I had an appointment last week with my bank to organize the final pay-off of my mortgage at the end of this month. I had calculated I owed about 90,000 Swiss francs (that's just over $90,000) but "allowed" 95,000 in my calculations just in case. Well I was bang on and I'm so glad 'cos if I had messed up somehow and "forgotten" or "missed" an additional, massive amount I would have been totally screwed now that I've retired! Anyway, I'm all signed up and "it's all mine!!!!!!" as of 26 April. So that's a relief! As I was talking to her, though, I happened to mention the situation of my brother and how we had managed to sign him up for a funeral package just before he died so that everything was taken care of for his sons … and that's when she pulled out the relevant paperwork for me! Well actually it wasn't telepathy as she reminded me she had actually called me for something when I happened to be in Wales for the funeral so had put together the basic "package" and intended to bring it up at my appointment. Wise minds think alike I guess. Not that thinking about your own funeral is a barrel of laughs but I realized that I wanted to avoid my sons having all that to deal with "if and when". It doesn't cover a burial plot but I want to be cremated anyway, so she said I would have to sign up for spot in a "cremation pillar" if that's what I wanted!! Nah, I told her I wanted to be cremated in banana leaves (not possible apparently - although I think a raffia coffin is) and then my ashes scattered on the mountains behind my house. Apparently that's illegal but then there's not much they can do about a carrier bag with a hole in it is there! And since the mortgage insurance will now drop off my monthly payments the amount saved will now pay for my funeral package. Great fun! I just have to mention it to my boys now, but at least that's checked off my "to do" list! That should be an interesting conversation next time they come for dinner!
After everything was signed I asked her if she could tell me how much interest I had saved by paying off my 17 year mortgage in seven years and she said she couldn't do it just like that. So when I got home I took my original loan amortization paperwork and worked out that I saved roughly €32,000!!! I know it's complicated switching from euros and Swiss francs but that's the way it is over here. Wow, €32,000 (that's almost $36,000)! I tell ya, it was so worth it knuckling down and throwing as much as possible at that mortgage. Well, in all honesty, if I hadn't done that I wouldn't be retired now (or any time soon I suspect). So yay me!
On the not so "yay me" side, I just received my mobile phone bill covering the period I was in Sri Lanka! Bloody hell. €120!!!! It's usually about €30, and since I crossed the border every day for work I knew to keep mobile roaming turned off, but 5-6 times when I was in Sri Lanka I switched it on briefly to check my messages! Well lesson learned I guess!!! And another horror story … I was in the newsagent's on Saturday buying stamps and I told the man next to me to go ahead as I was rummaging about in my purse. So he asked for one of those little "roller thingies" to roll his own cigarettes "because they were cheaper that way". Out of curiosity I asked the lady how much a carton of 200 was and she said €86!!!!! Bloody hell, I used to buy my ex's cigarettes every week in a vain bid to stop him going into town to buy them (after which he always ended up legless in the bar opposite the newsagents - yeah, that really worked well!), but crikey! €86!!! And to be honest my ex would get through two cartons a week because he would light them up and leave them burn in the ash tray after only taking a couple of drags!!! I'm so glad I'm not paying for them any more. He did tell me around this time last year that he had quit smoking three months earlier. Good for him as I'm sure it can't be easy. But I did point out how glad I was not to be living with him at that time - or any time since actually!!! I don't know if he has remained "quit" as I don't have any contact with him by choice, but since my next door neighbour was taken seriously ill in January (hospitalized with pneumonia) and she has had to quit I can see how hard it is on her. But she no longer has that rasping cough and sounds so much better! I'm so glad I never started though!
On a totally different subject (Brexit - yay Brexit) I had dinner with my old friend last Wednesday and it was good to have a catch up after so long. She is British and lives in France like me. She has her paperwork pretty squared away to get her resident's permit for France to be followed by her request for naturalization. I'm gonna wait until this whole debacle is sorted (if it ever is), so she's ahead of the game at least. It was important to her anyway because she gets a small UK pension which her daughter is using while she is studying in the UK and there is some talk that UK pensions of British expats might no longer be index-linked! Great fun, screwed over again, after not having a vote to begin with. Anyway, she was telling me that her son has just been offered a job in Switzerland. For which he needs what they call a "frontalier permit". For which he needs proof that he is legally resident in France. For which he now needs to apply for a resident's permit. And for which the local French administrative offices are no longer giving appointments for us to hand in our paperwork! Like I saw on a sign in Wales - "bollocks to Brexit"! I'll drink to that!
