Recently relocated to France? It’s sure to be an exciting but challenging time, with plenty of practical tasks to sort out. These can include getting used to your new place of work or study, sorting out the utility bills where you live, and deciding on the most cost-effective and convenient way to send money back to your family and friends at home.
On the subject of money, this is the perfect time to ensure your financial future in France is a bright one. To help you along, we’ve compiled this handy list of tips that can help you lay the foundations for a comfortable new life in France.
Tip 1: Set Up a Local Bank Account
If you really want to feel like you’ve properly settled into a new country, opening a local bank account is a great first step. You’ll need to produce some documents to do this, and banks in France may ask to see any of the following:
- Official photo ID (such as a passport)
- Proof of your address in France (such as a recent utility bill)
- Proof of employee or student status (such a student ID)
- Proof of your earnings (such as a work contract)
- Your residence permit
Of course, deciding which bank is right for you is a major consideration. There are a lot of options in France, with big names including BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Banque Populaire. It’s important to do a bit of research so you know exactly what services they provide, and what fees they may charge. Fortunately, a lot of this info should be available on their websites, though you can always ask in a branch to be sure.
Tip 2: Understand How Tax Works
Few people are thrilled at the prospect of learning about tax, but it’s vital to be aware of how things work in a new country. There are two main kinds of tax to consider:
- Income tax
- Social security contributions
France has a “pay as you earn” tax system, which means your tax and social security payments are automatically deducted from your wages or salary by your employer.
How much you’re expected to pay in income tax and social security will depend on your income. A certain amount of what you earn will be tax-free. After that, you’ll pay a percentage depending on which income bracket you fall into. The tax-free allowance and various tax brackets and percentage rates are subject to change, so check an official source to see what the current amounts are. That way you’ll be clear on how much income tax is payable, and won’t be caught by surprise later.
Tip 3: Plan Your Budget
Moving to a new country isn’t cheap, but you also need to bear in mind what your new, ongoing living costs are likely to be. France boasts a high quality of life, which is one of the reasons it attracts people from across the world, but – depending on where you’ve moved from – daily life may be a lot pricier than what you’re used to.
This is why it’s wise to take a moment to devise a monthly budget. This will help you manage your spending and ensure you won’t be left out of pocket. This budget plan should include:
- Your monthly rent
- Your energy bills
- Your home broadband and mobile phone bills
- The French TV licence (if you own a television)
- Your grocery bills
- Your transport costs (for example, petrol or Metro tickets)
- Your estimated outgoings for entertainment and socialising
Tip 4: Stay Aware of the Exchange Rate
If, like many people who move abroad, you’re aiming to send money back to your home country to support loved ones, then it’s important to be aware of the relevant exchange rate. The relationship between the euro and your home country’s currency is liable to change all the time, due to economic and political developments. This means that sending, say, €100 will equate to different amounts back home, depending on exactly when you make the transfer. You can easily look up the current exchange rate online, so you’ll know if it’s a beneficial time to make your remittance.
Tip 5: Find a Cost Effective Way to Send Money Home
It could be the case that you simply want to send financial gifts back to loved ones for special occasions, or that you’re intending to provide essential, ongoing support to people who depend on you for their living and educational expenses. Either way, you won’t want to pay high fees or be subjected to unfair exchange rates when you make international money transfers.
A good option is Remitly. The deep savings without brick and mortar operations and transfer agents is passed on to customers in the way of lower fees and more fair exchange rates, helping their money stretch further for their loved ones who may desperately need it. A clear fee structure, great exchange rates and multi-level security combine to make it a secure and cost-effective way to look after your loved ones from France. You can try it for yourself by downloading the handy app now.