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April 2019
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Why you should consider an LPA

By Alice Williams

Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) – what are they?

An LPA is a legal document where you appoint someone to look after your affairs. The chosen person(s) can then make decisions such as dealing with your bills and bank accounts or deciding on your medical care.

There are two types:

1.Property and financial affairs LP

  • This gives a person powers to make decisions for you relating to money and property.
  • This type of LPA can be used either when you have lost capacity to make your own decisions, or when you give consent.
  • It could include giving someone power to pay your mortgage, pay your bills,buy and sell property for you, manageyour bank account or make investments for you.
  • You can choose what decisions can be made on your behalf.
  1. Health and welfare LPA
  • This gives a person powers to make decisions for you about your health and welfare.
  • This type of LPAcan only be used once you have lost capacity to make your own decisions.
  • It typically includes giving someone powers to make decisions about your daily routine, your medical care and what hospital treatment you are given.
  • It is a good idea to put this in place now in case you lose capacity in the future.

LPAs – not just for the elderly

  • LPAs can be useful to allow someone else to manage something on your behalf such as selling your property.
  • At any age, something could happen you which causes you to lose capacity, so it important to consider putting an LPA in place even if you are young, fit and healthy.

LPAs and spouses

  • You should not assume that just because you are married or live with someone that they will be able to deal with your financial and property affairs or make healthcare decisions for you.
  • Without an LPA they are unlikely to have the authority to do this.
  • Spouses should consider LPAs so if need be, they can deal with each other’s affairs.

No capacity and no LPA

  • If you do lose capacity to make your own decisions and you do not have an LPA, it is likely there will be a lengthy and expensive process to put a Deputyship in place. This involves applying to the court.

It is a good idea to think of all eventualities and make plans well in advance. Putting an LPA in place covers the ‘what if’ scenario and means your affairs can be looked after either with your consent or if you loose capacity and can no longer do it yourself.

Alice Williams is a trainee Solicitor at Sykes Anderson Perry Limited, Solicitors, Advocates and Chartered Tax Advisers in London, England

 This information has been prepared by Sykes Anderson Perry Limited as a general guide only and does not constitute advice on any specific matter. We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of any information or advice given or omitted.

Where did BA actually come from?

A potted history of BA:

On August 25, 1919, British Airways’ forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited (AT&T), launched the world’s first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris.

In 1924, Britain’s four main fledgling airlines, which had by then evolved into Instone, Handley Page, Daimler Airways (a successor to AT&T), and British Air Marine Navigation Company Limited, merged to form Imperial Airways Limited.

By 1925, Imperial Airways was providing services to Paris, Brussels, Basle, Cologne and Zurich.  Meanwhile, a number of smaller UK air transport companies had started flights and in 1935, they merged to form the original privately-owned British Airways Limited, which became Imperial Airways’ principal UK competitor on European routes.

Following a Government review, Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalised in 1939 to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). Continental European and domestic flights were flown by a new airline, British European Airways (BEA) from 1946. BOAC introduced services to New York in 1946, Japan in 1948, Chicago in 1954 and the west coast of the United States in 1957. BEA developed a domestic network to various points in the United Kingdom, including Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.

From 1946 until 1960, BOAC and BEA were the principal British operators of scheduled international passenger and cargo services – and they preserved Britain’s pioneering role in the industry. The 1950s saw the world enter the passenger jet era – led by BOAC, with the Comet flying to Johannesburg in 1952, halving the previous flight time.

Additional airlines began to pass into BEA’s ownership and in 1967, the Government recommended a holding board be responsible for BOAC and BEA, with the establishment of a second force airline, resulting in British Caledonian being born in 1970.

Two years later, the businesses of BOAC and BEA were combined under the newly formed British Airways Board, with the separate airlines coming together as British Airways in 1974.

In July 1979, the Government announced its intention to sell shares in British Airways and in February 1987 British Airways was privatised.

In January 2011 the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) was formed when British Airways and Iberia merged. IAG has since also become the parent company of Aer Lingus, and Vueling and in 2017, IAG launched LEVEL a new low-cost airline brand that operates from Barcelona, Paris and Vienna.


One size does not fit all when it comes to investments

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks 

There is no single investment solution that suits everyone; what will work for you depends on your own objectives, time-frame and risk appetite. The same applies to any financial planning – whether you are looking at investments, tax planning, pensions or estate planning, your approach should be tailored for your specific set of circumstances.

The price you pay for an ill-fitting investment portfolio could be costly. You could find that your money is not working as hard as you would like it to, or it is difficult to access when you need it. Even worse, it could be eaten away.

The good news is that with professional guidance you can find the perfect fit for you.

Identifying your risk appetite

First, you must be clear about how much risk you are willing to take with your money. Low risk means settling for low returns, but take on more risk and you could potentially face bigger rewards – and losses.

In the current low-interest rate climate – where rates hover near zero while the cost of living continues to creep upward – some risk is necessary to achieve returns that will outpace inflation. But your investment decisions shouldn’t keep you awake at night, so it is essential to pinpoint the right risk/reward balance for you.

It is extremely difficult to effectively assess your own tolerance for risk. An experienced financial professional is best placed to ask the right questions and use the appropriate tools to create a clear and objective risk profile for you.

Remember: without some element of risk, your returns could be eroded by inflation over the longer term. An adviser can present options to help control risk within your defined boundaries, such as through a carefully structured and diversified portfolio. You could also choose to stagger the timing of investments in riskier assets to reduce exposure to market volatility.

Defining your time horizon

Experts say ‘investing is a marathon, not a sprint’ for a good reason. The longer you have to invest, the more risk you can generally afford to take. With time, you can ride out market turbulence and also benefit from compound returns – interest made on interest. So if you have the means and the patience to invest in the long-term, you are more likely to enjoy better returns.

Understanding your time horizon is also the key to future-proofing your investments so you can get hold of them when you need to. If you are planning to retire soon, for example, you may want to ensure your capital can be converted into a retirement income at the right time.

In any case, you never know when your plans may change unexpectedly, so it is important to hold some liquid assets that can be sold to release capital if needed.

