There are an estimated 190,000 Britanniques living in France, of whom a third are at or around retirement age. So what makes France a go-to retirement destination? Courtesy of international health insurance specialists, Cigna Global, here are five very good reasons…
1. The culture
France’s cultural reputation speaks for itself. For most of us, the decision to retire to France comes about gradually – often after years of visiting the country and getting to know what it’s all about. The vast variety in regional cuisine, the wines, cafe culture, beautiful landscapes and architectural gems: we all have our favourite aspects of French culture. You can find out more about the French culture in this country guide.
2. It can appeal to a range of expat lifestyle preferences
Many retirees relish the idea of being part of a hub of expats, where there’s a community of likeminded people to socialise with and to call on for practical support. For others, the opposite is true; ‘getting away from it all’ means a clean break from all things British.
When deciding how far you want to get away from everything associated with home, retirement in France caters for a range of preferences. Take Aquitaine for instance; this gloriously sunny corner of the south west includes what has been dubbed ‘Dordogneshire’. It’s certainly the case that many Brits have chosen to make their home in the Dordogne, but that’s not to say that whole swathes of it have been turned into ‘Little Britain’. In short; France does have its UK expat communities, but their presence isn’t overwhelming and membership certainly isn’t compulsory. The choice is yours.
3. It’s abroad – yet within easy reach
Of course, France isn’t the only European destination that can offer a tranquil, retirement-friendly environment. But what’s true for holidaymakers is also the case for retirees: the fact that it’s our closest neighbour makes it a natural choice.
This proximity can stand you in good stead on a practical level. Let’s say you plan on having the family over as much as possible: logistically speaking, a long weekend in Brittany (or even Provence) is far more of a possibility than, say, the southern Med or further afield. You are only ever just a ferry ride or a short flight away from your nearest and dearest.
4. Arranging your finances needn’t be an administrative nightmare
The fall of the pound following the Brexit vote reminds us how important it is to get your finances on a secure footing well before your move. Whatever your plans, specialist independent financial planning advice is always essential. But when it comes to structuring your portfolio, France has a lot in its favour, especially when it comes to pension payments.
Reciprocal arrangements currently in place between France and the UK mean that a UK state pension can be claimed and paid directly into a French account (in euros). For UK private and workplace pensions, there’s also the option of transferral into a France-based Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS); something that can help to protect your income from the unpredictability of the currency market.
5. Access high-quality healthcare with discounted rates for seniors
Will you be in safe hands after your retirement to France? Rest assured, France regularly features at or close to the top of the list of the world’s best healthcare systems.
But there is an important aspect of France’s excellent healthcare system that all expats (even those of state pension age) need to be aware of: the personal contribution element. Most but by no means all basic health costs are picked up by the state, and making sense of this can be hard going for those of us who are used to the NHS.
International private medical insurance (IPMI) provider, Cigna Global, can help take the hassle and worry out of this. And now, 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