Some people have enough courage to follow their bliss: we all remember when Mary of Simply Forties sold her house and all her belongings in Texas and took off for a gig as a caretaker for a gorgeous farm in Virginia. Another woman blogger is up to something similar: she chucked the day job, found ways to earn by working out of her home, and has taken off for the Ozarks, where she dreams of finding a house and building a home, never to have to plod off to the salt mines again.
If I were brave enough to do that, well… I’d want to live here:
Yesh. “Here” is a little house in Langue d’Oc, in the south of France.
It’s $202,877. Not totally unaffordable if I could get my price for my house. At 180 square meters it’s larger than what I’m living in, so there’d be a fair amount of space to furnish… What’s living with packing crates if you’re living in the south of France, anyway? If you’re interested in joining this daydream, you can convert square meters to square feet here and euros to dollars here.
Frugal Scholar has been looking in to this sort of shenanigan. She just reviewed Kathleen Peddicord’s How to Retire Overseas and has come to the conclusion that an American could live in Langue d’Oc for $1,495 a month…including $650/month for rent. That is significantly less than it’s costing me to live in my paid-off house in a place where summer temperatures regularly reach 115 and sometimes go as high as 120 degrees.
I wonder if the French will allow me to bring Cassie into their country?
About 95% of the properties under $400,000 are nothing I’d want to live in. In the four hundred grand range, there are some beauties. If I had only a half-million to drop, I guess I could force myself to live here. Blogger friends could come and rent the second house for their vacations. One might not suffer too much in this place, or here, or here. If you’d like to try to earn a living while you’re semi-retired in the south of France, for only $445,625 you could pick up a B&B. Not bad, compared to the cool million the inn owner in Flagstaff proposed when I inquired about buying his B&B.
All out of the question, of course. But…be patient, mes amies. Drop into the under-$300,000 range, and you can live in a former winegrower’s cave, renovated into an interesting village house. Or picture this place with a little less clutter on the inside—it’s only slightly beyond in my price range
Assuming I could sell my house for what Zillow says it’s worth, this one is eminently affordable. And for the price, I could move here and have enough left to finance the move and buy furniture in France.
Don’t you love the bathroom?
Charmante, except for the ladder-like staircase.
Wouldn’t it be loverly?
It’s fun to daydream, but you have to snap back to reality sooner or later. For one thing, there’s the matter of French taxes. Their system is even more byzantine than ours, from what I can tell. Apparently they may not double-tax your federal pension—i.e., Social Security, on which you’re already paying a hefty tax in the U.S. But they do charge a stiff tax on dividend income. So that would mean you’d pay two taxes on income from your retirement savings, one in the U.S. and one in France. Assuming your expenses really were limited to $1,495 a month, that might be all you could afford.
Medicare doesn’t pay for healthcare outside the country, and so you’d have to buy into France’s medical system…who knows how much that would cost? The French healthcare system is suffering in the global recession; among other things, some hospitals in the provinces have been shuttered, making access to an ER or a doctor even more problematic there than it is here.
For some folks, the language difference could pose a problem; I majored in French so could probably adapt quick enough. However, living in France is not the same as living in the United States; there are some major cultural differences that could require some serious psychological, social, and financial adjustment.
Starts to make the Ozarks look pretty good, eh?