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Martha Myron
BUSINESS COLUMNIST
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Martha Harris Myron, CPA, PFS, JSM, Master's of Law – International Taxation and Financial Services, is a personal finance expert and offers cross-border financial planning for Bermuda residents with international connections through Bermuda, North America and Europe.

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  • Watch out for cross-border tax traps
    Feb 6, 2016 8:00 am

    Watch out for cross-border tax traps

    Author’s note: This composite case is purely hypothetical in nature and is not intended to resemble any actual persons’ individual circumstances.

    Love in the air. The perfect Valentine romance! They met on a flight to Australia. Lots of conversation, laughs, follow-up connections on social media, phone calls, and family relatives’ comparisons (they thought they might even be very distant cousins)! The long-distance courtship...

  • Time to boost the Auditor-General’s powers
    Jan 30, 2016 8:00 am

    Time to boost the Auditor-General’s powers

    A review by a former auditor of the Bermuda Auditor-General’s Report on the Consolidated Funds of the Government of Bermuda for the years 2010, 2011, 2012. This is the fourth and final part of the series.

    Reviewing a financial statement can be completely intimidating. But remember this, numbers are numbers. They tell a story that really just requires common sense to interpret.

    Open the report, go to page 49 and start down...

  • AG’s report: why are we not more concerned?
    Jan 23, 2016 8:00 am

    AG’s report: why are we not more concerned?

    This is the third part of a review of the Bermuda consolidated fund audit report for the years 2010, 2011, 2012 by a former auditor. The first two parts were published on December 19 and January 16.>In part 3, we focus on some of the serious reasons why the Auditor-General (AG) of Bermuda did not give the Bermuda Government Consolidated Fund results for 2010, 2011, 2012 a clean bill of health. Readers, since space does not allow for...

  • Appalling items in Consolidated Fund report
    Jan 16, 2016 8:00 am

    Appalling items in Consolidated Fund report

    <b>This is part two of a commentary by a former auditor on the Bermuda Auditor-General’s report on the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Bermuda for 2010, 2011, 2012 released to Parliament in December 2014.</b>

    Have you ever tried to wade through an auditor report? Or been curious about how a publicly traded company, or a government manages their financial affairs?

    If you own shares in a company, perhaps...

  • Plan for financial success in this new year
    Jan 2, 2016 8:00 am

    Plan for financial success in this new year

    Today is the start of the new year. That means new beginnings and a new outlook on the first day of the rest of your life.

    It is a time for great inspiration and great learning.

    The inspiration holidays are over. Everyone had a great time, but are now surfeited from the partying, presents, purchases, relatives, work, and other Christmas festivities.

    In the aftermath the bills come in, the recriminations, and thoughts such...

  • Avoid the debt-fuelled materialism trap
    Dec 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Avoid the debt-fuelled materialism trap

    The Christmas holidays are trailing right into this week. After the crazy crush to satisfy every person’s wish list in the family, there is plenty of time to think about yourself, your future direction in life, or just comfortable easy things — just the simple pleasure of being — where you are.

    Here is an assortment of thoughts to reflect upon, act upon if you like, find amusing or not, and share with those you love. If you’ve reached...

  • Understanding the audit process
    Dec 19, 2015 8:00 am

    Understanding the audit process

    This is part one of an analysis of the Audit of the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Bermuda for financial years 2010, 2011, 2012 by a former auditor.

    This holiday season has arrived at the end of another year of a (hopefully) decreasing recessionary environment. While there is economic pickup, anecdotally, numerous cash-strapped Bermuda families are still challenged to celebrate Christmas. In spite of these financial...

  • Understanding the concept of Bitcoin
    Dec 12, 2015 8:00 am

    Understanding the concept of Bitcoin

    Introducing Bitcoin, the new, newest thing in the global medium of exchange. We know our current mediums as variously, cash in hand, stock values on a piece of paper, gold bars in a vault, sterling silver on our wrists, real property immovable on the ground, in the ground (oil, coal, diamonds), and under the sea.

    The thing about Bitcoin is that as ordinary individuals, we may only have a vague idea of what Bitcoin is — gathered say...

  • How to avoid being duped
    Dec 5, 2015 8:00 am

    How to avoid being duped

    My first thought after reading a warning earlier in The Royal Gazette about yet another pyramid scheme in Bermuda was “oh, no, not again — I am so vexed”. Another set of hucksters scamming honest, decent people of their hard — earned money — right before the holidays.

    These fraudsters are truly the lowest of the lowest form of criminals. They aggressively market on the internet, or come into a community touted as outside “experts”...

  • Resilience in the worst of times
    Nov 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Resilience in the worst of times

    Today’s column is a reminder of the resilience of people and economies when confronted with catastrophic events.

    Traditionally, November is a time for remembrance of those gone before us, particularly those brave men and women in the world wars who fought the good fight to preserve our democratic way of life. We are so grateful for their sacrifices.

    Back then, severe danger was quite clearly defined by enemies whose evil intent...

  • Is your financial adviser qualified?
    Nov 21, 2015 8:00 am

    Is your financial adviser qualified?

    Taking action after your 14-week financial review, part 2. Know your financial environment and your representative.

    You’ve organised your financial matters, now you want to move forward — to fill in the gaps in your financial plan.

