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MonOc publishing on 1st February

Resolve to review your financial planning for 2020

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

Take time to check your tax planning, investments, pensions and estate planning are all on track to protect your family’s long-term wealth.

The New Year is a time when most of us take stock of our situation and set goals to improve our health, happiness, lifestyle and wealth. This year, make it one of your resolutions to check your financial planning is on track to meet your needs and protect your family’s long-term financial security.

Why regular reviews are important

Regular reviews help keep your financial affairs compliant and up to date. Tax rules or financial regulations can change at any time, which may affect the tax efficiency – or even legality – of your existing arrangements. There may also be new opportunities that you could find beneficial… but only if you know about them. With Brexit now likely to begin on 31 January, it is especially important to keep ahead of any developments that may affect you, for better or worse.

You also need to consider if any changes in your personal and family circumstances mean you should adjust your arrangements. Did you welcome any new family members or are there any upcoming major life events – such as retirement, relocation or divorce – that may warrant a rethink of your plans?

For a truly effective review, and to ensure it is suitable for your life in France, consider how your tax planning, investments, pensions and estate planning work together.

Tax planning

You should first make sure you know where you are resident for tax purposes, especially if you are new to France or spend time in both countries. You then want to structure your investments and wealth in the most suitable way to minimise taxation – in France, the UK and wherever you have financial interests – while still meeting your obligations.

Today, with the ‘automatic exchange of information’ regime well underway, it is more important than ever to get it right. Over 100 countries – including France and the UK – are sharing data on residents’ overseas income and assets, with more joining each year. This means your local tax office will receive financial information about you without having to even ask for it. Remember, in extreme cases tax evasion can result in prosecution, even if it is unintentional.

Cross-border tax planning is complex, so take specialist advice to achieve peace of mind and potentially secure significant tax savings.

Savings and investments

If you do not already have a financial plan in place for France, you need to take a fresh look at your savings and investments. Are they actually better suited to a UK resident? Do they meet your risk/reward appetite? Have you taken advantage of suitable tax-efficient opportunities in France?

Successful investing is about having a strategy specifically based around your personal circumstances, time horizon, needs, aims and risk tolerance. You should ensure you have adequate diversification to avoid over-exposure to any given country (including the UK), asset type, sector or company. Explore investment structures that allow multi-currency flexibility to help minimise exchange rate risk.

Pensions

Today’s pension landscape offers more choice than ever, but this may change with Brexit. For example, it is possible that tax-free transfers to Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) in the EU/EEA may be targeted once the UK sheds its EU obligations. Carefully weigh up all your options, as well as the tax implications in France and the UK, to establish the best course of action for you.

Make sure you take regulated advice to protect your retirement benefits from pension scams and do what is right for your personal circumstances and aims.

Estate planning 

It is vital to review your estate planning when living in France, as both succession law and tax work very differently to the UK.

Are you aware, for example, that France’s ‘forced heirship’ rules could automatically pass a significant proportion of your worldwide estate to your direct family, whatever your intentions? You can specify in your will for the EU regulation ‘Brussels IV’ to apply relevant British law to your estate instead, but take care to understand your options and any tax implications.

Your estate plan should also be set up to achieve your wishes in the most tax-efficient way possible.

To bring all these complex elements together and ensure you have not missed out on any suitable opportunities, take expert, cross-border advice. Spending time on a financial health-check now can secure peace of mind that you and your family are in the best position to enjoy a prosperous 2020 and beyond.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here www.blevinsfranks.com

 

Manish’s predictions for February

Aquarius ( 20 January – 18 February ) – This can be a good time for going out a lot, meeting someone new or rekindling romance, being creative and inspired, and being enthusiastic about what it is you find fun. Some of you will form a partnership that either leads to marriage or is otherwise significant, some will enhance an existing close relationship, and most will derive much joy from their relationships with significant others. New partners met this month are likely to feel much like a breath of fresh air and you are more open to the intangible realms of inspiration and beauty. Favorable Dates : Feb 6, 7, 15, 16, 23, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Blue

Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March )  – You are likely to see benefits and improvements in the areas of work and health, as well as daily routines. Your ability to handle the details required to do a good job is significantly enhanced this month, and others increasingly become more aware of your skills. The ideas you come up with are more radical than usual, and you’re open to ideas that are unusual, innovative, and unconventional. You’re attracted to people who are original thinkers. A casual romance may be taken to new levels. Favorable Dates : Feb 1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 21 Favorable Colors : Red & Blue

Aries ( 21 March – 19 April  ) – This month has  more productive and positive potentials than you might think. You are determined to make adjustments in your life style, your work, your home, and other areas of life. Your sense of timing and balance is superb now, and your efficiency is improved ten times over.  Relationships and partnerships benefit from expansive, warm energy, or successful new ones are entered into this month. You absorb the mood of those around you quite easily now, and your temperament is somewhat changeable as a result. Favorable Dates : Feb 7, 8, 16, 17, 25, 26 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow

Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May ) – It’s time to strike a balance between your own needs and those of another. It’s time to compromise and negotiate. A spirit of altruism and generosity, making connections with others from a different background, widening your mind through unusual or different experiences, expanded faith, are all themes this month. You are especially mentally alert and busy this month, and opportunities to travel or simply move about can present themselves. You stand to widen your social circle, update your skills, communicate more effectively, read even more than you do now, advertise, publish, and write more this month. Favorable Dates : Feb 3, 5, 12, 14, 21, 23 Favorable Colors : Green & Grey

Gemini ( 21 May – 20 June ) – You are able to find avenues for self-expression quite easily, and the way you go about deriving pleasure out of life is markedly different, and hugely more interesting, than usual. Your imagination is fertile, and you view your pastimes and the entertainment with open eyes. Cleaning out closets, re-organizing the environment in which you live and work, and other such activities come to the fore. Others may turn to you for advice or recognize your competency and experience in a particular area of life. Favorable Dates : Feb 3, 4, 12, 13, 21, 22 Favorable Colors : White & Yellow

Cancer( 21 June – 22 July ) – It’s a good time to focus your energies on a pet project, get your finances in order, and get yourself out there. The pursuit of pleasure is high up on your list of priorities, and, as long as you don’t overdo it, you are likely to find yourself enjoying life more than usual. Your hunger for satisfaction in partnership and in life in general is strong during this period. This is an excellent time for beginning health regimens, diets, and the like, simply because it is a time when you look in the mirror and see yourself clearly. Favorable Dates : Feb 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favorable Colors : Blue & Yellow

Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August ). – Your feelings, ideals, and beliefs expand, and you have a strong desire to make everyday life more magical.  You begin to feel more confident and settled on a psychological level, and you are less affected or intimidated by your usual fears and inhibitions Your sense of security is strongly reinforced by close partnerships. All you need to do is keep from becoming distracted by your especially needy ego at this time. You may find that you are relied upon for emotional support from a partner. Existing partnerships may be especially nurturing, quiet, and emotional this month. Favorable Dates : Feb 2, 5, 11, 14, 20, 23 Favorable Colors : White & Green

Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September ) – You express yourself in ways that surprise the people around you. Impulsive decisions are possible. You need to make a few changes in your life, and you now have the courage and drive to do so. Just be careful that you recognize the areas of your life that are dear to your heart. Financial speculation should be approached cautiously, whether it’s due to an increased desire to take risks, or to speculate with borrowed or shared money, or if a spouse or partner is inclined towards risk-taking with shared resources.Favorable Dates : Feb 2, 8, 11, 17, 20, 26 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow

Libra ( 23 September – 22 October ) –You are more productive, with a responsible and sometimes even somber outlook. You could feel an unusual pressure to structure your time and effort, and to cut out communication that seems unnecessary This stage of your life may be marked by hard work. Financial success may not be remarkable, yet it is generally steady, if slow to come by. The spirit that drives you and motivates you to move out and beyond the everyday grind comes up for inspection. A positive attitude will bring positive circumstances into your life, as long as you remain realistic. Favorable Dates : Feb 8, 9, 17, 18, 26, 27 Favorable Colors : Grey & Yellow

Scorpio ( 23 October – 21 November ) – You feel most like yourself when you’re putting yourself out there and getting attention. You like being in the spotlight, and you want people to see what you’re doing. You’re willing to try new things, and opportunities can come to you more easily, or you make them for yourself. You can come across as more warm, friendly, and proud. You can be more sensual in love for most of the month, desiring a physical connection with others, and if in a relationship, you can be more passionate, while if single, you can be attracted to beautiful people. Favorable Dates : Feb 4, 7, 13, 16, 22, 25 Favorable Colors : Red & Yellow

Sagittarius ( 22 November -21 December ) – This period in your life is generally dedicated to self-improvement. You are developing your ideals and your commitments. A long-term goal you’ve been working on could come to an end and your goal becomes realized. You could also decide to give up on a goal you’ve had to make way for something else. You need to analyze the direction your life is going in and make necessary changes if you don’t like the path you’re on. You feel considerably more free to be yourself, and others tend to accept you more readily. Favorable Dates : Feb 3, 7, 12, 16, 21, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Blue

Capricorn ( 22 December – 19 January ) – Your efforts now are very constructive, and you are not inclined to want to leave any loose ends untied. You are likely to derive much satisfaction from taking care of practical concerns in your life. This is a time of long-range planning that will bring you benefits down the road. You will be getting serious about learning, studying hard, and changing your attitudes towards work. You will be working on perfecting and refining skills that will be useful on the job, and some will be forced into that position. Career matters are dynamic and exciting Favorable Dates : Feb 8, 9, 17, 18, 26, 27 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Blue

 

Susan Keefe’s reading suggestions for February

My Walk Among The Stars: Rubbing Shoulders With Country Giants

by Dick Flood
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is my-walk.jpg
Do you love country music, are you fans of the legends in the industry? Well, if so, then now is the opportunity you’ve been looking for, a chance to take a trip down memory lane with Dick Flood, one of its stars, as he shares with you in words and pictures his experiences in the Nashville music scene.
 
