Author Topic: major decision time  (Read 12347 times)

psychomoustache

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major decision time
« on: March 29, 2013, 03:26:03 AM »
If any of you have been following my saga with the French government, you know that I recently learned that I must pay a 20% VAT tax on  all my earnings because of my American diplomas - forever. I'm 47 BTW and not hoping for ER  - just decent 'R'.

So I've shared in my journal and some of the threads here - and found out recently that I could go for the French psych degree part-time, online - and have it take me maybe 5 to 6 years. Making me - at the end, about 53 years old. Leaves me about 10 to 15 years or so of working without paying that tax.

OR -I think - the pain and nonsense involved in getting the degree makes it not worth it, and it's better to suck it up, pay the 20%, stay very Mustachian, and remain in my current clinical training (that I really enjoy, that I'd give up to pursue the psych degree). The current training actually is relevant to my work in my practice, whereas the psych degree takes me back to things I haven't done since undergrad and have no relevance at all  other than that they're painful and boring (like clinical work can be sometimes too  ; ) )

The training I'm in costs 200€ a month - a lot for me now. The undergrad portion of the psych degree will cost 400€ a YEAR. I know, I know. After that, the master's portion is a lot more expensive, but less than my current training, and my current training will NOT allow me to eliminate the 20% tax in the long run...

It would seem like a no-brainer - GO GET THE DEGREE ! But another voice is wondering whether I can hold up motivation for years of this sort of coursework.

On the other hand, my "little" kid is going to be 11 years old this year, and I'm not desperately needed to be the mama as much...

OK would love your opinions and even your remonstrances. If I'm going to get the F-ing psych degree and upend my life for it, I'm going to need A Whole Lot of motivation (drill sergeant -type??)
 
Or maybe, Compassionate Wimpy-type Understanding and Warm Fuzzies  : ) That's good too... (she asks hopefully...LOL)

Rural

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 05:25:40 AM »
Here's the wimpy fuzzy, then: the stupid rules stink, and there's no real justification for you being in this situation. I'm so sorry.

Now, I'm not going to tell you to just go get the degree. You have to weigh the relative values of the purchases you're considering.

You have some money. Right now, you're spending it on clinical training. You've found out you have to pay a tax to keep working, so that's more money to be spent. You could go back to school and eventually eliminate the tax, "buying" 20% of your own income, but only after spending both money and time.

Only you know what your money and your time are worth to you. Which "purchase" is best for you, that is, gives you the greatest value? Have you considered that your best option might be to leave the clinical training in order to be able to pay the tax, but not to pursue the degree? It doesn't have to be either-or.

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 05:37:05 AM »
Yes Rural...I was just thinking about quality-of-life issues... basically going back to school for an eventual 20% raise means living with a difficult stress (complaining, I know, but still) for a rather long time...

So - is 20% more income worth the stress...that's the question. I don't mind being pretty frugal -in fact I enjoy it - which is why this question isn't so easy - why *exactly* will the 20% more income feel better to me in that case? Well in a way of course it will - but is it really worth it?

Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

webguy

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 07:08:36 AM »
So - is 20% more income worth the stress...that's the question. I don't mind being pretty frugal -in fact I enjoy it - which is why this question isn't so easy - why *exactly* will the 20% more income feel better to me in that case? Well in a way of course it will - but is it really worth it?

I've been in a similar situation a couple of times. More stress and more money vs less stress and less money. I opted for less stress, even when the money could have been significantly more. It's important to find that balance of money and happiness. Choose the option that will make you happiest. Essentially what you're doing is spending 20% of your income for the rest of your current career on not having to stress yourself out for the next 6 years. How much value would you put on those 6 years? Is 6 years of stress worth the extra 20% pay? Could you use the time and energy you'd spend on getting the degree to create another source of income to make up way more than the 20%? Whether it's a side job or something else?  The answer can really only come from you.  I e turned down jobs which paid 50-75% more just because I didn't want to work in a stressful demanding environment which I wouldn't enjoy. It's all about finding a balance of what's important to you. If saving as much as you can as quickly as you can so you can quit your job to retire early is your highest priority and you're willing to give up time and happiness for 6 years in order to achieve that then sure, do the degree.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:10:42 AM by webguy »

Arbor33

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 07:27:17 AM »
I'm not going to tell you to do either. Rather, I'm going to advise that you crunch some numbers.

