Currency accounts for US citizens
Sunday, September 16, 2007 by Dave Winer.
Did you see Alan Greenspan on 60 Minutes tonight? What a revelation, one of the most powerful political and economic forces, but until now, basically silent. There were so many interesting things in the interview, but one of them left me with an urgent action item. Lesley Stahl, the interviewer, asked what currency he got the advance on his book in? He said it didn't matter, because he could convert to whatever currency he wanted, begging the question. She pressed, and he volunteered that the best choice is to be diversified. Which of course is a conclusion every money manager would reach on their own, it's just like stocks and bonds, you never want to have all your eggs in one basket, the best strategy is to be diversified.
I've wanted to be diversified in currency for quite some time, but have found it's not so easy. I have an investment account and a checking account, both are in US dollars, and neither offers the option of anything other than that. I just spent a couple of hours with Google trying to figure out where I could open an account that would allow me to keep cash in euros, yen, yuan, dollars (Canadian, US, Australian or New Zealand), pounds, or... ? I found that I could become a currency trader, which is absolutely not what I want. What I'd like is something like a mutual fund for currency. Or failing that, a certificate of deposit that allowed me to specify what currency it would be in.
So I thought I'd ask the smartest people I know, the readers of this blog. Do you keep your savings in more than one currency? Is there an online bank that does this well, one that a US citizen can use (that is, it sends 1099's to the IRS). Any ideas would be much appreciated.