This epic adventure starts with the author in the US army, stepping out of a C-47 at the Clark Air Force Base in the Philippine Islands, in early winter 1954. Fresh from South Korea, he fell in love with the beautiful islands and their people, despite the secret dangers lurking in its jungles.
 
However, his ‘My Walk Among the Stars’ began when he was discharged and returned to the United States two years later in 1956. He arrived back to an exciting time when television was coming into people’s homes, overnight, so it seemed, the world shrank as the stars of radio could now be seen on television programs, and become even more real to their fans.
 
Teaming up with his friend Billy Graves, the pair became “The Country Lads.” Their manager Mr. Connie B. Gay signed then up with CBS Television and they became known around the world for the next two years as they appeared on the Jimmy Dean morning show on Network TV.
 
Over the following years the author travelled with his music extensively throughout the United States, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, Labrador, Newfoundland, and Puerto Rico. Throughout the book he recounts his adventures in exotic destinations, and experiences rubbing shoulders with legends like Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison, when he performed with them in many shows, and the music they made proved immortal. Even now his songs are being used in movies and as backing, and of course enjoyed by country music fans worldwide in formats which the artists could not have imagined in their wildest dreams, at the time.
 
The interesting thing about this book is that, as the author chronicles the ups and down of his life, the reader is also treated to rare glimpses behind the scenes of the music industry, and the big film corporations of the day. Playing live in shows, and on TV, in prisons and military bases, including a three-months tour of the US military bases in the Far East, where the Dick Flood Show visited Guam, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines and hostile South Vietnam, his music captured the heart of his audiences. His story brings the superstar singers, musicians and performers of that time back to life, and his personal recollections of these people as friends and work colleagues, show the fans a side they don’t usually get to see.
 
The twists, turns, and leaps of faith which happen to us all (and to the music industry) led Dick Flood to a complete change of career in midlife. He became an eco-warrior living amongst the wildlife in the Okefenokee Swamp, a 438,000-acre, peat-filled wetland which bestrides the Georgia–Florida line of the United States. He recounted that period of his life in his first book “Swampwise,” (which was reviewed here favourably) where he writes under the pen name of ‘Okefenokee Joe.’
 
In Summary: The country music scene, career opportunities seized, and lost, and a family life well lived, are all revealed in this astonishing and highly compelling biography of this talented musician, singer, and songwriter. Highly recommended! 
 
                                                   ——————————
 

Enlightened in the 21st Century

by Richard Krauland
 
Right from the Introduction I had a feeling this book was going to be fascinating and it was. Why? Because the author invites us to draw a tree and then, after we have done so, he enlightens us about an incredibly common yet very accurate fact about that drawing, without seeing it himself, just from his observance of human nature. From that moment I was hooked, and thoroughly enjoyed every page!

Most people have important times in their lives which they remember clearly, and for Richard Krauland one of these times was one night in 1971 when he had a life-changing experience. He was 18 at the time, Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy had been assassinated, the infamous Democrat’s National Convention in Chicago had taken place, and the war in Vietnam was raging, causing unrest in the country. That night and through to the next day, instead of sleeping the author found himself examining his life, what he had been told, what he knew, and what he believed in, or not. The result was his ‘philosophy of life,’ one which he has followed in the intervening forty-eight years. This was just one of the divine interventions which he believes has shaped his life and made him the man he is today, despite health challenges, a successful businessman, philosopher, and mathematician.
From the wonders of science to his controversial views on ‘fake science’ this book contains his thoughts and philosophies, in a no-holds-barred format, because, in his words “I believe that being well-grounded in the truth is absolutely necessary for a successful life as a free person.”

It was very interesting to read about our senses, and perceptions of things, and how these are continually evolving throughout time, from the far distant past into the future as scientific discoveries open our eyes to an infinite world which is waiting to be discovered. Yet at the other flip of the coin, he makes us think about the information we are fed via the social media, truths, half-truths, and lies, and emphasizes it is essential that we can differentiate between them to lead an enlightened life

I have no hesitation in highly recommending this thought-provoking book, and I challenge anyone with an inquisitive mind not to find it absolutely fascinating. Whether it is from the hundreds of interesting facts it contains, from the questions it answers, or the ability it has to make you sit up and think. Definitely one for those of us who have an enquiring mind which screams to be enlightened!

 
 
 
                                               ——————————-
 

Imagine God 

by Rick Pribell
 
This book was written after the author, Rick Pribell, had a heart attack in 2015. This near-death experience, a prophecy from Zachariah (Luke 1:78-79, NIV,) and his own inspirational encounter with a rising sun brought about a profound need to share with the world his message of “…how our emotions reflect God’s spirit, an epiphany that transcends religious differences.”

