He has signed what is understood to be the richest contract in rugby, but Dan Carter says his decision to agree terms with Paris club Racing Metro 92 wasn't all about money.
The 32-year-old, who has played 102 tests for the All Blacks, announced yesterday that he will be moving to the French Top 14 club following the World Cup in England and Wales on a three-year contract understood to be worth at least $2 million a year. He will join the club next December.
It will be the second time he has played in France, following his ill-fated sabbatical in 2009 when he returned from Perpignan with a ruptured Achilles.
He said the French lifestyle and chance to challenge himself away from New Zealand at a club such as Racing Metro was more important than the money, although he conceded that was part of the attraction.
"You want to make the most of that opportunity financially to set yourself up for the future ... and Paris is not a bad place to live as well," he said. "It's one of my favourite cities, so I'm excited about that."
Asked whether it would set him up for life, he said: "I'm not too sure, it depends on what sort of lifestyle [you lead] ...
"I haven't even thought about that. I'm happy with where we got with the negotiations. I guess it's not about what you earn but what you do with your money and that's something I've been working hard on for the last five or six years - to make sure I'm making the most out of the money I have earned."
Carter, who has several business interests, yesterday tweeted a picture of himself ringing the bell at a sharemarket listing ceremony for Arvida Group, a roll-up of 17 previously privately-owned retirement villages which floated on the NZX.
Carter, likely to be the first of several All Black veterans to announce they are leaving New Zealand rugby after the World Cup, including skipper Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith, said the only other country he considered playing in was Japan.
But the chance to live in France with wife Honor, a former New Zealand hockey international, and their young son Marco was too good to pass up.
"With my experience of playing in France and living in France and even playing for the All Blacks in France, there's so much to like about the country.
"That's what makes this move so exciting, a chance for my family to move there and enjoy it together and really get involved in the French lifestyle."
He learned some French before his Perpignan move, but said he would have to start virtually from scratch.