Ask the Finance Experts: How to Pick a Savings Scheme

 
Ask the Finance Experts: How to Pick a Savings Scheme

Rosemary Sheppard explains how French saving schemes work and which would be the best one for you – whether you’re looking to save for a rainy day or are planning on gifting money.

French or UK savings schemes?

Now that our gîte business in France has moved beyond breaking even, we are in a position to put monthly sums aside as savings. Should we invest in French or UK savings schemes?

If you are living in France and intend to stay there, then I would recommend using French-compliant saving schemes, such as the various Livret accounts (for more instant access and smaller amounts), or an Assurance Vie (for longer term and larger amounts). These will help to keep your savings tax-efficient. As a non-UK resident, you are no longer entitled to the tax-efficiency offered by the likes of ISAs and Premium Bonds.

How easy is it to get life insurance in France?

What are the basic principles of an Assurance Vie, and how easy is it to set one up?

It is very easy to set up an Assurance Vie, but taking advice to get the right set-up for your individual circumstances is the important thing. The main advantages of an Assurance Vie are its tax-efficient qualities. Your savings are allowed to grow tax-free. You have an additional tax allowance of €4,600 per person from Year 9 onwards, although this does not mean you cannot have full access to your money during this period, with the correct investment. There is preferential tax treatment on any withdrawals you do make. The Assurance Vie can also help enormously with succession planning (if you’ve invested in one before the age of 70) and passing your funds on in a tax-efficient manner. Anything within your Assurance Vie is exempt from wealth tax.

How are gift tax rates in France?

As an unmarried couple living in France with two grown-up children, we would like to know about gift tax rates here. Are you able to offer a basic outline?

Gifting is a complex area and as I am not a tax expert, I would always advocate seeking expert advice in this area. However, the current rules state that you can gift directly to your children the sum of €100,000 from each parent to each child at the nil-rate band. This does not apply to step-children. If you chose to gift to your children before your death and then survive a further 15 years, you are able to effectively re-set the gift and gift a further €100,000 directly from parent to child.

This can further be enhanced by using an Assurance Vie, as this will allow you to nominate your children as beneficiaries for a further €152,500 per child, at the nil-rate band (as long as the investment is made before the age of 70). If the Assurance Vie is set up in individual names, then each child can benefit from this amount from each parent or as a step-child, as the nil-rate band attributed to Assurances Vie is not just for children and can be passed to multiple beneficiaries that are not necessarily related to the gifter.

Please note: These answers are based on our understanding of current legislation and practices, which are subject to change, and are not intended to constitute – and should not be construed as – investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. 

If you have any concerns about your current investments and pensions and would like us to review, contact us today by email [email protected] or call me on 06 38 86 99 70. Website: www. blacktowerfm.com

This communication is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice form a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.

Blacktower Insurance Agents & Advisors Ltd is regulated in Cyprus by the Insurance Companies Control Service and registered with ORIAS in France. Blacktower Financial Management (Cyprus) Ltd is regulated in Cyprus by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission and is registered with the AMF in France.

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