Will the Strong Dollar be Influential?

Winter 2003 CSANews Issue 49  |  Posted date : May 02, 2007.Back to list

The Canadian dollar is the strongest it has been against the U.S. dollar for many a year and it has many snowbirds looking forward to spending the winter in the sunny south without counting their pennies ­ or at least not counting them as much as in previous years. Just before the deadline for this column, on Oct. 18 in fact, the dollar closed the day at $0.7614 US ­ that's $1.3133 Cdn to buy one U.S. dollar. The same date a year ago, it took $1.5851 Cdn to buy that U.S. dollar. According to my math (which, by the way, isn't the greatest), that's a difference of more than 27 cents.

That doesn't seem like a lot of money, but if you are exchanging thousands of dollars, it sure can add up. And since the average Canadian snowbird spends 4.2 months basking in the sun while spending, on average, approximately $7,200 per household, that's a savings of approximately $1,957 over a year ago using the exchange rates above. Of course, the bank has something to say about the final net amount because they add their service fees, but I'm not going to get into that since different banks have different fees.

Now, I suppose, all you retired accountants reading this will put your pencils to work and soon I'll be getting calls telling me that you agree that my math isn't the greatest! So I would like to suggest that you check out the CSA's Currency Exchange Program, which automatically transfers your funds at wholesale rates to your U.S.-based bank account. Maybe you can save a couple more of those "add-up" pennies. The program can be reached at 1-800-265-3200.

To satisfy my curiosity about this "extra money," I called some of my Canadian snowbird friends to see how they felt about it. As suspected, they were delighted. Here's what some of them had to say: Vern Peppard of Ottawa and Barefoot Bay, Fla., didn't hesitate when he said, "Every little bit helps. I'm sure it will attract more snowbirds to the south, and those already here might stay longer!" Bev Cormack of Edmonton and Palm Desert, Calif., stated, "Fewer and fewer Canadians have been coming south for the winter. Maybe this will help!" John Ezyk of Toronto and Green Valley, Ariz., says, "No doubt about it, the stronger Canadian dollar will help!"

Walter Sokolowski of Barrie, Ont., and Palm City, Fla., added, "Yes, long term, snowbird Canadians will stay longer or spend more. And the short-term vacationers just might come to Florida instead of Cuba or Mexico." Bob Whiteford of Wasaga Beach, Ont., and Springhill, Fla., said, "Definitely, snowbirds might place the dollar ahead of insurance costs since insurance is a one-time cost. Also, the insurance companies pay claims in U.S. dollars. Now they'll find it easier, and, hopefully, insurance will become more affordable!" Guy Davignon of Sherbrooke, Que., and Port Charlotte, Fla., said, "The Canadian dollar is the best it's been for many years, probably a 30 to 40 per cent improvement. That's influential. It's a plus, and Canadians will take advantage of it." Hazen Walters (everybody knows Hazen) of Gander, Nfld., and Port Charlotte, Fla. (I bet he was smiling), quickly responded, "Heck, Bill, I only paid $1.32 today. A year ago I paid $1.62. I'm going to the bank again tomorrow ­ to get some more!"

In closing, don't forget to order your placemats by calling me toll-free at
1-877-633-4722. Hope to see you this winter somewhere, sometime!