I have never read another book which so clearly and in such a straight-forward manner conveys the word of God in a format which will encourage the curious, and the needy, to explore the meanings behind his teachings in an easy to understand way.
Simply and yet with great clarity, in his own words the author explains what is meant when God said he had created us “in His own image.” Once we understand this, the author then explores how our emotions, actions, thoughts, hopes fears and wants, are reflected in how God wants us to act, towards others, in situations, and in our journey of faith. In reading it I felt it helped me to understand his word so much better, look at emotional situations in another light, and it has enabled me to begin to know Him, and what he wants me to do and be, more.

The photograph on the front cover was taken by the author himself in Melbourne Beach, Florida. It has great significance to the author as it symbolizes a light shining in the darkness and showing him a path to guide his feet. It is a picture and a meaning which can be an inspiration to us all…

At a time when Scientific American reports 23 percent of us have forsaken religion entirely, this book is sorely needed. It is inspiring and heart-warming to read, helps us to understand how much God loves us, and its short compact format makes it quick and easy to reference when needed. Highly recommended!

 
 
                                                          ——————————————–
 
 

Fubars

 
by Paddy Bostock
 
Over the years some unusual children’s names have had their time in the spotlight, such as Mercedes, Beyoncé, and Lovely. However, there are others, which have been chosen specially by doting parents, who are sometimes extremely short-sighted, or perhaps not worldly-wise, like Lord Xavier and Lady Hermione Barr. They chose to call their first, and only son Fergus Ulysses.
A grand name, however one which was to be both his undoing and making when at the tender age of 11 he found himself catapulted from the vague education carried out by governesses and home tutors at Piddlington Hall, the family seat situated in a massive estate on the outskirts of Little Piddlington In The Marsh. His education was now to take place in a high-class boarding school, one of the best, the type of establishment where the Headmaster happily assured Fergus Ulysses’ father it that would “…soon break him in, and make him the backbone of the nation…”

Fergus Ulysses endured life at this lofty establishment with fortitude, as one would expect from a boy from the upper classes, until NYC banker’s son Dwayne Zobinski arrived. Then, as boys do, Dwayne nicknamed him Fubar. This at first seemed to be a harmless act, that is until Dwayne educated the boys on the meanings of this American acronym, and poor Fergus Ulysses had even more reason to resent his parents.
However, as fate would have it, one day an unfortunate incident (for some) took place and Fergus Ulysses made his escape and headed for ‘Town’ or London as others know it. Although from a sheltered upbringing, it soon becomes apparent that the young Fergus Ulysses is a clever young man as he uses wit, and cunning to remain a ‘non-person,’ and stay below the radar, with the aid of a new friend, a like-minded and equally talented musician Tosh, and his canine best friend Mutt.

As the now named ‘The Fubar’s’ notoriety grows their gigs become more frequent, and the band gains new members. This talented author very cleverly entwines the lives of his characters and their families. As the idiosyncrasies of the individual characters become even more shocking, some might say they are unbelievable, that is, until they think about it and realise that they know, or have heard of someone who just might fit the bill.

This incredible story takes its readers across the world, into shady places, and into dangerous and farcical situations. There is never a dull moment on this rollercoaster ride, which is not only full of twists and turns but reverses, and full stops too.

I have loved reading Paddy Bostock’s extremely funny books for some time. In this comically irreverent story, whose characters’ true names are cleverly veiled, the current political climate, the countries, their leaders and their characters are humorously and accurately portrayed. In writing this incredibly entertaining story, the author has summed up cleverly Brexit, Trump, and the political intrigue which plagues our world today. I highly recommend this brilliant story to everyone who is looking for a book which is thoroughly entertaining until the very last page.

 
 
 
                                                      —————————————–
 

 

Rise to The Rhythm: Awaken The Beat and Live Your Life’s Highest Capabilities

 
By Joey L. Dowdy
 
Joey L. Dowdy, or Dr. Dance, is a talented Choreographer who has worked with famous names such as the Backstreet Boys and Take Five. He is also an International Performer, Fitness Motivator, Writer, Host, Artistic Director, Producer, Author, and founder of “World Dance Grove & Get Up & Groove Entertainment.” He brings his unique zest for life, and rhythm to life for his readers in this, his latest inspirational new book.

In it, he asks his readers “Are you tired of living a life that’s going nowhere? If you’ve been down for too long or have you lost your life’s rhythm?”
I for one answered yes. Like many my life was set in a hopeless rut. The New Year had past and as usual, it brought forth the usual resolutions from me. I would take more care of myself, take control of my life, variations on the same promises I have been making to myself for years, and then as the year goes by, I tried starting every new Monday. However, the truth is, I didn’t have any idea how to change.

That was until the title of this well written and motivational book took my eye. Within, I discovered were the answers which I needed to set myself free. Reading it I have discovered how to find my own self-worth, and come to terms with the fact that it is okay to think of myself as a very important person, instead of putting others first all the time, something which as a wife, mother and grandmother doesn’t come naturally.