    Where do you start?

    First, understand yourself within the Bermuda financial environment. The financial industry, even in Bermuda, is broad and complicated, so if you are determined to become a...

  • Trust and verify should be your mantra
    Nov 14, 2015 8:00 am

    Trust and verify should be your mantra

    Your Bermuda financial review summary is over. You are now moving forward to taking control of your finances, in our unique Bermuda financial environment.

    You’ve realised you have some gaps, say in life or property coverage; you saved a bit and now would like to start a small investment fund, or you know that you seriously need to update your estate plan and will.

    Where do you start?

    You will be challenged because you must...

  • Feeling financially wiser after 14 weeks?
    Nov 7, 2015 8:00 am

    Feeling financially wiser after 14 weeks?

    You’ve reached the summit. The final step of an exhausting 14-week long review of all of your Bermuda financial resources in order to improve your financial lifestyle.

    Did you do it? Congratulations. You’ve run the course — gone through frustration, boredom, and lack of confidence, now you are just about at the end.

    What was your outcome? Were you happy, was it fun, frustrating, or just plain depressing? Do you feel more in...

  • Managing your finances and risks
    Oct 31, 2015 8:00 am

    Managing your finances and risks

    This is week 13 of the 14-week Bermuda financial review to dramatically improve your finances

    The risk of living

    If you asked anyone, your friends, your family, the person on the street “what did they fear or worry about the most” besides Halloween ghosts, the most common answers would probably fall into just a few categories: fear of losing a job, losing money and a relationship, losing good health, and losing one’s life.

  • Magic number of investing: the Rule of 72
    Oct 24, 2015 8:00 am

    Magic number of investing: the Rule of 72

    Week 12 of your 14-week Bermuda Plan** to Improve Your Financial Lifestyle

    Readers, your review plan is almost finished — just two weeks to go — don’t give up now. This week’s column focuses on final review of your pension, while translating that knowledge into setting up an individual investing plan outside of your pension planning for the future.

    What average returns should you be looking for in long-term...

  • Investing principles and pensions
    Oct 17, 2015 8:00 am

    Investing principles and pensions

    This is week 11 of the 14-week Bermuda action plan to improve your financial lifestyle.

    Your action plan is now knee-deep in the review of investing and pensions. In the next two weeks, we will:

    • review the performance of a balanced pension selection,

    • provide a very simple calculator to track (on average) how your pension is performing,

    • another calculator to project some possible estimated amounts to expect for...

  • Pension may be your second-largest asset
    Oct 10, 2015 8:00 am

    Pension may be your second-largest asset

    Week 10 of the 14-week Bermuda plan to improve your financial lifestyle.

    Review of pension and investments — part 2 (part 1 was published last week)

    Readers who have been courageous in attempting this “long” review of their finances — you are more than half way through. This is the hardest bit, though — thinking about investments and what they mean to your successful financial future.

    Here is a little factoid.

  • Investments and the investing process
    Oct 3, 2015 8:00 am

    Investments and the investing process

    This is the pension and investment review phase of the Bermuda 14-week financial review to improve your financial lifestyle.

    As this phase of the review may be more difficult and complex for many, so we will cover it over next three weeks.

    Why? Because pensions are investments.

    Simply suggesting a brief review of investments assumes an understanding that many individuals simply do not have. Over the years, I still...

  • Finding ways to increase your cash flow
    Sep 26, 2015 8:00 am

    Finding ways to increase your cash flow

    Week 8 of the Bermuda 14-week financial review to improve your financial lifestyle.

    What are additional income-producing ideas to increase your monthly cash inflow?

    Yes, searching websites reveals endless generic (and some very innovative) lists of ideas, but what may work elsewhere often means tailoring the product or service to our environment. Some detractors may feel that it just can’t be done with Bermuda still mired in...

  • Set up an automatic saving plan
    Sep 19, 2015 8:00 am

    Set up an automatic saving plan

    Week 7 of the Bermuda 14-week plan to dramatically improve your financial lifestyle.

    The Bermuda 14-week plan is an individualised financial review plan series adapted for our unique Bermuda financial environment from an original article by Libby Kane, Business Insider May 2015.

    Find weeks 1 to 6 by visiting The Royal Gazette website under Martha Myron, starting on August 1, 2015 and each subsequent Saturday.

    At week 7, you...

  • The power of less can help you reach goals
    Sep 12, 2015 8:00 am

    The power of less can help you reach goals

    Week 6 of the Bermuda 14-Week Plan to Dramatically Improve Your Finances

    The Introduction to the Plan through weeks 1 to 5 can be found by visiting The Royal Gazette website under Martha Myron, starting on August 1, 2015 and each week subsequently on Saturday. http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20150801/COLUMN07/150809998

    Yes, you are now six weeks into this personal review of your income and spending habits. It is quite a...

  • Setting goals helps to improve your finances
    Sep 5, 2015 8:00 am

    Setting goals helps to improve your finances

    Setting goals — Week 5 of the 14-week Bermuda plan to dramatically improve your finances.

    This week we discuss thinking about setting goals, deciding what those goals are or what just one goal should be and the process needed to reach your personal goals.

    What should those goals be? Only you can decide that. It does not matter what the goal is – the end game here is to help you get to the touchline. That means putting dollar...

  • 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...

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