Reducing risk through diversification

The higher your concentration in one particular area, the higher the risk. This is an especially important point to note for expatriates whose investments are skewed towards UK-based assets and therefore more vulnerable to downturns in the British market.

A good portfolio minimises risk by spreading investments across multiple, unrelated areas through diversification. You can limit exposure to any single sector of the market by diversifying by asset type – cash, fixed income (government and corporate bonds), shares and ‘real assets’ such as property – as well as by geographic region and market sector.

Be mindful that many private banks and wealth managers often allocate a significant part of their investment portfolios to their own in-house funds. You can achieve greater diversification by choosing an adviser who uses a ‘multi-manager’ approach to spread investments out among several different fund managers, each selected for their expertise in specific market sectors.

The impact of taxation

Finally, you should never underestimate the effect of tax on your investments. Without suitable tax planning in place, you could find your returns are slashed by taxes that could have been avoided or at least significantly reduced.

British expatriates can make the most of tax advantages in both France and the UK with personalised advice from a regulated adviser whospecialises in both tax regimes. They can recommend tax-efficient structures that legitimately protect you – and your heirs – from paying more tax than necessary.

Remember that your circumstances and objectives change over time – as can tax rules – so what works for you now may not be suitable in years to come. It is crucial to regularly review how you manage your wealth to make sure it keeps up with your situation, especially at different life stages, such as retirement or when relocating.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is sensible to consider a financial ‘health check’ now to protect your wealth from Brexit uncertainty and take advantage of today’s opportunities while you can.

All advice received from Blevins Franks is personalised and provided in writing. This article, however, should not be construed as providing any personalised taxation or investment advice.

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


Susan Keefe’s reading for April

You Can’t Drive Your Car to Your Own Funeral 

by Ann Marie Hancock

Ann Marie Hancock, the author of this book is a retired television personality, talk show host and model, but she is also a wife, mother, grandmother and daughter. In this, her third book she shares with her readers how she had a life changing experience in 1981, when she visited the Medjugorji in Yugoslavia.

Her experiences at Medjugorji led her to travelling the world, and carrying out healing services with a Benedictine Abbot.

Then in 2012 her strong, independent, and very private mother was diagnosed with cancer. Stoic and determined that it wouldn’t change her the ‘c’ word was not even spoken, let alone discussed. This was how she coped, if she didn’t say it, it didn’t exist. However, tragically not long after she started undergoing treatment, her husband died expectantly.

Everyone copes with grief in their own way, and now alone after many years of marriage, the author’s mother remained strong and controlling. In this honest and sometimes heart rending book the author, through her recollections of this terribly sad period of her life gives her reader a real insight into the strong character her mother was. Forthright, not suffering fools lightly, and certainly not being told what to do, or when to do it. I have a mother much of the same ilk and I am full of admiration for the way the author handled the multitude of events which occurred, and yet stayed loving and caring.

It was Ann Marie’s belief in God which was her strength, and this enabled this wound healer to face her greatest challenge yet. Because in caring for her mother and coming to terms with tragic events in her own life she embarked on a different journey, a journey of the spirit.

Through God and the teaching of the bible Ann Marie learnt to accept who she was, and come to the realisation that finding spiritual happiness is a life’s journey. That knowledge she imparts in this book, teaching the reader that the paths which they travel along in life are their own uniquely special journey. Along the route of life they will be tested, and will gain strength in accepting God’s will, even if they don’t understand it at the time. This epic spiritual journey is one which must be travelled alone. It is not about what others think you should do, or impressions you are given, your unique life events make you who you are, and the repercussions on your life evolve and change as you do. Depending on what life throws at you, these challenges empowers you to develop strengths, understanding, and happiness. It is easy in life to blame others when things don’t go as expected, get angry, put up a guard, however once you learn to listen to God, and take time to pray and talk to him, amazing things will be revealed, and you will realise that it is in your power to find true happiness, and inner peacefulness.

In conclusion, Ann Marie has in this beautiful story shared a hard, yet very special time of her life with her readers. Within its pages is a very clear insight into the strength needed emotionally to care for someone with a terminal illness.

Billy Gogan Gone Fer Soldier 

by Roger Higgins
This book is the sequel to the author’s first book, Billy Gogan: American, in which orphan Billy is sent from Ireland to America on the eve of the 1844 Irish Famine. Living by his wits, and doing what he has to, to survive, Billy quickly learns to grow up, establishes a life in Gotham, and eventually becomes an American citizen. However, after the tragic death of his good friend and companion Mary Skiddy, and the Great Fire of New York, it is a reflective Billy who, aged 16 decides to join Uncle Sam’s army, and this is where the second book really begins.

For anyone with an interest in this period of history this book will, I am sure be compulsive reading. The author uses a blend of real and fictional characters to make this an excellent history book, with clear maps and outstanding information on the movements of American army as they fought against the Mexicans in the American – Mexican war. However this book has one very important element which makes it stand out against other similar history books, and that is Billy Gogan himself.

Through his eyes, as a member of the Fourth Infantry we see a soldier’s life in the raw, no holds barred. We are with him as he watches his friends die, sometimes terrible deaths, feel his pain as he clears away the bodies, picks up their letters to loved ones and wipes their blood of his clothes. We read throughout this book numerous examples of his and other soldiers loyalty to their adopted country as they carry out unspeakable acts in order to win battles, on the commandments of their leaders.

Because of the way this book is written the social history of the time is an integral part of the story. It is fascinating to discover what life was like for those civilians who travelled with the soldiers, and as a result, whose lives became interlaced.

The author has, in this outstanding book, through the character of Billy Gogan, chronicled the battles which took place during this period of American history in a very human way. The very real hope on both sides from the soldiers and common people, that war would not occur, then the horrors which resulted when it did.

In summary, in writing this book, the author Roger Higgins has produced an excellent story, well researched, wonderfully detailed, and totally compelling reading.

Available from Amazon:


I Wish I Were a Fairy Tale: A Story Illustrated With Cakes 

by Crystal Walters

This wonderful children’s book captivated my three year old granddaughter’s imagination straight away.

