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
Jan 24, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jan 17, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jan 10, 2015 12:01 am
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...
Jan 3, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Dec 27, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Dec 20, 2014 8:00 am
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,...
Dec 13, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Dec 6, 2014 8:00 am
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
Nov 29, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Nov 22, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Nov 15, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Nov 8, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Nov 1, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Oct 18, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Oct 4, 2014 12:01 am
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...
Sep 27, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Sep 13, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Aug 30, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Aug 23, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Aug 9, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Aug 2, 2014 8:00 am
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:...
Jul 26, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Jul 12, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Jun 28, 2014 8:00 am
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?...
Jun 14, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Jun 7, 2014 8:00 am
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...
May 31, 2014 8:00 am
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...
May 17, 2014 8:00 am
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...
May 3, 2014 8:00 am
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...
Apr 5, 2014 8:00 am
This is a serious time to review the disparate differences again between the Bermuda Government employees defined benefit plan (the Public Service Superannuation Fund) and the Bermuda private business sector employee defined contribution plan (the Bermuda National Pension Scheme).
My article today was generated by the announcement in the Bloomberg press, “Briton Eyeing Property Punches Air as Pension Limits Axed” by Svenja O’Donnell,...
Mar 29, 2014 8:00 am
Part five — Bermuda fundamental financial review. Kinds, uses, and demands of debt.
Interest rates, bond yields, and the quantitative easing era.
The lament goes like this. When, oh when, are we going to see some decent interest rates on deposits, or bonds for that matter?
Yearning for yield, desperately. Capital market volatility continued to wax and wane like the tide rushing in and out of Crow Lane, March 19,...
Mar 22, 2014 8:00 am
Bermuda Fundamental Financial Review Series (BFFRS) — Property Insurance part 2
It has been a little over ten years since Fabian trashed this tiny island. Many families suffered disasters during this time, some left with lingering painful memories of lost loved ones. “Time heels all wounds,” they say. More often, time only diminishes the importance of a serious catastrophic episode.
Family resources are scarce and family...
Mar 15, 2014 8:00 am
Spring is here! Heck, it never really left.
Freesias are up way early. The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse plastic wrap flaps in the breeze and roars in heavy winds, the better to spruce it back to pristine grace when the cruise ships pull in.
Easter is on its way.
Whether you are religious or not, everywhere there are some very small fragile indications of renewal, rejuvenation, rebranding, reconciliation, and possibly economic...
Mar 8, 2014 8:00 am
Bermuda Fundamental Financial Review Series (BFFRS) — Risk Management: Part 5
We are taking a leap over the BFFRS series on debt, credit and mortgage issues to focus on risk this week.
It has been a little over ten years since Fabian trashed this tiny island. “Time heels all wounds,” they say. More often, time diminishes the importance of a serious catastrophic episode. Our minds simply cannot cope otherwise.
Feb 22, 2014 8:00 am
Thinking of investing in real estate abroad by flipping houses? Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, and why not? Bank deposits are paying nothing. Capital markets continue to be volatile, and not easily understood. Nothing like real estate, though. Bermudians have been obsessed with owning property, forever, it seems. So, nothing like using your business smarts and hard — sometimes back-breaking work — to earn your way to financial success.
Feb 15, 2014 8:00 am
Bermuda Fundamental Financial Review CASH and Money Funds
Part 4 - see bottom of page for links to Part 1-3
This is the fourth in the new series on your Moneywise Annual Fundamental Financial Review. We are now at the category of money market mutual funds (MMMFs) that are actually investments. In our fundamental financial review, investments (and adviser recommendations) are always approached last on the list. Why should that be?...
Feb 8, 2014 8:00 am
Bermuda Financial Fundamentals Review Part 3 – Cash, Foreign Currency, Credit, and Money Market Mutual Funds.
Bermuda is a small island, 21 square miles, with a resident/ guest worker population of approximately 60,000. Insignificant in size, significant in global financial stature, Bermuda has had its own coinage for more than four hundred years, then paper money evolving for daily use. Cash can appreciate in value (or depreciate) in...
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