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International SIPPs

By Andrea Glover - Topics: France, International SIPPs
This article is published on: 22nd November 2022

22.11.22

What are they and how do they benefit a non-UK resident living in France?

Myself and my colleagues have seen a significant increase in enquires this year from clients who have private pension schemes in the UK. Many are having difficulties accessing pension benefits for the first time due to changes post BREXIT or their UK adviser has informed them that they can no longer work with them, because of the post BREXIT rules on ‘passporting rights’.

One of the solutions that has helped many of these clients is a scheme called an International Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). So, I am going to explain the background to this product and why it might be the appropriate home for your pension funds.

The SIPP was first introduced in the UK budget in 1989 and following further regulation became a registered pension plan in April 2006. SIPPs were introduced to encourage individuals to save for their retirement.

SIPPs are often set up by the provider using a master trust and the provider will normally be the scheme administrator and trustee. The individual then become a member of the scheme and investments are normally in the name of the provider or the trustee but are earmarked for the individual member.

The main advantage of a SIPP compared to a traditional personal pension is the level of investment flexibility the member has, as the range of available investments is much wider than a standard personal pension.

International SIPPs

An International SIPP is a UK SIPP that has been specifically designed for non-UK residents. The structure is similar to that of a SIPP and both are regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority.

An International SIPP provides the ability to invest in several currencies and some providers allow withdrawals in euros, paid directly to a French bank account.

As with a SIPP, the international version allows you to transfer your pension or consolidate several pension plans into one simplified scheme. More importantly, the International SIPP allows a locally based, regulated financial adviser to implement an investment strategy and assist you with overall retirement planning.

It is also important to note that a locally based adviser will have knowledge of the French tax treatment of any income from the pension and the various options available.

You can transfer from most private or company pensions to an International SIPP and you can also consider transferring from a defined benefit or final salary scheme, if you’re not already taking benefits. However, you can’t transfer from an annuity or many of the public sector and government schemes.

If you have a very large pension pot, a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) may be a more suitable home for your pension funds, as it can help protect against future tax liabilities for those nearing the UK Lifetime Allowance (currently £1,073,100).

As with all such matters, it is important to seek advice from a regulated adviser to ensure that the appropriate recommendation is given for your individual circumstances.

Children and taxes in France

By Katriona Murray-Platon - Topics: France, Tax in France
This article is published on: 4th November 2022

04.11.22

I am the proud mother of two wonderful boys. I love my children very much, but in addition to the joy they bring to my life, they also bring tax advantages. Admittedly the tax benefit is probably less than the overall expense of having children, but one must count one’s blessings!

Let’s take a couple earning €60,000 per annum.

The current tax brackets for 2022 are as follows:

Income Tax rate
Up to €10,225 0%
From €10,226 to €26,070 11%
From €26,071 to €74,545 30%
From €74,56 to €160,336 41%
Over €160,336 45%

*These tranches are likely to increase by 5.4% in 2023.

If they have one child? their tax is reduced by half a tax part. Whereas alone they were in the 30% tax bracket, with one child their income is divided by 2.5 to €24,000 per person, which puts them into the 11% tax bracket. Their tax bill would be €3,788 instead of €5,844. The child has saved them €2,056 of tax. If they had a second child, and on the same income, their tax would be €3,226. The second child has therefore saved them €562 euros.

In addition to lowering your taxes, if your child is under six and goes to a child minder or nursery, 50% of these costs, up to a maximum of €2,300 per child may be deducted, so a maximum tax credit of €1,150 per child. This is a tax credit, so in our example above, the couple would pay only €926 in taxes.

After six years old and until they go to high school, as delightful as they are during this time, there are no tax advantages. From high school onwards there is a small tax reduction of €62 per child in high school, €153 per child in sixth form college and €183 per child in higher eduction (provided it is non-remunerated studies).

Children and Taxes in France

However when they are in their 20s and pursuing further education, this is the time to look at whether you are better to keep them in your tax household or take them out of your tax household and deduct the money you give them to pay for their studies, accommodation and food etc. I remember, when I was a tax lawyer, suggesting to a lady who had four sons, that she should remove her youngest son from her household – she looked a bit shocked! I meant of course that she should take her son out of her tax household, not kick him out of her actual household. It is quite common for children in France to remain at home during their university studies. The money given to an older child is deducted from the household income before it is subject to tax.

