When a dollar means nothing

Dec 18 2007 by Brian Amble Print This Article

What do you do when a dollar means nothing?

As the Herald Tribune reports, that's the dilemma facing U.S. expats based in Europe whose pensions or incomes are paid in increasingly devalued dollars.

The past six months have been anxious for expatriates, with the dollar sinking against the euro, the pound and currencies from the Czech koruna to the Costa Rican colón. Those declines are accelerating the flight of expatriates in Europe, according to tax attorneys who listen to the woes of clients who are giving up because they see no relief in sight.

And little wonder, when a bottle of mineral water costs the equivalent of $5 and a €159 iPod is $230.

Many large corporations have responded by paying their U.S> staff in local currency or risk losing them altogether. As one London-based executive put it, "I wouldn't be working for this company if I was paid in dollars."

But what if the dollar stays low – or falls even further?