As soon as you see the front cover you just know that this book is going to be something different, but it isn’t until you start turning the pages and entering the magical world of fairy tales that you realise just how wonderful it is.

Enchantingly, it is written in rhyme and very uniquely illustrated. The author’s passion behind the book is evident, not only in its content, but also by the fact that the story is illustrated in cakes, icing and frosting! On the front cover and throughout every page, all the settings and figurines for the different parts of the story were hand made by her, and were real, delicious cakes.

Haven’t we all wished we were in a fairy tale, having adventures in a magical place, and that we could be a princess, meet a unicorn, fly in a hot air balloon, or sail the seas with pirates?

Well in this story a little girl and her puppy travel into fairy tales. There they meets mythical creatures like mermaids and dragons, and visit classic immortal characters like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Then as the moon rises they travel with the Sandman into other children’s dreams, bringing them to life as well.

The fairy tales we hear as children stay with us throughout lives and deep down we never forget the magic of them, and the people who have read them to us. I really liked the size of the font, for children learning to read it is clear and encouraging, and also thought it is a wonderful introduction into the joy of poetry.

The authors loving childhood shines through in the writing and love she has put into creating incredible book. I am sure it will grace bookshelves, and be held by many little hands for years to come.

Available from Amazon:

Your reading for March, Reviews by Susan Keefe

In God We Trust: Morally Responsible Investing

by George P. Schwartz

How to combine investing wisely with your moral responsibilities and beliefs.

What a refreshing book, I thoroughly applaud the ethics behind the Ave Maria Funds and its policy to offer investors the opportunity to invest in a manner consistent with their faith. Sounds too good to be true? Well read on, and discover how the Ave Maria Funds came to be and the values of the people who set up and manage them.

As indicated in the Forward by Lou Holtz, this is the sequel to ‘Good Returns, which he contributed to. In this new book, ‘In God We Trust the reader discovers the ever increasing more morally conscientious investors. In 2001 Gorge Schwartz the CEO of the Schwartz Investment Council Inc. was approached by Tom Monaghan the founder of Domino’s pizza and the late Bowie Kuhn Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Dedicated Catholics, they wanted to launch a series of investment vehicles – the Ave Maria Mutual Funds, which enabled investors to invest in a manner consistent with their faith. The funds would provide Morally Responsible Investing, identifying with companies which do not participate in, contribute to, or support abortion or pornography.

There are now five different mutual funds, all pro-life, pro-family, and dedicated to investing in companies which don’t violate the core principals of the Catholic Church.

These mutual funds each have a different objective, they are:

Ave Maria Value Fund, Ave Maria Growth Fund, Ave Maria Bond Fund, Ave Maria Rising Dividend Fund, Ave Maria World Equity Fund

What I loved about this book is that in it George Schwartz gives his reader a real insight into his life, upbringing, and the values he has been taught, and has lived by, in the Catholic faith. It is these things which has made him the man he is today, and the help of his wife Judi of course. It is also these strong moral principles which form the basis of the Ave Maria Funds.

However, right from the very first page this book’s subject is paramount. This is investing and principally about how to invest morally and responsibly. The authors offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field accumulated through many years. Throughout, sound, practical advice is freely given. In a world where greed is rife and everyone is keen to make a fast buck, wouldn’t you rather invest in a fund with strong, good moral principles?

This book’s values touched me personally, although I am not a catholic, and I found it extremely thought-provoking and interesting.

Available from Amazon:


The Exigent Earth: Recently Placed On The Endangered Species List: Humans

by Beverly Knauer and Murray Rosenthal

A fascinating and thought provoking passionately written science-fiction story.

This outstanding book sends out a powerful and very strong message to its readers. Woven into a fascinating science-fiction plot is the fact that we are stewards of the world, its fate, and ultimately our own is in the hands of everyone. Mother earth is a strong spirit with incredible ways of protecting herself. Everyone is accountable, and can make a difference. As it says in the book “People must understand that it isn’t up to someone else to save them. Their power is within and always has been.”

The story opens with Virginia Sutter a multilingual geologist and writer deciding to attend a conference in Zurich by Nickolai Sparsinsky a reclusive Russian scientist. Neither Virginia, nor Nickolai could have imagined that the decision would change both their lives forever!

Its love at first sight, and it isn’t long before Nicholai manages to escape Russia and relocate to America. It is in Montana that they meet a young 14 year old Indian girl called Olivia, who even so young possesses special healing powers. An instant friendship develops and Virginia invites Olivia to live with them on their ranch in the Pryor Mountains.

There Nickolai builds a laboratory set into the mountains. He is passionate about his research and the icing on the cake comes the day when Nickolai reveals proudly to his wife that there is in fact another secret lab. Taking her there he explains the full potential of his achievement in successfully turning on higher energy states at the cellular level. Although elated, both are very aware that his breakthrough can help mankind, but it also worryingly has the potential to be weaponised in the wrong hands.

Nickolai’s tragic death soon after his revelation sends government officials flocking to the ranch desperate to discover what the talented scientist has been working on, but the secret lab isn’t discovered. Unaware, the officials after ransacking the lab leave with plenty of paper, but the secret it safe.

Soon after, Virginia enters the secret lab alone and something happens. Then, it isn’t long before Virginia discovers that Nickolai will always be with her both in her dreams and also in the form of the baby growing inside her.

As soon as he is born Olivia calls him her ‘Child of Light.’ Zac is no ordinary baby, and afraid that his abilities will be noticed, the women do their best to protect him. However, not even Olivia can shield him from the cruel events of life, and it is a sad orphaned boy who finds himself travelling with Olivia to Vermont, to live with his uncle Brian.

As this amazing story progresses the bond between Brian, Olivia, and Zac grows. With Olivia’s spiritual guidance, and Brian’s enthusiasm and dedication Zac grows into an intelligent young man. Then, a meeting with his father’s oldest friend, opens doors for Zac into his father’s world. Finally understanding his research, an incredulous Zac, through it, and his mother’s guidance in visions, finally realises his role in life.

