As French workers debate over pension rights, many foreigners living in France have been wondering how they fit into the equation.
If you have worked in France under a French contract for at least one trimestre (quarter), then you have begun paying into the state pension system, because it is compulsory to do so.
However, you must keep in mind that the French pension system is ‘pay-as-you-go’ – meaning, you might only qualify for a very small French pension if you worked for only a few years in France.
If you worked in both France and another country, and you are curious about how your pension will be calculated to reflect your working time in both countries, you can learn more HERE. Keep in mind that the situation is different for people who have ‘posted worker’ status.
The remainder of this article concerns solely French state pensions.
While there are complex calculations you could attempt to estimate it, we have some very good news that will save you some time (and a headache) – France has a simple and user-friendly website at which everyone can calculate their pension entitlements.
If you have worked and paid contributions for more than one trimestre in France, you will find an account set up ready for you which shows your years of contributions in France, and what pension you can expect.
The advantage of the French system is that your pension contributions are deducted automatically, even when you change jobs, and the government keeps track of it all via your social security number.
Here is how to use the website;
You will start with a homepage resembling the screenshot below:
Head to the top right corner and click on the link below “Mon compte retraite” which says “J’accède à mon compte retraite.”
Once you have clicked on this, you will be led to a log-in screen (shown below). You will have the option to log in with France Connect.
If you do not use France Connect, you can create an account by clicking “Créer mon compte retraite” in the lower right hand corner. You will need access to your French social security number to fill out the relevant information.
Once you have logged onto the website, you will find a screen welcoming you to your account.
This homepage has different sections such as your profile on the website, a visualisation of your working life and pension contributions in France (Ma carrière) and your pension simulator (found under “Mon estimation retraite“).
To calculate what your current French pension looks like, and to simulate what it could be, you should click on “Mon estimation retraite.” You should be taken to a page that resembles the one shown in the screenshot below.
Accéder directement à mon estimation offers a predictive pension rate based on your current situation.
To simulate what your pension could be in the future, by adding in elements reflecting your individual situation – such as children, disabilities, and periods of unemployment, click “Simuler ma retraite.”
The website shows what you can expect if you retire at the legal minimum age (note: this screenshot was taken when the minimum age was set to 62, but starting September 2023, the minimum age will progressively rise to 64 due to pension reform) and what you can expect if you stay until the ‘upper age’ of 67.
It will also show you how many trimestres you have, and how many you need for a full pension.
To simulate what your pension could become, you will have to fill out some further information. The first is your family situation – as shown in the image below, you will need to indicate if you have any children and if so how many.
Next, you will describe your professional situation – whether you are employed (Salarié), working as a freelancer or contractor or running your own business (Non salarié ou indépendent), a public sector worker (Fonctionnaire), or currently receiving benefits. Ignore the expatrié section – that’s for French people working abroad.
This segment will also ask you further details about your situation, like if you work full or part-time, what your average salary is, and more.
Once you have filled out the relevant information, you will be taken to a new page that offers a simulation of what you could earn as a French pension based on the information you uploaded.
The above screenshot provides an example of a simulated French pension for a person who has one child, and has worked all of their career, full-time, in the French private sector with an average annual (gross) income of €36,000.
Keep in mind that there are many different factors that are involved in estimating a French pension, so the simulation you receive may not perfectly predict what you will be owed upon retirement.
So what about people have have contributed to a pension in both France and another country?
When it comes to non-French pensions, periods of employment outside France may be combined with years worked in France to boost or qualify for the French state pension. However, it depends on which country you have worked in, and whether that country has a social security agreement with France.
You can learn more about this HERE.