You're 47 and plan on working until at least 63. That's 16 years to keep 80% of your pay.

If we assume a salary of $100k and 3% raises each year, you end up earning about 1.5x your current salary in 15 years.

                  100%              80%   
Year 1    $100,000.00        $80,000.00    
Year 2    $103,000.00        $82,400.00    
Year 3    $106,090.00        $84,872.00    
Year 4    $109,272.70        $87,418.16    
Year 5    $112,550.88        $90,040.70    13% increase from original salary
Year 6    $115,927.41        $92,741.93    
Year 7    $119,405.23        $95,524.18    
Year 8    $122,987.39        $98,389.91    
Year 9    $126,677.01        $101,341.61    
Year 10    $130,477.32      $104,381.85    30% increase from original salary
Year 11    $134,391.64      $107,513.31    
Year 12    $138,423.39     $110,738.71    
Year 13    $142,576.09     $114,060.87    
Year 14    $146,853.37     $117,482.70    
Year 15    $151,258.97     $121,007.18    51% increase from original salary
Year 16    $155,796.74     $124,637.39    

We need to throw away years 1-6 because no matter what you do, you're paying that 20% as long as you live in France with no French degree.

I don't know what tax percentage you'd pay with a local degree so I'm assuming 0% which is obviously wrong but you'll need to plug your numbers in to make this applicable to you anyhow so you can recalculate correctly if you'd like.

If you don't get the degree, your total earnings from year 7 on would be $1,095,077.
If you get the degree, your total earnings from year 7 on would be $1,368,847.

Difference being $273,769 - 6 years of school at $400 totals to $271,369


Let's take it one step further.

If you took that extra 20% at the end of the year and invested all of it and let compounding interest do it's thing (compounded 4 times annually with a 7% return), you'd end up with:

                  20%              Year End Investment Balance   
Year 7    $23,881.05        $23,881.05
Year 8    $24,597.48        $53,801.53
Year 9    $25,335.40        $84,823.63
Year 10    $26,095.46      $118,889.63
Year 11    $26,878.33      $156,242.71
Year 12    $27,684.68     $197,144.23
Year 13    $28,515.22     $241,875.11
Year 14    $29,370.67     $290,737.25
Year 15    $30,251.79     $344,055.00
Year 16    $31,159.35     $402,176.89

*Think I messed up the math on the first two years of the compounding (start dates confused me) but I'm sure you catch my drift.

My math might not be perfect (anyone is welcome to double check) but I hope you can see what your trade off's are now.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:32:42 AM by Arbor33 »

unpolloloco

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 08:42:22 AM »
Have you considered moving to a different country?  May or may not be worth it to you...

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 02:54:36 PM »
Wow, thank you for those numbers!! Yes, I can see where numbers-wise, it does make a lot of sense. But, life is about so much more than numbers (or we wouldn't be on this lovely forum)

Though - I am NO where NEAR the 100K figure you put out... I make gross about 42K euros a year. That being said, the numbers speak pretty powerfully.

So - is 20% more income worth the stress...that's the question. I don't mind being pretty frugal -in fact I enjoy it - which is why this question isn't so easy - why *exactly* will the 20% more income feel better to me in that case? Well in a way of course it will - but is it really worth it?

I've been in a similar situation a couple of times. More stress and more money vs less stress and less money. I opted for less stress, even when the money could have been significantly more. It's important to find that balance of money and happiness. Choose the option that will make you happiest. Essentially what you're doing is spending 20% of your income for the rest of your current career on not having to stress yourself out for the next 6 years. How much value would you put on those 6 years? Is 6 years of stress worth the extra 20% pay? Could you use the time and energy you'd spend on getting the degree to create another source of income to make up way more than the 20%? Whether it's a side job or something else?  The answer can really only come from you.  I e turned down jobs which paid 50-75% more just because I didn't want to work in a stressful demanding environment which I wouldn't enjoy. It's all about finding a balance of what's important to you. If saving as much as you can as quickly as you can so you can quit your job to retire early is your highest priority and you're willing to give up time and happiness for 6 years in order to achieve that then sure, do the degree.

Yes, this really speaks to me. I am wondering if the "making money" has more to do with wanting to prove something to my parents - for whom the whole money thing (and showing others how much they have) is their essential reason for being.
Tonight I am leaning towards *not* doing it. Maybe tomorrrow morning I'll feel differently... again, LOL, but I am thinking, in my heart of hearts, being honest with myself, that at my age today I want to invest in my clinical career (psychoanalysis) which I love - and too bad, have it pay me less.

