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
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...
Jan 25, 2014 8:00 am
Part I of a two-part Series on Families, Financial support, sharing and in some cases, financial sabotage.
There is no disputing that this is a difficult time for many individuals and their families in Bermuda. Everyone in a family, I have no doubt, is being called to step up to the plate for assistance.
Families in Financial Motion involve emotional allegiances, turmoil, frustrations, disagreements, and the ultimate caring that...
Dec 28, 2013 8:00 am
LEARN. LIVE. LOVE. There is one important NEW Year’s wish today that I have for the readers of Moneywise. And it is, that everyone learns to become independent and technically proficient in the new electronic age, and in the process, loves taking care of their financial security. Some of you, sitting off having that steaming cup of tea or coffee, having a read of the “daily blatt” are now thinking, “what a dumb statement. I’ve got a cell...
Dec 7, 2013 8:00 am
Numerous jurisdictions are aggressively promoting their natural product — investor immigration programmes — to appeal to very wealthy individuals: protection and privacy, light tax and infrastructure, sophisticated and democratic societies, wonderful scenic co-operative surroundings, and often accompanied by various friends and business associates who have also emigrated. Other welcoming jurisdictions have acquired wealthy individuals and...
Nov 30, 2013 8:00 am
While Bermuda government coffer revenues continue to inexorably decrease, the rhetoric here grows increasingly shrill. Paraphrasing headlines and various individual statements regarding proposals to open our doors wider to foreign investments, we witness constant mantras: “Bermuda for Bermudians”, “taking away our birth right”, “allowing foreigners in to dilute our votes and occupy our real estate”, “it’s not fair”, “we deserve more”, and on...
Nov 16, 2013 8:00 am
Oh, oh — another tax article that RG readers tell me they hate because, as we Bermudians love to say, “it’s got nothin’ to do with me”.
I will unequivocally state right now that United States tax compliance has everything to do with us.
On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, The Royal Gazette reported that the US Department of Justice in conjunction with its revenue collecting (and tax fraud enforcement...
Nov 9, 2013 8:00 am
Tired of banking transactions? There’s a new money concept out there.
Bermuda is a complex financial environment. We tend to forget this fact, until we have to trudge down to a bank teller for travelling money, or negotiate a foreign currency transaction online with our computer. Once in an FX menu, have you ever clicked on the wrong currency, and ended up with say Australian dollars when you wanted something completely...
Nov 2, 2013 8:00 am
MONEYWISE November 1, 2013
Bermuda Investment Primer Chp1 part 2
Another segment in the Bermuda Investment Primer Series.
The United States capital market S&P Index* reached an all-time high last week then settled back by Thursday, o’Halloween Day, 31 October 2013 as this article went to press. The S&P index value has grown by an almost 25 percent appreciation in one year. Investment returns at this...
Oct 26, 2013 8:00 am
In 2011, when our economists were still telling Bermuda residents that Bermuda was recovering from the recession, Moneywise saw things very differently — having lived (and painfully observed friends, neighbours, and clients’ difficult financial struggles) though an earlier recession in the United States.
The cost drag of a lengthy recession on Government coffers coupled with impending civil service underfunded pension liabilities...
Oct 12, 2013 8:00 am
One reader wrote in with the following suggestions for additional articles. I thank this individual for following the Moneywise column and providing this feedback. As always, I am very grateful to receive comments and inquiries on a reader’s interests or financial situations. All personal inquiries are entirely confidential.
Sep 28, 2013 8:00 am
The default of an insurance company has been in the headlines for the last couple of weeks.
Emotions are high. Thoughts of policies lost, and monies out of pocket — never to be recovered, are angrily listed again and again.
This is a just such a sorry state of affairs.
It is very understandable that individuals who invested are confused, angry, and disillusioned.
Sep 21, 2013 8:00 am
Reputation, reputation, reputation is the mantra for countries seeking high-grade foreign investment. We, in Bermuda, want to do business with the best of the best: countries and companies with impeccable reputations for transparency, fiscal solvency, rigorous enforcement of compliance measures, and legislation to combat corruption and financial crimes.
Sep 14, 2013 8:00 am
We are told to expect flat Bermuda economic performance for this year. Our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as reported last week, has shrunk for the fourth straight year — the cumulative effect of increasing prior year’s expenditures and decreased revenues.
For those tired of acronyms, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a fancy term for some common sense math.
Sep 7, 2013 8:00 am
It was more than a little disconcerting to see the announcement that Bermuda was placed on France’s tax haven list. One would think that there had to be a substantive reason for this pre-emptive label-tarnishing directly before the G20 meeting that just took place in St Petersburg, September 05, and 06, 2013, but none seems to be forthcoming.
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