Living & Investing in France—A Report on the Conference
The Living & Investing in France Conference kicked off Friday morning at the Hôtel Splendid in Nice, with a warm-up routine I’ve done at all the conferences we’ve held since 2002. I call it “First Things First,” but it’s simply a small note handed out at the entry that asks each of the participants to tell us who they are, where they are from and why they came to the event…in 25 words or less…without writing “Because I love France!”
The funny thing is how many do actually use those words because they just can’t help themselves. But, then I go around the room, have each one I call out to raise his/her hand so we know who they are by name and face, then I comment on what they wrote. There are usually some laughs (because I can’t help being the comedian), and some real insights we learn from them about what they want to learn while at the conference. It’s a great way to get everyone feeling comfortable with one another and start the long day of speakers’ presentations feeling at ease and friendly with one another. It’s fun and it works to get everyone enthused.
Just to give you an example or two:
Sue B. from Washington State wrote, “I am here to explore options! A little nervous, I feel like this is crazy. Retiring next month—not ready to stop learning and growing.” Sue need not be nervous, I explained, nor ever stop the learning process! On that note, however, I imparted a bit of Eckhart Tolle philosophy on how to live in the present, let go of any fears of the future (which are completely illusory), and exchange the word “expectations” for “hopes” so one will never be disappointed.
John R. has been a real estate broker in Hawaii for 46 years. He wanted to learn about real estate in France. I told him to take everything he had learned in those years and through it out the window. That got a big laugh. Everything he was about to learn would be brand new…or mostly! And, we’d know when the three days were over.
Over the course of the first day, we had 10 professionals speaking on their own important topics, one more amazingly presented than the next. I’d have to say that this year’s line-up outperformed just about every other conference we’ve ever hosted and it was clear the participants were very pleased—their heads almost spinning from the amount of important information being thrown their way.
Here’s a synopsis:
• Author of “Nice in Nice,” Ella Dyer, gave a brilliant introduction to Nice and the Riviera that got everyone excited about being there!
• Benjamin Pik of Pik Consulting, along with Jonathan Hadida of Hadida Tax Advisors, did a duet performance talking about tax and how retirees in France will pay a lot less tax living in France than in the U.S.! Jonathan was particularly funny and entertaining, but they both made everyone feel a whole lot more comfortable about taxes in France.
• Kim Bingham with Private-Rate made her presentation in the form of a video recording she had done from Paris. Then we set up a live Q&A with Kim from her Paris apartment so that questions could be answered in real-time. Her news was very straightforward on who can qualify for a mortgage in France and the difficulties we’re experiencing in today’s world achieving success for our property buyers.
• Brian Dunhill of Dunhill Financial made his usual thought-provoking presentation to explain how investing for Americans living abroad is very different than when they are living in the U.S. and why they should maintain some sort of U.S. address (which, btw, is not just for investment reasons).
• Kelly Cutchin, with Moneycorp foreign exchange specialist, who came to Nice from Florida just for the occasion, made it very clear why currency transfers should be done by brokers such as Moneycorp rather than the commercial banks that charge about three times the rate as the brokers. When you look at it in real terms, the savings can be quite substantial, especially when transferring large sums of money for the purchase of a property.
We broke for a three-course lunch in the restaurant on the rooftop of the hotel that was bathed in sunlight and offered outstanding views of the city and the sea, then started it up again in the conference room off the lobby of the hotel.
• I kicked it off after lunch by talking about “Finding Your Dream Home in Paris, Nice or the French Countryside” with Ella Dyer and Jennifer Parrette at my side—our two most trusted Property Consultants in Nice. The presentation was so important and so in-depth that we decided to stop at one point and pick it up again the next day before the scheduled Q and A session in the same room. There was simply too much to impart, and everyone was happy to do that!
• Carole Vangioni, our illustrious Niçoise Notaire, followed on our heels with a very comprehensive overview of everything one might need to know about the transaction process. Carole lived in the U.S. for seven years making her both bilingual and bi-cultural—an enormous asset for our clients.
• This year, a topic we missed during past conferences was addressed by Daniel Tostado, an immigration attorney from Paris. He described the various visa options and how one goes about having the legal right to live in France. It was a huge plus for which everyone was enlightened and grateful.
• Tuula Rampont, with International Living, gave us a virtual tour of her area of France—the Var Department. She lives in a small town not far from Toulon and can’t say enough wonderful things about this other part of France, but which is still part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) Region.
We tabled Janet Hulstrand’s presentation on “Demystifying the French” to follow on the heels of our continued presentation on finding property on Saturday afternoon because it had been a long and power-packed day with everyone ready for cocktails on the roof! No one seemed to mind, especially knowing that it would be the most fun presentation of the entire conference! Everyone LOVES to talk about crossing the cultural divide…something vast and what I believe is the most difficult transition to make!
We had invited many of our colleagues and clients to join us all on the rooftop for drinks, so while the sun set and we took in the beautiful views, we toasted with champagne to the end of a very successful conference day, all of the new friends we had made and how much more fun we were about to have. The next day had much in store for everyone—an open house tour of about 10 properties in Nice then the continuation of our presentations in the afternoon with a final Q and A session.
Our second day went as well, if not better than the first. The report from the attendees about the properties they visited was excellent—the range of properties was a perfect mix and we may even have a potential purchase from a few of the attendees.
The third day was a motor coach tour of the Riviera from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at night, from Nice to Menton and back. But, I’m saving that report for Wednesday’s Nouvellettre®! So, stay tuned for more.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian with conference attendee, Joon Saddul, at the LIF conference in Nice
P.S. All of these speakers’ contact information and more information about each of them can be found on our website, adrianleeds.com!
P.P.S. We are looking for someone, located in Paris, who can perform highly administrative tasks and act as an assistant to both me and Patty Sadauskas. It is part-time and based on hourly wages. If you are not afraid of organizing and managing details, are proficient in basic computer and internet skills, then email us immediately your interest and CV.