a few years, my wife would get a pension then, after 9 years my pension will go up and become index linked, then at 60 my civil service pension will kick in , then at 65 my old age will pension will also kick in.

With forward panning it all fits into place. I had considered exchange rate fluctuations, and providing these do not change more than 20%, I will manage OK. I will not use credit of any sort and do not own a credit card. I also make sure that there is enough money to keep warm in the winter and have enough cash to ride the motorbikes and fly the microlight. So far there is no problem and everything is going to plan despite the fall in the pound.

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Bob, I am full of admiration at the rationale behind your planning.

My OH is considerably older than I am and I so wanted him to have some quality retirement time before he joins the heavenly chorus.

I always thought that if we couldn't live on our money, we would move to a smaller and cheaper house and have an injection of money that way.

There is at least one legacy that should come our way, but I am not counting on it.  In fact, I would be delighted if the old boy outlives us all.

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Thank you Sweet17.

I always believed that there was no point in waiting to retire to do the things thet you want because no one knows how long there is left to enjoy them. My belief was that the well paid job I had in the UK was a road to retirement not a way of having a good lifestyle in the UK. We had the bikes in the UK and enjoyed them, but work and the weather got in the way. I thought that if I waited till I was 65 to retire, then I would no longer want to do the things that I want to do now, and who knows I might have snuffed it at 66. Years behind you are no good for future plans!

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