Some people have also suggested that I could do some online therapy work. I would like to look into this. It may mean renewing my licensure in the States - but that's not a big deal.

Oh -and no unpolloloco (crazy chicken???) I am not going anywhere - I have a husband and three kids, and have lived here for 15 years now  : )

Ozstache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 03:23:58 PM »
As has already been suggested, you need to spreadsheet this and do a cost benefit analysis of the two options using the best estimates of costs and income you can derive. You need to add in a BS factor for having to go back and study part time for 6 years while raising a family. I have done study in such after hours/ family circumstances before, but did so very early in my career hence have had many years (25) to get a strong ROI, but I still wince at the time I had to lock myself away from my family to study. If I had to now choose between doing something similar again but with only 10 years of work left in which to get an ROI, I'd gladly take the 20% income haircut, tighten my mustachian frugality skills to compensate and spend the time I would have otherwise spent studying doing what would make me happiest when I looked back over my life on my death bed - spending time with my young family.

meadow lark

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2013, 05:46:21 PM »
I wouldn't do that much work for a 20% raise. 

Justin234

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 06:11:07 PM »
I may have missed something, but it seems that the coursework entails not just a financial cost (tuition) but an opportunity cost - you will be presumably continuing with your work while going to school. It seems like the time spent in the program for several years, attending classes, doing coursework, etc. might better be spend either investing in your current practice, or finding an additional source of income.

I have a therapy practice myself, and I know that going to school would significantly cut into the time and energy I could spend on my practice, either in terms of seeing clients, finding new ones, or in meaningful training that will enhance my work. School would take away from this.

So maybe you should also think in terms of what you COULD be doing with the time you would spend in school - whatever you do might actually make up, to some extent, for the 20% of lost income you would be avoiding in the future by getting the degree.

I'm leaving out all the non-financially lucrative things you could do with that time, like hiking, spending time with kids, reading, who knows? But just from a business perspective, you are going to be "paying" more than just tuition if you get this degree.

happy

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2013, 06:15:32 PM »
One of the benefits of  frugality is that is can enable one to live the life one loves....

Seems like the two choices are: a) earn 20% less, work longer at what you love vs b)work/study harder in the short term to earn 20% more, which could mean you could retire earlier.

I've just completed a masters over 4.5 years for the love of it... it was a subject I totally loved, and this made it reasonably easy: I earn no more because of it. But if its not what you love, then its, as OZstache said, time away from family and a slog.

The 100k maths is illuminating if you only only earn 42k the maths comes out: the salary difference instead of 271k, is approx 114k and the 20% invested is 168k instead of 402k, assuming you get 7%.

Personally if I didn't like  the work/study in option b) so much, I'd want it to pay a lot more for it to be worth it, like 50% or 100% more.  But then that just how I've made choices in my life. YMMV.

Also for me, once I hit 50 I had a sense of time pressure... at 50 you realise you are not as bullet proof as when you were 20....its time to do those things you always wanted to do whilst you still have some vigour.  Yes by being fit and healthy you can remain active into your elder years, but its not the same as when you are 20. Again YMMV


psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 03:05:27 AM »
One of the benefits of  frugality is that is can enable one to live the life one loves....
Personally if I didn't like  the work/study in option b) so much, I'd want it to pay a lot more for it to be worth it, like 50% or 100% more.  But then that just how I've made choices in my life. YMMV.

Also for me, once I hit 50 I had a sense of time pressure... at 50 you realise you are not as bullet proof as when you were 20....its time to do those things you always wanted to do whilst you still have some vigour.  Yes by being fit and healthy you can remain active into your elder years, but its not the same as when you are 20. Again YMMV


I may have missed something, but it seems that the coursework entails not just a financial cost (tuition) but an opportunity cost - you will be presumably continuing with your work while going to school. It seems like the time spent in the program for several years, attending classes, doing coursework, etc. might better be spend either investing in your current practice, or finding an additional source of income.

I have a therapy practice myself, and I know that going to school would significantly cut into the time and energy I could spend on my practice, either in terms of seeing clients, finding new ones, or in meaningful training that will enhance my work. School would take away from this.