How did this happen? Well, I discovered it through the author sharing his life stories and experiences with me. Reading about his passion for dance, the industry, people, and his absolute determination to succeed has been a real inspiration. Despite setbacks, and embracing challenges, with humor, and strength of character, he has not only succeeded, but inspired others. His life, like all of us, has been a learning curve, he has learnt and grown, and he, in turn, provides us with the tools we need to pick ourselves up, realize that no-one is perfect, and live our lives reaching our full potential. It won’t be easy, as he says, after all, there is “No Gain, Without Pain,” but you can do it!

In conclusion: Joey L. Dowdy is an inspiration, a self-made man who has worked and battled to get to where he is. This hard work and dedication he shares with his readers, not only inspiring within them the faith that they can be who they dream of, but also by then giving them the tools with which to achieve their own success.

Resolve to review your financial planning for 2020

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

Take time to check your tax planning, investments, pensions and estate planning are all on track to protect your family’s long-term wealth.

The New Year is a time when most of us take stock of our situation and set goals to improve our health, happiness, lifestyle and wealth. This year, make it one of your resolutions to check your financial planning is on track to meet your needs and protect your family’s long-term financial security.

Why regular reviews are important

Regular reviews help keep your financial affairs compliant and up to date. Tax rules or financial regulations can change at any time, which may affect the tax efficiency – or even legality – of your existing arrangements. There may also be new opportunities that you could find beneficial… but only if you know about them. With Brexit now likely to begin on 31 January, it is especially important to keep ahead of any developments that may affect you, for better or worse.

You also need to consider if any changes in your personal and family circumstances mean you should adjust your arrangements. Did you welcome any new family members or are there any upcoming major life events – such as retirement, relocation or divorce – that may warrant a rethink of your plans?

For a truly effective review, and to ensure it is suitable for your life in France, consider how your tax planning, investments, pensions and estate planning work together.

Tax planning

You should first make sure you know where you are resident for tax purposes, especially if you are new to France or spend time in both countries. You then want to structure your investments and wealth in the most suitable way to minimise taxation – in France, the UK and wherever you have financial interests – while still meeting your obligations.

Today, with the ‘automatic exchange of information’ regime well underway, it is more important than ever to get it right. Over 100 countries – including France and the UK – are sharing data on residents’ overseas income and assets, with more joining each year. This means your local tax office will receive financial information about you without having to even ask for it. Remember, in extreme cases tax evasion can result in prosecution, even if it is unintentional.

Cross-border tax planning is complex, so take specialist advice to achieve peace of mind and potentially secure significant tax savings.

Savings and investments

If you do not already have a financial plan in place for France, you need to take a fresh look at your savings and investments. Are they actually better suited to a UK resident? Do they meet your risk/reward appetite? Have you taken advantage of suitable tax-efficient opportunities in France?

Successful investing is about having a strategy specifically based around your personal circumstances, time horizon, needs, aims and risk tolerance. You should ensure you have adequate diversification to avoid over-exposure to any given country (including the UK), asset type, sector or company. Explore investment structures that allow multi-currency flexibility to help minimise exchange rate risk.

Pensions

 Today’s pension landscape offers more choice than ever, but this may change with Brexit. For example, it is possible that tax-free transfers to Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) in the EU/EEA may be targeted once the UK sheds its EU obligations. Carefully weigh up all your options, as well as the tax implications in France and the UK, to establish the best course of action for you.

Make sure you take regulated advice to protect your retirement benefits from pension scams and do what is right for your personal circumstances and aims.

Estate planning 

It is vital to review your estate planning when living in France, as both succession law and tax work very differently to the UK.

Are you aware, for example, that France’s ‘forced heirship’ rules could automatically pass a significant proportion of your worldwide estate to your direct family, whatever your intentions? You can specify in your will for the EU regulation ‘Brussels IV’ to apply relevant British law to your estate instead, but take care to understand your options and any tax implications.

Your estate plan should also be set up to achieve your wishes in the most tax-efficient way possible.

To bring all these complex elements together and ensure you have not missed out on any suitable opportunities, take expert, cross-border advice. Spending time on a financial health-check now can secure peace of mind that you and your family are in the best position to enjoy a prosperous 2020 and beyond.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here www.blevinsfranks.com

How to retire to France with financial peace of mind

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

Anyone recently retired or approaching retirement is entering a new and exciting phase in life. While some worry retirement will be boring, many embrace the freedom it offers. If you have chosen to retire in France, you probably fall into the latter category!

France certainly offers a beneficial lifestyle for retired expatriates, but long-term financial security is crucial to help you enjoy your retirement years. To achieve this, you need to take a good look at your finances and the way you hold your assets. Your situation is totally different now from your working days in the UK, so be prepared to make some adjustments.

Savings and investments

You may have built up a successful portfolio of savings and investments over your working life, but your circumstances and objectives were different then. With a regular salary coming in you could afford to take more risk when choosing investments and focus more on growth.

