Friends, knowing that we are due to retire in 2025 (there's still four whole years, people) often ask us if we have decided yet where we should live. Should we return to the UK or stay in France? Should we stay in Bordeaux or head out into the suburbs or even down to the Mediterranean?
We are hoping that God will make things clear before 2025, but meanwhile here's some factors that will shape our decision :
1) we're happy in this flat, but we don't own it and the rent is a lot. After retirement we might not be in a position to afford it BUT we could take in a student after changing my study back into a bedroom.
2) house prices in many parts of the UK are expensive. We do have the equity from our house saved up in French government schemes but it may not stretch to something in the heart of a UK city. We should, however, be able to afford something in a small town in North Wales, for example.
3) taxation is low for the low-paid in France. Essentially if we stay here we'll probably pay no income tax or poll tax. If we buy a place we'll pay property owners' tax, but that is not a vast amount. However you don't get free public transport.
4) taxation is high in the UK for the low-paid and rising. What will happen in the next few years is anyone's guess.
5) the health service is excellent in France, pretty good in England and OK in Wales. Some friends choose to live in England simply because the health service is better there.
6) we will need to watch closely what happens in the UK over the next few years.