So maybe you should also think in terms of what you COULD be doing with the time you would spend in school - whatever you do might actually make up, to some extent, for the 20% of lost income you would be avoiding in the future by getting the degree.

I'm leaving out all the non-financially lucrative things you could do with that time, like hiking, spending time with kids, reading, who knows? But just from a business perspective, you are going to be "paying" more than just tuition if you get this degree.

I wouldn't do that much work for a 20% raise. 


All of this (and the others too...Ozstache,) Really hit home for me this morning. I felt a huge wave of relief, which was of course an indicator of where my own heart was leading. So I looked up from your posts here, and said to Mr. Psychomoustache, 'hey, I'm not going to do it.'. He listened - more or less patiently, then said "yeah, but you don't really get the numbers". Now, Mr PM is a huge-o math nerd engineer (and pretty Badass), so I said, "OK, mon chιri, tell me again about the numbers."

Mr PM explained that... Today, because of the tax I'm paying, I can only pay myself 400€ a month. Before we had a clue about this tax thing, I was paying myself about 1000€ a month. He said "you are paying 20% on your gross income in tax. You pay yourself with the difference between all your business expenses, and what you earn gross (obviously). But, since the gov't is taking much more from you, and you earn gross the exact same amount, your expenses have gone way up, and you can't bring home nearly as much."

Well, yeah, this is what I'd understood... so I'm not sure what I'm *not* understanding...

"On the other hand" explained Mr PM, "now that you bring home much less, our personal income tax has gone way down, and your other professional taxes will go down too."  OK - I got that...

"So, I would like you to really think about it," Mr PM says.

I am thinking..."why...?" What is it I'm not getting here??

Well, I am not the sort of person who sits in indecision well for periods of time (like more that a few days : )

So - I'll be back with some numbers again, but I'm really hearing your arguments, loudly.


lhamo

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 05:25:03 AM »
I took a roughly 22% paycut when I started my current position compared to my previous position.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  The previous position was a "dream job" that turned into an absolute nightmare when I ended up on a conflict with my boss.  He was the top of the chain of command, so no getting around it.  He actually tried to cut my salary 20%, but I fought it and won.  It was clear from that point on that there was no real future for me in that organization.  I stayed roughly 6 months more to finish up some major projects and get my exit strategy lined up, and gave 2 months notice.  By the time I left I was in pretty bad shape psychologically (could have used an on-line therapist, to be honest!).  Thankfully my current position was advertised just when I was starting to seriously think about what my next step would be (I was in a short-term language program that was about as much fun/as much stress as your psych degree would be -- thankfully it was only for about 6 months...).  even though it was less pay, my boss is a total mensch (hired me even though I cried at the interview -- yes, that is how messed up I was...) and my co-workers are also great and I wouldn't go back to the old place if you paid me $1million/year.  Well, maybe I would, but only for 6 months!  Then I'd FIRE.  But in the meantime, I've worked my way back up to where I was salarywise, and am MUCH happier.  My marriage also survived, which is something I cannot guarantee would have happened if I had stayed in the old place.  It was that bad and was really doing a number on my mental health. 

That is a long, roundabout way of saying sometimes earning less is exactly the right thing to do.  Don't underestimate the stress that the academic program might put on your family/marriage.  How much coursework would there be at one time with the online/part-time option?  What other things will you need to sacrifice to clear up that time?  Could you start with one or two of the courses and see how it goes? 

Obviously the best thing is to discuss the overall picture thoroughly with your spouse.  You guys need to be on the same page with this, or it is going to cause strains in your relationship.  Be sure he is aware of how changes you are making in other areas are affecting the bottom line, too.  And be sure you aren't the only one doing the sacrificing/making an effort to keep costs down.  It would be really aggravating to me if DH didn't help with keeping the costs in check and then was nagging me to do something I didn't want to do to bring in more income.  YMMV.


Ozstache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 05:53:12 AM »
Re:

I recently learned that I must pay a 20% VAT tax on  all my earnings because of my American diplomas - forever.

I was under the understanding that VAT is a tax on goods and services. What the heck does that have to do with what country you gained your qualification from? You are either providing a goods and service or not, and the tax should be levied based on that. Sounds like racial discrimination to me if it is true.