For an adult child to be considered part of your tax household, they must be under 21 on 1st January of the tax year (so 1st January 2022 for the tax return done in 2023), or be under 25 years old on 1st January 2022 and in higher/further eduction as at 1st January 2022 or 31st December 2022. There are also various conditions for children living with an adult relative.

So if we look at the couple above and both their children are at university. In 2021 they could have deducted up to €6,042 per child from their income which would have reduced their tax to €3,021 for the two of them without the children instead of €3,226 had the children been included on their tax return. For 2022, according to the Draft Finances Bill, this deduction is increased to €6,368 per child. For the full reduction to apply, you must be able to prove that the child needs this money, that they are unable to work or, if they have a student job, that they earn less than the minimum wage. You can deduct up to this amount but you have to be able to prove the expenses if so requested. If the child still lives with you, you can deduct their accommodation and food bills, up to €3,592, without need to justify these expenses.

Once your child is removed from your tax household, this will mean that they have to do their own tax return and declare the financial help that you are giving them. However, if they are earning less than the first tax bracket (€10,225 in 2021, €10,777 in 2022) then they won’t have any tax to pay.

For any questions on Children and taxes in France or on your general financial planning in France, please do get in touch via the form below:

Le Tour de Finance arrives in western France

By Spectrum IFA - Topics: France, Le Tour de Finance
This article is published on: 4th October 2022

04.10.22

What is Le Tour de Finance?

Interested in finding out how to make the most of your money as an Expatriate?

Do you have questions about Assurance Vie, tax efficient investing, pensions (including QROPS), investment markets, estate planning etc?

Why not visit a local event, bring some friends and make it a great day out.

Le Tour de Finance is the financial forum for expats which will help you with a range of different financial products and services. Just as Le Tour de France takes a route throughout the regions of France, so too does Le Tour de Finance, but we also visit Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal. We want to reach expats where you live so that you can seek advice particular to your local area. Tax advice, pensions / QROPS, mortgages, healthcare, schools, succession planning, business advice and making the most of your assets are just some of the subjects that expats need to know more about.

Le Tour de Finance is the ideal opportunity to find answers to the most pressing questions facing people living as expatriates in Europe.

The forum will bring together key players who assist expats settling or already living in these countries. It will also be an ideal opportunity to socialise by enjoying a free Buffet lunch and meeting people in similar circumstances in your neighbourhood.

Chateau Sauge

19th October 2022
Chateau Sauge

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Fontevraud-abbey

20th October 2022
Royal Fontevraud Abbey

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

As an expat, do you make the most of your finances?
Join us, and our panel of guest speakers, for informed guidance on expatriate financial planning opportunities, commentary on investment markets and to meet like-minded people in your local area. The event starts at 10.00am with a welcome coffee, followed by brief presentations from international experts on a range of topics that could affect you now, or in the future. The morning ends with a complimentary buffet lunch and a chance to meet the experts and hopefully make some new friends.

Register for this free event or for further information, by sending an email with your full contact details to: seminars@ltdf.eu, register online on www.ltdf.eu or call 06 73 27 25 43.

Have you completed your tax returns in France?

By Katriona Murray-Platon - Topics: France, French Tax Changes, Tax in France
This article is published on: 3rd June 2022

03.06.22
The tax season is almost over! Those of you living in departments numbered 55 to 976 still have until 8th June at 11.59 pm to submit your tax return online or if you have engaged an accountancy firm to do your tax return they also have another week or so to submit any returns. I would not advise trying to contact an accountancy firm at the moment because they are very busy and they won’t be able to start working on your tax return until the deadline has passed. The best thing is to have a go at it yourself and then correct it later in the year. Your initial return, submitted by the deadline, will result in a tax statement. If you decide to amend the return, you will get an initial tax statement and then later an amended tax statement.
 
