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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 01:20 PM
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What's your excuse for not having a proper job and contributing to France - is it your age, your physical or mental condition, or the economy?
You will no doubt say your wife's paying in on your behalf but the charter makes it a personal responsibility.

Who says I don't have a proper job ?

I have never told anyone what I do in life. I could be 007 for all you know.

PS...is running a gîte a proper job ? What about a mobile fish and ship van in Eymet ? Is that proper ?

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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 01:27 PM
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Curious how all you folks "on the ground" in France today feel about the accuracy of this article in the NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/w...gtype=Homepage

Basically it says that the French pension scheme has 42 different pension plans which all have different rules and that most everyone agrees it is confusing, unfair, and needs revision. But people do not trust Macron to "do it right" and make it fairer, especially since there have been few details released and those are confusing and have been changing.

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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 01:31 PM
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Curious how all you folks "on the ground" in France today feel about the accuracy of this article in the NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/w...gtype=Homepage

Basically it says that the French pension scheme has 42 different pension plans which all have different rules and that most everyone agrees it is confusing, unfair, and needs revision. But people do not trust Macron to "do it right" and make it fairer, especially since there have been few details released and those are confusing and have been changing.
See my earlier comments. Not to mention that the Marisol Touraine legislation has in fact increased retirement age for everyone.

How many schemes of one kind or another exist in the US? I can say that there are a great many in Australia and only the industry ones are not rip-offs.

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  #44 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 02:14 PM
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See my earlier comments. Not to mention that the Marisol Touraine legislation has in fact increased retirement age for everyone.

How many schemes of one kind or another exist in the US? I can say that there are a great many in Australia and only the industry ones are not rip-offs.
Many, many different pension schemes in the US. Each employer can basically set up whatever they want for pensions, or not offer any. There is some regulation of course but I'm sure much less than in France and many other countries!

Social Security seems to work well and of course applies to everyone who has worked much at all during their life or has been married to someone who has worked much at all. But it is designed to cover only about 40% of one's working salary on average--higher percentage for low-wage folks and a lower percentage for higher-wage folks.

The 401-K and IRA retirement accounts that are pretty well regulated by the government also work reasonably well, though they do require that a worker contribute to them and also figure out the best way to invest their contributions, and the company they work for can decide what investment options the 401-K has available to employees.

Most companies that still offer a private pension have "defined contribution" rather than "defined benefit" plans...meaning that instead of guaranteeing a worker will receive $X per month when they retire, it just guarantees that the company will contribute $X per year to the employee's pension and what that adds up to when the employee retires is what the employee can get. I have a "defined benefit" pension from a place I worked in the late 80s/early 90s that will give me $200 a month starting when I am 65--not much but at least it is something! These days generally only government workers and those who have worked for at least 20-25 years at the same company (and thus are grandfathered in) have defined-benefit pensions.

So both the 401K/IRA and company pensions are highly dependent on the investment choices made and the state of the markets. Which is a potential problem. Lots of people who planned to retire around 2010 were unable to because of the financial crash which left them with very low balances in their accounts. I worry about that happening to me since I'd like to retire in a couple of years and we are about due for another recession of some sort.

As with a lot of things, the US has a "take care of yourself" approach to retirement income. And as Bev mentioned there are lots people who just aren't capable of making the financial decisions to take care of themselves this way. I am curious about how the French approach it--they have much less of a "take care of yourself" attitude to things in general it seems. Which might work better...or might not.

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  #45 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 02:28 PM
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I have never told anyone what I do in life. I could be 007 for all you know.
You tell us a lot about what you do in life. Mostly about your sprog duties. It might be lies of course.
I would not be at all surprised if you turned out to be 007. A lot of 7-year-olds construct their arguments in the exactly same way you do - "I am right so you must be wrong"
but you know I love you really Smeggers
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 02:33 PM
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Curious how all you folks "on the ground" in France today feel about the accuracy of this article in the NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/w...gtype=Homepage

Basically it says that the French pension scheme has 42 different pension plans which all have different rules and that most everyone agrees it is confusing, unfair, and needs revision. But people do not trust Macron to "do it right" and make it fairer, especially since there have been few details released and those are confusing and have been changing.
I saw that article this morning in the Times. Basically they have it right. There are 42 different pension plans that are part of the "mandatory" retirement coverage. What they don't indicate is that, on retirement, many French people wind up getting payments from at least two, but often three, four or more different plans - partial pensions, if you will, that add up to their "pension" depending on what different jobs they have held or industries they have worked in. My husband gets four separate payments, plus another from a private fund he paid into while we had our business running. So it can be rather difficult for an individual to figure what their ultimate monthly pension amount will be if it is coming from multiple plans like that. (Right now, though, I think the last job you held from which you retired determines when you can retire. But I'm not sure about that.)

