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Signing off after 25 years – thank you, dear readers

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End of an era: Martha Harris Myron, author of The Bermuda Islander: Dawn of New Beginnings, is stepping down as Moneywise columnist after 25 years

Dear readers! What is there to say after 25 years of writing the personal finance column for The Royal Gazette, expressly for thousands of you?

Plenty as usual.

Most of you know me well enough by now; I always use any opportunity to promote (well, sometimes preach on) financial learning.

Born into a Bermudian family in Spanish Point during the Second World War, I grew up in a quiet, isolated world of refined manners, gentle, caring neighbours, and basic subsistence lifestyles.

Rationing of food stuffs was still rigorous, families washed everything by hand in huge outdoor fire-heated tubs, then dried on clotheslines in the blazing sun. We had kitchen hand-pumps, no running water, kerosene heaters, and very cold winters.

Neighbours and communities were closely supportive: sharing, bartering, trading fat for home-made soap; healthy home-grown produce for family-cooked meals; hand-me-downs; gorgeous sewing skills powered by treadle machines; do-it-oneself stone-by-stone home construction and so much more needed in maintaining even simple daily lives.

Transportation, given that cars were unaffordable for almost everyone, was with two legs, bicycle, “de” bus, ferry, train, or hoping desperately by age 16 to get a Mobylette, one that even our Premier of the time rode to work.

For children, back then, it was pure bliss and glorious total freedom. Aside from dreaded school days, we wandered to the sparkling, sometimes raging south shore beaches, barefoot mostly, fishing off docks, catching mackerel in the Crown Lane winter migration, wading pools, gathering shells, swimming endlessly, rowing punts, later learning to sail through to the Great Sound from White’s Island, untold trips to the Bermuda Children’s Library, a favourite place for self-motivated education, and more.

It was a time of total security, peace, oblivious to life’s realities, with only imaginative thinking of the future to come, while our being was totally devoid of outside influences of television, mass marketing, and the relentless commercial climb-to-the-top of economic powers.

Money problems were never acknowledged, let alone discussed; besides, almost no one had any money. Families were barely scraping by.

It was pure, instinctual survival.

Make do or do without.

Try until you succeed.

Even today, we Bermuda islanders have for more than 400 years, been legendarily renowned for our innovative, determined, resourceful big-picture thinking in building a globally competitive financial jurisdiction.

In 1961, leaving our beautiful island, I entered a starkly different, cacophonous, staggeringly huge, fast-paced modern world, full of relentless ambition and greed, countered with openly generous, caring people who helped me, a naive islander, to assimilate.

But I greatly missed, never forgot our Bermuda and was so fortunate to be able to return, 37 years later.

What readers have told me

What you want:

• Truth and honesty in all financial dealings

• Their voices and concerns to be respected, heard, and answered by any or all parties.

• Better and more detailed access to information across all platforms: financial, legislative, political, industrial, etc, to better understand our complicated economy

• Greater efficiency, more transparency in government operations

• More responsible acceptance of issues, better immediate communication, and full accountability to our people.

These are small things to ask for. After all, Bermuda’s community voluntarily, or under protest, pays the taxes that support the Government and country.

What I have seen

Our Bermuda islanders have:

• Incredible determination and perseverance to succeed; wonderfully gratifying to see the large number of young professionals of years ago, moving up steadily into international business careers

• Generosity of spirit in community in times of great stressful events

• Willingness to adapt and innovate

• Genuine gratefulness for any help in better managing family finances

• Great frustration on the slow pace of change in rebuilding the economy, controlling the cost of living and reducing debt liabilities.

Sadly, thousands of Bermuda islanders had used that determination, willingness to adapt, innovate, and their self-survival instincts to leave our way of life for better opportunities elsewhere.

Last words from Moneywise

As William Soares astutely wrote in a Letter to the Editor last month: “Bermuda is entering uncharted territory.”

That prescient sentence is greatly reinforced with the recent cyberattack on the Bermuda government infrastructure.

You know it, too.

The changes and challenges are greater than ever to maintaining a happy lifestyle.

Artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, plans to eliminate fiat (paper currency), disruptions of major utility grids and internet accesses, fierce jurisdictional competitions, and the ever-present, never-ending, tragic wars, political conflicts and self-interests. Relentless ambitions for power and money will always be with us – simply look back at history of mankind.

Four things only

1, Be prepared always — contingency planning is a must.

2, Acquire financial security as soon as possible, not stuff.

3, Understand the global big picture, it will eventually impact you. Lifelong learning is the key to anticipating change in your personal world.

4, Build good, long-lasting relationships. They are all that matters in times of sorrow and strife and are the most necessary component of a good life.

Now I will be teaching, not preaching!

My future plans include:

• Financial literacy webinars on YouTube: Using the basis of my book, Bermuda’s First Financial Literacy Primer, the webinars will cover all aspects of financial literacy focused on the Bermuda environment, all free and downloadable.

• A livestreamed show, Bermuda Everyday Finance, presented with finance professional friends.

For more information, you can subscribe to Bermuda-Bermy Island Finance Blog for more information at http://marthamyron.com/

Feel free also to contact me, at martha.myron@gmail.com.

My sincere, grateful thanks to all of you dear readers and the following:

Roger Crombie, an amazing writer who invited me to share the Money page in TheRoyal Gazette.

Bill Zuill, former Editor of TheRoyal Gazette, who hired me.

Michael Grier, Commercial Director of Bermuda Press Holdings.

Dexter Smith, Editor of TheRoyal Gazette.

And Jonathan Kent, my wonderful editor for so many years.

Martha Harris Myron is a native Bermudian. Her career encompassed the fields of medical technology, garment design, real estate development, a qualified, accredited, licensed finance professional in accounting, auditing and taxation, international financial planning, and investment advisory services, finance journalist, author, and YouTube creator. At age 69, she earned a Master of Laws in International Taxation and Financial Services summa cum laude. Her work is/has been featured in The Royal Gazette, Google News, Muckrack, The Bermudian and related international media. She has been married for 59 years to her husband, Paul, RPh, an internationally registered pharmacist. They have two children; Suzanne, an education attorney, and Robert, a retired international senior reinsurance executive

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Published October 14, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated October 16, 2023 at 8:05 am)

Signing off after 25 years – thank you, dear readers

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