Once you have done your tax return you can expect to receive your tax statement as follows:
  • If you submitted it online and you have paid too much tax or exactly what is owed you will receive your statement between 25th July and 5th August.
  • If you submitted by post and you have paid too much tax you will get your statement between 29th July and 31st August;
  • If you submitted your tax return by post but you have paid exactly the right amount of tax you will get your statement between 2nd August and 31st August;
  • If you submitted online but there is still tax to pay you will get your statement between 29th July and 5th August,
  • If you submitted on paper and there is tax for you to pay you will get your statement between 5th August and 26th August.

If you have paid too much tax you should get the reimbursement around these periods. If you have tax to pay it should be taken from your bank account automatically. If not you have until 20th September to pay online. The money won’t be taken out of your account until 26th September. If you owe more than €300 tax, this amount will be taken in four payments between 26th September and 27th December 2022. If the amount due is less than or equal to €300 then this amount will be taken out in one payment on 26th September. Please remember that during September the 9th instalment of your monthly payment of income tax will be taken on 15th September, so you may have two tax payments in September (and in the following months if you owe more than €300).

french tax declaration

A situation was brought to my attention about Capital Gains Tax on the main residence when you leave France. There was a court case in 2017 which reached the French Constitutional Court regarding the exemption from capital gains tax for the main residence. Whereas a French resident may vacate his/her main residence and has 12 months to sell it for it still to benefit from the main residence exemption, according to this decision if you are no longer French tax resident at the time of sale you lose this exemption on the capital gains.

Furthermore under Article 150 U, paragraph 2, line 2, of the French Tax Code the capital gains from the sale of a property are exempt from tax “for the sale of a property situated in France where the seller is an individual, not French resident, a national of a Member State of the European Union or another State which is part of the EEA having agreed with France an administrative assistance agreement to fight against fraud and tax evasion and provided that the person was tax resident in France continuously for at least two years at any period before the sale. The exemption mentioned in the first line of this second line applies only to one property per tax payer and up to €150,000 of net taxable capital gain, to sales carried out:
a) no later than 31st December of the fifth year following the year in which the seller ceased to be tax resident in France,
b) with no time restrictions, when the property is freely available to the seller at least since 1st January of the year before the sale”.

It is this section of the French Tax Code which could, according to some Notaires, no longer apply to British citizens selling their French properties and returning to the UK since Britain is no longer part of the EU. I have spoken to two Notaires about this and neither seemed to be bothered about it. But Notaires can take different views on things. So if you (or someone you know) are planning to sell what is currently your main residence in France and move back to the UK make sure you clarify exactly what you have to do with your local Notaire and do not move back to the UK and establish UK tax residency before the sale is complete.

After a busy month of May with many people contacting me with tax questions, I am looking forward to a more normal month of June and getting out in the sunny weather to see clients. So if you would like to arrange an appointment or need to speak to me about any matters please do get in touch!

Premium Bonds in France

By Andrea Glover - Topics: Assurance Vie, France, Premium Bonds
This article is published on: 13th May 2022

13.05.22

I meet many clients who are originally from the UK and hold Premium Bonds. In this article I want to talk through the tax and practical consequences of holding them as a French tax resident, as well as looking at a more suitable alternative.

Premium Bonds are a popular way to save money in the UK. Rather than offering a guaranteed interest rate, you could win tax free prizes between £25 and £1M every month. According to the NS&I website, there have been over 400 winners receiving the million-pound prize since 1994 and the average prize fund rate is 1% per annum. So, for the vast majority, the average prize rate is not keeping up with normal inflation rates.

Since BREXIT, it is important that NS&I customers living in the EU hold a UK bank account. Not having a UK bank account could invalidate the terms of your NS&I customer agreement and you may have no alternative but to close your account. Even if your terms are not invalidated, without a UK account NS&I would need to send you a warrant (like a cheque) which could be challenging to deposit into a non-UK account.

In France, Premium Bond winnings are not tax free – they have to be declared in your yearly tax return and are subject to tax in the same way as UK bank interest. On death, France will apply the relevant inheritance taxes to your worldwide estate, which would include Premium Bonds held in the UK. There is a double tax treaty between France and the UK for inheritance tax, which means that credit is given in France for any tax paid in the UK. So, you do not pay tax twice, but you do pay whichever is the higher amount.