And finally, I had my appointment with another tax guy today after getting the shock of my life when the last "expert" told me that I would have to pay €29,000 tax on my €132,000 lump sum when I was expecting to pay just over €9,000! I went back and forward with him until a colleague in a similar situation took it up with the local tax authorities, who basically told her my "expert" didn't know his a$$ from a hole in the ground. So I got an appointment with this other guy today. When I showed him what expert no. 1 had given me he burst out laughing and said you had to be careful as there were a lot of "charlatans" out there (I know, that probably sounds better in French than English!). But he confirmed what the tax people had told my colleague and now I will be paying the €9,000 figure and not his €29,000 figure! Wow! Just wow! I'm so relieved. As I told my new "I'm in love with you" tax guy, I just want everything to be in order as I can't afford for the tax people to come back in a couple of years time saying I owe them €20,000 (plus a fine probably). So a good day all round. And "yay me" like I said!
You have a whirl wind of a financial life right now. Good planning on your part all around.ReplyDelete
I'm a planner - and since I knew I wanted to retire I had to REALLY plan as there was no room for cock-ups! But I'm so grateful I did as retirement is great!Delete
Great job getting all that taken care of. Glad you found a better tax person!ReplyDelete
Admittedly the tax set up round here isn't easy because you are often dealing with different countries' tax codes but it shouldn't really be a matter of finding a "better" tax person should it? It should be he either knows what he's doing or he doesn't - or he shouldn't be advertising as such. Anyway, I like "my guy" much better, as you can see!Delete
Wow, so happy for you! A paid off mortgage and a lower tax bill on your payout! Thank goodness you went to a real expert. Smoking is such a terrible thing, I am so glad I never did either. My father-in-law smoked until 50 then quit and he still died of lung cancer which they found when he was 71. Such a terrible painful way to die. Two of our kids smoke but one has switched to vaping which he thinks is better, I am not so sure but who knows. You certainly can't tell them any differently.ReplyDelete
Sadly I think in my day young people smoked to look cool - well that was certainly the James Bond kind of message conveyed. And then before they knew it they were hooked. I lit up a couple of my husband's cigarettes while he was driving and nearly threw up so that was enough for me. I also don't think smoking "forgives" many years later, even if the person no longer smokes. Sad really!Delete
Well done you (as you Brits say)! Good planning on your part, and thank goodness you were steered in the right direction for your taxes. That could have been ugly if you'd got yourself tangled up with the wrong guy. I was a smoker for about 10 years, quit when I was 29. It's an awful habit, and I'm glad I left it behind! Brexit is a fiasco. xxReplyDelete
Glad you were able to quit smoking - the cost of those bloody things is just horrendous isn't it! And yeah, Brexit, what fun that is. I can pretty much put my hands on all the paperwork I will need to get my permit but until it is done I can't even get an appointment! That being said, the British Embassy in Paris have a FB page and I have found them very helpful. Good job somebody is listening to us I guess!Delete
Congrats own ownership!! Congrats on the lower taxes!! yay! And yes, tobacco is very expensive because... it's an addiction.ReplyDelete
If I hadn't got the house paid off I couldn't have afforded to retire as I couldn't afford the mortgage on my pension. And yep, the government can tax the hell out of cigarettes and alcohol can't they because they are addictive!Delete
Wow - you are doing so well getting all of your financials in order now that you're retired!! I need to do the funeral planning - I have written my wishes down in case I fall off a cliff in Wales or wherever but should get more specific and pre-pay cremation etc. It seems to me that your math is more reliable than the so-called experts!ReplyDelete
Hi Jane - I've been away (again) so haven't been online for a while. But yep, touch wood, my calculations seem to be working well and long may it last!Delete