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Martha Myron
BUSINESS COLUMNIST
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Martha Myron, JP CPA CFP (US) TEP specialises in independent fee-only cross border investment, tax, estate, and strategic retirement planning services for Bermuda residents with United States and multinational connections, and US citizens living and working abroad. She is a Master in Law candidate and the American Citizens Abroad Country Contact for Bermuda. www.americansabroad.org

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  • A personal budget that meets your needs
    Aug 29, 2015 8:00 am

    A personal budget that meets your needs

    This is Week 4 of the Bermuda 14-week plan to dramatically improve your finances.

    Reader questions arise, such as where do you get the energy to continue to deliver the message that financial planning is beneficial to everyone, when it seems that Bermudians have a tough time saving today.

    Answer is, that we know from experience when individuals have the knowledge they need to work with, they have the confidence to make changes...

  • Time to add up your debt
    Aug 22, 2015 8:00 am

    Time to add up your debt

    This is week three of the Bermuda 14-week plan to radically improve your finances.

    STEP ONE

    Review your credit card statements, a mortgage statement if you have bought a home, and don’t forget personal debt payments to friends and family. How much do you owe in the short term, and the long term?

    Hopefully, your answer is a good one: very little in short-term debt, but probably a pretty high balance in...

  • Finding a system to track your spending
    Aug 15, 2015 8:00 am

    Finding a system to track your spending

    This is week two of the Bermuda 14-week plan to radically improve your finances

    The original article from Business Insider promoted taking 14 days for your personal financial review, but if you are like most working people with careers and families, your free time is often predetermined for family first. We’ve stretched the duration of your review instead to 14 weeks straight, ending on October 31 — Halloween.

  • How small spending adds up
    Aug 8, 2015 8:00 am

    How small spending adds up

    Literally thousands and maybe millions of articles have been written on budgets, savings and spending. Detrimentally, for most people, the prospect of even beginning to consider a budget is too much trouble, too daunting, too time-consuming, so they just don’t budget at all. All statistics on scale, some individuals manage just fine financially without one, while far more of the rest of us have problems just keeping track of a positive net...

  • A post-Cup Match financial workout
    Aug 1, 2015 8:00 am

    A post-Cup Match financial workout

    Uh, oh! Cup Match was awesome — a great event checking out friends, catching up with the family, and starting new relationships. You arrived in spectacularly stunning duds to join the fashion display, snacked and sipped, danced and dallied, made a few passes at the Crown and Anchor. Then it was over, all too soon.

    Hey, it was a holiday — everyone got in party mood! But, you overindulged just a bit: overages on your credit card, that...

  • Buying and conserving a car
    Jul 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Buying and conserving a car

    Part of the Bermuda Tightwad Gazette Series.

    Why buy a car?

    Here is the thing about life since man walked the earth. Expanded upon over time by sociological and psychology scholars, man’s needs (and wants) fall into five broad categories: survival (air, shelter, water, food); safety and security; social needs (love and belonging to family and friends); esteem and confidence; self-actualisation (creativity, problem...

  • Drilling down into your electricity bill
    Jul 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Drilling down into your electricity bill

    Utility conservation: The Bermuda Tightwad Gazette Continuing Series

    Last week Moneywise started a review of utility costs and what the individual family can do to control them. We need electricity. Yes, we could do without it — in the short term, but most of us lack the temerity to be permanent back-to-the landers, with all due respect to those individuals who embrace living off the grid. We are many generations of peoples since...

  • Controlling your Bermuda electricity costs
    Jul 4, 2015 8:00 am

    Controlling your Bermuda electricity costs

    Old-timers called it the Lack-a-Light Company. How many remember everyone standing in line with cash to pay their ‘lacktricity’ bills — some still do. It was a time full of social interaction in those queues, we were less harried and hurried then, plus you always came off with great gossip — from those in the know.

    The Bermuda Electric Light Company (Belco) bill payment these days, whether fully electronic or manual, is a time of...

  • Bermuda graduates are our future
    Jun 27, 2015 8:00 am

    Bermuda graduates are our future

    The search for the best career choice in Bermuda after graduation Moneywise article of June 13, 2015, “From graduation to a rewarding career” generated a number of comments and direct requests for additional advice. As always, these readers’ personal information shall remain confidential, while their underlying plans for their future careers provide some interesting feedback for this weeks column.

    Reader #1. “Although I graduated from...

