Time has passed, and in spite of my health conditions, which would probably permit an "early retirement", I have never bothered applying for my "rightful" UK State Pension, as opposed to my Military Pension, because quite simply, I had the feeling that the idea would not be received with great pleasure or acceptance by the British Authorities, and I was living relatively comfortably at the time!
|"Rente"="Pension" in German|
"Arbeit" = "Work"
Since I am approaching, at great speed, the limit for making my request/demand for this "State Pension", I am interesting myself for the details in the UK, and it doesn't look too wonderful.
To give you an idea, the German system is such that over the last 6-7 years, my German Pensions have been increased, in total, by 3.5% - over the whole period, offset by corresponding increases in the German Health System costs, effectively giving a net rise, for luxurious living and extravagancies, of some 0.5% per year, as opposed to certain other European countries....
Now, being a Pensioner, I can well imagine that nobody wishes to give up voluntarily a neat, tidy, nice and cosy little position, but there are limits.
To put the situation plainly, UK Pensions, during a similar period of time, have been increased annually, in some form or other, by an average of 2.5% ANNUALLY......remember the German figure..3.5% over a period of 6-7 years - NOT ANNUALLY...!
There is however a large difference.
Inflation in Britain has been running at well over DOUBLE the rate than in Germany - annually! This simple fact means that in Germany, a Pensioner can actually buy more, and do more - with less money, lower increases - than his UK counterpart even with his annual higher increases!
This doesn't help me personally, because - living in France, I must make my purchases at French prices, which are generally higher than German ones, whilst being appreciably lower, generally, than UK prices.
A strange situation, not lost on the UK Government, who have seen more and more Citizens of retirement age - leaving the UK to live abroad, whilst STILL retaining their Health System rights and privileges of the UK, and they didn't like it!
So - they've put in different conditions and laws to cover the situation of receiving a UK Pension - abroad, and they are complicated and not "user-friendly"!
Actually, on the subject of the Health Insurance, the French Authorities weren't too happy either, being forced to accept paying for care to British Ex-Pats who were really "residing" in France, but not participating in the French Health System, obtaining treatment free of charge through European laws and the British National Health Service - in France.
I believe the situation has been "arranged" and I was never involved in any case because - although a British Citizen, entitled to treatment in Europe under the British NHS, I was also a German Pensioner and had to pay the mandatory German Health System Contributions each month, entitling me to treatment in France the cost of which was then paid by the Germans to the French!
Complications of European life.
Complications of European life.
The only real positive point comes when I look at the "Life satisfaction" statistics....in 2004, the UK was higher in the list of "satisfied" people than Germany or France..... in 2007 rather lower..... in 2010 even lower..... and 2011 figures haven't been done yet - and my own "satisfaction" with my standard of living, in France, compared to what I would have to accept elsewhere, particularly in the UK!
I recall what a certain gentleman quoted on the subject:
A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in and how many want out....!(La methode le plus simple d'evaluer une Pays est de regarder combien des gens veulent rentrer et combien veulent sortir..!)
and there's an awful lot of people wanting out.........
...........in 2004/5 (in thousands)
Probably even more now, and I think most of 'em are in the Dordogne......!