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2013, 09:07:28 AM »
That is a long, roundabout way of saying sometimes earning less is exactly the right thing to do.  Don't underestimate the stress that the academic program might put on your family/marriage.  How much coursework would there be at one time with the online/part-time option?  What other things will you need to sacrifice to clear up that time?  Could you start with one or two of the courses and see how it goes? 

Obviously the best thing is to discuss the overall picture thoroughly with your spouse.  You guys need to be on the same page with this, or it is going to cause strains in your relationship.  Be sure he is aware of how changes you are making in other areas are affecting the bottom line, too.  And be sure you aren't the only one doing the sacrificing/making an effort to keep costs down.  It would be really aggravating to me if DH didn't help with keeping the costs in check and then was nagging me to do something I didn't want to do to bring in more income.  YMMV.


Thank you Ihamo, coming from *you* (to whom I sent nasty looks ; ) ) that means a lot...and thanks for calling me out on being complainy-pants in the other thread.

Ozstache France is a totally F'd-upped country - I think you've probably heard about that, LOL. So - yeah you are right, VAT tax is normally on goods and services. So, I am considered a provider of services like a hair-cutter, or a masseuse, or a manicurist, or something of that nature. Like totally optional, frivolous, sorts of services.

In the States, my degree allowed me to practice in hospitals, in private practice (reimbursed my American insurance) - I was a health-care provider. Here in France, because I don't have the French diploma, I have the qualification of "psychotherapist" but not "psychologist", because of the foreign degrees. The laws here treat  the "psychotherapist" activity just like you were running a hair salon. If I had the "psychologist" French qualification - suddenly they recognize I'm providing health services, and I no longer pay a VAT tax. That's the explanation.

Now - If I moved to Australia (I could actually get into that idea) I'd probably be FINE.  : ) I'd love to move to Australia. But that's another story, and it's not happening now... alas....

daverobev

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2013, 01:50:28 PM »
Presumably its not all bad - as in, can't you charge your clients (TVA is it in France)? And, as you've said, because you're paying more tax already, it means you have to pay less "other tax".

Don't get me wrong I'm sure your clients won't be hugely happy about a +20% bill but there must be ways... Presumably your old invoices made no mention of TVA, but if you invoice for it and remit it, then your clients - if businesses themselves - can claim it back.

Do you have a good accountant to make sure you claim the absolute maximum of expenses you can?

Ho hum. Tax isn't nice... but it does pay for those nice roads, doctors, schools, etc. In many ways France has things so much more right than the rest of the world. 5 course lunch with a carafe of red wine for 10, 15 euros? Mmm!

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2013, 02:07:48 PM »
Hi again daverobev

You are right, there are a lot of nice things about living here - but being a business owner isn't one of them...

No I can't remain competitive and charge 20% more for my services (20% more than the "official" psychologists do that is). I have too many people who really can't get the specific help they need elsewhere (I have extra clinical training in treating eating disorders). I wouldn't feel right about being a therapist for only people who can afford my "extra-high specialized fees"... but I have raised my fees since I got the news.

I suppose if someone asked me for an invoice with the VAT, I could give it, but it would be strange for someone to claim psychotherapy as a business expense - though for me my own psychoanalysis is. But that's because it's my business...!

The ED specialisation - That's actually why my office got "too successful" and actually why I'm having tax problems now...kind of crazy. If I weren't doing well, it would be a lot easier.

I have a good accountant - well, good enough... and would you believe that while I'm claiming the maximum that I can, most businesses do not have a VAT (or TVA) tax of 19,6% like me, but are at 5 or 7% ? Like I said before, my services are considered by French law on the same level as like getting a facial or whatever - frivolous, not health-care.

I Really DON'T want to sound complainy - I really feel quite lucky to have a decent career here in the far reaches of Brittany as an American expat. Our life is good, and I am a lot happier than I would have been if we'd stayed in Maryland (where we lived for 10 years in the 90's). I am also a lot happier than if I taught English, which I did for awhile, which a lot of my fellow expat friends do... it's a nice way to pick up some cash, but it sure as hell wasn't as interesting as my work now. So, in spite of what it may sound like for all my kvetching, I really do feel grateful for this life, and thankful that I can at least work in a fascinating field that I hope does some good.

Ozstache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2013, 02:14:26 PM »
I have a good accountant - well, good enough... and would you believe that while I'm claiming the maximum that I can, most businesses do not have a VAT (or TVA) tax of 19,6% like me, but are at 5 or 7% ?

