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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
That's according to the recent HSBC survey of expats in 26 countries around the world. Expats in France are bottom of the league table :
Country Report: France

Overall ranking: 26th out of 26
Increased savings: 26th out of 26
Luxuries: 25th out of 26
Income: 25th out of 26
Disposable Income: 22nd out of 26

Poor financial location and home to more retirees

According to the survey, France was the worst-rated location for an expats’ finances. Over half of the respondents in France revealed that their income was less than US$100,000. One-third of respondents (31%) also revealed that they had less disposable income when compared with their home country, with over three-quarters (77%) answering that they had less than US$2,000 disposable income per month.

France was also revealed to have fewer expats saving, with only just over a third (39%) saying that they invested more than their country of origin, the lowest recorded figure in the survey.

France remains a popular retirement destination; more than a quarter (28%) of expats in France are retirees, compared with the global average of 7%. Over 55s make up 42% of the expats in this country.

The economic crisis has resulted in over half (55%) of expats in France cutting back on day-to-day costs, in addition to luxuries. Over three-quarters of expats based in France (86%), however, said that they had not considered returning home as a result of the economic crisis.

“There are no jobs here if you work on a freelance basis. The exchange rate fall between Sterling and the Euro has been catastrophic for us, reducing an already modest income to an unacceptable level.” - Expat in France
 

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Interesting survey results. Thanks for that.

Then again, you figure that HSBC is working mostly with "well to do" expats (their bread and butter, after all :bounce: ) and there is the French attitude toward money to factor in. Income and inheritance taxes have already driven the wealthy out of France, and there is a certain level of resistance here to the notion that Everyone ought to be wheeling and dealing on the stock market, especially since the latest bubbles have burst.

Coming from the high finance world of the US, I have to say that the adjustment is a little tricky to make, but once made, I far prefer the laid back approach to finance and investment that you find here.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was a bit sceptical too, you get a different type of expat from country to country, different nationalities favour or are geographically more likely to end up in certain places, different destinations attract expats for different reasons.

So it's not an easy comparison to make. For instance, one may have more disposable income away from France, but does one have the same extensive state social safety net? In some countries such as Thailand the latter is non-existent for expats. I may be better off superficially there in terms of how far my money goes, but I have to pay for all hospital treatment or obtain an expensive private insurance policy. I have to bribe the teacher so that my child can have English lessons. Products I buy in the market are unregulated, and may be copies and/or unsafe. Unscrupulous pharmacies have been known to distribute fake drugs in lieu of the real thing. I have to drive my car on poorly maintained and dangerous roads. Pollution in all the urban centres is already terrible, and on the increase. So the 'cost' in terms of health, safety etc is something that is not factored into studies of this kind. Some places are not the paradises they are made out to be, simply by calculating comparative costs of living...
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<<< Over three-quarters of expats based in France (86%), however, said that they had not considered returning home as a result of the economic crisis. >>>

Im surprised it isn't higher - if anyone came here without doing their 'what-if' sums first they deserve what they get.

And, as I've said many times, given the <insert descriptive words of choice here> that the uk has become, in all senses, does anyone REALLY think they'd be better off packing up and going back?
 

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It's one of the reasons I shudder when we get those questions about "how much do I need to live in XXX" or "what's the cost of living in YY." We're currently living on what would be considered a laughable income in the US or UK - however, I'm married to a French national who has spent his life in France, and so is entitled to all the various social safety net benefits.

There is also a genuine (though probably not quantifiable) benefit to knowing where to go for what sort of service or aid when you need it, or even where to go to ask a question. There are lots of services available through the local mairie, but as I've discussed with my other expat friends, many Brits or Americans don't ever think to go to the mairie for certain types of issues or problems. (In fact most "anglo-saxons" will do their best to avoid having anything to do with the mairie - especially if they have had immigration problems, like I did.)

Then there are the choices expats make. We get people through here who aren't eligible for the national health care plan. For Americans, in particular, private insurance is horribly expensive, in part because so many American expats want to have the right to return to the US for treatment (especially retired expats, eligible for US Medicare). This is a big added cost that those of us with EU nationality don't have, and often don't think about.

Just goes to show that there is lots more to the decision to expatriate than just the cost of living.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I know it is just one more anecdote, but I have less disposable income in France than i did in the US :)

Unless you are a high level executive, I think you will have more in the US--lower taxes, higher salaries, and pretty much everything is more expensive in France. And most people able to emigrate from the US to France would have the kind of job that provides decent health care and other benefits in the US.

Of course, I do not have kids. I think the benefits in France, particularly education, would make a big difference to spending power over the long term when raising children.

But I work less here :)
 
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