Long before that, the greenback had been out of fashion with billionaire Warren Buffett, who repeated last month that he remains down on the dollar.
- Boomers weigh merits of long-term-care policies
- Jitters afflict emerging market investors
- Investors can benefit from the weak dollar
- Target-date portfolios can miss their mark
- The savings game
- The Leckey file
- Getting started
- Spending smart
- Can they do that
- Taking stock
- Some stocks may provide shelter against downdrafts
- The week ahead
But small investors can take advantage of the weak dollar, just like the big players. And some new investments make currency plays easier.
A word of caution: Don't let the weak dollar dictate your overall investment strategy. And make currency plays with only a small piece of your portfolio. That way you won't get badly burned if the dollar suddenly regains its muscle.
That said, you can consider these moves:
-- Bank on foreign currencies
Florida-based EverBank offers money market accounts and certificates of deposit in 20 foreign currencies, including the euro, Swiss franc, Indian rupee, Icelandic krona and Australian and Hong Kong dollars.
EverBank converts U.S. dollars to your foreign currency of choice. You gain if that currency rises against the dollar.
You need at least $2,500 to open a money market account and $10,000 to buy a CD for a term of three, six, nine or 12 months.
The money market account doesn't pay interest on balances under $10,000. CD rates depend on the currency and term. Recently, none of the Japanese yen CDs paid interest, while the three-month South African rand CD paid a 7.71 percent annual rate.
But don't be distracted by interest rates. "You are buying it for the diversification and the chance that the dollar continues to weaken against that currency, and you would gain from that currency appreciation," said Chuck Butler, president of EverBank's world markets.
Deposits are FDIC insured against a bank failure, but they're not protected against losses from currency swings. -- ETFs for currencies
Rockville, Md.-based Rydex Investments in the past two years has launched CurrencyShares, a series of exchange-traded funds that track the price of eight currencies. ETFs are similar to index mutual funds but trade like stocks.
Each ETF buys foreign currency that is held in a bank account in London. You see your shares go up or down based on the value of the foreign currency compared with the dollar.
You also reap a bit of interest that the currency earns sitting in the bank. The annual ETF fee is 0.40 percent of invested assets.
-- Bonds from abroad
Long-term investors might consider bonds issued by foreign governments.
EverBank's Butler recommends bonds issued by countries whose economies are at the peak of their growth cycle.