What's the easiest way to move liquid assets from dollars to Euros?
November 4, 2004 11:58 PM   Subscribe

if one wanted to move a portion of ones liquid assets from dollars to euros ... what is the easiest way with minimal overhead?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
All you have to do is arrange with a bank to buy Euros and have some place to deposit them. Currency are traded like stocks. But be careful because the rates that are published in the papers are probably not the rates you will be offered. There are a lot of different rates. The only other thing to be careful of is that if you buy more than $10,000 worth you have to report this to the IRS or US customs. They worry about money laundering and tax avoidance, of course.
posted by donfactor at 7:29 AM on November 5, 2004

On a side note, make sure you're buying low and selling high.

The dollar definitely looks like it's at a low point right now.
posted by bshort at 7:51 AM on November 5, 2004

The dollar definitely looks like it's at a low point right now.

That's what "they" said a year ago.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2004

But be careful because the rates that are published in the papers are probably not the rates you will be offered.
When you exchange money this seems true because a fee is also charged. When I visited France, I never physically exchanged my $ to francs. There I just used the ATMs which their banks gave me the current day's rate for my $ with no exchange fees. About the only time that an ATM usage fee saved me money.
minimal overhead
So it would seem cheaper just opening an account in Europe. Can you open an European Bank Account from the US?
posted by thomcatspike at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2004

Unless you're going to make currency trading your full-time job, it's a sucker's game. Because currency naturally loses value over time (cue Monty Burns: "Why, in my day, a nickel could buy you..."), it's a horrible long-term investment, and you'll probably get better odds at a casino on short-term bets.

If you feel like betting on the euro, a much better choice would be an international mutual fund that holds Europeans stocks, like, for example, the Vanguard European Stock Index. It tracks a very broad index, similar to the S&P 500 here in the US, and as such will be very closely tied to Europe's overall economic well-being. And, since most European exchanges trade in Euros now, fluctuations in the Euro-Dollar exchange rate will be reflected in the fund value as well.

Caveat: I am not an investment counselor, and the only real investing I do is with an IRA and a 401k, so take all the above with a grain of salt.
posted by boaz at 8:12 PM on November 5, 2004

I'm chiming in 10 days later because I have the same question, and the answers here don't answer it.

Of course I don't want cash, because of the lack-of-interest problem. What I want is something like a money-market account or even a bond fund that is denominated in Euros. But I haven't been able to find one. Everything I've found---even when buying European stocks or bonds---is denominated in dollars with hedges built in to "guard against currency fluctuations". But of course, I don't want to guard against currency fluctuations. That's the whole point.

I've spoken with two brokerage firms (Fidelity and E-Trade) and neither of them had anything. I'm skeptical that my local bank will be able to do better, but that's what I'll try following on donfactor's suggestion. I really just want a savings account in Euros. Anywhere else in the world it's possible to get a savings account in dollars. But then, those people do things like learn other languages as well.
posted by alms at 7:37 PM on November 16, 2004

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