alison griffiths articles
Alison's Money Rule
Benefit from the loonie rise
Posted November 28, 2011
Originally Published October 20, 2009
You can’t predict currency swings but you can benefit from the looniegreenback roller coaster, regardless of which direction it goes.
Seven years ago the loonie had sunk to 62 cents against the greenback. US holidays, cross-border shopping and on-line purchases evaporated like a drop of water under a hot sun.
Never again, most declared, would the loonie be at par, or even close to it, with the greenback. We were all reconciled to a 75 or 80 cent Canuck buck -- which the economists called “fair value.”
Then came not only par but beyond in late November, 2007 as the loonie soared to over $1.08 before falling back down to 80 cents. Now, here we are, back in the high nineties. Par is starting to look attainable again.
In the seven years since our currency went from vincible to invincible, lots of people have wondered how to take advantage of the swings. One of the easiest ways is to open a US dollar account.
If you travel to the US frequently, expect to take trips south of the border in the future or are planning a visit to countries like Mexico where the greenback reigns, then it makes sense to convert some loonies now.
Yes, we may rise above par but predicting currency peaks and valleys is something not even the foreign exchange traders do with much success. By purchasing US dollars now you are creating your own mini-hedging strategy, i.e. protecting yourself against precipitous drops in the Canadian dollar.
Even if you don’t expect to leave Canada, it is still a great time to start a small, U.S. dollar nest egg for on-line purchases, for example. Another reason to do so is if you have dependent children who may cross the border for shopping, sporting events, holidays or education.
Before you open a US dollar account check the fees. Some banks waive maintenance fees and give you a couple of transactions free each month with a minimum balance of from $200 to $1,000.
Playing the currency game is a high wire act but when the loonie is strong it’s an excellent time to put grab some greenbacks for future needs.
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