So that means you will get 13-15% more pay with the "right" qualifications, ie. the difference between 20% and 5/7%, not the full 20% you originally state, right?

Again on the topic of qualifications, do you really need to do the full French degree or can you claim Recognition of Prior Learning for a large part of your US studies and end up only having to do a small delta study effort?

Reepekg

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2013, 03:51:49 PM »
I think it must be worth the time and effort to investigate how to sneak around this roadblock. Maybe you can "buy" some kind of online degree (from a french speaking african country, who knows) with much less effort or find a school that will accept your previous coursework and transfer those credits to their institution. Sounds like you just need the piece of paper, not the experience or prestige that people normally seek from a higher education diploma.


psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2013, 05:51:21 AM »
hey again

I hear you - even my husband is like - "this just can't be possible, you worked at Johns Hopkins, and they won't allow you to work in a hospital here"... it's very, very frustrating and depressing...

The deal is this. There is a French law (there are many many French laws) that state that if you want to hold a certain position in a French institution, you must posess the FRENCH degree to hold that position. So if I want to avoid the 19,6 percent tax, I need to prove that I am legally allowed to work in a French institution (health-care provider). What's very upsetting - we are a European Union country, meaning we are, in the EU, all supposed to be subject to the same laws, and people within the EU should be able to have their qualifications recognized wherever they go w/in the EU. My degree is recognized in other EU countries. It isn't here.

So -the African thing doesn't work, and yes, part of the coursework and clinical work has been already taken into account in my calculations about how much school I need to go through.

I got had back in 2010. The story...

I went to see a psych professor at a university, showed him all I had, qualifications, extra training, the whole caboodle. He said "you need to do one year of undergrad to have the psychology undergrad degree here in France". (This is one of their laws - you are Not Considered a Psychologist UNLESS you posess an UNDERGRAD psych degree!!!) (My Bachelors is in English Lit)

Then he said, "for grad school, they will probably let you skip the first year of the Master's degree, and you will just need to do the second year - so you are really only looking at two years and will place out of a lot of it...and you won't have to do the internships..."

This sounded perfect to me, and - unfortunately - it was Complete Misinformation - as I found out once I started school. Yes, I placed out of a lot of things, but no, they were not going to let me off the hook for TWO years of the masters plus the clinical internships...now how does one run a private clinical practice And find time to do 500+ hours of clinical (unpaid) internships??

So that means you will get 13-15% more pay with the "right" qualifications, ie. the difference between 20% and 5/7%, not the full 20% you originally state, right?

Again on the topic of qualifications, do you really need to do the full French degree or can you claim Recognition of Prior Learning for a large part of your US studies and end up only having to do a small delta study effort?

No actually Ozstache - if I had the right qualifications, I pay NO VAT tax at all. Health-care providers don't have to pay VAT tax, unless their providing stuff like Botox injections (for non-medical reasons), things like that.

So, we are still bouncing this around. I am trying to not feel bitter (seriously). And - part of my mind has not given up completely the idea of sucking it up and going back - even if it takes a really long time - OR....

My Hero-Husband (he really is) may - in about 3 to 4 years, get transferred out of this town. If that happens, and if we need to move and I need to close the practice, it may be the right time to just go back FULL time for three years to school, and knock it out that way.

You guys have been great, you have really helped me to think, and I so appreciate your feedback and thoughtful comments. At least I feel a heck of a lot less alone faced with all this bullcrap. Thank you so much.

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2013, 08:57:48 AM »
Back again.
I went ahead and got some information re: going back to school next fall part-time. I could re-apply to where I went in 2010, this time knowing a whole lot more what's in store for me. I already have a lot of the courses/coursework.

The reason I'm looking into this after all - it's really NOT a 20% increase in *salary* we're talking about - it's much more than that. It's 20% taken out of my gross, which currently means, to make my tax payments and other ends meet, I can only pay myself *half* of what I paid myself before.

The other reason - I have been reading Jacob's ERE book - and it kind of made me mad - !! Like - either at this stage, I should not work anymore (given that I make so little, and work so much, I can't even learn new interesting skills to make it worthwhile) OR I need to make my work more "generalized" - less psychotherapy, more general psychology was how I read it.

Anyway, someone is waiting in the waiting room, I'll be back.

