Jump to content
Complete France Forum

Is this Pension Enough


Graham Woolf

Recommended Posts

Hi

My wife and I are hoping to take the plunge and retire to France later this year, having got fed up with the daily 9 to 5 grind. We are in the fortunate position of being able to buy a house outright but we would have a pension of about 2000 euros a month to live on. Can anyone advise me whether this sounds reasonable or are our dreams unrealistic.

Thanks

Graham    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on lots of things: where you are going to live, what size house you are going to be living in, what kind of transport you will need (will you be in the middle of the country or in or near a town), what kind of standard of living you are expecting.   But in principle I would say that the answer is Yes, you could live quite comfortably on that kind of money if you had no debts.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Opalienne

Thanks for the prompt reply. We are hoping to buy something in the Gap/Embrun area of the French Alps with 2/3 bedrooms and not very much land with a budget of about 150,000 - 200,000 euros. Having done quite a lot of research this seems feasible ( but maybe again we are being unrealistic) but we are going out in May to have a look. As regards standard of living - as long as we can eat, feed, heat and clothe ourselves and have the occasional holiday that would do !!

Graham 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Opalienne but would add that if possible you need a

back-up fund for emergencies. For example we have had to pay for

expensive car repairs this year which has used up our back-up. So

ideally we should save so much a month to replenish.  Pat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, 2000euros a month sounds very do-able. We live in town, run a small car, have broadband internet access, eat well at home and out occassionally, pay our property taxes and utilities and have fun - all on 1000euros a month. Your money should allow you to do all we do and paint the town red from time to time.

Unless you live in a poorly insulated, rambling old chateau, half way up a mountain and drive a 4x4 (which you insist on renewing every two years) 20km every morning to buy bread and yesterday's Telegraph, and keep popping back to the old country, I'm sure you will manage very well.

Very best wishes on what sounds like a comfortable retirement.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh!

I was about to reply to say it's nothing like enough, but I seem to be in a minority.  Still, I hate gardening so I don't grow any of my own produce.  Perhaps you will.   I hate housework so I get someone else to do it.  Perhaps you won't.

No wonder I don't do much painting the town red!  Anyway I'm not too keen on painting, though I do more of it than I had planned too.

Patrick

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Polycarpe I don't know how you do that. I really do not. What about income tax, on 24000 a year at say 8-10% is around 200 euros a month. The health system, unless retired then that is about 8% plus the mutualist. So around another 200 a month, then heating, insurance and both local taxes.

Well that little lot would cost us if not retired around 800-900 euros a month.

And that would not be including food, never mind eating out.

 

OFCOURSE, if you only have a 1000 a month income that changes everything.

 

2000 is likely feasable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Graham Woolf"]

My wife and I are hoping to take the plunge and retire to France later this year, having got fed up with the daily 9 to 5 grind. We are in the fortunate position of being able to buy a house outright but we would have a pension of about 2000 euros a month to live on. Can anyone advise me whether this sounds reasonable or are our dreams unrealistic.

[/quote]

I'm with the 'definitely do-able' camp.  But two points I would make:

I would be nervous about not having a bit put by for the inevitable extra expenses. There aren't too many french houses that don't need something doing to them to bring them up to scratch and you'll need something put by for car maintenance/replacement.

Alps sounds chilly from where I'm sitting.  There have been some posts on this forum recently about the cost of electricity and heating oil which I would suggest you look into.

Good luck!

Liz

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The basic service seem to be much the same price all over France.  I did find out the other year that I paid more for my water though here in Brittany -where, it apparantly, never stops raining - but the real killers are taxe d'habitation and taxe foncier.

I would advise you to ask about these when you are looking at houses.  They vary enormously.  Sometimes for no apparant reason.

You could have a very nasty shock when you opened your bill!

I agree with Will, there are an awful lot of French folk who would be delighted to receive your pension.  There are a lot of retired agricultural workers who would be delighted to receive half or even a third of that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Believe me Paul, it can be achieved as we have a micro entreprise and the maximum turnover we are allowed is 27000 euros per year. Out of this we pay massive cotisations (health/pension/insurance) plus top up insurance. We don't pay tax as we don't earn enough so we have much less than that a month to live on.

We (2 adults and various pets) do live out in the sticks, so our

Rates (tax fonciere) are around 500 euros per annum

Tax d'habitation (includes TV licence) 400 per annum

Water - 350 pa

Household Insurances including car and van 750 per annum

Heating Oil - 800 per annum

Electricity + bottled gas - 550 pa

Wood 200pa

Running vehcles - 2000 pa

Food/household shopping 6000pa

Having fun/holidays/repairs 3000pa (or less - depends what is left after the above!)

I have a horrible feeling this is more than our income !

Our income now is around a third of what we earned, spent and enjoyed in the UK. We have no mortgage or loans and we manage somehow to have a really good time on what we have. Mind you, we don't have many shops, pubs, cinemas, or bookshps nearby so no temptations!

But, if you are planning to live in or near a city, touristy places or the South of France, you will find that you need much more for rates etc than we do here in very rural France.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The simple answer is could you live on this in the UK? Overall costs probably balance out between the two countries. If you could then it will be enough. Are you careful with money now or not? That won't change just because you move to France.

