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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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  • 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...

  • The Bermuda credit-card landscape
    Aug 30, 2014 8:00 am

    The Bermuda credit-card landscape

    A reader requested an exploration of the credit card offerings in Bermuda for Bermuda residents. Sir, we thank you for your interest. The credit card world is complex, large, and more than a bit confusing. Reviewing content was one of the more frustrating research topics I’ve attempted recently.

    Surprisingly, there are many individual card offerings, even in this small jurisdiction. Each financial institution’s website advertises their...

  • The potential permanent damage caused by using credit cards
    Aug 23, 2014 8:00 am

    The potential permanent damage caused by using credit cards

    It was just an impulse purchase. They really could not afford it, from a rational sense, but well, it was a tough week at work, family relationships are in a turmoil. They said, what the heck. “We need a lift.” Without much thought, they decided to go for it even though their budget is stretched to the maximum right now. We will just pay the minimum due (on our credit cards) until that promotion comes in. You know, we really deserved to...

  • The knows and no-nos of mutual fund investing
    Aug 9, 2014 8:00 am

    The knows and no-nos of mutual fund investing

    Dear readers: I haven’t focused much on investing in the last year or so. To be frank the reason: The anecdotal commentary from you (thank you) is because so many folks are struggling with the financial basics just to get on with their daily lives — that they have little energy, time, or excess cash left for additional investment assets.

    However, with United States investment market indexes recently hitting highest valuations ever, and...

  • Is to gamble just being human?
    Aug 2, 2014 8:00 am

    Is to gamble just being human?

    What does it mean to gamble? Is it inevitably irresistible?

    The physicality of gambling. The elation of winning. The fear and devastation of loss.

    These are the symptoms of the thrill of gambling: accelerated pulse rate, pounding heart, dilated pupils, breathlessness, brain activity synapses firing non-stop, the pure adrenalin rush as additive as cocaine.* These symptoms can also resemble prehistoric fight or flight patterns:...

  • How to use a mortgage calculator
    Jul 26, 2014 8:00 am

    How to use a mortgage calculator

    Last week in Moneywise, we covered the basics of math calculations for mortgage principal and interest when reviewing your mortgage payments*. This week, we start the review with:

    • Irregular payment intervals. Some banks charge mortgage interest by the day so you need to calculate carefully the number of days in the billing cycle.

    • Adjustable interest rate mortgages. The interest rate is not locked in at closing and will...

  • Why would you want to accelerate the principal payments on your mortgage?
    Jul 12, 2014 8:00 am

    Why would you want to accelerate the principal payments on your mortgage?

    This week, we focus on managing your money to benefit you. In Bermuda’s current economic environment, keeping up with the home mortgage payment is probably the number one challenge for every Bermuda homeowner.

    The last several years of the Bermuda Monetary Authority Quarterly Banking Digests (2008 of 2.3 percent to 2013 of 12 percent of non-performing loans to total loans) indicated, too, a steady increase in the number of property...

  • Fatca deadline is upon us — will you be affected?
    Jun 28, 2014 8:00 am

    Fatca deadline is upon us — will you be affected?

    Fatca finale — the deadline is in three days. July 1, 2014, precisely, is when foreign banks and foreign financial institutions in more than 100 countries, Bermuda included, having registered and entered into agreements with US Internal Revenue Service will start reporting data on foreign financial accounts held by US taxpayers or foreign entities in which US taxpayers have control or hold substantial ownership.

    Who will this effect?...

  • A parent left alone — a Moneywise family plan
    Jun 14, 2014 8:00 am

    A parent left alone — a Moneywise family plan

    This week, Moneywise features a new monthly series on financial planning and investing advice. We want to make managing finances much more applicable to personal circumstances by using real stories from real people. The first financial planning story features one of our readers who has written to me seeking help and has agreed to allow a discussion of the composite situation.* If readers would like to participate in future financial planning...

  • Navigating the pension rules
    Jun 7, 2014 8:00 am

    Navigating the pension rules

    Part 2: Do you know where all of your pensions are?

    Many residents of Bermuda, such as native-born individuals, multinationals integrated into the Bermuda family culture, and globally mobile guest workers have rights to foreign pensions in other countries. Often, they are not aware of these pensions, or have (surprise) completely forgotten the factual circumstances.

    You may have accrued enough foreign employment earnings...

  • Forgotten what assets you have overseas?
    May 31, 2014 8:00 am

    Forgotten what assets you have overseas?

    Attention! Do you know where all of your assets are?

    Many residents of Bermuda, such as native-born individuals, multinationals integrated into the Bermuda family culture, and globally mobile guest workers have rights to foreign pensions in other countries. Often, they are not aware of these pensions, or have (surprise!) completely forgotten the factual circumstances.

    In presenting many international financial planning workshops...

  • What it takes to start up a business
    May 17, 2014 8:00 am

    What it takes to start up a business

    The refrain is constant. Bermuda needs new business. Bermuda needs jobs.

    It takes a unique individual to start a business anywhere, but it can be particularly challenging in Bermuda. The business start-up checklist is long, as you will have noted from last week’s article with references to StartupNation’s “10 Point Business Plan.”

    There are several predominant personal traits that are absolutely crucial to the success of a...

  • Managing financially into retirement is a challenge for many
    May 3, 2014 8:00 am

    Managing financially into retirement is a challenge for many

    Last week’s article about the differences in pensions available to Bermuda residents generated more interesting responses from Moneywise readers. Serious concerns were expressed about how to manage financially into retirement, now exacerbated by the tougher job environment in our almost six-year Bermuda economic recession.

    Retirement anxiety crosses borders. Even though the economy of our neighbours to the West is deemed to be...

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