  • From graduation to a rewarding career
    Jun 13, 2015 8:00 am

    From graduation to a rewarding career

    So, you are graduating. What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

    Where to go? How do you decide?

    Possibly, you just really feel somewhat aimless, drifting a bit. School was never your strong point. You know you need to earn some money, though. It is becoming a pressing issue.

    You think you might want to come back someday, as a Bermudian to get your share of the success pie being dished out here.

  • Sinking bond prices and what you need to know
    Jun 6, 2015 8:00 am

    Sinking bond prices and what you need to know

    What should you do, if anything, about sinking bond prices?

    Seeking Alpha’s Wall Street Breakfast reported last Thursday morning that “bond yields continued their sell-off as the six-week bond rout rumbled on. Further United States Treasury yields rose as high as 2.425 per cent before retreating.”

    There are a number of investment and economic reasons that bond prices and yields are volatile currently, such as worries about...

  • How compounding can snowball your savings
    May 30, 2015 8:00 am

    How compounding can snowball your savings

    I’m still harping on the virtues of saving that accompanies the good feelings of accomplishment — to the point where some readers won’t want to peruse this week’s read. “Sometimes, your articles make my head hurt,” said one fellow. Another stated that while they were very good — with the caveat — “most of the time — she got a little depressed over the weekend reading them” — so she only read Moneywise when she could absorb the information,...

  • So, how Moneywise are you? - part 2
    May 23, 2015 8:00 am

    So, how Moneywise are you? - part 2

    Here are the remaining answers to the Bermuda Financial Literacy quiz that was featured in The Royal Gazette Moneywise article on April 11.

    Answers to first five questions were published on May 2 (see links at end of this article).

    Right, I promised those answers for May 9, didn’t I? So sorry. Special features like Mother’s Day and the continued escalation in cost of Bermuda living took total priority.

    My dear husband...

  • The Tightwad Gazette — Bermuda style
    May 16, 2015 8:00 am

    The Tightwad Gazette — Bermuda style

    Dear Readers, how are you saving on your household costs? Will you tell me your “secrets” as I invite you to contact me at martha.myron@gmail.com? Kindly state your name and whether you would like to remain anonymous. I never reveal my sources.

    The recent announcement by our local utility company, Belco (yes, I’m using the old name) regarding a contemplated rate increase in electricity had to have left Bermuda families frustrated with...

  • Lessons from our mothers
    May 9, 2015 8:00 am

    Lessons from our mothers

    What does it take to be a mother?

    Initially, it is a brief physical moment of contact. Her (and your) future course is set.

    But it is much more than that.

    Mothers have borne us through nine long months of a glorious, terribly laborious gestation displaced by irrevocable physical changes. Who among all mothers does not admit to having terrified thoughts, at least once, during that hiatus in life regarding the daunting...

  • So how money-wise are you?
    May 2, 2015 8:00 am

    So how money-wise are you?

    Financial literacy quiz answers? How Moneywise are you? Only one very brave reader took the test. She actually scored 100 per cent, but there was one catch. For extra points, some questions had multiple answers. She, bless her heart, proclaimed to be a devoted fan of Moneywise, so loyalty was rated incredibly high on my list. But was there no interest in a quiz that was primed to point out getting your money’s worth and monitoring your...

  • Couples, their relationships, their money
    Apr 25, 2015 8:00 am

    Couples, their relationships, their money

    Couples, whether living together, in a civil or legal union, are they functioning in beautiful bliss or financial fiascos?

    Family relationships encompass a variety of life arrangement situations: couples, single parents, grandparents, civil unions, long-distance commuter commitments, cohabitation. The June wedding month, more popular than ever, is close to hand.

    Weddings. brides, grooms, attendants, friends, family. Pre- and...

  • Comparing your Bermuda mutual fund options
    Apr 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Comparing your Bermuda mutual fund options

    Bermuda mutual fund offerings available listed by criteria. Part 5. This is the last of this series on balanced asset allocation mutual funds available for the investor in Bermuda.

    I’ve put together a chart for you all, dear readers, of various balanced mutual funds offered by Bermuda banks and/or investment as at December 2014, a full year of reporting. Information was taken directly from their websites, or obtained directly from a...

  • How moneywise are you?
    Apr 11, 2015 8:00 am

    How moneywise are you?

