South­ern Ex­po­sure Smart snow­bird tips for your wal­let and your well-be­ing

If you’re fly­ing away this win­ter, we’ve got all the an­gles for your money, your health and a few ways to give those clas­sic hot spots a new twist

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS -


When­ever the Cana­dian dol­lar lan­guishes down in the mid- to low-70s dol­drums, some­where, a snow­bird cringes – our cel­lar-dwelling loonie just doesn’t go very far at stores or ho­tels in the U.S. Sun­belt. Adding to that frus­tra­tion is the ac­tual cost of buy­ing U.S. bucks – every time we pur­chase them at a Cana­dian fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, not only do we have to use the bank’s own ex­change rate but we’re also nailed with ex­tra fees, with as much as 3.5 per cent added on for each trans­ac­tion. In a des­per­ate search for cheaper greenbacks, many win­ter va­ca­tion­ers are turn­ing to apps like Knights­bridge For­eign Ex­change, which prom­ises ex­change rates up to two per cent bet­ter than what the big banks of­fer. Knights­bridgeFX claims it re­duces costs by buy­ing U.S. dol­lars in bulk through pool­ing its cus­tomers’ funds as well as hav­ing spe­cial ex­change deals with fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. They guar­an­tee they will beat any of the ma­jor banks’ daily con­ver­sion rates and won’t charge hid­den fees and the dol­lars will be trans­ferred on­line to your ac­count by the next busi­ness day. Us­ing Knights­bridgeFX’s cur­rency con­verter (at press time, $1US was 0.7746 C), if you ex­change C$20,000 through a bank, af­ter con­ver­sion and fees, you’d end up with US$15,492. How­ever, us­ing Knights­bridgeFX could save you up to $325. Every lit­tle bit counts. Visit knights­ for more in­for­ma­tion.


An­other rel­a­tively new fin-tech com­pany that’s try­ing to un­der­cut banks is Trans­fer­Wise, which trans­fers money in more than 40 cur­ren­cies around the world. Co-founded by Taavet Hin­rikus (Skype’s first em­ployee), it of­fers snow­birds a new and cheaper way to wire money to U.S. des­ti­na­tions. Here’s how it works: some­one liv­ing in Canada wants to wire money to their par­ents who are spend­ing the win­ter in Ari­zona. In­stead of go­ing the tra­di­tional route and send­ing money through a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, the son uses the Trans­fer­Wise app. He sends C$5,000 to the com­pany’s Cana­dian ac­count, and the equiv­a­lent (in U.S. dol­lars) will be sent from Trans­fer­Wise’s U.S. ac­count to the re­cip­i­ent,

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