Charting your course to get through this pandemic
Readers: The Bermuda islander Financial Planning Primer Steps 1-10a/10b, Your Personal Investment Review, is available on Monday, January 11, 2021, https://www.royalgazette.com/bermuda-islander
In what seems like eons ago, Moneywise wrote several articles on Covid recovery, thinking shorter term. That has not been the case.
Those medical scientists, in particular, the respected individuals – you know who they are – having expertise accumulated through many years of pandemic experience, knew the facts. They did not hesitate to express them, again and again. Covid would not go away immediately; globally, we would be exposed for a longer haul, but it will have an end point in running its course.
Dear Readers, you have my sincere apologies for my ignorant complacency and again, sincere condolences for sad losses of our people.
Bermuda overall has been fortunate, not from luck, but from the determined efforts of our premier, David Burt, mandating government-wide vigilance to corral and contain the virus spread.
Bermuda islanders, too, can be sincerely thankful for the immediate, aggressive efforts by our Minister of Finance, Curtis Dickinson, to implement unemployment funding for the many among us who have lost their livelihoods.
This compassionate overture from our progressive government will long resonate a positive response within our fair isles. Yes, it will certainly financially dampen the public coffers, but the human cost without this lifeline to the community’s collective psyche would have been far more emotionally debilitating.
Moneywise cannot help but compare our government’s quick positive response against the inactions of our neighbours to the west; their endless political bickering and seemingly, indifference to the pandemic exposure and financial devastation of millions of individuals was finally voted on, but so little, so late, a mere $600 per individual one-time stimulus aid payment.
Individuals and their families are facing huge financial hurdles with loss of income, rent eviction stays ending, loss of homes, and in too many families, loss of loved ones.
Our Bermuda community could only read and watch in disbelief at what might be called “a panoramic display of vested self-interests!”
Some good news to increase personal family hope is that vaccine production and distribution is on the close horizon.
Further good news, and an optimistic read at Appleby Publications Insight: Finding Focus After Covid-19, December 29 2020, a round table including eight local leaders, first published in Bermuda Finance 2020.
The online coverage of the round table starts: “Bermuda’s economy has been buffeted by the challenges of Covid-19 during 2020. But a robust response from Government working closely with the private sector appears to have put it in a good position to take advantage of numerous opportunities emerging in a post-pandemic world.
So, this is where we are at.
What do you do now?
Practise financial triage: assess, inventory, prioritise
Where you are now financially, emotionally, physically and spiritually; what you need to do to move forward to regain personal confidence in the future.
Did your relationships improve or deteriorate?
Did you find that you were insufficiently prepared for this disaster?
Was resorting to spiritual comfort and self-healing a factor in getting through Covid?
Or, even though physically and financially inconvenient, did you find that actually you were able to cope with this unbelievable challenge?
Wherever you found yourself in this spectrum, please take the time to assess your strengths, to congratulate yourself and your family for coping, healthily intact.
Your assets, both physical and mental.
Physical: you have been locked down, experienced a complete reversion of your normal activities and communication accesses.
Mental stress: you have had ongoing concerns about money, your job, your family, your future, but you and your family are thankfully all right.
Positively, what you may have also found is that you are almost persuaded into living a simple, comfortable lifestyle. No dress clothes, no accoutrements, entertainment, excess commuting, parking, etc.
Some have reported that, in spite of, or because of the confinement’s inability to shop liberally, they have actually spent less, thus holding their own savings level.
Prioritise and start to rebuild
Savings: however, if your family piggy bank balance has dropped, keep that simple living concept in place. The less you spend, the further you stretch your reserves. Start to raise your cash cushion: sell what you can, find interim, and/or odd jobs, talk to your landlord or mortgage officer again for further relief, if possible, and ask for help.
Learning: the biggest priority in many ways. I urge you to invest in your human capital. Understand the big picture, not just locally, but globally. Will you have the same job, a different one, or need better skills? Learn, learn – take, or at least review free online courses. You need every single bit of information to upgrade your talents for your field of work.
Preventative care: means no matter your circumstances, you can take action to prepare positively for the new future normal, besides planning on an outcome helps with focus for success.
Never forget as humans we innately possess a wonderful determination to succeed as “hope springs eternal”.
Live it, pray for it, research, learn, up your skills, and look for opportunities to make hoping for a better future a reality.
Start Where You Are: Life Lessons in Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Chris Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Pursuit of Happiness available at Amazon. Kindle version $6.99. This is worth reading for less than the cost of coffee and a doughnut.
Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More, Elaine St James – just one of many excellent books on this topic, along with hundreds of websites.
An Essay on Man, Alexander Pope
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates [speaks or writes about] in a life to come.”
In other words, making a plan for the future
• Author Martha Harris Myron, CPA JSM, a native Bermudian, is author of The Bermuda Islander Fundamental Financial Planning Primers, with all specifically focused on Bermuda financial and economic matters, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group Ltd Bermuda, and financial columnist (since 2000) to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All proceeds from these articles are donated by The Royal Gazette to the Salvation Army, Bermuda.