As natural disasters leave the planet desecrated and the death tolls rise, the government wants him discredited but the people love him. What will destiny hold for Zac, Olivia’s Child of Light, and the planet we all take for granted?

Murray Rosenthal one of the authors is a world-renowned, board-certified psychiatrist, researcher, and lecturer who thrives on adventure, and lives with his wife on Lake Tahoe. Whilst his multi-award-winning co-author Beverly Knauer is a retired chief of rehabilitation services, who now enjoys writing stimulating novels. Her two previous works are the visionary ‘The Line Between’ and ‘The Soul’s Hope.

This is an exciting story, passionately written. With space travel, biological weapons and incredibly thought-provoking content it really does makes compulsive reading – Highly recommended!

Available from Amazon:


The Amazon Rainforest Adventure: Inform children about how important our Rainforest is (Picture book) (The Rescue Elves Book 2)

by Monty J. McClaine

As a family we are very conscious of the world around us, the environment, recycling, and animal welfare. Awareness is so much easier to teach when children are young, and so when after reading The Plastic Pollution Adventure (Picture Book) (The Rescue Elves Book 1) I discovered that there was a second book in the series The Amazon Rainforest Adventure I just had to get it to read to my little granddaughter. This was not just because it has magical elves in it, but also because the deforestation of the Amazon rainforests has such an incredible impact on our planet and its ecosystems.

For those who don’t know, The Rescue Elves, or relves, are the special elves who look after Santa’s sleigh. It is their job to ensure that if there are any problems with it, they know what to do, and if necessary can rescue Santa, and save the day. However to do this they must stay in tip top condition throughout the year, and be ready to deal with any situation in any place on the earth. Therefore Mrs. Claus sends them on special missions to test their skills, and ensure they can deal with any situation, and these missions are the topics for this series of children’s books.

Holly, Charlie, Jack and Sparkle, are the names of the elves, and they are so excited, they love exploring and visiting beautiful places. In this adventure Mrs Claus has sent them to the beautiful Amazon Rainforest.

Before they go, the elves already know how important the rainforest is to the health of our planet and all the creatures who live on it, and why it is called the “lungs of the earth.” They also know how wet it is, the clue, well it is a ‘Rainforest,’ and so they are suitably dressed. However, when they arrive they are dismayed not to hear the animal and bird sounds they are expecting, but screaming!

Who could be screaming, and why? Well, the reason is revealed when they come across a very unhappy Monkey King who has his foot trapped. When the relves discover what it is under, and how it happened, they set about helping the monkeys to free him. However, when they find out from the monkeys how much of the beautiful forest has been cut down by humans, and the damage it causes, they are very sad. At the back of the book there is a list of a variety of websites which can provide more information.

I thoroughly recommend this compelling story which is beautifully illustrated. It is a wonderful instrument to open up discussions with children about the importance of trees, why they are cut down, and what they are used for. The author very cleverly bringing environmental awareness gently to their attention at an age when they are very receptive to ideas and good habits are easily formed.

Available from Amazon:

What are your UK pension options in France today?

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks 

Pensions are often the key to long-term financial security, so it is crucial to take extreme care when deciding what to do here. Expatriates have the added complication of factoring in the tax rules of two countries, as well as the potential for Brexit to limit the range of opportunities.

So what are today’s options for Britons living in France?

Defined contribution’ or ‘money purchase’ pensions

This category includes most personal and employer pensions and Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs). Here, what you are entitled to depends on how much you have paid into the scheme alongside employer contributions, tax rebates and investment growth.

Since the pension freedoms of 2015, members of defined contribution schemes can usually do the following from age 55:

  • Take the whole fund as cash, technically called the ‘Pension Commencement Lump Sum’ (PCLS) – 25% will be tax-free in the UK.
  • Make cash withdrawals when you want – a quarter is free of UK tax each time (unless you have already taken the PCLS).
  • Take regular income through ‘flexible drawdown’, leaving the remainder invested.
  • Take a secure, regular income for life through an ‘annuity’.

As UK pension payments are usually paid in sterling, conversion fees and variable exchange rates can reduce the value of income for retirees living in Europe. A no-deal Brexit may even prevent UK pension providers from legally paying benefits to British nationals in the EU.

Expatriates have the option to transfer UK pension funds an EU-based Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) tax-free. QROPS advantages include the flexibility to pass pension benefits to chosen heirs, take income in euros or sterling and more investment choice. Once in a QROPS, funds are protected from future UK taxation, including lifetime allowance penalties.

However, QROPS benefits and rules vary significantly between providers and jurisdictions. Also, a 25% UK tax charge applies on transfers to QROPS outside the EEA (European Economic Area). Many believe the UK government may tax EU/EEA transfers after Brexit, so if you are considering transferring, act sooner rather than later to avoid unnecessary taxation. First, make sure you take specialist advice to establish if transferring is suitable for you and navigate the complex options.

‘Defined benefit’ or ‘final salary’ pensions

Here, your employer guarantees a proportion of your salary for the whole of retirement. While you cannot usually withdraw cash from this type of pension, you can transfer it to a defined contribution scheme or QROPS. Traditionally, this has been considered less beneficial than drawing a guaranteed pension for life. However, some providers have been offering higher than usual ‘transfer values’ to reduce their future pension liabilities, sometimes representing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Sensibly reinvested, a high one-off sum could potentially provide a retirement income that exceeds the original annual payment, but it is crucial to fully understand the consequences before giving up lifetime benefits.

In any case, you should consider various issues before making pension decisions.


While 25% of cash withdrawals can be taken tax-free in the UK, if you are French resident they are usually taxable in France, as is other UK pension income.

French residents accessing UK pensions will attract French income tax rates ranging from 14% for income over €9,964 to 45% above €156,244.

For lump sums, it is possible to limit French tax to a fixed rate of just 7.5% with an uncapped 10% allowance. You will only be eligible if you have not already started drawing benefits from your pension and you take the entire fund in one go.

