Monday, October 25, 2010

24 October 2010 - Barcelona

For my entire life, I lived and worked in the United States, consuming, earning, and saving Dollars. I never saw a need—nor should I have—to follow the currency markets. Those were reserved for some fat cat bankers who erroneously felt they could exploit arbitrage opportunities. Their daily tradings had no effect on my life.

Then, I moved to Spain where I consequently incurred some very large expenses (Have you checked the cost of an MBA? Don’t.) due in Euros. Having all my savings denominated in Dollars, I quickly realized that the fluctuations of Dollar-Euro exchange rates could increase the price of my tuition by thousands of Dollars in just a few hours. A bad week could leave me destitute, forcing me to survive by selling knock-off handbags to tourists.

I never expected that I would constantly monitor the Greek debt levels, the Spanish unemployment rate, the US trade deficit, and the Chinese foreign investment portfolio. But all these have sent me—along with the Dollar—on a 14 month roller coaster ride. Fortunately, I have officially ended this nightmare. Aside from a $5 bill that my mom sent me in the mail, I am more or less out of Dollars thanks to my last tuition bill. My puny savings are now all in Euros.

While I no longer worry about the strength of the dollar, my focus has just switched to the Pound. I recently accepted a full time job with Amazon in the UK. My future paychecks will be in Pounds. Will England’s austerity measures make my pay worthless, making me unable to afford the extremely long British vacations? I hate this uncertainty.


  1. You make me laugh..... What an interesting problem to have.....Currency exchange... Vs. My daughter lost her first tooth last night and we "had" to put two one-dollar bills under her pillow. Different chapters in life... AndyF