Updated: September 14, 2009
The U.S dollar isn't what it used to be. When measured against other currencies, the U.S. dollar has fallen precipitously. At its peak in 2000, the dollar would buy 1.21 euro. Today, it fetches only 0.68 euro, a decline of 44 percent.
But does the fall in value suggest that you should alter or revisit your financial plan?
To many planners, the answer is no. "I don't think that the rise or fall of currency values has a major impact on the daily life of most Americans," said FPA member, H. Jude Boudreaux, CFP®, director of financial planning at Bellingrath Wealth Management. FPA member, Harry K. Foote, CFP®, of Smart College Solutions said, "The fall in the dollar really does not change your financial plan, per se."
However, financial planners do say that the falling dollar could affect your investment plan and your choice of investments. Indeed, financial planners recommend that you review the amount your portfolio is allocated to international investments and tweak as need be. "I don't think that many adjustments are necessary if they're already investing some part of their equity portfolios in international investment vehicles," said Boudreaux.
Others agree, but offer a slight twist on that strategy. If you are concerned about the value of the dollar in non-U.S. markets, FPA member, Mark Flaherty, CFP®, of Virginia Asset Management suggests you consider investing a portion of your portfolio in non-U.S. securities funds that can use hedging strategies for currency fluctuations. For his part, FPA member, Rick Miller of Sensible Financial Planning, suggests that investing in Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) could provide a hedge against the falling dollar.
"Meanwhile, if you plan on making a large purchase of an imported item, you may want to make that sooner rather than later," said Boudreaux. "However, I wouldn't go out and buy a foreign car just because they expect the dollar to fluctuate vs. the euro or yen."
Before you tweak your investment plan or make a large purchase of an imported item, Foote and Boudreaux suggest that you consult with a financial planner. "Imported items will be more expensive. A good discussion with a financial planner as to how to benefit and protect your investments would be in order," Foote said. "Nothing moves in the same direction forever, including the fall in the dollar, so having the ability to be flexible and knowing what changes to make will make a considerable difference."
Consult with a financial planner who can help you evaluate the fall of the dollar, its impact on your financial plan and the changes you may need to make.