European Pension Comparison: France

French Pension S Comparison

Euros and French Flag. Credit: esfera/

Spain is a country with expatriates from all over Europe but for retirees to maintain a good standard of living how does each country vary when it comes to state pensions? 

According to expatica, to be eligible for the French state pension, individuals must have worked and made social security contributions in France. A minimum of 10 years of work in France is required to claim a pro-rata pension, while at least 42 years are needed for a full pension (40 years for those born before 1952). This requirement will increase to 43 years by 2035 for those born from 1973 onwards​​​​.

Retirement Age In France

The standard retirement age in France was 62. However, from September 1, 2023, a new policy, which proved to be highly unpopular, has raised this to 64 for individuals born in or after 1968.

For those born between September 1, 1961 and December 31, 1967, the retirement age will increase by three months per generation. The age for an automatic full pension remains at 67​​, writes

Average State Pension Amount In France

The amount of the French state pension depends on three factors: average annual earnings, pension rate, and total insurance period. The maximum pension rate is 50 per cent of the basic salary, with a minimum cap of 37.5 per cent for those born after 1953.

Low-income earners can receive a minimum of approximately €636 per month. The pension amount is not differentiated based on gender​​​​.

Unique Policies Of The French State Pension

France offers a social security benefit, ASPA (Allocation de Solidarite aux Personnes Agees), to elderly individuals with low or no income, providing up to €916.78 per month for a single person, as long as the total personal pensions do not exceed €1,299.36, explains Pensions in France are subject to income tax, with a 10 per cent allowance per household.

The tax system in France is based on fiscal households, meaning married couples file joint tax returns. Tax rates can go up to 45 per cent for high-income individuals. Additionally, widows over the age of 74 receive an extra 0.5 units in their household calculation, leading to tax reductions​​​​​​.

Comparison With UK And Spain

Statistics produced in October by Almond Financial gave the following European comparisons, known as the European Pension Breakeven Index. The study looked at 30 countries, their average monthly pensions balanced against the average monthly living costs, based on the recipient being mortgage-free.

European Ranking Country Monthly Pension Monthly Living Costs Percentage Above/Below Breakeven Point
1 Spain €2,625.55 (£2,287.24) €644.35 (£561.43) 407.40%
7 France €1,715.53 (£1,497.73) €860.57 (£751.31) 199.35%
16 UK €920.74 (£802.32) €789.66 (£688.04) 116.61%

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.