The pound has fallen considerably in recent weeks and months. But what does that mean for your finances?

Perhaps the most well-reported fall was the sudden plunge on 26 September, which was largely a response by financial markets to the ‘mini budget’ from new Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng.

Financial markets, in a signal of lacking confidence in Kwarteng’s plans, sold the pound to its lowest ever level – worth $1.03 in dollar terms. It has however rallied somewhat now.

However, there is a longer-term trend at play with the weakness of the pound.

In the past 12 months the pound has declined from a value of around $1.35 to its current level ($1.13 at the time of writing) – representing a 16% decline.

This is mainly down to major global macroeconomic trends affecting the value of the US dollar. Around the world as equities, bonds and other assets struggle, investors look increasingly to just holding dollars.

The main reason these investors look to hold dollars is that the US central bank, the Federal Reserve, is seen at the front of hiking interest rates and reducing the amount of dollars flowing around the global economy through ‘quantitative tightening.’

Thanks to this trend, the pound is among nearly all other major currencies in losing value to the dollar.

But while these are complex trends affecting the whole world, there are some specific effects on our own finances in the UK. Here are the major impacts.


One of the least easily-noticed, but biggest issues for a weaker pound is that it will cause more inflation – despite the Bank of England hiking rates to quell rising prices.

This is because the UK economy is highly dependent on imports to supply households with the everyday goods they need.

When the pound falls in value against other currencies, especially dollars for which many major global commodities such as oil are priced, it reduces the nation’s purchasing power.

This makes these products more expensive for us to consume. Although in practice it is difficult to immediately notice the effect, in the long term it will keep the overall level of inflation higher than it otherwise would have been.


Perhaps the opposite of the above effect – a weaker pound means it is more expensive for people to travel abroad.

When visiting other countries, travellers and holidaymakers will find buying anything they might spend on more expensive as their pounds don’t go as far as before.

This will have varying effects depending on where they go. Europe might not be as much as a stretch thanks to the Euro falling, but a trip to DisneyWorld in Florida might quickly become prohibitively expensive for some.

There are some quick and easy ways to mitigate the worst of foreign exchange rates for holidaymakers though. The most important is to avoid exchanging physical currency at Forex shops, or even at places such as the Post Office. These companies routinely offer foreign currency at extremely high markups compared to the basic Forex conversion rate.

The best solution to this is generally to use new digital-only banks such as Monzo, Starling and Revolut, who offer much better exchange rates and fees for spending abroad and cash withdrawals than old-fashioned High Street banks do.


A weakening pound also affects investments – but the consideration here can be more complex.

Holders of UK companies that earn in the UK might find that their stocks are worth less as a result of the stock being priced in pounds.

But many major UK firms actually derive much of their incomes from abroad. With a weaker pound this is a good thing for those companies as they will be able to import more valuable foreign incomes. It also makes UK goods sold abroad more competitive to buy, boosting that income for those firms.

Buying companies or other assets denominated in dollars will become more expensive. But the relative value of those assets for those already holding will be a bonus as their sterling value appreciates relative to dollar values.

The effect of pound weakness for investments is complex though and there’s no unifying theme, as individual wealth structures will be impacted differently.

If you would like to discuss any of the themes in this article, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Any opinions stated are honestly held but are not guaranteed and should not be relied upon.
The information contained in this document is not to be regarded as an offer to buy or sell, or the solicitation of any offer to buy or sell, any investments or products.
The content of this document is for information only. It is advisable that you discuss your personal financial circumstances with a financial adviser before undertaking any investments.
All the data contained in the communication is believed to be reliable but may be inaccurate or incomplete. Unless otherwise specified all information is produced as of 20th October 2022.