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Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2018 3:40 pm
by WG
I may be relocating to Paris for a research position. For those in the forum that have lived there or in France, I would appreciate some information on cost of living e.g. how much would one expect to spend on rent in the city vs the suburbs--the workplace is in the suburbs, but I may potentially live in the city. I know taxes are higher in Europe compared to the U.S. for instance so also curious as to what percentage of one's income one would expect to pay there.I know salaries are not discussed in this forum but I hope this question is okay. Finally are there sites with information on payscales in France or Europe for postdocs and/or other research staff? This is a contract position in a government lab.

Any other tips you can offer on living in France would be helpful. Thank you.

Re: Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:55 am
by D.X.
Hi WG -

Ok well I don't live in France, I live in the next door to the south east - I know very well what a French work contract looks like.

INCOME Tax wise - taxes are much lower than the US and other EU countries (~15 or less%) and the only place where you'll get some wiggle room on tax negotiation as a non-French citizen/permanant resident.

SOCIAL contribution wise is where you will get hit income wise and where it NON-NEGOTIABLE. And this is taken directly out of your paycheck when you are paid. No filing necessary. That can be in excess of 40% of your income. This is where all your health-care benefits and Pension benefits will come from, you have no choice but to make this contribution. The finer Details of recollecting your Pension contribution when you leave France is something to discuss with your tax advisor. YOu should negotiate Access to a tax-advisor at least for your first year, there after you can take over as for you it will be simple. I'm not a post-doc nor do I live in France, but in my current Country I did negoation a tax Consultant for a few years and that was beneficial, i still use one since well I can't read or speak the language where I live.

Luckily you negotate your income based on the above deduction and aways you'll land say NET-income wise at a Level that will allow your living. This this is where you really gotta to ask. Ask about your NET income Income tax and Social Contribution and negotiate there! So if you do the math you lose about 50% of gross income.

I kinda laugh when People balk at the social contributions because at the end of the day whether the government takes it directly or you pay directly, it all amounts to similar percentages. I live where we make those contributions privately, it's pretty high so it still Comes out of the pay check anyways.

Regarding Paris - you have to look where your Research Institution is and look at commute time. Traffic wise, Paris is insane - on a recent flight into CDG it took me over 2 hours to go about 30 Kms by taxi. Best to commute by public Transportation.

LIke any City rents can be expensive in the City but the trade off is that you're in the City. That being said Paris is quite spread out City with many neighborhoods to choose from - choose wisely not all the best. You can find many neighborhoods in Paris that will give you a homey-feel in Terms of local hangs. There is an expat community there obviously so that will be where you find your community.



Note to the edit: You didn't say where you are located. If you are a US citizen you are taxed on your worldwide income. The US may not acknowledge your social contribution. But they will acknowledge your tax to France. So you will still Need to file US taxes and you will not be double taxed - at your income-level you should be tax-exempt via foreign tax credit (up to 120 K USD annual pay). If you are elsewhere then you should avoid double Taxation - double check the treaties.

Re: Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:46 pm
by Vinze
I have lived in France, but I do not have all the insight to help out here. What I know for sure is that taxes on your income will be less than in the US. Paris is a very expensive city, but in my view, it is cheaper than NYC, probably comparable to Boston.
You may be able to find a studio or 1 bedroom for about 1000 euros (or less) in a neighborhood that is still in the city center, but a little outside of the touristic areas. It all depends how much you want to put in your rent and what confort you are looking for. You could get cheaper and share a apartment too. The city is very well connected with the subway and buses. No need for a car, and you can afford living in the center while having a 30 min subway commute. Easy.

Salaries are low in France but as a postdoc, it could be comparable to the US. It really depends what is your funding source.

Re: Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:01 pm
by Vinze
What is the institute/University you are going to work for?

Re: Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:23 am
by Mark L.
I live in France, so I might be able to provide some insight. Some gross generalizations here...sorry in advance. So when you say "the city" do you mean Paris? As mentioned, Paris is likely going to be one of the worst cities in terms of salary:cost-of-living ratio, but it's Paris (so it's worth it, right?).

The reasons for a researcher to move to France are generally that you can have a job for life. If it's a CDI for a government agency, the job security will be amazing. Of course, the trade-off will be a rather low salary compared to what you would get in the US. If you intend to stay your whole life and retire, it can be quite a good plan. It's nice to remember that France is a lot more socialist than the US, so you can generally consider that you don't have to be saving millions of dollars for your kids' university, to pay for your health insurance when you're old, etc. You just have to survive month to month in your rather small apartment, eating fresh baguettes. At first you might think your quality of life is worse (small cars, small apartment, small meals), but eventually you'll understand that these things are actually a better quality of life (hopefully!).

If you intend to just come for a few years, it might not be the best investment. The best plan would be to get your education and retire in the socialist country and earn your income in the capitalist country, not the opposite.

Re: Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:07 am
by Ana
Mark L. wrote:The best plan would be to get your education and retire in the socialist country and earn your income in the capitalist country, not the opposite.

Mark, this is such a great quote!

Re: Relocating to France?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:01 am
by D.X.
Ana wrote:
Mark L. wrote:The best plan would be to get your education and retire in the socialist country and earn your income in the capitalist country, not the opposite.

Mark, this is such a great quote!

Agreed. A bit off topic but there is a show on British TV (maybe BBC) called "A life in the sun". About British folks looking for retirement homes or vacation home usally in the South of France (sometimes Italy, Spain) - can get some decent priced homes! Fun show to watch - Check it out.