Mike Map

View Mike Map in a larger map

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

환율 고민 ㅠㅠ

(or, Exchange Rate Woes)

Not being a homeowner, not having many assets, and not living in America, I didn't think this whole financial crisis fiasco would hit me too hard. Little did I know! When I came to Korea, the exchange rate was about 930 won to the dollar. So, if I wanted to buy a 1,000 dollar laptop, I would need 930,000 won. Up until about 3 weeks ago, the rate was about 1,100 won to the dollar (1.1 million won for the same laptop), which was still annoying, but since it had taken more than a year and a half to move up that far, I didn't think much of it.

But now! Oh, Christ! The exchange rate is now 1,430 won to the dollar. The same laptop that would have cost me 930K won a year ago now costs 1.43 million! That's nearly a 50% increase in the price. So, while my salary has stayed stable in won, in terms of dollars, in the past week it's dropped between 20 and 30 percent. Not only my salary, but all the money I'd saved up over the past year here.

My original goal when I came here was to send home the maximum amount permitted by law, 10 million won. Not to belabor the point, but up until few months ago, that would have been worth just a little less than 10k dollars. Now? Hardly 7k.

Slightly less frustrating is that I have no clue why this is happening. If the American economy is hurting, people ought to choose not to hold their assets in dollars - i.e. they ought to want to sell their dollars. When they do, dollars flood the market, and the price of a dollar drops- other currencies (like my Won) should become stronger. So, world, please conform to my economic theories and, more importantly, give me my money back, dang it.