My personal mission to promote financial literacy
In late February of 2000, Bill Zuill, then editor, now head of digital for The Royal Gazette, hired me as a finance columnist, even though I arrived soaking wet from an unexpected Bermuda shower, and I’d never written a “real” column, but I never told him that!
The beginning was rough. Each article was agonising to compose, taking hours and hours and hours – the results were very generic, to put it mildly. Somehow, The Royal Gazette kept me on.
Writing became an evolution into having the confidence to create a column that might attract attention, provide timely information, a possible a sense of humour, dedication, concern, motivation or emotions and that came about much, much later.
Readers have asked how I can keep finding information to discuss. I read:
• Bloomberg, the best information website out there.
• The Washington Post
• The New York Times
• The Guardian
• The Economist
• The Royal Gazette
• Bermuda: RE + ILS, a re/insurance digital publication focused on the Bermuda industry
• Fintech Weekly
• Parliament business
• US Securities and Exchange Commission
• Bermuda Monetary Authority
• Globe and Mail – Canada
• US Federal Reserve
• Bank of England
These are just some of them.
I follow some individual writers
Matt Levine, of Bloomberg, a brilliant columnist whose every article is actually a university finance lecture
Timothy O’Brien, Bloomberg
Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist for The Washington Post
Alison Schrager, economist, Bloomberg
The late Gail Sheehy. Her ground breaking book New Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time was highly influential for her time and mine. Published in 1996, her highly-documented research was a ground-breaking revolution in the process of cycles of adult life and ageing. Unlike us, her book has not aged, is still regarded as one of the ten most influential books of modern times.
Erik Erickson: his eight stages of development
The late Larry Burchall. I still go back and read his research. He knew exactly what he was talking about and predicted a very clear vision of Bermuda’s future.
That future is here and now.
Other interests and sources include:
Investopedia, by far the best investment information website out there
The TIAA Institute – Global Financial Literacy Excellence Centre
OpenAI – ChatGPT I am fascinated by, but repelled at the same time with artificial intelligence innovation
Longevity studies: The Blue Zone and Tomorrow’s People: The Future of Humanity in Ten Studies
Digital versus real cash management
Investments – always evolving and fascinating
Freedom of speech
The monetisation of personal information for profit and power
All of these interests and topics revolve around my same major goal.
Financial literacy: the more you know about your economic surroundings, the better you are able to plan your life.
Money: using it, learning about it, having or deprived of it, managing it, is never an outdated topic. Money (and the work we do to get it) is almost as integral to life as the air we breathe.
The Bermuda Island Financial Literacy Network Channel is going live on Sunday March 12, 2023 on YouTube.
In 2004, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants membership (of which I was one) launched the “360 Degrees of Financial Literacy”, a free programme to help Americans understand their personal finances through every stage of life.
It was and still is an amazing self-help programme – for Americans. It was inspiring back then to think of the same thing for Bermuda islanders.
Since that time, almost 20 years ago, I have made financial literacy a mission, writing endlessly, and lobbying for help on the need for Bermuda to have its own financial literacy similar-type website, given our unique and complex economic and legal environment.
Since then, globally, the management of money, the evolution of the internet, new ways of issuing (bitcoin), storing, investing and handling money (smart phones, etc) and its related structures is still in constant acceleration.
Ten years ago in 2013, the OECD conducted a “Measuring Financial Literacy” pilot programme survey with 14 countries (the US was not included) under their Microeconomics / Household Behaviour and Family Economics.
The findings highlighted “a lack of financial knowledge among a sizeable portion of the populations in each of the countries surveyed, with improvement in financial behaviour needed”.
Also, the OECD noted that “financial literacy is rapidly being recognised as a core skill, essential for consumers operating in an increasingly complex financial landscape”.
By 2020, OECD, seriously stated: “Financial education, financial consumer protection and financial inclusion are recognised at the highest policy level as three essential ingredients for the financial empowerment of individuals and the overall stability of the financial system.”
However, financial literacy, as with any new concept, interest slowly gains traction until it becomes not just a concept, but a legitimately accepted topic, then a necessity.
So, now is the time, this Financial Literacy YouTube Project is another facet of my voluntary mission to meet this necessity, to provide another central focal point, a library of continuing financial literacy information and presenters’ expertise specifically focused on our unique Bermuda economy and related environment.
It is my hope that the channel will become an everyday resource for Bermuda islanders as I continue to write, collaborate and to explore new ideas with like-minded professionals on new ways to think about money, to help, motivate, and provide references and some incentives to you all when managing finances is so tough during difficult times.
And, I would love some volunteer help on the technical side of creating videos/presentations.
We all from Bermuda love our island, want the very best for our island, and even more for our community – even when we are not there!
It is hard to explain to those who have not experienced our way of life, the extraordinary “centripetal pull of home”.
Thank you, readers, for supporting my column, providing me with feedback, criticism, and encouragement. I welcome every single response.
Thank you also to my editors: Bill Zuill, and Jonathan Kent.
My writing is a purely voluntary mission. Any proceeds earned are donated to Bermuda registered charities.
• Martha Harris Myron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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