I complain a lot about the US$. I thought today I’d explain why.
When we first considered moving to the States — easily 4 years ago, the prospects were great. Not only do US employers pay significantly better, but they pay in US dollars, which meant we could make even more on our money!!
This was the assumption upon which we lept southward. Although the first part was true — my pay in the States is a good 50% better than what I was making in Canada — the second part is sounding more and more foolish.
Although we are most liquid here, we still have plenty of liabilities in Canada: two car loans, life insurance, and student debt. These payments must be made monthly. Did you know there’s no easy way to transfer funds between countries? In the movies the bad guys wire each other money with the click of a mouse and an animated ticker counts off their millions as its deposited. In real life, its nothing like that.
The reality is that once a month, Nicole heads down to the bank — during their ridiculously limited business hours — and writes up a wire transfer. This takes anywhere between 3 and a billion days to go through. Meanwhile the US bank charges for the money order and shaves their share for doing the currency exchange. Then the Canadian bank charges for the transaction and shaves their share for doing the currency exchange.
When we first moved here and the exchange rate was hovering near 1.15 CDN$ per 1 US$ we still managed to make (Canadian) money on the deal. We’d meet our Canadian obligations, and tuck a little money into our account for savings and for trips home.
Then the exchange rate dropped to 1.07ish. We stopped making money on the transfer, but at least we were still breaking even. Yes, 1.07 is the same as “at par” when banks are involved.
Then the exchange rate dropped to 0.98 US$ per 1 CDN$.
Dear US Currency: welcome to the short bus. For years you looked at the Canadian dollar as if it was your retarded little brother. Now the rest of the world looks at you the same way.
Even after a slight recovery, putting the US$ back on top by fractions of a cent, we’re still hemorrhaging cash. We’re going into the hole each month we transfer money back to Canada.
I’ve gotta be honest, if we were to take an objective look at our foray into the States right now, the results that come back would not be optimistic… The economy continues to crumble, the war shows no signs of ending, and most of the reasons we had for moving here are gone.
On the plus side, shopping is still better here. Did you hear they want $799 for an iPhone in Canada? Am I the only one that’s noticed that the Canadian dollar should buy as much kit as the US dollar right now?