The retirement plan

Discussion in 'Diamond Lil's' started by guestm, Apr 12, 2010.

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  1. Yes it's just under a decade away but I'm already planning for my glorious future. And he who plans early....

    Being a well travelled bunch, who wishes to impart on me the pros and cons of living in France and Germany?

    The big ideal is to purchase a working farm for Pig, Poultry and sheep. With the possibility of Equine breeding and or a vineyard if all goes well.

    Being that Britain is:

    A. Full of wankers.
    B. Shite.
    C. Ludicrously expensive.
    D. Small business unfriendly.

    We are looking abroad, specifically France and Germany. As an example, what would cost me £1,500,000 here I can get for £350,000 on the continent.

    Now I have spent plenty of time in both but have never lived there, so anyone who has want to give me the lowdown?

    Comedic references welcomed as well as actual, real advice. I'd also like to hear others big, grand post-service plans.
  2. Now I lived in Stuttgart, Germany for 8 months. Not long i know, but long enough I feel to have an opinion on the place and possibly even Germany as a whole.

    I thought it was:

    - boring
    - cold
    - full of tossers

    And with the Euro now being so strong, it's looking even more unattractive.

    Moving to France won't help with my additional point but may certainly help with the previous 3.
  3. I always like the Germans when I visit, perhaps they just want my tourist cash.

    The Euro may be strong but rural property, including working farms are significantly cheaper outside the UK.

    As for being boring and cold, I'm from Cumbria so I have no issue with those.
  4. I like your plan, that is something we spoke about but my need for the outdoors and busy hands has led me into wanting, nay, needing a small farm.
  5. Hmmmm, in that case maybe it would be right up your street. For me, France has always had more of an appeal and while I am no wine boff, surely the quality of wine in France would pull Germany's pants down? This would be a significant factor for me especially as there cant be much to do between milking cows and sheering sheep apart from sampling a local red with some blue cheese. Just a thought...
  6. I lived in France for 8 years. It is a fantastic country and the way of life is leagues ahead of the Britain of today. The key to enjoying living there is to almost immerse yourself in the lifestyle, particularly if you want to run a business. They have certain traits and habits that might seem strange, overly relaxed, counterproductive to a Brit, but those who settled in and went along with it got a lot more out of it than those who resisted and tried to remain staunchly British.

    They are staunch defenders of their farming industries, French farmers are some of the best protected in Europe and much of the relevant EU legislation appears to have been drafted with the interests of the French front and centre - this is not something that can be said for this country as you probably know.

    They do love their rules and regulations, everything must be signed by someone, or taken to this department of the mayors office and then that department of the town hall etc. Again, this is just France, and if you go along with it then it isn't an issue, don't try and fight it you will just become frustrated. French bureaucracy used to be a weakness in a comparison with the UK however these days we have probably passed them in the pointless interference in your affairs stakes.

    From a cultural point of view, they have got it just right. Good food, good wine, a relaxed pace of life which they strongly defend and wish to maintain (particularly outside of the big cities). They are civilised and well behaved, you don't encounter the same hordes of uncultured knuckle draggers you do on British streets and those antisocial elements there are are confined to specific areas of specific cities, not to interfere with the masses. Their public services are fantastic, good doctors, good hospitals, refuse collections twice a week, recycling once a week, a mass rubbish collection (for items of any size) once a month, responsive active councils, good public transport and great value for money in the cities at least.

    In terms of going there as a foreigner, specfically a Brit, there are two versions you will hear. The first is that they aren't welcoming, they don't like the english, they won't speak english to you etc. Forget that, there are very few people that actually don't like the english, the majority see us as those quaint/slightly strange 'Rosbif' from across the channel and are welcoming, with a hint of friendly humour (French humour). That is as long as you make an effort with them, try and learn the language, make an effort to embrace the French way of life and they will treat you as one of them and you will get on just fine.

    I ramble slightly, but all in all I have a great affinity for France and the French people. Given the chance I will definately return later in life and would encourage anyone considering a move to go for it.

