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Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Old Oct 23rd 2016, 10:21 pm
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Default Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

So I have been offered a permanent job in the USA, starting next summer. My partner and I have been living and working in the UK for the best part of the last 8 years, renting while on temporary contracts, and we've built up substantial savings in £.

Now at last we have the prospect of putting those savings to use, getting a car and, above all, a house. I was offered the job shortly before Brexit, and felt good about the exchange rate at the time - basically expecting to get 1.5 times as many dollars as we had savings in £. Since Brexit the exchange rate has just been getting worse and worse - 1.22 at the time or writing - and I'm very worried about what it will be by next summer, when we will want to move most or all of our savings across (we're talking several tens of thousands of £).


We have some relatives in the US to whom we could send money now, and then have them transfer it to our newly-opened US bank account on our arrival. What's happening in Britain right now is such an utter shambles that I worry that the rate is only going to get worse, so - awful as it would be to change the money at 1.2x - I'm wondering if we should cut our losses and transfer now rather than next summer. On the other hand, if the £/$ rate improves - even to as little as 1.30 or so - we would be thousands of dollars better off if we waited.

What do you think we should do? Brexit has unleashed such a mess on the currency markets, and I want to minimize our losses (really wish remain had won or the vote had happened after we'd left!)
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Old Oct 23rd 2016, 11:54 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

I feel your pain. I have a big chunk of GBP that I regret not moving now...

At least when I moved back in 2007 I managed to get a wonderful rate on the money I did move.

Some possibilities, perhaps you could investigate moving the money to USD/Euros now, i.e.

HSBC Currency Account
CitiBank Currency Account

Though remember you are playing the financial markets if you start to do this, though I know people who *aren't* leaving the UK who already did this before the Brexit vote, "just in case".

I am not a financial advisor, your home is at risk etc etc, yada yada, and or death.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 5:31 am
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

I felt the same pain back in 2008/9 when it went from $2 down to 1.40. I felt bad at the time, probably lost out on over $100k or more. But since then I have been earning dollars which are now worth a lot more, so the pain feels a lot less.

I exchanged at $1.39 back in 2009 and thought the downward trend would not stop. Since then it has been up to $1.65, but no where near the $2 mark.

If you can afford to lose more, you can sit and wait. If you want to just get on with life and not stress about the exchange rate, you can move the money now and just think every dollar you earn now is worth more in £s
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 8:12 am
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Firstly, I'd say wait till you are one hundred percent sure you actually are moving to the U.S. (Firm job offer, visa in the bag.) If that is the case, you could transfer a portion of your savings to a trusted family member in the U.S. I'm afraid I'd have to agree with you, Brexit looks like being a slow motion train wreck which is only just beginning, so the pound could go a great deal lower.

When my wife and I moved to the U.S., we transferred all our savings to my sister in law in the U.S., and she then paid for big stuff for us when we arrived (paid for a car and so forth,) and then settled up with us when we were all set up with a bank account etc. It was convenient.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 11:18 am
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

I'm on the same boat tbh, crying into my tea as the real value of my savings plummets. I'm going to need to move some for my setup costs (car mainly!), and while we'll be fine with 1 income we won't be buying a house until I get a few months into a new job.
I think we'll leave the majority of my cash here for the time being, although to be frank the mid term prognosis for the £ isn't great.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Crazy times, who knows where the exchange rate will go over your timeframe of 6 to 9 months. Depends on Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, Crunchy Brexit.

I was in a similar position when I sold our house in the UK in the 90's and the exchange rate went down to $1.39 until many months later when it came back up and I transferred it all over at $1.60 but it continued to rise higher and I felt that I missed out somewhat.

I am in the opposite situation now, moving back to the UK and planning on buying a house. The rate went down to $1.30 before the referendum so I transferred over a few tens of thousands over a period of a few weeks as I expected it to go back up after the vote. (Never expected the vote to go the way it did).

We now have an offer accepted on a house, completion probably sometime in Q1, 2017, and I still need to transfer over a lot of money to the UK. I have decided to hedge my bets and continue to move money over time rather than guess at what the rate is going to do.

Maybe you could do something similar, move some periodically between now and when you actually need it. Dollar Cost Averaging it is called. It means you won't move everything at either the top or bottom.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Frankly, if we knew we wouldn't be posting on a message board. We'd be millionaires.

If this was a non-Brexit situation, I'd tell you to wait as the $/£ seems to always come back to about 1:1.5 eventually, but with Brexit there isn't anyone who knows. It's all a bit crazy.

Maybe you can take out a personal loan and play a bit. Make some repayments and if it seems that the rate is going worse, make an accelerated payment and pay off the whole debt, but if the rate is getting better just keep making regular payments over time, or something like that, hoping the value of the money you owe becomes less and less as your savings increases in value with the currency fluctuation.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 4:06 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Frankly, if we knew we wouldn't be posting on a message board. We'd be millionaires.

If this was a non-Brexit situation, I'd tell you to wait as the $/£ seems to always come back to about 1:1.5 eventually, but with Brexit there isn't anyone who knows. It's all a bit crazy.

Maybe you can take out a personal loan and play a bit. Make some repayments and if it seems that the rate is going worse, make an accelerated payment and pay off the whole debt, but if the rate is getting better just keep making regular payments over time, or something like that, hoping the value of the money you owe becomes less and less as your savings increases in value with the currency fluctuation.
This is a lot easier with fees being a lot less than they were 10 years ago,

the other option a FOREX broker offered me was to give me a rate slightly lower than the current rate, but that would be valid either in a years time or for up to a year, I can't remember. That may also be an option. I think it may only be available through brokers. that way you don't need a bank in the US immediately to get todays rate.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 4:07 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Something else to think about, I know the pound is weak, but interest rates in the US are at an all time low and mortgages are fixed for 30 years. So even though you might get a bad rate, you may get a good interest rate before they go up.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 6:00 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

Feel the pain too, we were finally getting into a position to be able to buy here. Sold our house in the UK, paid a shit load in US taxes, and now we've lost a ton of money and don't have enough for our 20% deposit again.
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 9:19 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

might go down even further. awful times
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Old Oct 24th 2016, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Moving to USA next year - awful £/$ exchange rate

The UK government and its action/lack of action is not inspiring much confidence in the markets right now. You can also factor in the US election, once it's over there will be more certainty with a Likely Clinton victory. I wouldn't expect it to get any better right now.
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