Retirement, checking off the tasks one by one

The retirement age in France is 62, so in theory I'm in extra time. You have to balance this against the fact that I arrived in France fewer than 20 years ago, and that we are in one of the less advantageous pension schemes - the official scheme for people who work in religion is, understandably, tailored mostly for priests, monks, nuns, and others who have a certain course of life and so on. No dependants. In theory.

Anyway, I looked at our retirement scheme information and it said that retirement takes about six months to process, and you have to ask to retire online. This all looked very simple. 5 easy steps, said the website. I started them.

They always ask you if you have things you've never heard of and can't understand. "Are you in receipt of anti-ancillary-refundable-post-traumatic scholarships, or whatever". I suppose if I don't know what it is I can safely say no. Anyway at present we're not receiving anything we don't know about, so ...

And so it went, until step 5. Finalising your demand. Load up your "Livret de famille"

The Livret de Famille is a wonderful document that French citizens have. It details your life events, like marriages, births and deaths. It can be used to indicate your marital state and what dependents you have or have had. French citizens have one. We do not. 

No alternative was given. I phoned the helpline.

What regime are you with? The Cavimac? Oh, you can't use the website, you have to ask them.

I phoned the Cavimac. OK Someone will phone you back within 48 hours.

I phoned the Cavimac once a week, the lady got to know my voice and marked my call as urgent, but no-one ever called back within any period of time whatsoever.

So I returned to the 5 easy steps website. What if I just PRETEND to load up my livret de famille. Hey, hang on a minute. Where you drag and drop your livret de famille it said, "if you don't have one give us whatever you've got". 

I gave them the works. Birth and marriage certificates. The works.

A few ping-pongs later, on Saturday I got a message saying that my request to retire had been dealt with by the central office. Now we're waiting for the two satellite offices to deal with it.

Meanwhile friends issued a stern warning. Don't retire without getting advice!

I booked a phone appointment with Pensionwise. At the end of the call the guy said, I don't think you're heading for the food bank any time soon. You'll be OK. Follow the instructions in our report that we sent you.

Nice to know.


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