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How to ease the transition into retirement in France

PUBLISHED: 15:02 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:49 15 March 2017

How to ease the transition into retirement in France © monkeybusinessimages

How to ease the transition into retirement in France © monkeybusinessimages

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Retiring to France requires careful consideration, here are 5 key areas to focus on to help make settling in as easy as possible

It may be just a short hop over the Channel, but retiring to France requires careful consideration. When it comes to planning, international health insurance specialists, Cigna Global know what it takes to ensure a smooth transition. So from arranging your finances through to boosting your healthcare protection, here are the areas to focus on to help make settling in as easy as possible…

Review your financial portfolio

It’s important that your financial portfolio is tailored to your long term goals. Special considerations apply where retirement abroad is on the cards – after all, you no doubt want to make the most of your retirement in France and intend to enjoy a certain standard of living.

So will income from your pension and other investments be enough to achieve this? Some restructuring and re-organisation might be in order, such as possibly transferring your private or workplace pension to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), which can help to shield your income from currency fluctuations – something that’s especially relevant in light of the Brexit vote.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, it’s worth seeking independent financial advice at an early stage from a specialist in both UK and French finance and tax planning.

Consider updating your will

French and UK inheritance law differs in several important ways; not least, in respect to the rights afforded to children in French law – which can override what it says in the benefactor’s will. Under recently introduced European inheritance rules, expats can now opt to apply the law of either their country of birth or their country of residency to their will. Failure to nominate a jurisdiction will mean that French inheritance rules will apply automatically. So, as with financial planning, it’s worth reviewing your current will and seeking legal advice from a specialist with knowledge of both jurisdictions.

Learning the language: how to get a head start

Even if you are planning on moving to an area where there is a thriving expat community, knowledge of the French language will stand you in good stead in all sorts of situations - from shopping through to joining in with local recreational activities and social events.

Most expats find that the more they are exposed to the language, the quicker they pick it up – so learning French becomes an ongoing process. However, before you head off, enrolling in a language class can give you a useful head start. Check out further and higher education colleges in your local area to see what’s available.

Building and maintaining your support network

For the area you are considering moving to, look for residents’ associations and other community initiatives aimed at expats. Depending on where you are moving (Dordogne or Provence, for instance), you should be able to find resources geared specifically to retirees. For newcomers, these can be great both for helping you to integrate and adapt, as well as putting you in contact with other retirees.

Healthcare: achieving peace of mind

A world-renowned healthcare system helps to explain the popularity of France as a retirement destination. Yet for those expats who have only ever known the NHS, France’s health landscape can seem daunting. This is especially the case when it comes to having to pay upfront for treatment – as well as making sense of the ‘personal contribution’ element.

This is why International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) can be so valuable for retirees. If you’re 60 or over, you can now benefit from discounted rates, as well as a new 60+ Care benefit, which provides outpatient cover for five common pre-existing conditions.

There is no age restriction to their policies, and they will help you create a health insurance plan that’s perfectly tailored for the needs of you and your family, with the reassurance of comprehensive core cover, and the flexibility of additional modules.

Visit Cigna Global to ask for a quote or to find out more about how you can take advantage of their senior product benefits when retiring to France.

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