The cost of the plan

Hello out there.

I am just starting to put the retirement relocation plan together. My wife and I have decided on France, though not sure which department yet. My question is: Can anyone give a ballpark figure as to how little two retired people, living without extravagance can survive on in France? I know that's a 'how long is a piece of string 'type question but a ballpark answer is all I require.

Thanks in anticipation.

Never mind how long is a piece of string, without telling us anything about your status you're asking how long is a piece of elastic.

For a start, will the UK be funding your healthcare or will you have to pay for it yourselves? That can make quite a difference. The knock on from that is, if you will be paying to join the French healthcare system, do you have any income that you'll have to pay CSG contributions on?

apart from property (rental or purchase and of course dependant on area), about the same as the UK - there are all the same bills to pay and other expenses, sometimes cheaper, sometimes more expensive. I'll leave retirees here to give a better picture (I run a business and have a young family here)

35,000 EUR p.a.

It's all based on the 'Micawber' principle.

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery"

Simple really...

I know a number of people (French) who live on a pension of between 1,000 and 1,500 euros a month. But I wouldn't recommend it.

Very much depends on your lifestyle...

It is perfectly possible to live comfortably on that amount (we do) but our lifestyle is now totally different to that which we enjoyed when we lived in the UK.

No longer the days of multiple bottles of wine each and and long drives criss crossing the country.

We have built an eco friendly home of modest proportions; no old stone money pits of massive (and frankly) unnecessary proportions just to house family and friends who seldom come - just because we could but rather to accomodate the two of us comfortably with the occasional guests.

Someone else mentioned the wisdom of keeping a contingency fund of at least 3 - 6 months in the bank. On a 'maintenance' basis, this could stretch to a year's worth of survival should it become necessary to do so.

So, as pensioners with modest monthly pension income, we have cut our cloth accordingly. We are not as wasteful as once we were; our day to day living expenses are pared down to sensible levels but we still eat well - mainly fresh produce - and very little processed stuff. No alcohol and each other for company.

For us, life in France is good.

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It depends also whether one has a rent free (ie fully paid off) house / appartment, although even then taxes and charges can be relatively expensive. Our fully paid small (70m2) pied a terre still costs nearly 3000 EUR a year not including electricity.

Also need to take into account medical costs, either a mutuelle or top up costs need to be factored in. can be several thousand euro a year.

We're not retired but there are two of us. Our basic monthly bills are something like:

Food 300 euros

Phone/Internet: 75 euros

Insurances (House, car, health): 88 euros (basic mutuelle)

Gas: 110 euros (We have a fairly large, old, draughty house)

Electricity: 60 euros

Total: 633 euros

Water we pay twice yearly, I think. The last bill was 175 euros

We have a mortgage now which is relatively cheap compared to the one we have on our English home as interest rates are lower here (or were when we took it out and your mortgage stays at the rate it was on the day you took it out for the term of the mortgage). If you rent, that needs factoring in too.

Other costs are really down to the individual. Here in the Dordogne you can get lunch with wine (set menu, sometimes a couple of choices) for 12-15 euros a person. Petrol is about 1.29 euros/litre. You'll have some council tax equivalents to pay, taxe foncière and taxe d’habitation, although I think you can get reductions if on a low income.

i would say you could live on about 1,200 euros if you don't have a mortgage or rent to pay, but would need more to save for holidays, building repairs, updating, replacing electrical items, trips back to UK etc.

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I've kept track on a spreadsheet of every centime that we've spent since we arrived here from the United States in April of 2014. Eventually, I'll be writing a book. But I can tell you that the least that we ever spent in one month was 1850 euros, the most was 3550 - the month that included a bunch of taxes and the renewal of our residency permit. The average over two years? Just under 2700 euros monthly. That includes everything from a mortgage of about 550 euros to replacing the air conditioning compressor on our used car to plants for the terrace garden and wood for shelves in the basement to eating out on ocassion and pizza every Friday night and..........

I take it you are joking

Er, no I wasn't!

But we do live on Corsica, it is a bit more expensive.

It's only the equivalent of two SMICs

2 x smic = 26,544€ a year ;-)

Two adults, one my wife below pension age so receiving nothing since the raising of the retirement age, 4 dogs, 11 chickens and two goats we dont pay income tax or tax habitation due to the level of my pension we survive quite well on 1600€ per month eat out on average twice a month, eat well at home buy our meat from Brent an american beef farmer, wine most nights, run a car. A 3 bed 300year old house on the edge of the village no rent or mortgage helps i suppose our central heating is wood fired and very economical .We have friends in similar circumstances,though we also have friends who have double our income complaining bitterly they cant afford to live ,it all depends on your life style

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I might need a new wife!

OK I stand corrected Andrew!! Guilty of rounding up!! :-)

I thought the SMIC was 1466 a month roughly? I guess you used net (after charges sociales?)!

Exactly, taken straight from my employee's pay statement ;-)