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Moving to France - will I cope?

Moving to France - will I cope?

Old Jun 29th 2021, 1:05 pm
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Default Moving to France - will I cope?

Hi. I’ve lived in the UK all my life (I’m 50) but will shortly receive my Irish passport and am thinking of moving permanently to France. I will be able to buy a small house without a mortgage and hope to continue working as a freelance consultant part-time. That sounds like I am flush. I’m not, money will be tight. Things I am anxious about (I’m not necessarily expecting answers here, I will ask specific questions in the correct forums) - I have some disabilities and will have to do everything by myself, Will I cope? Is the cost of living going to be problematic - I’ve heard it is high in France? Due to my health issues I have become quite isolated in the UK, an ex-pat community would be great, is that realistic? I’m thinking about Le Creuse in Limousin, what kind of communities can be found there? I have visited France for years and at times managed ok with the language, but I’ve forgotten most of it - will I pick it up again? How will I cope with all the paperwork - tax, health, pensions, business? In the U.K. I depend on a cleaner, a Dogwalker and a gardener, will I find people to help out in France?

One of the main drivers in this decision is that I can’t seem to see a way to owning my own home in the U.K. I have limited pension, limited ability to work and renting in the U.K. as a dog owner is next to impossible. Is this a case of the grass being greener?

Many thanks for reading - I look forward to diving into the forums.
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

The first thing to say is as you do not have a pension you are going to have to pay for your healthcare Initially you are going to need private healthcare as you cannot join the French health system until you have lived in France for 3 months In practice by the time that the paperwork has gone through you are looking at 6 months plus before you are in the system. AS a person with disabilities you may well receive free care for problems related your ongoing health problems but not for other matters. If you aim to continue working you will need to set up a french business entity This will allow you to join the french system straight away but you will be paying tax CSG pension contributions as well as health contributions and also a top up insurance is advised
If you need a cleaner then if you do not use a company you will need to employ someone and pay the employers contributions as well So you see your outgoings are high even before you have ventured out to a supermarket
You should note that although French medical care is excellent in many rural areas coverage even of GPs is patchy with long journeys to a hospital
You may be able to export some of your current benefits from the UK but I cannot say what if anything you will be able to claim in France
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

Many thanks for your reply, LVC. I was aware of the 3 month waiting time for health. I only really need prescriptions so I think that will be doable. I don’t rely on benefits - I had a bit of help during Covid but otherwise I’m self sufficient. I won’t be paying my current £1000/month rent so hopefully the money will balance, as long as I can continue working a bit and my U.K. clients still want to use me! As far as GPs go, I had thought to move to a small town. I have seen some lovely places for sale but many are very isolated, which I don’t think will be practicable for me.



I will have to do more research on running my business - I anticipate working for U.K. clients who pay me in the U.K. I currently have a ltd company, maybe I can retain that and U.K. bank accounts and take a salary from it?



Is there not a cash-in-hand economy in France for services like cleaners and gardeners?
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

Hi S & F and welcome to the forum.
lvc has correctly pointed some of the issues you need to address.
I have a french friend who lives in a small chateau within a small park.
He has struggled to find and keep cleaners and gardeners.
Some wanted paid "on the black" which he refused to do therefore lost their services.
You cannot just notify the tax office and start a business - you need a formal business structure which can be expensive to run.
Why don't you "stick your toe in the water" first and try a few "holidays" - say for a month at a time and see how you get on?
You user name is S & F - does that refer to a spouse or a partner?
I suspect that this is a case of "the grass being greener" but I wish you all the best in following your dream.

Add. The cash-in-hand economy is strongly frowned upon in France and penalties are common and are expensive.
You would likely be denounced by neighbours if you work unregistered or employed people on the black.

Last edited by cyrian; Jun 29th 2021 at 2:27 pm.
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 2:34 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

Good to know Cyrian. Finn is my dog. She loves France - we’ve visited a fair bit.
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

Can't comment on France too much myself but some good advice given by others. If you have disabilities and you are also receiving some payments, just make sure they are also covered in France (after Brexit).
It's probably more in the UK but here in Ireland it's €203 a week and things like this are probably important, as means tested: Capital, for example, the value of savings, investments, shares or any property you may have (other than your own home). However, the first €50,000 of any capital you have is not taken into account.
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

i rent from a housing association They are happy to rent to responsible dog-owners
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Old Jun 29th 2021, 5:32 pm
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

I hope that you have other reasons for wanting to move to France other than, to be able to buy a house.
This feeling that everyone has to own property otherwise they are nobody, is a very Brit thing.
You don't.
There is lots of cheap property about in France. And yet, around 50 per cent of people in France don't want to be property owners even though they easily could. They prefer to rent, for all kinds of reasons.
Property can be an albatros round your neck, especially if money is tight.