Pension income and lump sums are also generally subject to annual social charges of 9.1%, unless you hold EU Form S1 or do not have access to the French healthcare system. So if you are under the UK state retirement age but able to access your pension, it may be worth delaying joining the French healthcare system to prevent unnecessary social charges.

The exception here is UK government service pensions – including teachers’, local authority, army, police and civil service pensions – which remain taxable in the UK only (although the income is included when calculating your French final tax rate).

For the best results and to avoid an unexpected tax bill, take specialist, cross-border advice before making any pension decisions.

Making your pensions last

Having the freedom to withdraw or transfer your pension does not mean that you should; you may be better off taking no action at this time. If you do choose to take some or all of your benefits as cash, make sure you have a reliable plan to fund your long-term future that matches your personal circumstances and future goals.

Beware that pension scams have never been more widespread and sophisticated – generally, if an investment sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure any company you are dealing with regarding pension services is regulated with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Remember: unprotected investments risk losing your money, with no compensation if things go wrong.

Even amongst regulated providers, check for quality. The FCA found that less than half of those transferring final salary pensions received suitable advice. Make sure your adviser takes account of your needs, objectives, personal circumstances and risk appetite to find the best solution for you and your family. Getting it wrong could have serious and unexpected consequences.

Take care to explore your options now – before Brexit potentially changes the landscape – to establish your best approach for a prosperous retirement in France.


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 February from Susan Keefe

In Foreign Fields: How Not To Move To France

 by Susie Kelly

A thoroughly entertaining read.

As a firm fan of Susie Kelly’s books about her adventures and experiences of living in rural France, I couldn’t resist downloading this, her latest book, and I am so happy that I did.

In it I discovered how it is that Susie Kelly came to live in her house in the Poitou-Charente region of France. Throughout this wonderful book she shares her incredible adventures of this time, and I found myself laughing, sighing, and sometimes nearly crying, as I read them described in truly ‘fly on the wall’ style.

Like many others before and after them, Susie and her husband Terry set off armed with practical advice, hope and lots of information and tips on house buying in a foreign land. Needless to say, despite this, we all know the draw of the Estate Agent’s window, all those amazing properties, interesting, and sometimes slightly misleading descriptions, plus the financial restrictions which we all have. Susie and Terry were just the same and settled for, as my dad would say ‘a doer-upper.’

From the moment you open this book and start reading, Susie Kelly’s frank and humorous style of writing draws you in, and, as an expat myself, I have to say it really is a very honest look at the wide range of characters of people, both English and other nationalities which you encounter here. Through her amazingly descriptive writing she paints a vivid picture of the countryside and life around her in this beautiful region of France, and recounts honestly many of the situations she finds herself in, and the antics of her menagerie.

Whether you dream of moving to France, want to know what life here is really like, or just want to be a fly on the wall enjoying someone else’s experience, then this is the book for you.

Available from Amazon

Pinnacle Lust 

by Michelle Dim-St.Pierre

Secrets unfold when a mother reveals all to her daughter.

What would a girl expect to be given from her mother on her 18th birthday? A locket, or similar as a keepsake perhaps? Leigh Stone does receive something memorable on her 18th, but not quite what one would expect. Her mother Sharon decides that this is the right age for her daughter to discover secrets she has kept about her past, through necessity, until now. So bravely (or foolishly, I wonder) Sharon decides to give Leigh her own journal, which reveals the truth about her younger life.

The story begins with Leigh’s stunned acceptance of her mother’s unusual gift, and as she reads it the story unfolds through Sharon’s own words.

The journal begins in November 1990, when the young Sharon, a kosher Jew, living a secular life, is the nurse house supervisor at the Kol Israel Achim Jewish Hospital. It is there that one day she is introduced to a new physician at the hospital Dr. Sloan, and it is love at first sight.

Despite being in a relationship, with a very eligible man, the sight of the six foot, well built and ‘gorgeous’ Dr. Sloan literally takes her breath away. As their eyes meet she dares to imagine that he feels the same.

Sounds like a fairy-tale, a match made in heaven. Well it would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that Sloan is in fact a married man with a son. However, their joint attraction is so strong that neither can resist the temptation, and they embark on a passionate, and very intense love affair.

Leigh soon discovers in the pages that her mother’s young life at this time was very traumatic. She reads of Sharon’s decision to finish the relationship with boyfriend Joel, her establishment of lifelong female friendships, brief sexual encounters, and tragic loss of life. Also, she get a glimpse of what it was like to live through the terrors of the bombing of Israel by the Iraqis during Operation Desert Storm.

As adults with a few years of life behind them, many people, myself included, can relate to the core emotions of this story, from one side or the other, wife, mistress, husband, lover, either through their experiences, or those of friends. However the reader has to remember that Leigh is only 18 and her reactions to her mother’s life as they unfold are typical of someone that young.

Along with the excitement of the affair, Sharon and Sloan also have to deal with the real life issues of being together, both at work and at home. The celebratory days when the married lover is with his ‘family’, the snatched moments, these and so much more are situations which the lovers have to come to terms with. Very clearly the loneliness of Sharon, (the mistress’) life is exposed, laid bare, emotions raw.

With her body clock ticking away, like thousands of women before her, Sharon decides she wants a baby. However, how will this affect their future? Will Sloan really leave his wife for the woman he professes to love? If he does, what will the spurned wife do, and how will she react when she discovers about the affair? So many questions run through Leigh, and the readers mind in this exciting story.

As the story concludes, Leigh’s life is turned upside down by the revelations the journal contains, and she realises she doesn’t know her mother at all!

Available from Amazon

Hide and Panic Stations:  Super Speed Sam, Book 1

 by Monty J. McClaine

Will Super Sleuth Basset Hound Sam find Jack?

I first fell in love with this series of Super Speed Sam books when I downloaded book 5, just before last Christmas. My granddaughter and I so enjoyed reading of Super Speed Sam, the innocent looking Basset Hound’s adventure when he was Santa’s Rescue Dog that we just had to read the whole series.