    April is Financial Literacy month in the United States. Since we Bermuda residents (at least, some of us) love to mimic our US neighbours in so many trends: styles, investments, entertainment, why not adopt the Financial Literacy Month Initiative here, too, unofficially, of course?

    Almost everything in our daily lives is tied to finance. Yet, according to the FINRA US surveys: over 40 per cent of US families have no budget and spend all...

  • A Bermuda Easter: Home-made versus store-bought
    Apr 4, 2015 8:00 am

    A Bermuda Easter: Home-made versus store-bought

    First, NEVER TAKE your dog kite flying, especially if he is old and slow. Second, beware of cute pastel-coloured gifts.

    Home made versus store bought. During another time in another era, every family (ours included) made their own kites. It was very rare to see a store bought mass-manufactured kite. Plus, while commercially produced kites were simply spectacular to the eye, they cost lots more and didn’t always fly, not like the...

  • Balanced mutual funds – not exciting but stable and steady
    Mar 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Balanced mutual funds – not exciting but stable and steady

    Year-end review for Bermuda balanced mutual funds. We are following on from part 1 of the original article dated January 17, 2015 on mutual funds options available in Bermuda from various investment firms and banks located here in Bermuda.

    Yes, I know, you need an apology, dear readers, since I promised more the next week. But, the Bermuda budget just happened to take first place — you know the importance.

    Why did we select...

  • Retirement is no longer a relevant word
    Mar 21, 2015 8:00 am

    Retirement is no longer a relevant word

    Retirement is an old, overused word. Retirement is no longer relevant in today’s global society. This opinion (mine) is that Bermuda’s economy is just not producing (or keeping on Island)* our skilled young people in numbers anywhere near close enough to replace their elders.

    This is not speculation. It is pure math. There are more of us than there are of them younga’ ones. Statistically, the numbers of our Bermuda seniors (65 and...

  • Going into financial survivor mode
    Mar 14, 2015 8:00 am

    Going into financial survivor mode

    This is an adaptation of an article written originally for Moneywise in early 2009 as the Bermuda economy fell off a cliff. It has been updated to reflect the current recession.

    The state of our economy and the Bermuda government debt is on everyone’s mind.

    We hear that it is “not business as usual”, that Government “cannot afford it”, that “foot traffic has been slow, so we’ve had to cut back on employee hours”, and...

  • National Budget decisions come under intense scrutiny in the digital age
    Mar 7, 2015 8:00 am

    National Budget decisions come under intense scrutiny in the digital age

    Comparison of the 2015/20 16 Bermuda Budget Statement and the Reply to the Budget between Government and the Opposition — Part 1.

    It is tough being a politician any day — but particularly so in the electronic age we live in of constant exposure: texting, Google search, Twitter, Instagram, selfies, Facebook, and whatever the next connectivity device is imminent to be flashed across vapourware. Everything a politician does or doesn’t...

  • Managing finances in a globally mobile society
    Feb 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Managing finances in a globally mobile society

    Since we Bermuda residents all originally came from somewhere else, today there are thousands of us with multinational ties, multi-jurisdictional assets, multiple citizenships and multiple passports.

    We are not unique in our restless quest to travel. Today, millions of people are advantaged with the ability to live, work, and retire in a globally mobile society. This quest for mobility continues to accelerate, almost beyond...

  • Differences between Govt and family budget
    Feb 21, 2015 8:00 am

    Differences between Govt and family budget

    A budget is a curious thing, nowhere near as simple as it looks. It is not realised monies — as in cash received in hand, cash spent out — gone! A budget places its emphasis on what we think we will see financially going forward. A budget can be (and should be) an analytical projection based upon real facts from prior years, a shrewd assessment of financial activity of the current year, an even harder look at events predicted for the future...

  • Does one plus one equal true love?
    Feb 14, 2015 8:00 am

    Does one plus one equal true love?

    Respect. It can be said that an integral component of a couple’s maturing relationship is respect for each other and their shared visions, such as their inspirations for a better life, the dreams of establishing a home in their community, the drive to secure a financially successful future, and the social progression and growth of each individual.

    Respect walks in tandem with money attitudes

    The management of...

  • Cross-border financial challenges
    Feb 7, 2015 8:00 am

    Cross-border financial challenges

    For more than 400 years, Bermuda residents have been habitual border crossers. You can label us “puddle-jumpers” “pondstraddlers”, “nomads,” “global explorers” or “inveterate wanderers,” but the fact remains that there is no unequivocal choice.