As you say, you have more research to do on working as a consultant in France. You need to look at the overall picture and its implications. For instance, if you're competing on price with UK providers for UK clients you will struggle, because as a French business your social contributions will be that much higher and you will need to charge higher fees than your UK competitors to make the same amount of profit. I say this from experience because I moved to France thinking I would hang on to my UK clients as long as I could, but in fact I soon realised that I had to switch to a French client base if I wanted to survive. If you have a niche market and your clients won't mind if you hike your fees by 15 per cent or so,.no worries. Also re the business, presumably you have checked that there are no Brexit-related qualifications/trading issues.

If you really want to be in France, go for it. But France can be hard work, and there are times when you need really strong reasons to keep on putting in the effort to make it work. I would feel happier to know you have more of an incentive than simply being able to buy a house. It is possible to end up hating a house when it's taken all your money and then something else needs fixing, and then what?


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Old Jun 30th 2021, 6:27 am
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

I just remembered that our long-term tenants in the UK have recently acquired a very cute little dog (they had a cat when they first moved in). It never occurred to us to object!
We charge them just over £500 a month for a cosy little 3-bedroom chalet.
Have you considered looking in other parts of the UK?
I'm not trying to put you off France but I strongly feel that it's the life you live that's important, not the house you live it in. Even in your dream home you won't be happy if the nuts and bolts of your life don't fit together properly. I just think you need to be confident you will be able to get the healthcare arrangements - business set up - personal support network in place, before you rush into buying a house.
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Old Jul 5th 2021, 7:33 am
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

Originally Posted by SiobhanandFinn View Post
Many thanks for your reply, LVC. I was aware of the 3 month waiting time for health. I only really need prescriptions so I think that will be doable. I don’t rely on benefits - I had a bit of help during Covid but otherwise I’m self sufficient. I won’t be paying my current £1000/month rent so hopefully the money will balance, as long as I can continue working a bit and my U.K. clients still want to use me! As far as GPs go, I had thought to move to a small town. I have seen some lovely places for sale but many are very isolated, which I don’t think will be practicable for me.



I will have to do more research on running my business - I anticipate working for U.K. clients who pay me in the U.K. I currently have a ltd company, maybe I can retain that and U.K. bank accounts and take a salary from it?



Is there not a cash-in-hand economy in France for services like cleaners and gardeners?
Hi, and welcome to the forum!
I'll add a few words to the good advice given above.
You may only need prescriptions at the moment, but Doctors here make their own diagnosis (including blood tests) before prescribing anything. You should check whether la Creuse is among the many medical deserts in France (G.P.s and specialists). It's certainly the second less inhabited Département... If you have disabilities, you must be sure of finding a specialist in the area, and ideally be able to communicate directly.
As said, if you're working in France, you must set up a French business structure, wherever your clients are, and you'd have to open private and professional French Bank Accounts. For both steps, you need adequate French and/or professional help. You can't hope to turn up in la Creuse (for example) and immediately find an expat community able to help. Would you want perfect strangers to know all your financial/medical business?
As for home help/gardener/dogwalker, do NOT be tempted to employ any one on the black. Some one (often the local "spy") will denounce you to the URSSAF (been there, done that, but the denouncer was mistaken....). You'll encounter the URSSAF in your own professional capacity when paying your côtisations.
Take a look in the "Read Me: Moving to France FAQs" above, some of which needs revision, and also the up-to-date link given in the on-going "Living in France" UK Gov info" thread.
Your plan is very daunting, esp. if you have disabilities and money is tight, and you need to do much more research before taking the plunge. At least with an Irish Passport, you won't have the Visa issue to cope with...
As suggested, Covid permitting, why not visit a few areas as a potential resident, not as a tourist, and discover the housing market and what health and other services there are in the neighbourhoods? The local Mairies give lists of Clubs and Associations that you could join, to make friends with like interests.
HTH
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Old Jul 5th 2021, 9:33 am
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Default Re: Moving to France - will I cope?

And make sure you visit in the winter when virtually everything is closed up and people are scurrying home to their woodburners...If you feel secure and happy in that sort of environment then you will succeed
We live in Brittany which is busy and thriving in the summer but in the winter is basically covered in mist and drizzle but it suits us There are three types of weather here
Il a plu, il pleut , il pleuvra...
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