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Mike Macgirvin

Pennies from Kevin

  from Diary and Other Rantings
The title of this article 'Pennies From Kevin' actually came off the ABC radio today where it was used to describe the Prime Minister's economic stimulus package.

A little over four years ago I  wrote about finding a penny on the ground and actually picking it up. Was a time when I couldn't be bothered with the worthless things. They won't even buy you a piece of bubble gum these days.

In Australia, you won't find any pennies on the ground. None. They've done away with the worthless coinage. The smallest numismatic denomination is a five cent piece. In the super market and elsewhere the total is automatically rounded to the nearest multiple of five (unless you're paying electronically, in which case they can charge you the exact amount - as it doesn't require producing change).

Apologies. I'm actually going somewhere with this. Twice this week I've seen something shiny on the ground and reached over and picked it up. A two-dollar coin both times. That's enough to buy a beer.

I believe I will.
Loonie exchange rates

  from Diary and Other Rantings
The dollar continues to slide.

My friends in the northern hemisphere may not have heard the news yet, but last week the Canadian Dollar (aka the Loony) reached parity with the venerable US Dollar for the first time in memory (perhaps the first time in recorded history).

The Australian Dollar isn't too far behind. Unless something radical happens, I figure we'll be at parity before Christmas.

A few years ago, my (then) U.S. dollars would get me roughly $2 Australian. When I arrived here in April, it was about $1.25. The last few days it's been creeping down to $1.10.  On the bright side, U.S. goods will only get cheaper - and by extension, Chinese goods, since they're artificially tied to the USD. (Won't be long before the Chinese wise up to how much money they're losing by doing this).  

On the downside, my 401K is still sitting overseas - losing value every day; and there's not much I can do about it. There's a stiff penalty for early withdrawal, and I don't believe they recognize the Australian superannuation (aka 'super') system as a valid rollover choice. By the time I can touch it without penalty in about ten years, it will probably be worth a few cents.