Friday, September 25, 2009

Wow for won!

One of the risks you take when you go abroad is dealing with foreign currency exchanges. About a year ago, the economy tanked and the floor fell out from under us over here in Korea. Within a month, without any actual changes on the part of my employer, my effective salary in US dollars fell to about 2/3 its value compared to when I signed the contract.

Today the won dipped below the 1200won=$1 rate for the first time in 2009. Yay! This is good for me. Earlier this year, when the rate climbed to more than 1500won=$1, I was despondent. Although I wanted to stay in Korea to get married this year, I had to seriously consider going home after my last contract and taking up a job in the U.S. where my salary would be three times what it is here.

When I first got to Korea, the won was 900won=$1--a much better deal for me at that time. Even though my base salary is now 400,000 won more per month than when I first arrived, the exchange rate change makes it worth more than $200 LESS than that original salary PER MONTH--gross.

Fortunately, the won stabilized around 1250won=$1 and appears to be going down even more. I hope this pattern continues, or at least holds, for the remainder of my time in Korea. I'd like to see my student loans pretty much disappear before I go back to crazy consumer-happy America.


  1. Hopefully it's a trend that means the global economy is getting back into some sort of shape.

  2. You gotta love exchange rates. They only really matter when you send money out of the country - your buying power isn't directly affected by the exchange rate on a day-to-day basis.

    Whether it has more to do with the US dollar going down than the Korean won going up or the other way around, I'm happy to see it happen :)



Related Posts with Thumbnails