A similar survey, titled the Expat Insider Survey 2016 and carried out by the expat network InterNations, showed that 78 per cent of expats were pleased with their choice to settle into the French lifestyle, listing healthcare options as one of the main benefits.
The results of both surveys suggest that many go to the land of fine wine, cheese, and romance with the intention of surrounding themselves with the culture and to reduce their stress levels. In France, the work hours are lower (working roughly five hours less a week than the global average), which means there is more time for leisure. The HSBC report shows that almost three quarters of people enjoy the culture and find the work/life balance more agreeable than in their home country.
This seemingly stress-free lifestyle has had a knock-on effect on the expats’ health. Over half of those surveyed said that their physical health is better, and the healthcare infrastructure – considered one of the best in the world – was thought to be affordable by most expats. This is not much of a surprise; France’s reputable healthcare system has always been a source of pride in the nation and ranked highly by the World Health Organisation. In fact, when it came to judging the quality of medical care in the InterNations report, , France came in second, beaten only by Taiwan. In HSBC’s survey, it came third.
Quality of life and good health applies to the expats’ children too as another main advantage highlighted by the reports is that the country is a good place for raising a family. Most expats were happy with how the country fairs in terms of the cost of childcare and education, with many parents (61 per cent – nearly twice the global average) being happy to send their children to a local state school.
It’s not all good news, however. There is the worry over the French economy, which many expatriates don’t seem to have too much faith in. Plus, as a result of the high cost of living and taxation levels, a lot of expats complained that they were worse off when first starting out in the country. Very few expats in the HSBC report (17 per cent) felt that the country was a good place for career progression – this is perhaps the reason why it’s relatively popular with retirees rather than younger generations. Overall, economics was by far the weakest area, with France ranking among the worst for savings, wage growth, and disposable income.
There’s a lot to consider when relocating to another country, not least of which is how you’re going to manage your finances. With few expats confident about the state of the French economy and undergoing a loss of income when they first start their new life, it is all the more important that you receive expert advice when managing your finances. For instance, it may be beneficial for you to consider setting up a France QROPS so that you can get the best possible pension plan when moving abroad. To feel confident that you’re making the most of your finances, contact the BlacktowerFM team.