Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Weak Dollar = A Difficult Aliyah

There was a time when it was pretty easy for American retirees to live  relatively comfortably in Israel.  That was in the day of the $trong dollar and weak lira later shekel.  Today the American dollar doesn't buy much.  Social Security needs to be supplemented either by additional pensions, investments or the profits from the sale of an American home. 

Today real estate values in the states are low.  The economy is the "pits." Retirement age keeps climbing, because not enough money is going into the pot.

Israel has always had a healthy birthrate, but the 1970's in the states was the pits.  That's when I had most of my kids.  I remember walking around Manhattan with a toddler on the visit, knowing that another child was growing in my womb and noticing all the women of my age with flat stomachs.  My fellow baby boomers weren't interested in babies, so today there aren't enough high earning thirty-somethings adding to Social Security.  In addition, Social Security is still being paid to all the eighty and ninety-somethings still alive and needing lots of medical care.

My kids are helping me and my siblings care for my parents.  That's a positive advantage of being "sandwich generation."  It's usually described in the negative, trying to choose between conflicting pressures and commitments.  I'm very lucky in that I have wonderful kids.

The dollar is weak, but with a strong family, G-d willing we'll help my parents have a good life here in Israel.


Anonymous said...

Run away from the dollar fast!

Put your money in Swiss Francs, Chinese Yuan and gold.

Batya said...

and shekalim of course

Anonymous said...

Shekalim? Not so hot, because its value is set to a basket of currencies, with a heavy dependence on the dollar and the euro.

Both the US and EU are at major risk for an economic downfall. If and when this happens, it will hit us here, too, as we're very dependent on both of them.

josh said...

Good insight. I would be more tempted to repeat the line 'we told you so', but I know that people hate hearing that.

Except for one point that the financial media is talking about a slowly recovering US economy. October auto sales rose. Soon to come will be interest rates so that the economy does not recover too fast. Rising interest rates means a rising dollar.

3.7 is not really 'low'. The last period the dollar was rising past 3.7 a few years ago no one was complaining about a low shekel.

Batya said...

The feeling is the states is that people are afraid of their financial status. Spending seems down; houses are sitting. Real estate is the pits.

Anonymous said...

Pick up any minimally respectable financial daily or weekly in the US and don't pay any attention to the mostly upbeat forecasts on CNBC.

You'll find that the GDP is being way overvalued, that long term investment, especially in R&D and job hiring of skilled laborers, keep on dropping.

Foreign governments are shifting away from the dollar, slow and quiet enough so as not to cause a panic while they do it in stages.

The supposed slow recovery signs are false positives. It's like the strength someone gains on their death bed in their final moments.

Hint: what is Soros (Yemach Shemo Ve'zichro) doing?

Batya said...

Shy, you're right. It looks pretty bad in the states. Former luxury stores, like Lord & Taylors is full of sales racks. Nobody pays full price there. It's close to Filene's Basement. Almost no price different for winter coats in Oct when I was shopping.