Top 10 Tips for Australians Moving to France

Top 10 Tips for Australians moving to France – Moving to France after retiring has been a popular goal for Australians approaching retirement.  We are seeing more Australians seeking advice around the specifics of embarking on such an adventure and looking to move to France in their late 50’s or 60’s.

They are seeking anything from late career opportunities, entrepreneurial opportunity, or retirement.

In this article we list our top 10 financial tips for Australian expats living or moving to France.

  1. Have the Correct Visa – The French Visa system is a little complicated and can depend upon your language skills and how well you integrate into local communities. There is no Golden Visa as such in France or a specific retirement visa.

If you have a passport from another European Country, you are in luck as you most likely have a right to reside. Of course, post Brexit your UK passport is kind of useless, but if you have an Irish background, you should explore that opportunity fully.


  1. Budget Before You Move – if you’re moving to France to retire there can be stark differences in the cost of living compared to home especially if you are moving to Paris. Obviously, France is a diverse Country, and some rural areas offer terrific value in terms of property prices and access to local produce. So do your homework and you may find your cost-of-living decline compared to home.


  1. Setup Multiple Accounts– the bucket strategy is a very well-known way to manage your expenses whilst saving money and this is even more so for Australian expats in the Setup an account for your expenses, an account for your savings, an account for travel. In fact, you can setup as many accounts as you like.


  1. Make Sure You Save– if you are going to work in France your friends and colleagues back in Australia have 10% of their salary going into their superannuation account so unless your employer is making a similar payment into a company savings plan you need to make sure that you are saving at least this amount every year.  If you are drawing an Australian Account Based Pension you will need some professional advice around tax and drawdown strategies in France.


  1. Get the Right Place to Live– Budget, location, proximity to work, schools, and transport links are all key factors when thinking about the best place to live. It can be difficult to get this right especially somewhere like Paris where the wrong location will add a world of pain as there are some tough neighborhoods in the Capital. Some solid real estate research is recommended.


  1. Monitor your utility bills– with the European weather you must carefully watch your electricity and gas bills. Whilst it’s a nice luxury to have all the heating on in the house in winter try and turn off the heating in rooms that you aren’t using. You will find a remarkable difference in your monthly bill.


  1. Make Sure your Healthcare is Covered– The French Health Service is a high quality service which is great if you have the right to reside but if you don’t you will need separate health insurance.


  1. Don’t Keep All Your Cash in the One Place–we frequently advise clients to maintain an investment and/or banking footprint in Australia. You want to make sure that you always have access to cash.


  1. Manage Your Australian Assets Appropriately– when you move overseas and qualify as a non-resident for tax purposes how you manage your financial assets in Australia as a expat in France is completely different to how you would manage them as a Australian tax resident. Make sure you are aware of how the tax status on Australian assets changes with your non-residency status and what you may have to do differently. Estate planning advice is also critical.


  1. Beware of the local financial adviser– Some European investment products are not appropriate for expats, so if you are working with a financial advisor in Europe make sure they understand the big picture around how long you intend to stay and push them to explain how any recommendations are consistent with your long-term financial goals.


At Atlas we pride ourselves on providing practical actionable advice for Australian expats globally. Our network of specialist tax, mortgage, insurance, estate planning and jurisdictional investment advice ensures you receive the right advice the first time.


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