Doing it for the Kids – Financial planning in the age of COVID-19

For most of 2020, nobody in France has been able to escape the daily Virus update. From a financial planner’s viewpoint, and thinking of my family, long term Rhone-Alps based, it can spin one’s head wondering, “how much, and for how long, will our children be paying extra taxes and social charges to balance this black hole?”

Many of my clients in the Alps are either retired, considering it, or working hard in their business to secure a tidy financial future, not only for themselves, but for their families too. It’s a part of life’s pattern that many of us become beneficiaries of a family estate, and being a French fiscal resident, this brings up potential questions and complications. “What are the limits I can receive before the tax man becomes an unwelcome beneficiary?” you may ask yourself. “My children deserve a portion of this, but the bank offers a derisory return, not even Eurozone inflation proof,” you may ponder. “Our young daughter dreams of studying in the US, how much will that cost?” These are all common questions right now, in the life of a financial planner.

So how do we approach such matters? You may be surprised and relieved to hear that the French fiscal system can be both generous and highly tax efficient when it comes to financial planning for ourselves and our families. For example, a gift of €100,000 can be made every 15 years from parents to children, free of tax and social charges. It could be used for that far off house purchase, a highly regarded study program, or even setting up a business. A lower, but still highly valuable, allowance of just over €30,000 applies for gifts between grandparents and grandchildren.

Currency is also an important consideration. French banks are always happy to offer short and long term saving vehicles. The wording of the contracts, terms and fund choices, even for somebody who has spent over 30 years in European financial services, can be rather bewildering. Plus they always insist on converting your Sterling to Euros, and currently this is not a sensible proposition. In the last year alone we have seen swings between the two currencies of 10%; the Pound is still a global currency and will return to its former glory. A far better facility is to be able to choose your exchange date, then take advantage when the currency is stronger to move to your new Eurobased need. This flexibility coupled with tax efficiency, could make a gift for your loved ones a very sensible and well-planned move.

As a financial adviser, I meet many people in sometimes complex and misunderstood situations. “I have actually lived in France for the last two years, is it now time to declare fiscal residency?” they ask me. “My children have UK ISAs set up by their grandparents, living here as a family, is this tax efficient?” is a further example.

A no obligation meeting with an experienced financial planner may help to unravel the complex French reporting system, and allow you to enjoy all the things that brought us here in the first place.

Doing it for the Kids – Financial planning in the age of COVID-19
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top