And the article is right in that no concrete plan for reform of the pension systems has yet been proposed - and that the current round of protests are mainly due to folks "not trusting" Macron or the "current government" (however you want to define that) to come up with a scheme that will be "fair" to all concerned. (Again, how do you define "fair" in this context? Particularly when you're dealing with various groups in the public sector who have been granted historical privileges with respect to their pensions.)

And to respond to EH's question:
Quote:
How many schemes of one kind or another exist in the US?
In terms of mandatory government schemes, there is only US Social Security, which is a "safety net," not intended to be a full blown pension benefit.

Most "retirement plans" currently on offer by employers are retirement savings schemes, where the employee can decide how much to contribute - or not to enroll at all - usually with an employer match of contributions, but only up to a set amount (something like 6% of salary). It's up to the employee to determine how the funds should be invested, and there is no guarantee of either a minimum return nor of the safety of the principle paid in from the employee's paycheck. A big downturn in the market or a market crash just before the employee was planning on retiring can mean they have no pension other than the public plan.

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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 02:36 PM
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I am curious about how the French approach it--they have much less of a "take care of yourself" attitude to things in general it seems. Which might work better...or might not.
Maybe referring back to the good old Citizens' Charter that I quoted tongue-in-cheek at Smeggie above might be relevant here too, because actually, I think it is quite fundamental to how France works.
Chacun a le devoir de contribuer, selon ses capacités financières, aux dépenses de la Nation par le paiement d’impôts et de cotisations sociales.

La Nation garantit à tous la protection de la santé, la sécurité matérielle et le droit à des congés. Toute personne qui, en raison de son âge, de son état physique ou mental, de la situation économique, se trouve dans l’incapacité de travailler a le droit d’obtenir de la collectivité des moyens convenables d’existence.

To simplify greatly, the general idea is that everybody supports the state so that the state can support everybody. Or in other words, people take care of each other via the state. Or that's the theory.

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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 03:17 PM
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It seems to me that in many ways the US system is actually better than the Australian one (well, in respect of pensions, not other stuff, but there has been a Royal Commission into the system the findings of which were even worse than anyone had expected). But neither really has anything to do with the French system nor the French culture. And of course the value of Australian superannuation savings is subject to markets and financial crises. I 'lost' a huge proportion of my account as a result of the global financial crisis (the value of any investment is only what you can get for it when you choose to cash it in, whether in full or in part or as a pension, and as a pension it remains subject to all of those factors).

BTW, 'privileges' is a highly loaded subjective term.

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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 03:38 PM
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It seems to me that in many ways the US system is actually better than the Australian one (well, in respect of pensions, not other stuff, but there has been a Royal Commission into the system the findings of which were even worse than anyone had expected).
That's really difficult to say, given how integrated any country's "pension system" must be with the employment system. There are virtually no national labor policies or laws in the US (including any mandatory benefits for workers) and as a result, much depends on the generosity (or not) of individual employers.

And in France, at least until fairly recent changes to the system, the retirement system was fairly integrally linked to the health care system. I know when I first started looking into the French pension system for myself, my main concern (because I didn't think I'd be eligible for a pension) was the notion that eligibility for a pension meant you were automatically covered for health insurance here. Having a system of "benefits" (the US way of thinking of these things) that is integrated is a HUGE difference between the French system and the US system and does change your reaction to a number of things.

Quote:
BTW, 'privileges' is a highly loaded subjective term.
I'm only using the term I see used quite frequently here in the press/media. Though I recognize that the French concept of "privilèges" may well vary quite a bit from the English term "privileges."

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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 5th December 2019, 04:29 PM
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That's really difficult to say, given how integrated any country's "pension system" must be with the employment system. There are virtually no national labor policies or laws in the US (including any mandatory benefits for workers) and as a result, much depends on the generosity (or not) of individual employers.

And in France, at least until fairly recent changes to the system, the retirement system was fairly integrally linked to the health care system. I know when I first started looking into the French pension system for myself, my main concern (because I didn't think I'd be eligible for a pension) was the notion that eligibility for a pension meant you were automatically covered for health insurance here. Having a system of "benefits" (the US way of thinking of these things) that is integrated is a HUGE difference between the French system and the US system and does change your reaction to a number of things.
Note that I did qualify my comment.

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