Many retirees, however, are looking for income; whether it is receiving regular payments or taking ad hoc withdrawals. Besides planning for that, you need to protect the capital that generates the income, so have to be careful about managing risk. You should aim to earn at least enough capital growth to keep pace with inflation over time to help maintain your spending power throughout retirement.

It’s a fine balance. The starting point is to obtain an objective assessment of your risk tolerance. Together with a good understanding of your aims, circumstances, needs and time horizon, this is key to ensuring your portfolio is suitable for you. In any case, diversification is central to managing risk within your defined tolerance.

Taxation

All that free time in retirement costs money! You can help maximise your income through strategic tax planning. While tax mitigation opportunities are limited when paying PAYE on your salary, how you hold savings and investments can make a significant difference to retirement income.

Take note that UK tax planning is unlikely to be effective in France. ISAs and UK bank interest, for example, become fully taxable for French residents. Once resident in France, you gain access to investment opportunities that might provide much better tax-efficiency alongside other advantages.

Locally compliant arrangements, such as a suitable assurance-vie, can combine your investment, tax and estate planning in one exercise, grouping different investments together under one tax-efficient roof.

Pension plans

This is the time you get to benefit from those years of pension contributions; instead of paying money in each month, you can start taking it out.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for expatriates, but once you are no longer UK resident it may become less beneficial to leave UK pensions where they are.

UK pension income is paid in sterling, so if your key spending is in euros, this invites exchange rate risk. UK pensions also remain subject to UK regulations, which are especially likely to change for non-residents after Brexit.

Many expatriates choose to transfer UK pensions to a Qualifying Regulated Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) or reinvest funds into more tax-efficient arrangements for France. As well as reducing taxation, this can offer benefits such as greater access to funds and more flexibility to choose how it is invested and in what currency to take income.

To protect your long-term financial security, make sure you research your pension options and fully understand the various implications. You need to take extreme care here, so professional, regulated advice is critical.

Estate planning

None of us like to think about our departure from this world, but there is no denying that reaching retirement age does bring it closer to home.

The key message here is not to risk leaving it too late. Decide who you want to leave your assets to, how much and when. Then research the most effective way to achieve this, in the most tax-efficient way, taking both the French and UK rules into account. But don’t ignore your own needs in the process – look for arrangements that provide tax-efficiency for you today as well as your heirs in future.

An integrated financial planning approach produces better results than just focusing on one element at a time. For example, the way you hold your investments and pensions can affect how much tax you and your heirs pay and how the assets are passed to heirs.

While some try a DIY approach, cross-border tax, wealth management, pensions and estate planning is complex and it is difficult to objectively assess your own situation. For ultimate peace of mind, talk to a specialist adviser who will take time to understand your unique circumstances, needs and goals to help you secure a prosperous retirement in France.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

You can find other financial advisory articles by visiting our website here

 

Your reading for January, from Susan Keefe

High Heels and Beetle Crushers

by Jackie Skingley
Jackie Skingley, the author of this fascinating memoir begins by taking her readers back to her earliest recollections, bitter sweet childhood memories of Christmas 1944 in Reigate, Surrey. 
 
Immediately, through her vivid descriptive writing I was catapulted back through the decades to wartime Britain. I could almost imagine being her, a small frightened child, hearing the air raid sirens going off and huddling in the damp, musky shelter with her heavily pregnant mother, and her Nanny Rose.
 
For those of us who were lucky enough not to have been alive during the war, these memories are priceless reminders of a bygone era, a time which should not be forgotten and a generation who bravely endured so much so that we could live in freedom and peace. Yes you can still see some of the old aircraft fly, and there are films about the wars but nothing can compare to the memories written by those who lived through those years, listening with dread to the droning of the German bombers as they flew overhead along Bomb Alley, towards London, and the sound of the bombs dropping, never knowing if they would be safe, or what carnage the enemy would leave in their wake.
 
The price of peace was appalling, and shaped the future of the author and her family, as it did for so many people. Life went on, and the incredible community spirit of those post war years are brought wonderfully to life throughout these pages. These were times when families and friends were truly there for each other, the local bobby knew everyone and mums were to be found in the kitchen making jam and cooking Victoria sandwiches. However, most families have some secrets and the author bravely reveals those too.
 
I read with interest of her convent education by strict nuns, and with envy of her life as a young woman at a time where young ladies wore taffeta dresses, gloves, and beaded bags, and of course had to adhere to strict etiquette codes.
 
Despite being very popular, at a time when most girls wanted to settle down, marry and have a family, the author wanted more, she had a deep desire to serve her country.
 
Accepted into the WRAC, she completed her training and began an interesting and eventful military career both at home and abroad, in which strong friendships are formed and love is lost and found.
 
A powerful coming-of–age story, this memoir gives the reader a real insight into post war Britain, and the spirit of its people. This strong spirit is typified in the author, as her reader discovers within these pages as she overcomes adversity, and defiantly stands resolute and true to herself, and those she loves.
 
