France bottoms out as wealth hotspot for expats, says HSBC survey

France bottoms out as wealth hotspot for expats, says HSBC survey

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France bottoms out as wealth hotspot for expats in 2010 Expat Explorer Survey, says HSBC Expat. Results suggest retirement and older demographics are a fitting factor.

The 2010 Expat Explorer Survey results conducted by HSBC Expat ranked France at a low No. 23 of 25 countries in disposable income and overall finance for expats.

For its third year in a row, HSBC Expat continued their annual survey, upping the total sample to over 4,000 expats in more than 100 countries who completed questionnaires related to essentials such as business, quality of life and family environments.

Expat Economics is the first of three reports, revealing the economic climate among expats in 25 countries ranked by measurements in finance and economics. Two pending reports on expat lifestyle and family are set to be released by the end of this year.

France flounders with finance
Well-surpassed by BRIC countries and areas like Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, France sat at the bottom five slots for an expat's income, disposable income and a hotspot location for wealth.

"Expats are earning more, the economy is growing, and there are better career opportunities in the BRIC countries,"says Lisa Wood, Head of Marketing for HSBC Expat in Jersey. "It's where expats will make more money."

The majority of expats in France see the economic climate as relatively unstable, and three out of every five believe the situation has worsened within the past year. Average earnings fell way below overall figures, and over one-third indicate they have seen a jump in prices of everyday items.

"A few years ago the eurozone was the place to expatriate. It was good for business," says Dr. Noeleen Doherty, Senior research fellow at Cranfield University School of Management in Bedford, England. "Expatriation comes in waves, and there's a downturn in EU countries and an upturn in BRIC countries."

Germany and the Netherlands sat at No. 24 and No. 25 in the overall ranking of Expat Economics. The only country in the eurozone to rise above No. 20 is Switzerland (No. 14).

Occupation, or lack there of, plays a role
Unlike the majority of countries where finance is a top occupation amongst expats, over one-third of expats in France are retired and almost half are aged 55 or older.

This demographic plays a role in France's bottom listing. Despite concerns about France's deteriorating economic climate, 90 percent remain unharmed by this weakness and are not looking to move home.

"Money is not always the answer. Career opportunity upon return, importance of host location, the element of choosing, cultural distance, political instability, schooling for children… Packages vary considerably, and companies have to be careful on what they offer," says Doherty.

Results also showed expats in France are less like to monitor their expenses or worry about reduced career opportunities (nine percent compared the 20 percent overall). One expat surveyed noted, "I have a better quality of life but, due to the present rate of exchange regarding the euro and pound, it has caused hassle [with] regards [to] finance which I didn't have before."

"There is a tradeoff between lifestyle, family and finance," says Wood. "There are different motivators for going to different countries. It's all about balancing out different things."

The majority of expats sampled in France are from the United Kingdom (53 percent) and 53 percent are female.
Click here for more information on the Expat Explorer surveys.

France Editor / Expatica

Photos: alancleaver_2000, natloans

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