Can you buy-into the French pension scheme?

Hello SF members! An Irish friend of mine residing here in France (who has worked primarily in Geneva, Switzerland) mentioned that she may be able to “buy-into” the French pension scheme. She is 60 years old. She said with an investment of 21,000 Euros she could potentially receive 700 Euros month?! Could anybody shed any light on this? Thanks.

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Hmmm, an area I only know a little bit about so there may be something that has escaped me.

However as far as I know anyone who is already in a French pension scheme can buy more trimestres up to the age of 67 I think. One can complete years where you have not worked enough to get full number of trimestres and add years where you didn’t work. However I am not aware that this is open to anyone who has not yet paid into the French Social Security system. There are calculators that will tell you what a trimestre will cost you and get you. But I think the average cost for someone her age is over €5k, so could get maybe 5 or 6. And given that you need between 120 and 160 for a full pension this is not going to get her much!

Might they be getting mixed up Assurance Vie? A tax efficient type of saving scheme where you can deposit a lump sum and then opt for a regular income, or have it as savings that grow, €21,000 at 3.5% (which is what assurance vie’s averaged last year would give you an income of €700. But a year, not a month!!

If there is something that gives a 40% annual return on your investment do tell! We’d all be interested!

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Interesting question… but I suggest we don’t know enough about your Irish friend’s situation to give much of a reply…

Perhaps you could ask you friend just how it works (what she is talking about) … as it could be useful to have such info on the forum for future folk to find…

Thanks Jane for your feedback and to Stella! Yes, I’m trying to find out more about this. My friend is busy trying to sell property so don’t want to press her further.
But when I discover more I will post it…


Seems highly improbable, given my experience of contributing to the CIPAV retirement system for the last 12 years, with an average contribution in excess of that indicated. Could be that my (unfortunately obligatory) system is just crap of course !

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Retraite dans le privé : rachat de trimestres |
explains about buying back trimestres for years when you were affiliated but did not obtain the full four quarters. But I see nothing about buying trimestres for years when you were not affiliated.
It seems somehow unlikely that what is basically a national solidarity scheme would be open to third parties but even if it were, as RicePudding says, the figures quoted seem too good to be true when you consider the level of cotisations (employee + employer) that workers will have paid in over the years in order to obtain a similar level of pension.
However if your friend will fall short of a full Swiss pension, there may be a social security agreement between France and Switzerland that would enable the shortfall to be bought back.
Am I right in thinking that retirement age in France is currently 62, and 67 to qualify for a retraite à taux plein?

It is how many trimestres you have worked, not your age, which conditions getting taux plein or not, normally.

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Is there not a thing that if you don’t have sufficient trimestres by the time you reach 67, you qualify anyway?
I have no personal experience but I thought that is what I had gathered and a quick look at this seems to confirm it.
Pension de retraite à taux plein du salarié |

Pour avoir droit à une retraite à taux plein, vous devez soit avoir un nombre précis de trimestres d’assurance retraite, soit partir en retraite à 67 ans.
Vous avez droit automatiquement à une retraite à taux plein à 67 ans, même si vous n’avez pas le nombre de trimestres d’assurance retraite exigé.

Many french people would shudder at the thought of continuing to work to 67 - even if it does get them a fuller pension. So not sure there is a massive risk to the global budget with that one, When I tell people that I have yet to get my state pension, and have to wait to 66.5 they are amazed. And then when I tell them how much I will then get, their jaws hit the floor.

I waited till 66 to draw my social security pension from the U.S. You can apply at 62–but you receive less.
I have worked part-time teaching Business English here last 9 years as an auto-entrepreneur and just retired at 68. All those years paying into the system–I’ll be lucky to receive 60 Euros/month (based on my recent research) : (
So when my friend shared her story about “buying into” the French pension scheme, that ruffled my feathers a bit. She’s never worked here. And I’m too old now to even take advantage of the buying back quarters even if I could…c’est la vie en France…

Goodness I’m not sure I fancy working another 10 years :worried:

I can understand you feeling slightly miffed… any of us might feel similarly… however, let’s wait and see what she’s actually spouting about… :wink:

Meanwhile… surely that phrase “too old” can be scratched out of your vocabulary… straight away.
From my own experiences, positive thoughts are sometimes needed… but not always easy to find…
So , keep muttering to yourself:
“I’m a bright young thing… and life is great !! and anyone who disagrees had better watch out !!”

I’ve been muttering that for years… :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Thanks Stella for your upbeat tone. I really am ok with my situation. And I’m told I look 10 years younger! ; )

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Well I do not suppose many people fancy working to 67 but I suppose if you had spent a lot of your working life not working, not counting time spent raising a family etc, and your pay when you did work had been low and your pension works out to be a pittance, keeping going would be preferable to the alternative. I think it is good that it is there as a fallback option for people in that situation.

The more I think about it the more I am sure that your friend has got something seriously muddled. Does she speak/read French? I think you might find when you see her again that she will have egg on her face!

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Even if you have sufficient trimestres (however you got them) doesn’t the actual amount you will receive as a pension depend on your averaged earnings?

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My pension will be rubbish, I have almost always worked for a pittance because vocational job with a lot of women doing it don’t you know as well as bringing up children etc (6 months in total maternity leave for 5 children, looking back I was mad).
In my profession we are allowed to work until 70 essentially because lots of us come into the marché du travail late because of getting qualified and it isn’t deemed pénible.

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The point as I take it is that if you were low paid and you have full trimestres you will get the basic minimum pension.
If you were low paid and you do not have the full trimestres your pension would be lower than the basic minimum, but if you work to 67 then even if you still do not have the full number of trimestres it does not matter your pension will be made up to that level.
For those who will in any case get more than the basic minimum I do not think the work to 67 option has any relevance.

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I find that shocking.

In what way?