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
Jul 18, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jul 11, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jul 4, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jun 27, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jun 13, 2015 8:00 am
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.
Jun 6, 2015 8:00 am
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...
May 30, 2015 8:00 am
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,...
May 23, 2015 8:00 am
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...
May 16, 2015 8:00 am
Dear Readers, how are you saving on your household costs? Will you tell me your “secrets” as I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org? 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...
May 9, 2015 8:00 am
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...
May 2, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Apr 25, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Apr 18, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Apr 11, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Apr 4, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Mar 28, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Mar 21, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Mar 14, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Mar 7, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Feb 28, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Feb 21, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Feb 14, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Feb 7, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jan 31, 2015 8:00 am
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.
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:...
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