    We physically have to leave this island dot to get to where we want to go. While there may be a few Bermudians who have never left the dear island in their entire lives, we can assume that...

  • When real estate ends up having negative value
    Jan 31, 2015 8:00 am

    When real estate ends up having negative value

    Bermuda residents are still coping with stressful financial hurdles as the country starts some recovery from the sixth year of recession (or more, depending on some people’s perspectives).

    The following negative equity situation is a composite-generated case that is not specific to the Bermuda environment or any individual’s particular financial profile, although anecdotal comments indicate these situations have and are happening here.

  • Keeping your mutual fund fees low
    Jan 24, 2015 8:00 am

    Keeping your mutual fund fees low

    Last week we began a beginning investor series on balanced mutual funds. What they are, how they work, and where they are available in Bermuda. (See Balanced Mutual Fund Options in Bermuda, http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20150117/COLUMN07/150119761).

    Year-end reporting for the balanced mutual fund products is still about another week away — as not all Bermuda investment providers listed last week have posted final fund statements...

  • Balanced mutual funds options in Bermuda
    Jan 17, 2015 8:00 am

    Balanced mutual funds options in Bermuda

    This is part one of a review of balanced mutual funds available in Bermuda.

    Last week’s Moneywise column focused on that week’s volatility in capital markets, particularly in the United States where the daily swings to gains and losses were anywhere from 500 to 1,000 points. This week, through the end of Thursday, January 15, (when this article goes to press) that same volatility persisted with markets reacting to disappointing US bank...

  • Low-risk bonds have a place in portfolios
    Jan 10, 2015 12:01 am

    Low-risk bonds have a place in portfolios

    Market waves can pave the way to investing success. Interesting patterns developed in global capital investment markets this week. Reactions and patterns that were familiar, seen many times before when investors get jittery viewing their uncertain portfolio activity. This time the undulating waves of selling and hedging appeared to be primarily caused by the continued uncertainty of oil pricing and production.

    On Monday and Tuesday...

  • Economic ‘green shoots’ are emerging
    Jan 3, 2015 8:00 am

    Economic ‘green shoots’ are emerging

    A new year for investors and global capital markets. A new year for the economy of Bermuda. A new year for your personal finances. What will it bring, how will it shake out, how will it affect you personally?

    America, our neighbour (and 400-year old relationship friend), saw the S&P capital market index hit new records 53 times last year (according to Bloomberg), while the Dow Jones rose to an all-time high above 18,000 during the...

  • Presents, gadgets and the season’s true gift
    Dec 27, 2014 8:00 am

    Presents, gadgets and the season’s true gift

    Holidays are for happiness. There you are in the aftermath, sitting amid the remnants of wrappings, fading but still twinkling lights, wonderful food, and memories of Christmas. You may have acquired things you don’t need, given things that others didn’t need, spent more than you should, but you know overall in your heart that you made the best of the holiday season by making others happy. It is a good feeling.

    What were the most...

  • Watching and learning as an economy stumbles
    Dec 20, 2014 8:00 am

    Watching and learning as an economy stumbles

    This week, for those following global financial events, we have been witnessing the financial deterioration of a giant economy, Russia.

    All the classic ingredients appear to be present, heightening the volatility of the situation: increasing economic instability, possible financial isolation, rapid fluctuations in currency values, downward export price movements (oil), foreign direct inbound investments withdrawing, worried investors,...

  • Keep your Christmas budget realistic
    Dec 13, 2014 8:00 am

    Keep your Christmas budget realistic

    Create meaningful memories this holiday season. We know from local news statistics that the holidays will be more difficult for many, many Bermuda families. Money is tight. Job retention and prospects for new employment are still tentative, even with the celebratory news of American’s Cup last week.

    Christmas generally brings out the best in our emotional responses. We look forward to gathering together with family, enjoying special...

  • Cup fits in with Island’s rich heritage
    Dec 6, 2014 8:00 am

    Cup fits in with Island’s rich heritage

    Here we are this week, welcoming the America’s Cup to Bermuda and looking forward to the sporting excitement that will climax in 2017.

    Bermuda, the Dot in the Ocean*, is drawing intense scrutiny from around the world as the new host of this prestigious event.

    Who are we? What is this place called Bermuda?

    Bermuda’s people are for starters tenacious survivors, flexible innovators, and inveterate world travellers

    They...