Given the above, you may conclude that Premium Bonds are no longer an appropriate investment as a French tax resident. So, what are the alternatives?

In my experience, an Assurance Vie (AV) is one of the most suitable options to consider as a home for the cash in value of your Premium Bond savings. An AV is an insurance-based investment product and has the following advantages:

  • The investments that you place within your AV are never touched by French income tax or capital gains tax whilst they stay inside the AV, unlike Premium Bond winnings
  • If you keep the AV going for at least eight years, you then qualify for a special income tax-free band, on any withdrawals
  • On death, you can leave each individual beneficiary up to €152,500 completely free of French inheritance tax, if you invest before the age of 70. This is of great advantage to blended families, as beneficiaries do not have to be directly related
  • If you invest after the age of 70, you can leave a combined total of €30,500 inheritance tax free to all beneficiaries
  • International AVs are available which allow you to invest in sterling. Therefore, your Premium Bond proceeds do not have to be exchanged into euros, unlike a French based AV

In conclusion, if you hold Premium Bonds, speak to a regulated Financial Adviser to seek advice as to whether they remain suitable for you as a French tax resident.

*First published in www.thelocalbuzzmag.com

Financial planning for women

By Victoria Lewis - Topics: Financial Planing for women, Financial Planning, France
This article is published on: 6th April 2022

06.04.22

Does it have to be different and what are the nuances in terms of goals, investment outlook and risk and why is it even assumed that it needs to be different?

Victoria Lewis from The Spectrum IFA Group was recently asked to speak about this subject by the ‘Network Provence

Network Provence is a platform for women to promote their business,  blog,  club, project and to socialise. Networking allows one to socialise, meet potential clients and often offers possibilities to collaborate with other like-minded women on a variety of projects.

Victoria spoke about financial planning for women and some of the difficulties they face. Whatever your gender, if you live in France (or are planning a move here) and are interested in obtaining a confidential review of your financial situation, please contact Victoria.lewis@spectrum-ifa.com + +33 (0) 6 62 50 70 21.’

Please watch the video below

Inheritance issues in France

By Katriona Murray-Platon - Topics: France, Inheritance Tax, Succession Planning
This article is published on: 11th October 2021

11.10.21

As many of you know, in 2015 the European Succession Regulation came into force. Sometimes known as ‘Brussels 1V’, this allowed you, if you deemed it suitable, to elect for the law of your nationality to apply to your Will in France. The principal benefit of this election would be to allow you to leave your property to your spouse for example, and then pass it on to your children after the second death. Another useful application would be when relationships have broken down and you have decided that one or more of your children should be excluded from benefitting from your estate. In effect, you claim the right to leave your assets to whomever you wish.
Now, in a quite frankly bizarre move, the French government has decided to move against European law. At the end of July this year a bill was passed making changes to article 913 of the Civil Code. Here is the relevant wording, with a translation ‘a la Google’.

Lorsque le défunt ou au moins l’un de ses enfants est, au moment de son décès, ressortissant d’un État membre de l’Union européenne ou y réside habituellement et que le droit étranger applicable à la succession ne permet aucun mécanisme réservé à la protection des enfants, chaque enfant ou ses héritiers ou successeurs amoureux peut bénéficier d’un prélèvement compensatoire sur les biens existants situés en France le jour de la sa mort, afin d’être rétablie dans les droits réservés qui leur sont accordés par Français loi, dans les limites de celui-ci.

Where the deceased or at least one of his children is, at the time of death, a national of a Member State of the European Union or is ordinarily resident there and where the foreign law applicable to the succession does not allow any reserved mechanism to protect children, each child or his heirs or successors may make a claim on existing property situated in France on the day of death, so as to be restored in the reserved rights granted to them by French law, within the limits thereof.

