The dollar is a long-term basket case. As measured by the U.S. Dollar index, the dollar is roughly half as valuable as it was in the mid-1980s as measured against a basket of foreign currencies. Just how far it may fall, and how fast, of course, is impossible to forecast. So how should planners play this dollar uncertainty to ensure the best outcome for clients?

"One thing is certain, planners can no longer ignore currency risk," says Axel Merk, president and chief investment officer of Merk Funds, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based group of currency mutual funds.

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