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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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  • Know the real odds before you gamble
    Jul 23, 2016 8:00 am

    Know the real odds before you gamble

    Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something — Wilson Mizner.

    Gambling is public, or often, privately conducted. It is confusing to us personally to understand the reasoning and motivation behind gambling itself. We will hold back our cash and fight endlessly to get the “very best price” on a refrigerator, for instance, but won’t blink an eye at the cash (or credit) we can feed into a slot machine in an hour, or throw...

  • Making a will with assets in three countries
    Jul 16, 2016 8:00 am

    Making a will with assets in three countries

    Marriage and estate planning for a multinational couple with multijurisdictional assets in three countries.

    A reader writes (Note: this is a composite case, all personal information has been changed or omitted), “I’m a Bermudian resident who is five years into a second marriage (with a wonderful man, I might add). He is from the United Kingdom, originally, who came to Bermuda (a few years before I met him) after an acrimonious divorce...

  • Introducing a new series on investing
    Jul 9, 2016 8:00 am

    Introducing a new series on investing

    Overview to the New Bermuda Investment Primer Series — Part 1

    With the ongoing upheaval of the UK political scene, the still unknown final effects (devastating or euphoric depending upon the viewpoints of who voted Bremain or Brexit) on the home economy as well as the ripple layers outward to the European Union crowd and the rest of the globe, it may seem somewhat crazy to even consider a series on investing.

    In my opinion, it is...

  • Calculating your future retirement finances
    Jul 2, 2016 8:00 am

    Calculating your future retirement finances

    Part 6 of the New Bermuda Retirement series. The Next Step: Setting up projections to calculate future retirement savings and expenses

    On May 21, <i>Moneywise</i> launched the first of two simplified retirement projection calculators. Calc-One portrays the fifteen years of projections prior to retirement at age 65. Calc-Two will emphasise the drawdown retirement phase after age 65 and it will be featured at a later...

  • Do global economics impact Bermuda?
    Jun 25, 2016 8:00 am

    Do global economics impact Bermuda?

    Of course, but far too often we are so wrapped up in our own political and financial infighting that we not only don’t understand or assess the impact, but we don’t even realise our financial world is changing rapidly, both for good and bad reasons.

    Here is just some of what was happening on the international financial side in the last few weeks:

    • The latest United States Treasury Auction where US government securities are sold...

  • Thankful for fathers that guide so well
    Jun 18, 2016 8:00 am

    Thankful for fathers that guide so well

    There is a detective series called Foyle’s War set in late 1930s as Great Britain is called to war yet again, with barely a recovery from the First World War. The pastoral scenery, the English countryside, those quaint rural villages and towns steeped in 1,000 year-old stone-built forts, are monuments to history so ancient and yet still so vital.

    The lives of the ordinary and the privileged are viewed in a careful prism of wartime...

  • What is your personal inflation rate?
    Jun 11, 2016 8:00 am

    What is your personal inflation rate?

    Bermuda has one of highest per capita gross domestic product* numbers in the world. It is a laudable achievement of Bermuda’s international financial reputation.

    There is a downside to that statistic, however. We all know what it is — the cost of living in Bermuda.

    In May 2016, the Bermuda Department of Statistics reported that while consumers paid 1 per cent more for the CPI basket of goods and services than they did a year...

  • Retirement and investment returns
    Jun 4, 2016 8:00 am

    Retirement and investment returns

    A reader asks: “Is it possible to get a 10 per cent return in a balanced fund [see last week’s article] in this environment? I once read that using the Rule of 72, with a 10 per cent return, my retirement portfolio would double in value in a little over seven years. Since my retirement rainbow is ten to 15 years away that would be triply, simply perfect.”

    Answer: of course, one can invest for a 10 per cent return, but there are risks...

  • Weighing up retirement investments
    May 28, 2016 8:00 am

    Weighing up retirement investments

    Here are two questions that we will cover today.

    “I’m relatively conservative and have stuck to the balanced fund concept for the last ten years. Balanced fund meaning 60 per cent stocks / 40 per cent bonds. I don’t have the expertise or the time to select hundreds of appropriate (for me) individual stocks and bonds, so I’ve always tried to buy low-cost (if I can) balanced mutual funds. My choices don’t seem to have done that well in...

  • Getting your retirement timeline right
    May 21, 2016 8:00 am

    Getting your retirement timeline right

    This is part five of the New Bermuda Retirement series

    WHAT IS YOUR TIMELINE?

    There are three serious phases in retirement planning:

    1. Fifteen to five years away from the accepted community retirement age (this varies by employer, government mandates and countries, eg various countries have gradually been raising retirement age).

    2. Five years to exit.

    3. Already retired adjusting to...

  • Retirement: so much to consider
    May 14, 2016 8:00 am

    Retirement: so much to consider

    This is part 4 of the New Bermuda Retirement series.

    Retirement impacts you in three major ways. You are affected, personally. Your family is affected. Your environment affects you.

    You, individually are affected: you must plan to manage your finances for maximum impact over a long number of years, a task that is not so easy to do. There will be sidesteps, setbacks, career fluctuations, possibly contentious medical...

  • Celebrating the evolution of moms
    May 7, 2016 8:00 am

    Celebrating the evolution of moms

    On the eve of Mothering Sunday here is a look at, and a celebration of, what motherhood means today and in the past, beginning with the poignant discovery of a 4,800-year-old fossilised mother and child found by archeologists in Taiwan last month.

    The discovery epitomised motherhood in a poignant way. Here was a mother in the her last moments on Earth focused on a tiny baby wrapped in her arms.