Inheritance Tax

There is little scope for doubt that this directly contravenes European law. It has already been challenged once but was passed unchanged. It is likely that there will be a stream of legal challenges that could take several years to conclude. This is France after all. One silver lining is that the new decree will only come into force on the 1st November this year, and will only relate to deaths that occur after that date. For those of us who were contemplating this move, or have already employed it, this will mean that there could be years of uncertainty, and many people are not going to be able to leave their assets on death as they would wish to.

One key aspect of this change is that it can only be applied to assets situated in France which, in some cases, may affect succession plans for the principal residence and possibly French rental properties if no other planning has been put in place. There are tried and tested legal mechanisms in France for establishing property ownership that can better protect the survivor such as the ‘en tontine’ clause (only at the point of purchase), the marriage contract of ‘communauté universelle avec attribution au dernier survivant’, the ‘pacte de famille’ and the ‘donation entre époux’ to name a few.  If you have any concerns about how this new change may impact your existing Wills and estate planning, I recommend that you speak to a Notaire to discuss your options.

UK pensions and tax treatment in France

By Andrea Glover - Topics: France, Tax in France, UK Pensions
This article is published on: 13th September 2021

13.09.21
Andrea Glover

I have had several queries over the last few months about the tax treatment of UK pensions in France, whether they are being received as a regular income or where clients have or are about to take a one-off lump sum to pay for a large purchase. Many of the queries were relating to the completion of French tax returns, but we are also seeing a large number of queries where advice is being sought on French tax treatment of pensions prior to a move to France.

So, in this article, I am going to go back to the basics and go through the different types of UK pension scheme and their tax treatment in France for French tax residents.

UK State Pension
As a French resident, the UK State Pension is taxable in France (not the UK) and where an S1 is held, no French social charges are payable. It is important to note that the UK State Pension can be paid directly into a French bank account, in euros, although the amount will obviously fluctuate due to exchange rates.

Government pensions
UK government pensions are dealt with under the UK/France double tax treaty and apply to those who have previously worked in the Armed Forces, Civil Service, Fire Service, Local Authority, NHS (with exceptions), Police and Teaching amongst others. A full list is available at www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/international-manual/intm343040 to help you identify if your pension is classified as ‘government’.

Under the double tax treaty, UK government pensions are taxed at source in the UK. The pension income still has to be declared in your French tax return, but a 100% tax credit is given so that the same tax is not paid twice. It is important to note, that such pension payments are taken into account to calculate your overall income and could have the effect of increasing the rate at which other sources of income are taxed.

Qualifying government pensions are exempt from social charges.

final salary pension review

Private pensions (occupational, stakeholder, SIPP)
Pension payments received from UK private pensions are taxable in France (not the UK) if you are French resident and again, where an S1 is held, the payments are exempt from social charges.

Annuities
Annuities are more complex and advice needs to be sought to establish the type of annuity held, as annuities can be interpreted as investment income in France rather than pension income.

Allowances
Amongst other allowances relating to pension income, there is a general 10% tax abatement on pension income (with the exception of qualifying UK government pensions) with a minimum of €394 and a ceiling of €3,858 (applicable to 2020 tax returns and subject to change). The allowance is per taxpayer, although the ceiling stated is per fiscal household.

The allowance only relates to tax and not social charges, where applicable.

Lump Sums
Lump sum pension payments are an area for discussion in another article. Other than qualifying UK government pension lump sums, such payments (including UK tax free lump sums) are taxable in France.

I would always strongly recommend that you speak to a France based qualified adviser, familiar with UK pensions, before any firm decision is made to take a lump sum payment.

Understanding inflation

By Occitanie - Topics: France, Inflation
This article is published on: 6th September 2021

06.09.21

Following the summer break, welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter “Spectrum in Occitanie, Finance in Focus” brought to you by your Occitanie team of advisers Philip Oxley, Sue Regan, Derek Winsland, together with Rob Hesketh now consulting from the UK.

Following our last newsletter on the subject of inheritance planning, we thought we would turn our attention to the significant column inches in the financial press currently devoted to the growing risks of inflation.

Understanding inflation

What is inflation?
Inflation is essentially the decrease in the purchasing power of your money as a consequence of a sustained increase in the price of goods and services. Therefore, in an environment of rising inflation, unless your income increases at a similar level you may not be able to maintain the same standard of living.

