What does your ideal retirement sound like? How about spending it in a beautiful, period property with a bit of land to grow your own vegetables or go green-fingered on a rather grand scale? How about living in a gorgeous village, surrounded by beautiful countryside? And what if all of this cost just €100,000? If all these tick your boxes, then it’s time to plan to retire to France! Our southern neighbour has eminently affordable property and miles of unspoilt rural areas with picture-postcard-perfect villages. Here’s our guide to a successful retirement in France.
Finding your perfect property
Firstly, you’ll want to have a look at our property listing to find your ideal property. Even in some of the most beautiful parts of the country, you can find a period home for €100,000. In the Pays-de-la-Loire, for example, the northern area around Châteaubriant has homes selling on average for around €1,200 per m2, going as low as €750 per m2 for properties needing work. In the southwest, another popular area, the average home in the Charente costs just €1130 per m2. Think what you could (or couldn’t!) get in the UK for that price.
Often, it’s just a case of expert local knowledge: the Charente-Maritime, for example, is over €1,000 more expensive than the Charente itself. Our free France Buying Guide is full of information that will help you make these choices.
Accessing French healthcare
French healthcare is one of the best in the world, a reputation it has maintained for decades. If you retire to France, you’ve certainly nothing to worry about when it comes to quality of care! At the moment, anyone moving to France with a UK state pension is automatically entitled to French public healthcare – you’ll need an EC Health Form S1 to show that. Once you’ve registered with the system in France, you’ll get your carte vitale, giving you access to medical attention. You can declare your GP, or médecin traitant, by just signing a form that they will also sign. You can choose anyone who agrees, generalist or specialist.
Remember to show your carte vitale at the doctor’s, dentist’s or, in some cases, chemist’s. Normally, 30-100% of the cost of prescriptions is covered by insurance and 80% of the cost of hospitalisation. Many people choose to take out private health insurance (assurance maladie) to cover the rest.
Drawing your pension
You can continue to draw your UK pension, but do be aware that fluctuating currency exchange rates will make it change in value constantly. You can use a forward contract to lock the exchange rate for a year. You can find out more in the free Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency.
You can also transfer your pension into either a QROPS or a SIPP. A SIPP, or Self-Invested Personal Pension, is a UK government-approved personal pension scheme which allows the investor to make their own decisions on a range of investments. This could be a combination of assets and pension funds.
A QROPS is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme, which is a French (or other country) pension scheme meeting HMRC’s requirements. Generally, it’ll be about ten years before it starts to show real benefits, so it’s a good choice if you’re moving long-term and permanently.
Find out everything you need to know about buying a home in France: get our comprehensive, up-to-date advice all in one place by downloading your free France Buying Guide
Don’t let worries about Brexit put you off your French dream. Find out about how you can live in France even in the event of a no-deal in our free Guide to Living in France After Brexit.
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