    Who was she? Where did she...

  • Let the world know Bermuda is no tax haven
    Apr 30, 2016 8:00 am

    Let the world know Bermuda is no tax haven

    Bravo! The Premier of Bermuda last Thursday sent an aggressive, masterly detailed, but polite letter to Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the British Labour Party, defending Bermuda’s international reputation.

    After years of infuriating off-handed jabs about Bermuda as a “secretive tax haven”, we are fighting back. Michael Dunkley, the Premier, has once again stepped up in defence of our international reputation and our way of life.

  • Financial steps for planning your retirement
    Apr 23, 2016 8:00 am

    Financial steps for planning your retirement

    This is an introduction and overview to a new retirement series. The series will be extensive. It has to be.

    Retirement readiness is not just about “how much do I need” or “five tips to a complete retirement,” rather, individuals will experience entire life changes, gradually, or radically if redundancy eliminates your long-held job, or your health is threatened.

    We will be covering the entire spectrum of successful retirement,...

  • Strive to pay off mortgage before retirement
    Apr 16, 2016 8:00 am

    Strive to pay off mortgage before retirement

    This the third part in the New Retirement series.

    Should you pay off your mortgage before you retire? This is probably the most common question posed to me (along with “will we run out of money”) in the many years of my retirement counselling profession.

    My answer is (and has been) a resounding “yes”! You should pay off your mortgage.

    Why should you do this? Oh, there are many reasons, here are a few.

    Let’s just have...

  • Panama Papers fallout: a voter’s checklist
    Apr 9, 2016 8:00 am

    Panama Papers fallout: a voter’s checklist

    The latest data dump leaks, the largest in history, were released this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

    The Panama Papers, so called as the leaks came from a Panamanian law firm, implicated 140 very high-level politicians and officials connected to leadership positions by revealing their names, countries, and most salaciously linking them to millions to billions of dollars placed into offshore shell...

  • We can learn from Faroes’ story
    Apr 2, 2016 8:00 am

    We can learn from Faroes’ story

    Already we have passed the first day of spring, April Fools’ Day and are headed into an early summer.

    Last week’s article was a story about an island, the Acqua Isle, a small island with a small population trying to stay afloat in the sea of global competition. Some thought it sounded like Bermuda — just change the name. Another thought it was Iceland, and probably, there were a few readers who labelled the whole thing as fictitious...

  • A tale of an island in economic trouble
    Mar 26, 2016 8:00 am

    A tale of an island in economic trouble

    This is the story of an island, the Acqua Isle. Idyllic in nature, hardy in purpose, the remote island has survived global forces of nature. It has existed as a comforting habitat for many hundreds of years.

    Its people are a hardy, serious lot devoted to life surrounded by the sea from which they draw their sustenance, transportation, commerce, and emotional fortitude. Semi-autonomously governed, Acqua islanders have always felt...

  • How long will my retirement money last?
    Mar 19, 2016 8:00 am

    How long will my retirement money last?

    The Bermuda Retirement Primer — part 2A: managing for a comfortable retirement

    The number one documented concern for retirees the world over is outliving retirement savings. The reason: the income from jobs they have relied upon all of their working lives will cease to exist.

    Their lives will progress from opportunities to save some of every monthly paycheque each year, to now managing their fixed financial...

  • Wise steps when planning for your retirement
    Mar 12, 2016 8:00 am

    Wise steps when planning for your retirement

    Welcome to the New Bermuda Resident Retirement Primer, a series of articles to be featured in The Royal Gazette every month, or more often, on demand.

    We will cover the gamut of retirement planning issues: retirement cost of living, inflation, longevity, to work or not in the jobs market, pension investments, contributions/distributions, health costs, an easy way to figure out what you need to save, family support complications,...

  • Budget shows how debt ties you down
    Mar 5, 2016 8:00 am

    Budget shows how debt ties you down

    Part two of lowlights in the 2016-2017 Bermuda Government Budget, a 54-page, meticulously prepared document containing shrewd observations on our local environment: finances, investments, government infrastructure and assets, impact on population, serious concerns relative to full employment, challenges Bermuda faces and an important economics lesson.

    Readers, budgets are actually easy to set up, contrary to what is thought.

  • Highlights and lowlights of the Budget
    Feb 27, 2016 8:00 am

    Highlights and lowlights of the Budget

    Meticulously prepared, the Budget is 54 pages long, replete with charts, statistics, analogies, historical data, and some very cautious optimism. It contains shrewd observations on our Bermuda financial environment: investments, government infrastructure and assets, impact on population, serious concerns relative to full employment, challenges Bermuda faces and important economics lessons.

    If you really want to be better informed about...

  • Romance and taxes — not a good mix
    Feb 20, 2016 8:00 am

    Romance and taxes — not a good mix

    Romance is a spontaneous, glorious happening, but as a foreign national, immigration into, and taxation within another country (in our composite case, the United States) requires pre-border crossing planning, too. The two thought processes are diametrically opposed to each other — with the euphoria of the first overwhelming the practicality of the second.

    Our two prior romance articles generated numerous inquiries from readers, and...

  • Meticulous planning is wise before a US move
    Feb 13, 2016 8:00 am

    Meticulous planning is wise before a US move

    Last week we wrote about our happy Valentine fellow blissfully leaving the Rock and heading to America to be with the perfect lady in the land of opportunity with its fabled streets of gold and bluer skies.

    Destiny is so full of promise, but it is also leading him across the pond to a tax regime country of confusion, complexity and unexpected financial consequences.

    In the euphoria of true love the optimistic thought is: “We can...

  • 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...

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