                                                ———————————–
I Believe: It Is Easy to Be Kind and Good to One Another and to Animals, Just Like Baxter, the Magnificent Dog
by Suzanne Mondoux

I Believe: It Is Easy to Be Kind and Good to One Another and to Animals, Just Like Baxter, the Magnificent Dog

Baxter is a beautiful black and white Pointer mix who loves to play, however he is nervous of smaller dogs, and he doesn’t know why.

This day it’s snowing and Baxter and his friends are having fun chasing around in the snow, when Carlo and Teddy the horses arrive in the field.

Baxter goes over to say hello, but then he discovers that they have with them a little Pug. She’s called Lulu, and wants to be friendly, but Baxter just ignores her. Carlo and Teddy explain that they have brought Lulu with them and that in their pouches are two of her puppies, Bessie and Tulip.

I Believe: It Is Easy to Be Kind and Good to One Another and to Animals, Just Like Baxter, the Magnificent DogWhen they get the puppies out, to everyone’s surprise they are so small! So small in fact that when danger strikes it takes a big dog like Baxter to save them, which he does without thinking. Their mum is so grateful that she gives him a big hugs of thanks.

Suddenly, the incident reminds Baxter of a terrible event which happed in the past and is the reason why he is nervous of smaller dogs. He relays the tale, and the other animals listen on. At the end Lulu comforts him by saying that he is a big and happy dog and that what happened was an accident. However, she then explains that accident or not, he is still responsible for his actions, and that it’s important to say sorry, and so Baxter does…

There are some lovely pictures to colour in in this story, but also it is interactive as for the next thirty days, Baxter invites you to write one thing you have said or done which you know has caused hurt, or made a person, or an animal cry. It can be something you did not mean to do, just like Baxter’s accident. However the important thing is to take responsibility, and like Baxter, right the wrong doing. In writing these down, you will understand the mistakes you have made, learn from them, and become a better person.

Taking responsibility for your mistakes is something which is very hard to do sometimes, and in this sensitive children’s book the author explains gently that whatever we do in life, if we do it, it is our responsibility and we must own up to it. Highly recommended as a wonderful life lesson story.

Available from Amazon    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Believe-Another-Animals-Baxter-Magnificent-ebook/dp/B07SK7C8QT/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=suzanne+mondoux&qid=1577529136&sr=8-11

I Believe: I Can Learn Something New, Just Like Cody, the Best Dog Swimmer

by Suzanne Mondoux

I Believe: I Can Learn Something New, Just Like Cody, the Best Dog SwimmerIn this wonderful interactive children’s book, the two horses Carlo and Teddy are yet again on their adventures, this time they arrive at the sea. There they meet a very friendly tiny grey dog called Cody, he just loves to play in the waves and swim.

He asks Carlo and Teddy to swim with him, but the horses have to admit that they don’t know how. Undaunted, Cody offers to teach them, and he also explains the 6 very important rules of safety when swimming.

Under Cody’s tuition the horses are soon having a wonderful time, and swimming confidently. Afterwards they are happy to be invited to Cody’s home for dinner. Whilst they are there the new friends discuss all the wonderful things they would like to learn to do, and decide to make lists of what they are, and what they will have to do to achieve them.

Throughout the preceding pages there are lots of pictures to colour in, and now the book becomes even more interactive when the author encourages her reader to write down for 30 days the things which interest them, and also the steps they need to take to make the learning possible. Being an animal lover and advocate Suzanne Mondoux then goes on to invite her readers to also find the name of an animal who lives in the sea, find out about it, and then draw a picture of it too.

My granddaughter and I are really enjoying this ‘I Believe’ series. Natalie loves colouring the books in and the excitement of dreaming of things she would like to do, and I love the messages they convey, and their ability to encourage self-confidence.

Available from Amazon   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Believe-Learn-Something-Just-Swimmer-ebook/dp/B07SBL5WPL/ref=sr_1_6?qid=1577529216&refinements=p_27%3ASuzanne+Mondoux&s=digital-text&sr=1-6&text=Suzanne+Mondoux


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December in Le Jardin Champetre

Manish’s predictions for December babies

Sagittarius (22 November – 21 December) – You can achieve the goals you set for yourselves, and are rewarded for the good work you have done to get what you want. Some of you could experience setbacks, and feel that your goals are more unattainable than ever before. Your success or failure is tied to how you feel about yourselves this month, and the more you succeed, the better you would feel, and the more you fail, the worse you would feel. This is a good time to work on improving your lifestyle and making healthier choices in your daily life. Favourable Dates : Dec 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favourable Colours : Yellow & Green

Capricorn (22 December – 19 January) – This is a time of work, and if you are willing to put the time and effort in, you can accomplish a great deal and get both financial and social recognition. Some of you may find that you no longer have an interest in going forward with your chosen profession. This may be because of disinterest or because of disaffection from the ideals or values involved. Take a good vacation as the month comes to a close and don’t take any chances with your finances then because they are subject to radical and sudden changes. Favourable Dates : Dec 4, 7, 13, 16, 22, 25  Favourable Colours : Red & Purple