In this, the first book we were introduced to the McClaine family, which consists of Mom, Dad whose real name is Marty, but who Mom calls Monty, Jack a typically mischievous six year old boy, and Molly (also known as moms little princess) who has just managed to start to crawl. The sworn defender of this family is their best friend and pet Super Speed Sam.

The character of Sam is adorable, my brother had as pets, and bred Basset Hounds for a number of years. Their strong characters and clever brains are cleverly hidden behind their sloppy loveable face, and they make wonderful childhood pets, as my children and nieces will attest to.

The affable Sam is the perfect companion for Jack on his adventures and in this story they are playing hide and seek, a game which every dog owner knows, dogs excel at.

Sam is very good at hiding but Jack finds him in the end. However, when it is Jack’s turn to hide he discovers the perfect place, somewhere nice and comfy, and being a boy he has his hands free flashlight and his MP3 player. Things get even better when Jack finds a hidden gem just waiting for him to look at. At this point Jack does what boys do best, he loses himself in the moment and goes off into his own world, innocently totally unaware of the bedlam he is causing.  Meanwhile poor Sam is confused, where could he be?

Sam looks in all the usual places and soon his desperate searching alerts the family to the fact that Jack is missing. Mom is panicking and even dad is getting worried. There is nothing left to do, Sam decides he must chant his special powers chant and become Super Speed Sam!

Donned in his special Sherlock Sam hat and in full sleuthing mode, as only Basset Hounds know how to, he begins his search. The question is, will Sherlock Sam find his young master safe and sound?

Well, the only way to discover the answer is to read this exciting adventure, and I am sure you will enjoy this wonderful story, which is beautifully illustrated, as much as we did!

Available from Amazon



Aquarius ( 20 January – 18 February ) – This month marks a new phase in your life, when you will take your appearance much more seriously, and begin working as hard as possible. New relationships, career changes, financial revamps and health concerns are in for this month.There is certainly room for imagination and inspiration in your career.For a peaceful existence, avoid serious dating, mating and relating as the situations and people you attract around those times will bring complications.You will also plan a short break, or a working holiday, which will allow you to do much more with your life.Favorable Dates :Feb 4, 9, 13, 18, 22, 27 Favorable Colors : Red & Blue

Pisces ( 19 February – 20 March ) – You will have a very perceptive or sharp mind and may take proper decisions for your career and personal life.You would rather learn on your own through travel and experience than endure structured classroom. You would be bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. Independent and hard to pin down for long, you will be astonished at the increase of happiness in your love and married life. Get out your butterfly net and start hunting the romance in you. The period is also excellent if you want to commit to a new way of managing your mind, body and spirit.Favorable Dates :Feb 1, 3, 10, 12, 19, 21 Favorable Colors : Red & White

Aries ( 21 March – 19 April ) – You will be full of life and this will reflect in your work. Your communication skills will come into light bringing you gains.You may adopt a new style of presentation, especially for career or professional purposes bringing a shift or change in your personal life. It’s just the right time to make yourself over, so you can really enjoy close personal relations. This is the perfect time to move your love life into a new area. Unusual alternatives like speed dating, online relationships, and other rule-breaking experiments will make you glad. Favorable Dates :Feb 2, 3, 11, 12, 20, 21 Favorable Colors : Blue & White

Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May ) – You will have a good money inflow and you will spend lavishly for your comfort.This month will be very pleasing, as you will achieve victory, fame, respect and appreciation by all. Both professional and personal life will be joyful. Strong bond will be developed with loved ones and with friends and the office staff. Teamwork will bring great win-win results. For maximum fun, pursue flirtation or erotic experimentation and pick up the thread properly. Do be aware that any relationship which begins will test your patience, stamina and dedication. Favorable Dates :Feb 7, 8, 16, 17, 25, 26 Favorable Colors : Red & Grey

Gemini ( 21 May – 20 June ) – You will have to skilfully use your ideas in your work and success will be yours. Those who are in any of the creative fields will get greater benefits,This month sees youyou getting more experienced and clearing all the differences of opinions to work in collaboration with colleagues.Do be wary of making decisions based on emotions, when a snap decision could create a crazy domino effect. Do look at the facts and figures.Love life will rock.You have a ready wit and will appreciate the humour in even the grimmest situations.Favorable Dates :Feb 2, 7, 11, 16, 20, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Green

Cancer( 21 June – 22 July ) –This month seems quite satisfactory. You will take out time for yourself and may become more insightful and emotions will fly high. This is on the positive side as you will become more understanding and caring and will make your close ones very happy by expressing your feelings.If you are prepared to work hard at love, then you should pass all the relationship exams ahead. For the best results, set aside the second half of the monthto co-operate on your plans.Gains from communications and unconventional sources and hobbies are possible. Favorable Dates :Feb 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22 Favorable Colors : White &Yellow

Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August ) – It’s the right time to travel to advance your situation, your knowledge or your experience. You may journey geographically or you may travel into the higher realms of knowledge. You are drawn to explore deeper or more significant beliefs or practices that will become a new foundation in life. Humour, lecturing, education, publishing or self-expression feature this month.You will have a happy time on the personal front. You will win hearts of all your loved ones by showing them love and affection.If you are still single expect a major revamp of your love life.Favorable Dates :Feb 3, 9, 12, 18, 21, 26 Favorable Colors : White & Grey

Virgo( 23 August – 22 September ) –This month is for gaining social strengthMatters of romance, recreation, lifestyle or children will feature, as will creative projects and speculative ventures. Some of you begin a romance, one that will take real effort or bring responsibilities. For those in a relationship, it’s time to reshape your lifestyle and your operations together to give your love or life a new form or direction. You will see a definite change in atmosphere, mood and expectations and a whole new relationship game will emerge. Favorable Dates :Feb 7, 8, 16, 17, 25, 26 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Blue

Libra( 23 September – 22 October ) – This month could bring greater changes than you expect. If, however, you are on track, you will be amazed at the amount of new influence you have. Expect a passionate popularity vote.You will benefit from a special talent, enthusiasm or passion which you could turn into income, or extra prestige.With spouse or love, a great time is indicated as you will get to express your deep feelings, which will bring closeness and intensity in your life.Do focus on your children, your spouse, or a special weekend hobby or interest that you share.  Favorable Dates :Feb 7, 8, 16, 17, 25, 26 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Blue