Is your estimate of income really accurate and have you taken into account the french taxes and health insurance you will need to pay. This is a complex area so do your research and get advice so that there are no nasty surprises. If the income is from investment there is a wealth tax in France and wealth I think can include certain property. If your income is in sterling there will be a continual cost for transferring the money to Euros and to France.

Be aware of things that could derail your budget though. Things that I found I hadn't antcipated  were as follows. One of the key ones is travel to and from the UK, the cost of regular trips can be very high when you take all costs into account. The expats I know that live successfully on a fixed budget rarely or never go back to the UK say once every five years. Also be careful of the cost of keeping and feeding animals the tempation in rural France is if you are animal lovers is to acquire cats, dogs, farm animals etc. The points made by others are also very valid when choosing between houses beware of high utiliy bills and taxes choose a house that will be less expensive to heat and where the property taxes are lower. Unfortunately you will have to do some digging to get this information as it won't be automatically provided by the immobilier or the vendor. Health care will also add to your costs not just the cost of insurance but even with top up insurance not all medical expemses are reimbursed sometimes only a proportion of them. Beware the exorbitant cost of visitors especially in the first couple of years and think twice before issuing a casual invitation as when you live in France people take you up on it. Make it clear to visitors that there is a kitty for food and petrol . Be wary of regular trips to the airport, railway terminus etc to pick visitors up as this can add a lot to motoring costs. Then there is the money pit of french house renovation buy a house that is already finished and have a survey before you buy it. Be wary of swimming pools which add to your costs, choose a small car for fuel economy and low cost of ownership.  Think about the hobbies you enjoy and whether or not they will be accessible in your part of France without a long journey. Eg (thankfully) in some parts of France there are very few golf courses. Be a regular reader of this site and the forums in Martin's Money Tips www.moneysavingexpert.com, use the budget planner there and check out the synopsis of his programe Make Me Rich as this shows you how to cut back and use your money to enjoy life. Although it is a UK site the lessons are equally applicable in France.

Finally to preserve the capital funds you do have make sure you keep the cost of house purchase and removal as low as you can. Ensure you understand exactly what the total cost of the purchase will be before you make an offer ie be clear what the costs of notaire's fees, immobiliers fees and purchase taxes will be before you sign for anything and question everything.  Make an offer on a house that is normal in France. Don't move a lot of junk to France it could cost you several thousand pounds to move the contents of a typical family house to France and you can replace practically everything in France.  Be ruthless and get rid of as much as you can before the estimators come. Good candidates for decluttering are books and magazines, clothes, garage, loft and shed contents. Again there are posts on this site on cutting down on removal costs and options for removals.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Montcigoux, This was a very interesting reply! I wrote down all of your cautionary comments!

My husband and I are planning to buy a leaseback

apartment - essentially as an investment that we can leverage at the

time of our retirement, about 14 years away. We would like to divide

our retirement between our NY home and France (rather than becoming

snow birds and shuffling off to Florida). We are just learning about

what it takes to plan for this kind of retirement, so I am very

grateful for all the good advice offered in these pages.

I wonder, if there's an American who could answer some questions about

retirement life in France from a U.S. point of view. Almost all of the

information I am able to find is written for a British audience and not

all the advice for it applies to an American context. BTW: we have a

very modest lifestyle!

Again, thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

We are doing ok on just on 1000 euros a month. We have left some capital in store so to speak for emergencies.  We are just sorting out  the Healthcare top up which I hope I have assessed at roughly the correct amount.  What I really wrote to say was we are so relaxed away from the stress of the grind, we feel safe and secure and are finding so many different things to fill our time with we have  not worried about money at all.

My partner was totally unsure about living in France because we had really good jobs and a good life there but with loads of stress. He has been  here just over 6 months and I think you would have to drag  him screaming back to the UK.

We are just about to start growing our own produce which will make a difference to the food bill. There are only the two of us and the dogs and we eat and drink well and go out for meals (albeit  not expensive like we used to when working).

I am sure there will be downsides to come, I have some more pension and the state pension to pick up in about 4 years so I am hoping by the time kicks in it will top up any shortfall/rises in inflation we may be feeling.

Hope all goes well

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...
You have had some long answers, and maybe I shall give one later if the thread keeps going.  I would say at 1,000 a month, without mortgage, you will have to be a bit frugal and make sure nothing wild goes on.  No big trips in hotels.  At 1500 a month you can relax a bit, and spend a little here and there.  On 2,000 a month I think you could relax, spend a little and go to visit the UK two or three times, as well as take a few short trips in France.  Just make sure that you don't have too many visitors.   You will have plenty of time to shop and find good deals when you are retired.  But all of this, of course depends....  Some people I know think they are frugal, and they spend like crazy, "the family" being the usual excuse for expensive "exceptions".  They don't see that as spending and don't really count it.  Some think the high cost of many visitors is the "normal" way to live, and they don't count that.  My hunch is that its easier to live cheaply in France, about the same degree of difficulty to live comfortably, and I have no idea how to comment on people whose income is 3,000 or 4,000 a month, much less more.  I imagine they compalin about money and taxes and the French state a lot.  (That smiley in the title was meant to be here)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Quillan said, there have been several really detailed cost of living threads on this forum.  Do a search and take a look at them.  They give many breakdowns of costs - which, or course, can vary from household to household and region to region.

Ute / Tresco - Be careful of that americansinfrance forum.  A lot of very WRONG information is posted there.  Just FYI.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...