    -edited for some stoopid spelling
  7. Re Germany, if you are serious about it, start work on the language now. Everyone likes to say "Oh, it doesn't matter if you don't speak the lingo any more, everyone speaks English, don't they?"

    Well, firstly, that doesn't necessarily apply once you leave the cities. In the rural areas, you will often find older people who do not speak English at all. What's more, Germany is very hot on paperwork, some people might call it bureaucracy (this is compounded by the Federal nature of its structure). While the people you need to speak to to set up your farm will speak to you in English on the phone, they won't send out the paperwork in English and you will get sick of having to pay for translations of everything.

    There are also loads of German organisations online aimed at smallholders, you know, Pig Breeders United or whatever, and you can use them to gen up on it all before you actually up sticks, if you read German.

    Most of the cities have English expat clubs too; check out where they are; while you are finding your feet, you will find them very supportive.

    If you have a choice of North or South, consider the North; Hamburg is considered very "English"; furthermore, you will find the accent easier; Southern German can be very hard to understand.

    It's easier to get back home from the North Coast, too.

    Have spent a lot of time there as I have a Degree in German.
  8. Lonestar, thanks for that fella, just the kind of info I'm looking for, I know very, very loosely an English expat who farms in Alsace (He's not far from Strasbourg)and am going to go and visit him soon.

    Sol, I have no intention at all of going and being a typical, insular Brit. Wherever I go I will immerse myself completely and learning the language is top of the list of priorities, (I have 9 years to get this right).

    Thanks for the info.
  9. Cheers fella, I'll look into those, I've got some agricultural DLC ready to go next year to so at least I'll be busy.
  10. You mate, need to look at Slovenia. It is like Austria, without the Austrians. It has a world renowned equine industry, farms gallore, winter/summer sports and is close to many other interesting holiday destinations.

    If you're looking at France (I lived there for a year) you need to be looking at Pays de La Loire, or just south in Poitou Charentes. Pays de la Loire is simply beautiful and has yet to be taken over as a holiday home destination. Mounted hunting is done for Boar, Deer, Foxes and Hares, with Ancient forestry coming out of your ears.
  11. MLR, I was brought up in France during my early years and I can honestly say it has been a great headstart in life. The Frence way of life is so laid back, but yt still very productive. Like LS said the farmers are protected by local and national goverment. We had a small-holdings in Brittany during the early 90's after the last financal crash. The town was called Pontivy and its people were very welcoming. We were one of the only ex-pat families over there to embrace the french way and its customs. As oppossed to the second home pompus Brits purchasing all the properties in the area. So I would really recommend you look into France
  12. I'm willing to teach Slovene at a very competitive rate :D

    My favourite place in Slovenia, without a doubt, is Tolmin. It's such a beautiful place.
  13. You've probably looked at it already mucker, but in order to take on a farm in France of 'x' size (I forget exactly) you need to demonstrate experience and/or professional qualifications.

    Small-holdings do not need the same knowledge. Forestry would be a good gig, so long as you had some land for horses. If you have little Monties, I believe that Forestry does not attract Death Duties, so it is worth having some of your investment in this.

    Edited to add: Good post Lonestar. The French are really misunderstood by us brits. Learn the language, speak to the Mayor the week you arrive, and you're halfway there. Neglect either and you're fucked.
  14. All over it mate. Am starting my quals next year beginning with Farm management and Agricultural marketing, then moving into animal husbandry etc. I've done a bit of arable farming when younger and will be looking to do some farm work over leave periods over the next few years.
  15. If you get some Foresty is there space for a Hermit? I'll keep the place safe in exchange for an alibi for the two missing girls
  16. Absolutely, I'll need someone to keep the poachers out and the outbuildings well stocked with saucy farm maidens, like so:
  17. You got a purdy mouth
  18. Blackrat

    Blackrat War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Is that manfat on the photo?
  19. I do intend to have at least 6 hot French / German / Slovak / Austrian farm chicks knocking about, and one retard to amuse me:

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