Inflation is typically measured using a wide variety of items that many people would typically purchase. For example, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is continually monitoring the price of about 600 goods from around the UK. These monitored price increases are weighted based on popularity and value. Also, the items measured are under constant review with hand sanitiser having been added since the onset of the pandemic.

What is happening to inflation now?
Inflation has been rising at a pace in recent months and this level of higher inflation is predicted to remain in the short term, and possibly the medium term. In France, the UK and the US, inflation increases since the beginning of the year can be seen below:

  January 2021 July 2021
France 0.6% 1.2%
UK 0.7% 2%
USA 1.4% 5.4%

What causes inflation?
There are several economic theories behind the causes of inflation, the primary ones being the following:

i) Demand Pull: This occurs where demand for goods and services outpaces supply and consumers are prepared to pay more for some items. This scenario is often experienced in circumstances where an expansionary economic policy is present – often evident where there are low interest rates, which encourages borrowing, or recent tax cuts resulting in additional funds in the pockets of consumers.

ii) Cost Push: Often caused by a shortage of supply and/or increases in the costs of production, such as the price of raw materials or increased labour costs which are passed onto the consumer by way of higher prices. A simple example of this is when the price of crude oil increases, this is passed onto consumers at the pumps in the form of higher petrol and diesel prices.

For many businesses, labour costs are a large component of their cost base. When the economy is growing strongly and unemployment is low, labour shortages can arise and companies may be prepared to pay more to secure skilled, well-qualified employees. These costs can also be passed onto the consumer in the form of higher prices.

iii) Increase in the Money Supply: I am sure some of you will remember the 1980’s, a time during which Mrs Thatcher dominated the political scene in the UK and a bedrock of her economic principles was monetarism (the theory or practice of controlling the supply of money as the chief method of stabilising the economy). This economic theory was underpinned by the principle that excessive growth in the supply of money was the primary cause of inflation. In more recent times, Quantitative Easing (QE) has been a policy employed by central banks to stimulate the economy, firstly following the 2008-9 financial crisis and again since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. This policy involves central banks purchasing government bonds and other financial assets which injects large amounts of money into the economy to stimulate growth and this could certainly be one of the factors behind increasing inflation rates this year.

Understanding inflation

Why does inflation matter?
If you know anyone who lived in Zimbabwe in the years 2007-2009, they will tell you why. Inflation peaked at close to 80,000,000,000% meaning prices were doubling every day and there were scenes in the news of people using wheelbarrows to carry their money around! The central bank published bank notes of ever-increasing value and at one stage it was reported that a loaf of bread cost the equivalent of $35million!

A colleague of ours who is based in Italy, professes to have a 100 trillion dollar note issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in his office.

Of course, this is an extreme example (although not unique), but there are multiple reasons why governments and central banks become a little jittery when inflation starts to increase beyond their targets, not least because of inflation’s tendency to be self-perpetuating. For example, inflation is increasing therefore workers demand higher pay increases. Higher pay increases lead to businesses clawing back these extra wage costs in the form of higher prices for their goods/services. Consumers notice that prices are rising and demand higher pay increases and so on. This is a little simplistic, but hopefully illustrates the point.

In the past, governments and central banks (often through interest rate increases) have acted quickly and decisively to try and control this inflationary process. Currently however, governments and central banks seem a little more relaxed about the matter – at least in the short term. One of the many reasons for this is down to the pandemic-ravaged economies around the world which are recovering, but still fragile..

How long will this period of higher inflation last?
This is a difficult one to answer.

Here is what two of our investment partners say on the matter:
“We do not agree with theories of runaway inflation, currently a hot topic among market commentators. To summarise briefly, the main reason for the spikes we are seeing today is that prices were abnormally low a year ago, and the rate at which they have risen since has been exacerbated by COVID-related dislocations in spending, employment, production and logistics. We believe – as US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has been at pains to note – that unusually high US inflation will be transitory. But it’s worth clarifying what we mean by transitory. We don’t mean that inflation will be back on target by year end. Instead, we see it peaking in the next month or two, before falling back toward 2% throughout 2022.” Julian Chillingworth, Chief Investment Officer, Rathbones – 7th July 2021.

