Monday, May 31, 2010

Currency Roulette

(Photo Title: Feed Me Taxes- Doge's Palace)

In 2008 I traveled to Europe and relied on credit cards and ATMs to pay for my journey. This was certainly easier than departing the United States with euros, but AMEX and ATMs charged over 2.7 percent above inflated exchange rates. As I started to plan an extensive European tour for 2010, I knew that I needed to take cash with me to avoid unfavorable bank fees. As you know, the world economy is still uncertain and the European Union is no exception. With this in mind I played "currency roulette" and decided to wait to purchase foreign currency as close to my trip as possible. Thankfully my gamble paid off!

When you read exchange rates, one must keep in mind that the advertised rates are for institutional-sized transactions, such as $1 million. When I contemplated purchasing foreign currency, Bank of America offered the best rate, $1.38 per euro and $1.60 per pound sterling. I put my chips, so-to-speak, on the table and waited for more international turmoil to take place. At the time Greece was faltering and other Euro-zone countries were struggling. Fortunately my prediction was correct and I nabbed euros at $1.30 and pound sterlings at $1.50, a significant savings!

I hope the world economy will one day achieve stability and gradual growth; please, no more bubble economies! In the meantime, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel the world and be blessed with a loving family and friends. I could not ask for more!

The image above was taken at the Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy. The mouth of the male sculpture was used to collect local's taxes. Even the powerful Venetian empire relied on taxes to supplement other revenue sources. I took this image because the face seems a little perturbed and evil, two characteristics that the taxpayers probably did not appreciate!

Ago vita vos somnium (live the life you dream)

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