Looking for advice on cost of living in France (South of Paris, Nice or Toulouse area). Partner and I would be making €120 to €140,000 combined household, before taxes. Another option is California where we could make way more money (at least $200-$220k combined, and less taxes). What is the cost of living in California (Irvine or San Diego) as a comparison? Is it expensive to have kids in the US?
My partner and I are considering a move to France. We work in high tech, and recruiters have quoted us salaries of €65,00-€75,000. He is a Canadian/European citizen. I am in the process of acquiring EU citizenship myself through the consulate. So visas won't be an issue. I'm also fluent in French. His French is pretty good. We've traveled there extensively, we know the culture etc etc. So we know we'll like it, we just want to know how much we'll bleed money in order to be there.
Location: Nice, Toulouse; also some options south of Paris (Corbeil)
Household income: €120k to €140k approx. before taxes
Household: two adults, two cats; will have kids in next couple of years
Lifestyle: when we buy stuff, we like nice quality things; but really we just like to cook & live simple. But we don't want to live in a cramped house or apartment. We like space.
Goals: saving for retirement, kids in the next few years, having a relaxed life (work to live)
- what are rents like in these areas? housing prices? is finding a place for 1,000sq ft out of the question? we're open to being outside of any downtown core in order to get a livable size. this is what I've found so far, and it's in the €380-€485,000 range.
- mortgage rules in France? how much deposit, insurance etc? This is what I've found
; it looks like 20% down payment with a risk of having to look outside of France for a mortgage broker since we are not French citizens.
- cost of living? are household goods expensive?
- taxes? Will 50% of our salary go to the government? this is what I've found so far on tax rates.
It looks like €140k quickly becomes €90k for the two of us.
- what are the tax breaks? if I contribute to RRSP / 401k do I get a break?
- kids... if we have kids in a couple of years, what is the support? In Canada for example there is 1 year maternity leave that is supplemented by govt and unemployment insurance. All I see so far is a whack of tax breaks for having kids in France, but I don't know what the employment rules are.
- is health coverage comparable to Canadian system?
- cats... how to travel across Atlantic with cats? I live in a huge house now, would they be happy in a small 1000sq ft apartment?
Another option for us is California (Irvine or San Diego area). Our estimated salaries there would be at least
$100k-$120k USD each (so $200-$220k household). I don't know the US tax system, but I gather our take home would be much higher than France (or Canada for that matter).
- I hear the cost of having children (healthcare, lost wages) is astronomical in the US. This report makes it seem like the medical cost of having kids is $32,000
(but only $2,200 out of pocket, which seems low... maybe that's the cost of the birth itself but not pre-natal care). Is that true? How much have you all paid?
- I would likely quit my job for 1 year in order to stay home with the baby and then go back to work (i.e. emulate the Canadian system), so wages lost there.
- how much is healthcare costs? I am Canadian so I know nothing about American healthcare. Do I just buy healthcare insurance and pay a monthly fee? And then fight with the insurance company each time I want reimbursement?
- Cost of living (housing) in Irvine or San Diego. Will we live in a teeny tiny house 100 miles away from work?
- Is the commute as horrible as everyone says it is?
- will it be fun? any ex-pat Canadians who went south please chime in here
And finally overall... what would make the most financial sense, and the most overall "quality of life" sense. We're in our mid 30s so growing our retirement is important.
Experiences & anecdotes welcome... Thanks me-fites!!