Aquarius (20 January – 18 February) – Money matters are a prime concern for you this month. There can be great benefit in new financial opportunities that come your way. It is also a good time for you to start new things. It may be your time to shine. It would be filled with lots of opportunities for short trip.  If in a relationship, you can be more romantic and playful with your partner. You may come across as more regal, stubborn, and friendlier. People would often look to you for strength, encouragement, and affirmation.  Favourable Dates : Dec 4, 7, 13, 16, 22, 25  Favourable Colours : Red & Purple

Pisces (19 February – 20 March)  – You may come across as more intense, passionate, and obsessive. You have too much work to do, and you have no choice but to focus on that. You will also have a very strong need for love, admiration, appreciation, and praise, although you don’t like others to realize just how important it is to you. You want to have someone by your side, and when you do have a partner, you can bring more opportunities into your life, have new experiences, and face more of life’s challenges with greater ease. Favourable Dates : Dec 5, 8, 14, 18, 23, 26  Favourable Colours : White & Purple

Aries (21 March – 19 April ) – This can be a time where you have work projects with a business partner, or you do work for someone else that can help you both. You have an easier time getting along with people, committing yourself to people and projects, and being close with your loved ones. Home, career, relationships, all seem to be going well and moving along at a fast pace. You will have pronounced intuitive or psychic abilities which can be a dependable source of guidance for you if you learn to pay attention and give credence to them. Favourable Dates : Dec 2, 9, 11, 18, 20, 27 Favourable Colours : Grey & Purple

Taurus (20 April – 20 May ) – You are undergoing many personal transformations during the month. You are also likely to be held in high esteem by superiors, elders, and your partner in December. Gifts and bonuses coming your way may be more generous than usual . You can expand your life in new ways, ways you’ve been dreaming of for some time, and have new experiences that open you up in a ways you didn’t think of. It’s a great time for travel, going back to school, and pushing the boundaries of your life further apart. Favourable Dates : Dec 2, 9, 11, 18, 20, 27 Favourable Colours : Grey & Purple

Gemini (21 May – 20 June ) – This is a good time to take up an old goal and give it a second try. You want your work space to be expansive and give you room to breathe, and you get along better with your co-workers. You can be more researching and interested in the way things work. You’re attracted to the unusual and to people who are their true selves. Networking, enjoying friends, and taking part in group activities are in focus this month. Love in December is connected with friends, online activities, or group associations. Favourable Dates : Dec 2, 9, 11, 18, 20, 27 Favourable Colours : Grey & Purple

Cancer ( 21 June – 22 July ) –. You are experiencing inner revelations about your goals. In December, support comes from behind the scenes, and when you least expect it.  You might also find yourself drawn toward advanced education. In love, you can be more passionate but also more possessive. This can be a good time to buy a love token for your partner. If single, you can meet someone who is grounded, stable, and calm. Your relationship with partner is likely to be stable, but may be a drag, so plan some upscale entertainment. Favourable Dates : Dec 1, 5, 10, 14, 19, 23 Favourable Colours : Red & Yellow

Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August )  –. You would have an urge to maintain security for yourself while exploring new avenues.  Learning new skills, extending yourself, or even having an unusual romance may be the answer. If you feel you are going on a right life path,  you can get further along that path, and build a great foundation for your future. You would be involved in family matters, either yours or your mates, and you will be required to make some decisions. You will have the opportunity to connect with a soul-mate or a situation which elevates and energizes you. Favourable Dates : Dec 1, 3, 10, 12,  28, 31 Favourable Colours : Red & Green

Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September ) – Your creative energy is high, and if you are single, this is a great time for romance. If you’re married and have kids, you will find lots of happiness with the family this month.  Time spent at home is still enjoyable, and again, your creative side is showing well. Financial issues can depend upon your creative handling of them. Partnership matters may become a dominant concern for a time. You may be heading towards a change or an ending with an old cycle. This will help you to leave something behind for good. Favourable Dates : Dec 2, 6, 11, 15,  22, 28 Favourable Colours : Red & Green

Libra ( 23 September – 22 October) – You can focus on one big dream in particular, and make strides over next thirty days to achieve this dream. Some of you may find yourself in the public eye, before groups of people regularly, or getting lots of attention. You can meet lots of new people and make lots of new friends, though they may not be serious friends. Some of you might be reconnecting with people from your past. December is a month of serendipity, coincidences, and hunches that come to pass. You are especially intuitive and in high demand these days! Favourable Dates : Dec 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favourable Colours : Yellow & Green

Scorpio (23 October – 21 November ) – You crave more balance in your life, and you want to feel as though you’re giving equal time to everyone and every aspect of your life. The more out of balance you feel, the harder it is for you to do anything properly or feel like you have any opportunities. Your family could also be a source of opportunity for you, and they can introduce you to new people or come up with new ideas that you should pursue. They would give you sage advice, and you appreciate their wisdom. Favourable Dates : Dec 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favourable Colours : Yellow & Green