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Spend a Penny to Save a Pound

Splashpage meme for the Adrian Leeds Group's professional services

I hear the stories all the time. In fact, I heard one recently, from someone living here a long time who didn’t think twice about applying for French citizenship without the help of an attorney. Everything went pretty smoothly until she got to the in-person interview. She wasn’t prepared for the questions, so she blew it and was denied. Now she has to start over, but if she had consulted with an immigration attorney, that mistake might never have happened.

I applied for French citizenship this year myself, and even though I have been living here 29 years, I’m working with an immigration attorney—Daniel Tostado. It took more than eight months to amass all the documentation and have it submitted correctly, even with his advice and implementation and my own personal assistant helping me. It was no small task and I could never have done it without Daniel’s help.

Adrian Leeds Group meme for its immigration services

Take note: Daniel Tostado is speaking at our upcoming webinar—The North American Expats in France Quarterly Financial Forum—4th quarter, on November 15th, so be sure to tune in to learn more about moving to France! Click here now to register.

The point is not to discount the value of hiring professionals. You are not expected to have the knowledge or experience of the people who are professionals in their field. So why take the risk? To save a few shekels? No offense, but that’s just plain “penny wise and pound foolish.”

Cartoon depicting penny wise and pound foolish

Note: The actual phrase “penny wise, and pound foolish” is often mistakenly credited to Benjamin Franklin, but it actually originated with an Oxford Scholar named Robert Burton in his book, “The Anatomy of Melancholy” written in 1621! (Source:


When someone comes to us to purchase a property in France—one that will cost hundreds of thousands of euros, or even millions—and they don’t want to pay our consultation fee to get what I know is very valuable advice, I think twice about the kind of client that person will be. Will they value what we do? Will they take our advice? Will they try to cut corners everywhere they turn?

Adrian Leeds Group meme for its investing in France services

Very often, I hear from people visiting online forums which seem to be full of naysayers, complainers and conflicting information. We call that “crowd sourcing”—”the practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the internet.”

Why are we not surprised? Consider the kind of people who might be on those forums? These are people who have free time to be actively posting, who want answers but prefer not to pay professionals or who want to show off how smart they are. This isn’t true for everyone, of course, but it’s true for many and it’s why we don’t recommend depending on the forums to get you through the process of moving to France, either. This advice may not be the best advice, even if many have been through a lot of the same hurdles.

Adrian Leeds Group meme for its various services

I believe instead that it pays to get professional advice. From an early age I learned that there were three key and important people in your life: your doctor, your lawyer and your accountant. Maybe this is just Jewish “teachings” because so many Jews end up in these professions, but entrepreneurial advisors will give you the same list, adding to it an insurance advisor and banker. I concur.

It’s really true, too. According to Comprehensive Psychology, 2014, Volume 3, Article 8 by Donald I. Templer and Kimberly Tangen 2014: “There is a large over-representation of Jews in the professions, with an achievement quotient of 5.8 for psychiatrists, 4.0 for dentists, 3.8 for mathematicians, 3.7 for doctors, 3.4 for writers, 3.3 for lawyers, and 1.7 for architects. There is a disproportionate number of Jews on elite university faculties with an achievement quotient of 13.3 for law, 12.6 for sociology, 10.4 for economics, 9.6 for physics, 8.9 for political science, 8.1 for history, 7.4 for philosophy, and 7.4 for mathematics.” (Source)

Meme for Lawyer, doctor, accountant services

As a result of my upbringing, surrounded by people who not only believed in professional advice, but also who gave it for a living, I set out in my own business to be that kind of professional and to provide professional resources on which our clients could depend. It starts with my own needs and how those professionals would stack up to fix my personal issues. If they didn’t do a great job for me, then I certainly couldn’t recommend them to our clients or readers.

So, what you get from us is who we know will do the best job…proven by our own experience. Over the past 20 years, we’ve been able to collect an amazing group of professionals who we can happily recommend…because we have proven success with our own needs as well as our clients’.

• Want help planning your finances or minimizing your taxes?
• Seeking a mortgage?
• Or need a good currency broker?
• Want to renovate or decorate?
• Need a visa or immigration advice?
• Want to meet people and make new friends?

Adrian Leeds Group meme for its financial planning services

Meanwhile, if you consult with me first (which is the best way to start and get put in the right direction), I’ll provide it all! And make the connections for you directly. You won’t need to go any further. It’s the equivalent of “one-stop shopping.” And if I don’t have the answers, I know who does.

The other side of the spectrum are those people who can’t put their faith in one professional and hire two or three to do the job of one. I call this “belt and suspenders” thinking. In the end, you might not know who to believe and one will be working against the other, causing havoc on every level. Fortunately only one or two of our clients over the years have chosen to hire an attorney to work with our Notaire and us, leaving us to remove ourselves from any responsibility from managing the transaction. This is money poorly spent as in the end, “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Graphic depiction of the belt and suspenders mistake

Cartoon depicting too many cooks in the kitchen

The point is that you shouldn’t try to do this on your own. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. It’s not worth the risk of making expensive mistakes. Schedule your consultation with me and visit our website and have fun clicking through the various recommended professionals while finding the answers to your moving-to-France prayers…and more!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds in the newest fractional property 99 PromAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

Logo for subscribing to the Adrian Leeds Group's French Property Insider blogP.S. This past weekend I spent four days filming a House Hunters International episode in the suburbs of Paris. If you want to learn more about what it’s like living in the suburbs, be sure to read tomorrow’s French Property Insider and, if you’re not already subscribed, do it now!


1 Comment

  1. Jo on November 8, 2023 at 8:27 am

    Great witty post!

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