  • When it seems too good to be true...
    Nov 29, 2014 8:00 am

    When it seems too good to be true...

    Scammers and those being scammed, part two

    “At the bottom of Multi-Level Marketing — a scummy business at best — lurks Global Prosperity. The slimy-est of the slimy MLM programmes, none is more of a scam, or has such a disreputable background, as Global Prosperity and its many equally-sordid spin-offs.” Quote from Quatloosers Hall of Shame.*

    The Global Prosperity Group — the Gateway to Financial Freedom (and...

  • Scammers and those who are scammed
    Nov 22, 2014 8:00 am

    Scammers and those who are scammed

    Recently, the Bermuda Monetary Authority cautioned again about investing in a recent financial scheme (scam) that appears to be a fraudulent activity.

    Scammers have existed in the human race since the evolution of trade and finance, literally, since time immemorial. Wherever there is a buck to be made, unethically or illegally, scammers operate quite effectively. They are not an off-chance encounter or an unfortunate set of...

  • Vetting your financial adviser
    Nov 15, 2014 8:00 am

    Vetting your financial adviser

    Bermuda Financial Fundamentals Series — Investing: Mutual Funds and Portfolios.

    (Continuing the Bermuda Financial Fundamental Series on mutual funds and portfolios — Part 3)

    The three most frequently asked questions conveyed to me over the years by beginning and even sophisticated, individuals wanting to invest in capital markets are:

    — How do I find a good financial representative (FR) and Investment Provider Firm...

  • Martha’s great, informative reads
    Nov 8, 2014 8:00 am

    Martha’s great, informative reads

    How is Bermuda doing this morning?

    Today, Moneywise keeping things light, given that so many have spent time, money, physical and mental energy cleaning up after two hurricanes back to back.

    Readers often ask me where do I get my ideas. How can I possibly find enough topics to write about that aren’t the same old thing. You’d be surprised at the amazing, amazing trove (treasure, really) out there in cyberspace. My Google website...

  • Who can you trust with your money?
    Nov 1, 2014 8:00 am

    Who can you trust with your money?

    Bermuda Financial Fundamentals Series — Investing: Mutual Funds and Portfolios. Part 2.

    Bermuda is a sophisticated international finance centre. Originally an isolated island with no native inhabitants, Bermuda today has thousands of multinational residents who are intrinsically connected to multiple jurisdictions and have international family attachments.

    Thus, it is a challenge for most individual Bermuda residents to...

  • Bond holdings prove their worth as equity markets plunge
    Oct 18, 2014 8:00 am

    Bond holdings prove their worth as equity markets plunge

    On Wednesday last, capital markets across the globe (when this article went to press) saw stocks head into a dramatic sell-off while bond yields plunged. To quote the New York Times, “Financial markets are on a roller coaster…. The yield on the ten-year US Treasury note fell below two percent, crossing an important symbolic threshold that indicated investors were rushing for safety.” **

    What does that headline mean to the ordinary...

  • Bermuda’s reputation — keeping it sterling
    Oct 4, 2014 12:01 am

    Bermuda’s reputation — keeping it sterling

    Protecting Bermuda’s Reputation is the theme of the second yCompliance Financial Crimes & Compliance Seminar.

    It will be held Thursday October 09, 2014 at the Southampton Princess.* Please see full agenda and attendance information below.

    In the perpetual free trade exchange of business of global capital markets, money (investments) flows into a country where it is wanted, where opportunities exist, where the operating...

  • Estate planning: Don’t avoid it any longer
    Sep 27, 2014 8:00 am

    Estate planning: Don’t avoid it any longer

    Part 2 of Estate Planning. Part 1 was featured in RG on September 13, 2014 Are we ever prepared for the worst?

    Leaving our legacy. No one, almost no one, wants to think about, or even admit that somewhere sometime, we will become one of the dearly departed. That is because we wish subconsciously that we will be the one — instead — that “will live forever, who will love forever.”**

    The aversion to considering one’s own...

  • Are we ever prepared for the worst?
    Sep 13, 2014 8:00 am

    Are we ever prepared for the worst?

    Are we ever prepared for the worst?

    Last week, Thursday September 11, 2014, marked the 13th year since the assault on the US World Trade Center by terrorists using plane-filled human targets as attack weapons.

    Let us remember that day each and every year.

    Let us honour once again the memories of innocent victims, including two of Bermuda’s own people, along with the many insurance finance professionals affiliated with...

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