“Lower for longer’ was a term used to describe the post-credit crunch interest rate environment, a period in which interest rates languished near 0%. The promise of rates being lifted as the global economy strengthened never really materialised: rates stayed lower for much longer than originally planned – a decade – and then came Coronavirus. We’re now seeing a similar story take shape, this time on the subject of inflation. The Central Banks reiterate that accelerating inflation is ‘transitory’ and not a cause for concern, but it’s the Manager’s advice that investors prepare themselves for a different truth entirely: inflation is going to be higher for longer.” VAM Funds, Monthly Market Outlook – July 2021.

And from other sources:
“Higher Inflation Is Here to Stay for Years, Economists Forecast.” The Wall Street Journal, Headline on 11th July 2021.

“The ‘inflation is transitory’ argument is starting to wobble…the debate about temporary or problematic inflation will continue for months and will grow more heated.” Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate.com

Is it possible to protect your savings from the impact of inflation?
Yes – to some extent.
If you chose to keep all your savings in bank accounts in the UK, France or elsewhere the chances are that any interest you will receive will be a very small fraction of 1%.

If your cash is in a French bank account, balances up to €100,000 per person, per banking group (€200,000 for joint accounts) are protected. In the UK, cash deposits are protected to a limit of £85,000 per person, per banking group (£170,000 for joint accounts).

These guarantees undoubtedly provide some comfort in relation to the security of your funds, but over time the effective value of your savings will diminish, and this will occur more rapidly in a higher inflationary environment.

For example, if inflation were to average 2.5% for the next 10 years, £100,000 of savings today, would be worth only £78,120 in today’s terms, in 2031. To consider this in a different way, for £100,000 to keep pace with inflation, in 10 years’ time it needs to have grown in value to £128,008. This erosion of value is even more marked over longer timescales.

The simple truth is that there is no certain way of keeping up with or indeed beating inflation, without accepting a degree of risk. Thus, we have a choice, leave our savings in a bank account, and accept the certainty that inflation will erode our wealth if we don’t do something about it, or talk to someone who has the expertise to invest money in a manner that will give the possibility of a positive return within the parameters of your personal objectives and appetite for risk.

It is advisable to hold at least six months of your average monthly outgoings as a contingency fund for unexpected needs. With bank interest rates and inflation at their current levels, it makes sense to look at alternative homes for the excess cash over and above your ‘emergency fund’.

As most readers will know we at Spectrum are big advocators of diversification and the multi-asset approach to investing. We place our trust in our preferred investment partners to look after our clients’ money to help them achieve their financial objectives. Their investment teams are constantly monitoring the global economic, environmental, and political factors that may affect portfolios and act accordingly to produce the best outcomes for clients.

Whether you are a cautious investor or an adventurous investor, or somewhere in between, we are here to discuss the most appropriate investment solution for you. So, if you would like a review of your situation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

What next?
If you would like to discuss anything we have covered in this month’s newsletter, please do get in touch at Occitanie@spectrum-ifa.com or contact your Spectrum adviser directly.

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The tax and legal systems in France

By Amanda Johnson - Topics: France, Investments, Tax Efficient Savings, Tax in France, wealth management
This article is published on: 23rd July 2021

23.07.21

There are lots of reasons to love France …
… but the legal and tax systems aren’t high on that list!

How to manage wealth effectively, whilst minimizing administration, requires an experienced adviser with access to solutions purposefully built for the French marketplace, with due regard for t he local taxation and legal systems.

Because knowledge allows us to make better decisions, we invite you to watch the recent webinar with Quilter International.

The webinar considers financial planning options designed to help you keep more of your wealth for longer, ever mindful of the crossover with other countries, such as the UK.

As one of the leading providers of wealth management solutions, Quilter International works primarily with expatriates in around 40 countries, including France. Their speaker, David Denton, is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and Trust and Estate Practitioner, and has spent almost three decades in wealth management, training professional and lay audiences world-wide, on the subject of wealth preservation.

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