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2013, 09:52:12 AM »
This is the thing:

1. I pay a huge amount for my current psychoanalysis - which is a training analysis (to become an analyst myself). But this doesn't change my earning potential given my diploma problem. I pay him 180€ a week, plus the train at about 75€/week = 255€/week.

2. My current child-analysis training at 200€ a month doesn't solve the diploma problem either.

3. Called the university - not only can I do it distance, but it will cost me 264€ for the YEAR to finish the Bachelors. Then, apparently I can get the Master's degree FINANCED (I didn't know this!!) partially, AND use my professional experience to place out of some of it.
(like, Wow, I didn't know, and this changes things!)

If I stop my analysis (ok prematurely, but I've been in for 5.5 years now) then I free up time and money to finance my degree. I can organize my practice hours to have study hours.

If I stop the child training (probably will have to, given the time committment) then ditto - time and money to be put to a degree that will give me more earning power, and allow me greater access to do other things I like (ΰ la Jacob, of ERE) such as supervision, more teaching, research, etc. I become more "Renaissance" if you will.

OK these are my ideas this afternoon. No face-punching for being so back-forth-wishy-washy, please. I know I am. And no my decision isn't final. Not yet, not yet...

Fuzz

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2013, 05:20:30 PM »
Kind of a twisty thread, so I apologize if this is already out there. But can you find the French equivalent of an online diploma mill? If any old degree in psych from a French institution would do, I imagine there is an institution that is less demanding than your current one. Perhaps you could find a cheaper/shorter route.

Good luck,



justchristine

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2013, 06:07:35 PM »
Following the above poster's line of thought, do you specifically need a French diploma or would another EU member country's diploma count?  Maybe a distant learning course from another 'approved' country would easier or accept more of your current coursework and experience.  I know nothing of European universities so I'm just brainstorming ideas.

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2013, 04:00:53 AM »
hey thanks for your input - and yeah, some of the same things were said up higher in the thread.

It's a lot like it is for foreign doctors in the States who can't practice medicine there unless they go back to school in the States, and re-do internships, again, in the States.

Same situation for me here. So no, the above solutions won't work.

I'm sort of -after all my drama and fear - leaning today towards going for it. I'll be 53 when I get done. 53 -ish... and I would plan on working another 15 to 20 years, till I'm about 70, or a bit more, depending. The big deal for me, personally, is I want to be able to support myself in this country with the work I do, should anything ever happen to Mr Psychomoustache. I would be allowed half of his pension, but given all the work I've done building up my practice, and my own work - it's kind of hard for me to stomach the idea of not having a decent retirement.

Anyway, like I said - I am still wishy-washy, and had strange and anxious dreams (a pony in my cousin's apartment, galavanting around with a cat on its back... well I can analyze that one myself  : ) ! )

I'm going to apply when the admissions open on-line this Monday. Applying doesn't commit me to anything yet.

In a NY times magazine article last Sunday, the man interviewed said "have someone who loves you and cares about your welfare make important decisions for you, when you can't decide." So, Mr Psychomoustache hasn't yet pronounced his verdict, LOL.

Ozstache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2013, 03:15:33 PM »
I'm sort of -after all my drama and fear - leaning today towards going for it. I'll be 53 when I get done. 53 -ish... and I would plan on working another 15 to 20 years, till I'm about 70, or a bit more, depending. The big deal for me, personally, is I want to be able to support myself in this country with the work I do, should anything ever happen to Mr Psychomoustache. I would be allowed half of his pension, but given all the work I've done building up my practice, and my own work - it's kind of hard for me to stomach the idea of not having a decent retirement.

It seems you would rather have a short, spendy retirement rather than a long, mustachian one. Perhaps this is the wrong crowd to be advising you.

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2013, 11:31:11 PM »
and WHAM...

[/quote]
It seems you would rather have a short, spendy retirement rather than a long, mustachian one. Perhaps this is the wrong crowd to be advising you.
[/quote]

Though I was sort of expecting this...

YEAH, THAT'S IT... !!! I want TONS of money at age 70+ to go on F-ing Cruises and Stuff! I want Facelifts! Pedicures! Because after working so hard, damn it, I'll Deserve It! Come, on Ozstache, if I'm on this board, I'm not that freaking shallow.

