In this next thrilling episode of our survey ‘are you suited to a life in France‘ I’ll share my thoughts about how much money you need, always a thorny issue but one that is hard to ignore. (You can see the original survey and other responses in the ‘Expat Requirements’ category).
If you answered that you are rich as Croesus and have money falling out of your pockets then you can ignore the following.
If you said that you have no money but can always get by…well, perhaps, and perhaps not. Yes you can probably work on cash in hand jobs and earn some money but this is not a recommended way to support a family, since you might be thrown out of France at any time, you will not be part of the French health system, and you’ll all die of starvation when the work dries up in a wet February.
A pretty good starting point is to assume that life in rural France costs the same as life in the UK, then make a deduction for any loans and mortgages you will no longer have. Really most other things cost a pretty similar amount – car and house insurance, food, clothes, property taxes and so on are all still expensive and just as necessary.
So you need to have either the cash to support yourself, or the funds to buy/establish a business that will earn you a living (eg gites), or the experience and skills to start your own business (eg builder, gardener).
Some expats find work in estate agents and similar businesses where they need someone English speaking. Don’t rely on finding this work after you arrive, opportunities are few and far between.
One other opportunity is franchises – usually internet or estate agent related. Again, be very cautious before handing any money over and always seek the advice of an expert.
(For other ideas, see also how to make money in France that I wrote a couple of weeks ago.)
I can’t go into all the financial possibilities for all the business plans above, because they depend so much on individual circumstances, but you need to be sure your business plan is valid. Show it to a friendly bank manager or accountant if you are not familiar with finances and listen to their advice.
Incidentally I am a qualified accountant (most definitely not practicing so no job offers thanks) so this time I really didn’t need to take my own advice.
Unfortunately lack of money is one of the most common reasons why expats end up leaving France. That 300,000 euros that looks so much in the bank now will look a lot less after two years of renovation work and giving in to your desire to have an Olympic size swimming pool.
But solve the thorny problem of money and everything else should come together nicely.