New year, new goals

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  • <B>New year: </B>Time to set some goals for 2013.<B></B>

    New year: Time to set some goals for 2013.

Martha Myron Harris

New year, new start, new government, new goals, or are we recycling the same old topics? Of course, we are!

Nothing changes that much in a year. What is expected, however, is that with the new year comes fresh perspectives and new initiatives on working through these agendas.

Country goals

Our new government has their hands, hearts, and minds totally occupied with the tremendous challenges ahead — the first absolute goal being raising income and managing depleted cash flows. We wish them success and stamina. They will need both in great quantities.

Personal goals

Whether your household (company) is comprised of just you, or multiple dependent individuals, you cannot run your home enterprise without cash and a steady income source either. Hopefully, you have had a wonderful holiday and have used some of that leisure time to set your action plan for year 2013.

Where is your economic position today? What do you need to do this year to boost your income? Where would you like to be at the end of this year in your career? The answer is just plain common sense. You would like to be making more money. You would like to be promoted to a higher incentive position.

The challenge

How do you plan to achieve this goal? No use just hoping. That is a feel-good time-wasting emotion. Ditto, for feeling depressed. You need a specific spelled-out-in-writing action plan, then implement it!

Years ago, I worked with a lady who shall remain anonymous. She was, and still is without a doubt, one of the most motivated individuals I have ever met.

She carried a tiny little worn book in her purse. Once, I saw her writing in it and asked rather nosily what it was.

Paraphrasing now, she said, “Every January, I write down my career goals for the year — where I am and where I plan to be in 12 months time. Then, I refer to my goals that I set and met frequently, and especially, when obstacles get in the way. That way, I reassure myself about just how far I’ve managed to advance over the years.”

As she worked her way up the ladder of one daunting financial organisation, she adhered to her defined plan, religiously. She reached those goals in that business environment, and when the time was appropriate, moved on to the next stage of her career, that of establishing her own successful business. Her story is an inspirational story of sheer personal tenacity, always advancing through, around or over adversity to invest in herself to reach the ultimate life goal — financial independence.

Did I mention that she was also a determined saver, a single head of household, and had a relentless positive attitude to every day?

Retirement goals

You’ve left the workforce challenges behind, closing the door on that lifetime career accomplishment. Now, you are committed to the task of generating retirement income for a substitute paycheck action plan, through managing your pension (if you are lucky enough to have one), savings, and investments. If you have available cash earning little to no interest — every saver’s dilemma these days — consider setting up a small local investment account. Then, in the words of investment guru Peter Lynch, “learn as you earn” building up your income and investment knowledge along the way.

Another anonymous Royal Gazette reader took precisely that action. Writing to me last fall, he described his interest in investing and the approach process he used. I thank him for this contribution shared so succinctly and enthusiastically.

“About a year ago, I set up a Butterfield Direct Investment account and have been dripping modest amounts of cash funds in, buying and occasional selling shares and LEARNING.

“After selling a few of my share positions at a profit I changed direction and am now 80 percent invested in good dividend paying stocks. Since I am past retirement age, our family needs income more than stock growth appreciation.

“My investment goal is an average of a four percent annual return although, one outlier stock was way over with a 9-10 percent return. I thought it was worth a punt, and even managed to attend this company’s Annual General Meeting (as a small stockholder)!

“At nearly the end of my first year, the net increase in value in my portfolio stood at 9.41 percent.”

Very good results for a first year track record, wouldn’t you say?

We’ll explore more on individual investing (what worked and what didn’t) in the next Bermuda Investment Primer Series article.

Martha Harris Myron CPA PFS CFP (USA) TEP is a cross border financial planning specialist at Patterson Partners Ltd, an international investment and strategic planning services firm in Hamilton, Bermuda. She is a Council Member of the American Citizens Abroad Professional Tax Advisory Council. For additional information, or call 296 3528

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and not The Royal Gazette. The author has no affiliation with any individual or business mentioned above. This article is intended for general educational purposes only and cannot be used for specific individual tax, investment, or retirement advice, nor can this article be relied upon for any personal financial planning purposes.

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Published Jan 5, 2013 at 10:00 am (Updated Jan 5, 2013 at 10:18 am)

New year, new goals

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