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Keep track of your financial health

The Bermuda Islander Fundamental Financial Planning Primer Book One: The Dawn of New Beginnings has five Steps left to run in its serialised version, featured weekly on The Royal Gazette website at www.royalgazette.com/bermuda-islander/

Health and prosperity: keep a close eye on your financial health

Close to the end of the pandemic and an upward trend towards normalcy for Bermuda islanders and our economy.

While it was never planned to launch the first primer book in the middle of a pandemic, it is prophetic that the title and content, The Dawn of New Beginnings, has become quite relevant in this new post-pandemic world.

Bermuda islanders have been through the wringer, wondering about jobs, worrying about future finances, hoping current savings will last long enough until normal employment income resumes, terribly concerned about health safety issues, and just plain tired of lockdowns, restrictions, sheltering-in-place, and pure isolation.

We are a gregarious people!

There is a reason that individuals stop each other in the middle of a road – for a chat, not that there has been any of that for months. Catching up on family particulars is extremely important to community wellbeing. Never mind that traffic backs up and the impatient pull their hair out, the chat takes precedence.

As promised in articles of January 16 and 23 in Moneywise, a financial health checklist is attached for your perusal and downloading.

Additionally, here is a gentle, general list for Future Monitoring of Your Financial Matters – the original is available in Step 17 of the Dawn of New Beginnings book. Free for reading and downloadable.

• Get your life goals in place. Keep them in mind at all times. Biggest goal to buy a home? Paste up pictures of your dream home – everywhere – in your current residence. It will motivate you!

• Continue to monitor your bank, investment, pension, and insurance accounts from your plan review for the next year and the next and the next.

• Set up a reminder schedule that you are comfortable with, particularly if you are on a savings binge.

• Set up your simple budget. Review your cash budget weekly, or monthly, or as best as you. Once you've successfully met your first savings goal, by controlling your expenses, you can back off to once a month.

• Set up another savings goal for the next new thing that you'd like in your life: a home, a new car, a vacation, a growing savings and investment funds.

• Build another reminder to curtail credit-card use, longer term eliminate using them for emergencies and travelling only.

• Review your Bermuda National Pension account immediately after receiving the statement. If the account is deficient, notify the Pension Commission immediately. The faster you react, the faster the contribution deficiencies can be rectified.

• Waiting six months or a year to review your pensions statements may be too late to attempt to recoup those late, or delinquent contributions. If you only receive semi-annual statements, then open your pension account online for review, monthly.

• Check on your Social Insurance contributory fund by calling or stopping into the Government Social Insurance department. The warning is the same as the pension scheme. You must consistently keep track of your contributions!

• Reviewing personal investment accounts and the investment component of your pension plan statements quickly once a month or pull down the current fact sheets of your investment firm's website. We will be covering investments in a new series in late 2021.

In the meantime, if you don't understand what you have invested in, send me a current fact sheet. I will review and comment to you. Martha@pondstraddler.com

• Make sure you are protected for contingencies:

• Property / vehicle/ health/life insurance up-to- date

• Cash cushion in place

• Work/career focus with ears to the ground – always watching for the next opportunity to succeed, and to plan ahead if redundancy is looming

• Assure that your life insurance policy, will and pension have the right beneficiaries.

• Make a will if you don’t have one, get your healthcare directives in place – take care of your family now, rather than having them deal with grief and the fallout of your leaving too soon

• Finally, take care of yourself: physically, mentally, holistically, emotionally, and spiritually

You are important to this world, your family and community. Repeat and repeat to yourself. You matter!

Stay the course, now.

Don't let things slip.

Remember always.

You control your financial future!

Martha Harris Myron, CPA JSM, a native Bermudian, is an author, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group Bermuda, and financial columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All Proceeds from these articles are donated to the Salvation Army, Bermuda. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com

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Published February 20, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 19, 2021 at 1:48 pm)

Keep track of your financial health

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