Air dates: Tuesday, October 22 11:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, October 23 2:30 a.m. ET
A wine connoisseur (Christine Campbell) moves with her family (Dave Small and their daughter, McKenzie) to Epernay, France, in the heart of the Champagne region. They consider the options between the sprawling vineyard countryside and the bustling town center, but there's no easy answer as they decide what's best for their 8-year-old daughter.
Four hours seem to fly by when the speakers are as interesting as they were at yesterday's North American Expat Financial Forum here in Paris at the American Church. The Thurber Room on the second floor of the church's facilities was filled with participants eager to learn more about their financial and investment life in France from the experts who came to share their knowledge and experience...all free of charge.
Brian Dunhill, of Dunhill Financial with the help of tax advisor, Mojgan Ghanipour of MG Partners, opened the event with basic information on how to set up your portfolio as a North American resident in France. Brian spoke a lot about FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) which is adversely affecting expats all over the world and he loves to talk about food: hotdogs and hamburgers...the Takeru Kobayashi story of efficiency who holds the world records for eating hot dogs, meatballs, Twinkies, tacos, hamburgers, pizza, ice cream, and pasta; and the Big Mac Index, an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies.
Kim Bingham was next up, a one-time Property Consultant for the Adrian Leeds Group and now the head of international markets for Private Rate, a branch of La Centrale de Financement. She gave the skinny on the ability to obtain a mortgage in France; both the positive and negative aspects of the current situation. While rates are under 2 percent (what I call "free money"), the ability to find banks willing to lend to Americans has become more difficult, thanks to FATCA. Still, she's open to making a big effort to find ways around and through the system to satisfy our clients.
After a short break to refuel, with drinks and snacks prepared by Karina Clarke, one of our Consultants and staff, I went through the process of purchasing property step by step as well as what one can expect to pay in closing costs and carrying costs. The main emphasis of the presentation was how different the French system is from America where there is the benefit of the Multiple Listing Service, and of course, why it's so wise to work with consultants who can protect you from making serious and costly mistakes...even if not us!
Marylouise Serrato from American Citizens Abroad impressed us all with her fountain of information about what's happening behind the legislative scenes regarding residency or citizenship-based taxation. This is a very serious topic for all of us who are feeling the pinch from such legislation as FATCA and the new Transition Tax imposed on foreign companies owned by Americans (such as the Adrian Leeds Group!). We need to all band together, vote and fight for our rights as Americans living outside of the U.S. Thanks to organizations such as the ACA, we are beginning to have a voice. (Be sure to join!)
Bruno Gruat, of Moneycorp Exchange Experts was the last to speak. This is one of the tips from the afternoon that could easily save you many thousands of dollars (or other currency) just by being smart and using a broker in place of your commercial bank to transfer currencies. The banks can charge up to four percent in the "spread" (the difference between the buy and the sell rates), while the brokers take about one percent. That three percent can make a big difference when transferring large sums of money, such as one might do when purchasing a property.
Before we ended the forum, we opened up the floor to a Q&A with all the speakers. Marylouise Serrato fielded most of the questions, since the important messages she had affected everyone in the audience. We are all faced with discrimination by U.S. legislation, particularly when it comes to taxation. At 8 p.m. we said our good-byes and went off pleased with the overall outcome of the forum.
This morning we discovered that Julien Chameroy had Facebook posted a great photo of Brian Dunhill making his opening presentation and comments to his post were positive by forum attendees...Christi McLean Carlisto: "It was a very influential forum! Worth the trip from the States!"
To those of you who attended, we'll be making all the speakers' presentations available very shortly, so you can go back to them for reference. And to those who didn't attend, but wanted to, keep your eyes out for the next time we hold the forum (no guarantees we will, but if so, then expect it about one year from now).
A special thanks to Brian Dunhill of Dunhill Financial, for being my partner in this endeavor and to Moneycorp for sponsoring it so that we could offer it free of charge...and of course to all the staff who lended a hand, without whom it would not have been possible: Patty Sadauskas, Isa Kettman, Karina Clark, Carolyn Gorman, Matt Watson, Ella Dyer, Barb Westfield and my daughter, Erica Simone.
P.S. If you should contact any of our forum speakers for advice and assistance, please be sure to tell them Adrian Leeds of the Adrian Leeds Group sent you.
October's Après-Midi: Tuesday October 8, 2019
Lisa Anselmo, Author, Creative Director and Blogger
Lisa Anselmo started traveling to Paris regularly 12 years ago—at first, to cover the fashion trade shows for a lifestyle website. But soon, she had cultivated friends—both Parisians and expats—and after over a decade of visits, had built another life across the ocean. In 2012, after the death of her mother from breast cancer, she decided to seize the day and make her other life official, buying an apartment in Paris’s Right Bank. One bold move led to a changed life. Her memoir, My (Part-Time) Paris Life, chronicles this journey.
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