Looking Forward to 2022
Volume XIX, Issue 50
Just one more day of 2021 and we can either look back or look forward. The month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. I personally prefer to look forward, since the past is exactly that—passed. We can’t do anything about it, but accept it, and learn from it. The future, however, while illusory and 100 percent in our heads rather than reality, is at least something we can plan for and to which we can look forward.
If the trends continue based on this year’s performance, then we will continue to see a large influx of immigration from the U.S. It kicked off with the election of Donald Trump, then coupled with a strong economy and the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans have been seeking alternatives to living Stateside. France is one of the primary beneficiaries of that quest. Besides the emotional reaction by those who simply love France for all the qualities of life it offers (landscape, cuisine, culture, etc.), it is not surprising that Americans are heading east to the center of Europe.
Cost of living is a big reason to make the move. For retirees (or anyone), the ability to exist without owning and operating a car is top of the list. It’s a big savings—about $10,000 a year according to AAA, not to mention a big burden if you’re living in the cities. If you choose to live in a city like Paris or Nice, there would be no reason to take on this “ball and chain” because the public transportation is so excellent. And car rental is easy should you want to take a few days to tool around the countryside.
Healthcare costs are about one-tenth of what they are in the U.S. (plus a whole lot better). I could easily write volumes on this one subject alone when you consider that the French social security will pay up to about 70 percent of all your costs, plus the costs are about one-tenth of what they are in the States. Insurance to top it up is surprisingly inexpensive, too. But even if it weren’t, the care you get here is top notch because your good health is not based on profit…the healthier you are, the more the government saves!
If you have kids, then you can educate them well for almost nothing as France provides a high quality education all the way through college. Even technology is a big bargain—fiber optics Internet/WiFi + VOIP phone to almost anywhere in the world + satellite TV with hundreds of channels costs a whopping 35€ a month! Add a cell phone to that for another 16€ a month for unlimited usage that is free when you’re traveling, too! (See Free.fr if you don’t believe me, and I’ll bet your monthly bill is at least $200…and usually much more.) Even utility costs are low, thanks to economic and ecological savings devices that have been around for years. You’ll find your monthly bills a whole lot lower in France than in the States.
Taxes aren’t nearly as much as what you think they will be. Sure, taxes are expensive for employers (who pay for employees’ social charges), but not for retirees moving to France. France doesn’t tax your pensions or investment dividends…and there’s a tax treaty between our two countries so you don’t pay the tax twice. Property taxes are shockingly inexpensive—also about one-tenth of what they are in the States. This is a seriously huge savings if you own your own home and have to fork out about one percent of its value every year. Here it’s more like .001 percent!
Rents are low—a lot lower in relation to the value of the property than they are in the U.S. Even in Paris, France’s most expensive city, a one bedroom apartment of 40m2 rents for less than 1,800€ per month. Compare that with New York and you’ll find it half the price.
And the best part of all is that from France, you can travel to anywhere in Europe easily, quickly and inexpensively. You can get really spoiled hopping a plane to Venice for the weekend for about 40€!
So, looking forward, into the year 2022, where do we see ourselves? I don’t know about you, but you can find me here living the good life in France. Hope you will join me!
Happy New Year!
The Adrian Leeds Group®