Scorpio( 23 October – 21 November ) – You will have unexpected gains and if you are adequately alert while working then success definitely is yours.You may deal with creative or spiritual people. New interests projects, people, hours, equipment or methods or practices may fascinate youand will point you in a different professional direction, and in some cases, a total change of lifestyle will be in the offing.You feel a call to move away from current involvements or alter your direction. Romantic or creative aspirations bring a change of direction. Be sure you’re not seduced or taken in though.Favorable Dates :Feb 1, 7, 10, 16, 19, 25 Favorable Colors : White& Blue

Sagittarius( 22 November -21 December )You may feel exhausted from your effort or disillusioned with your professional situation. Career influences or connections may be distracting, disruptive or even deceptive. If you are fatigued or disinterested, you may be searching for a new kind of fulfilment or a new kind of life. The devotional aspect of life may find new importance.if you want to progress, be down to earth, kind and caring.Expenses are likely to rise and you have to become economical. Nevertheless, you will try your best to deal with needs of your loved ones.Favorable Dates :Feb 2, 9, 11, 18, 20, 27 Favorable Colors : Red & Blue

Capricorn ( 22 December – 19 January ) – Tremendous change is on the way, and it will benefit you at every stage, even when some connections are forced to change. New friends and networks which are already on your radar will grow in importance, with wonderful end results. The change in your attitude, the sudden switch in your circumstances, or the rapid exit of a problem should be cause for celebration. Your job must allow you to have total control over your life and as much power as you can handle.Your fondness for food, may catch up with you.Favorable Dates :Feb 5, 6, 14, 15, 23, 24 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Black





France tax changes for 2019

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

A new year in France usually sees the introduction of some new tax rules or rates.  This year is no exception, although the changes are rather muted compared to last year’s big reforms to the taxation of investment income and wealth tax.

The biggest changes in 2019 are the introduction of a pay-as-you-earn system for income tax, and a reduction to social charges imposed on investment income for many retired expatriates.

This is a good time to review your tax planning, to make sure you know where you stand with your taxes and establish how you can limit your exposure to unnecessary taxes.

Income tax

There are no changes to French income tax rates for 2019 (payable on 2018 income). The income tax bands for each rate have increased very slightly to index them for inflation, so the current bands rates are:

Income Tax rate
Up to €9,964 Nil
€9,964 to €27,519 14%
€27,519 to €73,779 30%
€73,779 to €156,244 41%
Over €156,244 45%

The ‘exceptional tax’ remains in place for 2018 income. This charges an extra 3% or 4% for income over €250,000 and €500,000 respectively, with higher thresholds for families.

Income tax is payable on earnings, pensions and rental income at the above rates, and you are taxed as a household rather than an individual (which can be beneficial for some families).

Investment income is taxed at a fixed rate (the Prélèvement Forfaitaire Uniqueor PFU) of 30% which includes both income tax and social charges.   This has not changed since last year. If you do not earn much investment income you can opt to use the progressive rates of income tax instead, for all your income, plus social charges.

For non-residents, the minimum tax rate on French source income has increased from 20% to 30%.


France has begun implementing a pay-as-you-earn system from 1stJanuary 2019.

It applies to employment income, retirement income (pensions, lifetime annuities), rental income (including French property rental income of UK residents), taxable state benefits, maintenance payments, non-French income taxable in France, business profits and consultancy fees/independent income.

Income tax will now be deducted at source for French employment income and pensions each month.  For other affected income, such as self-employment earnings, rental income and UK pensions, tax will be collected through monthly or quarterly direct debit from your bank account.

The amount payable is calculated on your last income tax return (so for 2019 it will be your 2017 return), with any balance due by the end of the year.

Investment income – interest, dividends, capital gains and gains from life insurance policies/non-French assurance-vie– is excluded from PAYE. It also does not apply to non-French income that receives a tax credit in France under a double tax treaty.

Social charges

Social charges remain at 9.7% for employment/self-employment income, 9.1% for pension income and 17.2% for investment income including rental income.

However, for individuals in receipt of pension income of less than €2,000 per month (€3,000 for a couple) the charges will be reduced back to the 2017 rate, i.e. 7.4%.

Individuals covered under the health system of another EU/EEA country are no longer subject to the contribution sociale généralisée(CSG) or contribution au remboursement de la dette sociale(CRDS) social charges on their investment income and capital gains. Instead, the new prélèvement de solidaritéwill apply at a flat rate of 7.5%.

This is good news for those holding Form S1 and non-residents, since their social charge burden on investment income reduces from 17.2% to 7.5%.

You can submit refund claims for any charges paid at the higher rate during 2018, speak to your tax accountant.

Wealth tax / real estate tax (IFI)

There are no changes from 2018, so ‘wealth tax’ is only levied on real estate assets.   The threshold for this Impôt sur la Fortune Immobilière(IFI) tax remains €1,300,000 and the scale rates of tax are the same as last year.  The 75% limitation also stays in place.

Following demonstrations in France, a committee has been set up to review whether the ‘old style’ wealth tax (which applied to most worldwide assets) should be reintroduced next year.

Other measures for 2019

The changes to the calculation of taxe d’habitation, introduced in the previous budget, mean that 65% of French households will be exempt from this tax in 2019.

There are reductions for certain components of the social security contributions for employees and employers. The main rate of corporation tax reduces to 31% (from 33 1/3%).

Tax planning

It is important to understand how French taxation affects you personally, and establish tax planning solutions based on your objectives and family circumstances. Regular reviews are essential to make sure your arrangements are up to date. For expatriates, an adviser with cross-border experience can help you make the most of opportunities offered by the French tax system.