I don't have a cubicle job, I have a job (career) I love. It's also a job that actually gets better (i.e. more fun) with age. Because you have more to offer, because it challenges you (ok, me) to broaden and deepen your thinking, for your entire life. I think I am on the right board, because the people on here are trying to do the same thing.

My decision is not *only* about money though that's part of it. Even if I don't get the degree, I probably will work until 65 or 70+. Because I can, and it's good, fascinating work, and people actually need help.

Of course I want to be able to support myself. Of course I am interested in making more money. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I don't think it means I would be frivolous with that money, nor do I think that wanting to earn more money mars my character in any way.

 I *do* think though (as you pointed out before) that life-quality is essential, and it *would* be a poor decision if I chose more money over simply enjoying life - now that would speak (in my opinion) to a character flaw...

This is why the decision isn't clear yet. Part of me honestly is interested in the opportunities that would be afforded me by going back to school (ASIDE from the money, I would be able to get involved in research and supervision - venues that are currently closed to me).

I haven't made a decision yet, but I am really grateful for everyone's feedback. And you are right - it's even good for me to think about why the heck I'm on the board if I don't really want to retire young.

Ozstache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2013, 01:55:00 AM »
This is why the decision isn't clear yet. Part of me honestly is interested in the opportunities that would be afforded me by going back to school (ASIDE from the money, I would be able to get involved in research and supervision - venues that are currently closed to me).

Well this is the first time in this thread (well, that I can find anyway) that you've mentioned something other than monetary motivation for doing the degree.  Again, this and the money gain must be balanced up the BS factor in doing a course that's basically a repeat of your earlier studies and takes you away from your family. Your choice!

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2013, 10:22:10 AM »
UPDATE, stardate May 14 2013.
Met with the lady at the university, and I can GET OUT OF A GOOD PORTION of the Masters degree, based on my professional experience!!!

I will have to start my "dossier" and write a paper that analyzes two clinical cases. I will also have to finish the bachelors degree no matter what. I can't get out of the bachelors, but I can get out of a chunk of the masters - and maybe even the whole thing!

Onwards and upwards...!!!!








matchewed

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2013, 10:31:38 AM »
Congratulations that is great news!

Arbor33

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2013, 01:15:45 PM »
That's fantastic! Congrats and good luck to you!

lhamo

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2013, 03:53:43 AM »
WHOO HOO! Congratulatations!  Doing a major happy dance for you on the other side of the world.

Onwards and upwards is my 2013 slogan.  Glad it's working for somebody else, too :)


psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2013, 09:59:18 AM »
What's making me happiest - there's like a PLAN to follow now. It's less of a foggy bank of murky doubt and doom, LOL.

It's still going to take a lot of work on my end to make this happen, but there's a WAY it can happen that isn't maybe totally out of reach or impossible.

I will still have to complete the bachelor's stuff, like I said... and will be in both the masters and bachelors at the same time...

The French just Love Things Complicated. It suits my inner-Woody-Allen (whom they love here) to question everything do death, but it can make one freaking crazy too. Sometimes, one just wants to have an Action Plan, and then say, yes, "onwards and upwards". Amen to that  : )

Thank you for your congratulations and happy dances  : ) Now invite me to Bejing.   ; )

lhamo

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2013, 06:37:22 PM »
Sorry -- I missed this!  I'll happily trade you an invite to Beijing for an invite to France.  Bartering is where it's at!  And I think we would get along smashingly. 

lhamo

Ozstache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2013, 01:58:18 AM »
Glad to hear that you found a way to get your previous experience recognised. Good luck with your studies!

psychomoustache

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Re: major decision time
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2013, 01:39:09 PM »
Reviving this old thread to give some news.
So - the French Gov't DID decide to inform me again of the Tax Law, which officially states I need to pay the VAT tax. But - the letter was not sent to us registered, and didn't specify at all how much I owe, and what I should do.

So everything is still way up in the air.

I will try to explain - though I'm still in totally vaporised brain-warp from jet-lag (got back home yesterday).

We are going to plan as if we owe tons of back tax, and have to pay 20% of my earnings to tax from here on in until I get the psych degree. So - I have to let go of my child-analysis program (200€ a month) and some of my personal psychoanalysis.

I am weirdly relieved to have a freaking plan - even if it's forced upon me. I am relieved to be forced to concentrate now on just getting my psych degree - I am hoping it will only take me three years - since I'm going to focus only on that and my practice.

OK That's All for Now. I will journal the rest.