Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Is 2017 the year to take that leap to France?

The path to implementing Brexit has not yet been initiated, (the so called Article 50), and indeed it may never happen. The media is full of Brexit rhetoric, but nobody can tell us what the eventual deal will be – hard, half-baked or soft – if even if a deal can be reached.

According to a recent BBC documentary, some 20,000 Britons a year are packing up and moving out of the overcrowded UK in search of a better lifestyle in France. However, the decision is not without its complications :

1st of all, Brexit could mean that UK residents in France may lose many of the rights associated with being citizens of the European Union. These include residency rights, health care & work rights, plus rights to other social services. Because of this uncertainty, some people are sitting on the fence. However, Brexit might take up to 10 years to formalise, if ever, and of course, there are as many French living in the UK as there are ex-Pats in France. So the risks here are not as great as painted by the media which always “over-eggs” the situation for dramatic effect.

You should instead focus upon 2 more fundamental aspects that need your careful consideration, namely a) language and b) culture.

Stating the obvious, the better you speak French, the easier it will be to integrate into your local society and community. Culturally, the French are different. They think differently, with a different cultural background, they have different values, and they prioritize differently to us.

Perhaps the biggest reason why so many people look to move to France from the UK is for the wonderful lifestyle. This one word has so many meanings in your new life - taking time to make a proper coffee every morning rather than gulping back a cup of instant, leisurely two hour lunches. Making the exciting decision to start a new life in France is not one to be taken lightly. There are unspoken issues and complications that TV programmes don't seem to cover. Our agents will try to reassure you about these points.

You may not expect it but some taxes are lower in France, but in overall terms, for employed & self-employed France has one of the highest tax rates in Europe. Beware of “cotisations” - disguised taxation, paid on income, they are not called tax, but have to be paid on all income. Be aware also that if you plan to live 183 days per year or more in France, you will be officially fiscally resident in France. You will thus become a full French taxpayer, as regards taxes.

We have “experts” to help our clients with informed decisions about pensions, investments & taxation in France. Our advice is available from people who have all been in your shoes, and made that leap from the UK (or another country) to France. Yes, there are challenges along the way, but what else would you expect. House prices are low, interest rates are low, and with some buyers still undecided, we are convinced that 2017 is the year to take that leap. In the future, more buyers might be looking to make the move, and that will lend itself to rising prices as demand increases.

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