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; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

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


Manish’s Zodiac Predictions for January

Capricorn (22 December – 19 January) – You have the chance this month to discover new or untapped resources on a financial level that can translate to a boost to your financial well-being. You are ready to put your newfound confidence “out there” for everyone to see. You feel more connected with your natural instincts which boosts your confidence in your own already uncanny intuition! Some level of introspection characterizes the period, but it is not a lonely sort of self-absorption by all means.You also embrace whatever makes you different, no matter how unusual it may be  Favorable Dates : Jan 5, 8,  14, 17, 23, 26 Favorable Colors : Blue & Green

Aquarius (20 January – 18 February)– You’re more emotionally invested in your relationships, and can take stock of which are working, which aren’t, what needs to be done, and what can’t be fixed. You’re also more concerned with maintaining peace and balance. Going over past errors, redoing projects, smoothing over differences on the job–all of these matters occupy your mind and your time this month. You’re also busy working with your physical body. Implementing and maintaining an exercise or nutrition program should be a priority. Favorable Dates : Jan 2, 8,  11, 17, 20, 26 Favorable Colors : Red & Green

Pisces ( 19thFebruary – 20thMarch )– You have a strong interest in broadening your mental experiences in general, and finding expression of your personality through them, perhaps through higher education or exploring different philosophies. Connections that further your career goals are made and come seemingly out of the blue–at exactly the right moments! Introductions to different people and new lifestyles continue to expand your mind. Casual relationships continue to mature and become more serious this month.For some a partner is more goal-oriented and is approaching your relationship from a more practical perspective. Favorable Dates : Jan 6, 7,  15, 16, 24, 25 Favorable Colors : White & Grey

Aries ( 21 March – 19 April )– You have a positive attitude and people enjoy being around you because of it. You can make the kind of progress you’ve been wanting to make if you’ve done the hard work required and made the smart decisions needed. If you haven’t done that, you can feel yourself get further away from where you want to be. This is a good time to focus on what you want from your life, and how you’re going to get there. You can be creative, but you have to force yourself to focus, otherwise the creative energy goes nowhere. Favorable Dates : Jan 1, 3, 10, 12, 21, 30 Favorable Colors : Red & Grey

Taurus ( 20 April – 20 May ) – You enjoy being around others and have mental stimulation. You want to challenge your mind, and keep yourself busy to use up your mental energy. You can take on lots of small projects, commit to many social engagements, and you share everything with everyone, not wanting to keep anything to yourself. You could experience conflict between the demands of a partnership and the demands of career this month. Finding a balance between the two, instead of pushing or rebelling against either, is the challenge now.Favorable Dates : Jan 3, 9, 12, 18, 21, 27 Favorable Colors : Red & Blue

Gemini ( 21 May – 20 June )– You’re excited by what you learn, and you can come up with lots of new ideas. If you deal with clients in your work or business, you might experience increased interest in your services and more contacts in general during this period. Personal revelations serve to push you towards growth and experience. Business-related travel may enter the picture or it might increase. You are reaching more people in your career, broadening your contacts or your audience, and drawing on wonderful powers of persuasion. You may come across as more independent, unique, or intellectual. Favorable Dates : Jan 3, 4, 12, 13, 21, 22 Favorable Colors : White & Blue

Cancer ( 21 June – 22 July )– Your imagination is at an all-time high, and others find you decidedly romantic and attractive, although perhaps somewhat hard to reach. Your dreams become more vivid and intriguing, and you are more comfortable with generalizations and abstractions than with cold, hard facts. Challenges with finances can occur then, but they are ultimately pushing you towards better management of your resources. Your confidence can be shaky if you let other people’s opinions influence how you feel about yourself, so ignore them.Tame restlessness and tend to your responsibilities as best as you can. Favorable Dates : Jan 7, 8,  16, 17, 25, 26 Favorable Colors : White & Red

Leo  ( 23 July – 22 August )  – Your magnetic powers, which enable you to attract positive energies, attention, and financial rewards, are strongest in this month. You have lots to say and share, lots of ideas to explore, lots of interests to dive into, and you’re excited about all of it. You are looking for more authenticity in your associations in general, weeding out those connections that feel too superficial. You are bound to make some fortunate connections that benefit you for months to come. A close relationship can begin, blossom, or demand attention.Favorable Dates : Jan 1, 3,  10, 12, 28, 30 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Red

Virgo ( 23 August – 22 September )– You feel most like yourself when you’re doing the things you enjoy most in life. You want to spend time on your hobbies, be creative, use your imagination, and let out your inner child out The details and the mundane tasks aren’t something you’re interested in. Work tends to be very available to you, and possibly too available at times, so that you may have to choose between alternatives or you could take on too much. Overall, however, work is likely to be very rewarding.Favorable Dates : Jan 2, 3,  11, 12, 29, 30 Favorable Colors : Yellow & White

Libra ( 23 September – 22 October)– You can focus on your relationships, putting them under the microscope. You begin to feel more confident about making important decisions and you convey your ideas with greater certainty. You figure out which are doing well and which aren’t, which can be fixed and which need to be released, and you can let go of one or more people. You can also work on bringing more balance into your life, and have more peace and harmony. It’s not the best month for lending money or collecting on loans. Favorable Dates : Jan 1, 4,  10, 13, 28, 31 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Grey

Scorpio (23 October – 21 November )– Your personal belief system is transforming dramatically, and you are learning from a broader set of people and experiences than you ever have. You can focus on financial matters now, and gather financial information, get financial advice, or work out a new budget. You can take your time coming up with ideas, making decisions, and don’t see the point in rushing. Once you do make a decision, you stick with it no matter what. Events and realizations this month can get the ball rolling for important changes. Love relationships can reach new depths of understanding.Favorable Dates : Jan 1, 4,  10, 13, 28, 31 Favorable Colors : Yellow & Grey

Sagittarius (22 November -21 December)– This can be a highly productive month for you. Your close attention to performance and details will not go unrewarded!  You are able to focus when it comes to creative output, and could work quite doggedly at a particular hobby or craft now, perhaps from behind the scenes. Romantic opportunities might come from people of an entirely different background or culture, or through education and travel, this month. You are especially organized in your home life, and more compassion and tolerance emerges in your relationships with family.Favorable Dates : Jan 6, 8,  15, 17, 24, 26 Favorable Colors : Blue & White