I have been gently steering my life towards “retirement” in France for about ten years now.
I’m very lucky to be in excellent health and with a projected pension from age 60 that I can happily live on (my outgoings are approx 50% of SMIC).
My pension will be 20 percent short of SMIC at £-EU equity, 7 percent short at 1.15:1, but I have plenty of savings to make up any minimum income required by the French government until my state pension cuts in after 5 years and puts me at 1.2 X SMIC.
At which point I would hope to apply for naturalisation - an interesting experience for a typical English person living and working in a cosmopolitan liberal bubble with no anxieties about “identity” - but I’m hopeful that I will find the Cinquième République with its “étandards sanglantes”, more palatable than the ironic “Britons never shall be slaves” I luckily never had to sign up to … (I’m considering watching the Cafe scene in “Casablanca” before going in for the ceremony )
The insanity happening in the UK and the infiltration of the EU by far-right anti-EU elements has been very unsettling - but however this pans out, it has made me wonder about how much “Freedom of movement” actually has to do with my project.
I have always fully embraced the EU idea (political as much as economic), and it certainly made it a lot easier for a non-traveller like myself to even consider such a move, but ultimately I have to consider how I can make myself welcome in the country I fell in love with in my teens. (Though not in a “Year in Provence” way. At the end of the day, people are people, and I already see aspects of French society that are not to my taste).
A key attraction is the opportunity to master another language a little more subtle than my own (I’m no linguist, but thankfully managed to get the basics while my brain was still pliable)
It seems the French currently WANT people to move there - prove you are self-sufficient for 3 months and you get a renewable CDS and you are even allowed into the French health system - basically on the strength of VAT - since Very few of us have income from shares and property. (Since, out of the EU, I would be faced with buying a year’s worth of private insurance, I am starkly aware of how cheap this is.)
Does “Mutuel” insurance benefit the state ? Quite frankly I would be up for just paying £1,000 to the government instead of an insurance company.
I will be motivated to make myself useful in the local area I have deliberately chosen for having actual life going on.
How has integration been for others here ?
Any problems with being unwelcome ?
Any hints and tips ?