When we made the move to France, way back in 2005/06, the exchange rate, pounds to Euros was such that we could walk the streets of Strasbourg with a smug grin our faces. After all at 1.48 Euro to the pound – who wouldn’t have? Every penny we shipped across the channel enabled us to finance a lifestyle that was, for all intents and purposes, a good one and a half times better than in England.
How times change. While it was easy to predict the downfall of the UK’s house of (credit) cards, the plummet in the value of Sterling came as a nasty shock, to us and most other expat Brits living in the Eurozone. Indeed it has meant that many have had to throw in the towel and move back to Blighty.
But hopes of a recovery look baseless as the UK government lurches from one disaster to the next, one moment promising reforms, the next cuddling up to the bankers that helped them to cause the chaos in the first place. The pound, for the time being, is doomed.
This reality for me has required a serious reassessment of our situation. From my virtual office I have been working for UK companies more or less perpetually since my arrival in France; billing in pounds and pence. Which means in the time I have been here I have had to mitigate against a slide of almost 33% in the value of my business, whilst still operating in an inflationary environment. This has to change, and I am sure I am not the only businessman who’s now looking at the Euro as the future, as well as dumping as many British clients as possible.
The Euro’s time was always going to come – with rock bottom interest rates, long term stability, zero political interference and a user base of 200 million people – the pound was never going to stand up for long.
We’ve committed to life in France, so even though we’re now pretty hard up – returning to Britain is no longer an option. In for a penny, in for a Euro – as they say in Europe.