Planning for the new year
This year, dear readers, my focus on finance for Bermuda residents is to provide more coherent, collaborative, more in-depth information that is even more relevant to everyday life in Bermuda. It has been apparent to me ever since I returned to Bermuda almost 20 years ago, that our ordinary residents living, working, residing here still face a dearth of easily available and understandable information to use in managing their personal affairs.
Yes, the internet has improved access dramatically, as have local efforts by law, finance, trust, government entities and committed individuals in Bermuda to upload data on these various websites. My passionate commitment will be to correlate (and explain) this local information into formats that everyone feels comfortable referencing and reading.
So, with that “lofty idealism” placed right up front, I will seriously endeavour to stick to a schedule each month as below. Naturally, I do reserve the right to be somewhat flexible — allowing me to go off on a “rant” when a particularly, hot piece of news overrides calm, objective thought processes.
Of course, I am being very humble in assuming that you, as readers, will continue to support the personal finance column with your many positive comments and personal feedback to me. It is also fully expected that if I fall down on the job, your hard critiques will be justly deserved.
First and second Saturdays of each month: the Bermuda Investment Primer and Owning a Business in Bermuda.
You may wonder why these topics are grouped together. Simply put, there is a huge correlation between the two. Starting a business is investing in yourself, your family, and your community with jobs, services, products, ancillary subcontractors and professional advisers, resulting taxes into government coffers, and profits ploughed back into future growth.
If we did not have start-up businesses morphing into private growth enterprises, then “going public” to involve full participation from the investor public at large, there would be no stock, bond, or any other investment markets. Quite frankly, in a successful working business, the best return on investment (ROI) is making a decent profit, providing for your retirement, and taking care of your family.
Mamazina’s Pizzarina hypothetical narrative will return in full glory to illustrate that anything is possible in business and personal lives with the right combination of luck, confidence, business perspective, shrewd analysis of what the customer wants in service, combined with the relentless, driving ambition to be successful. People dream they can succeed, and they do. Mamazina is the story of millions of small businesses across the globe, the backbone of most economies.
“So next time you shop in your local small business, you know you are contributing to your local economy, and to our nation’s economy overall.”
Why did I use the MamaZina name? Because it rhymes with PizzaRina — catchy and easy to remember. The family’s last name is Smith, the most common last name in the English language — more than 2 million Smiths in the United States alone, and thousands here in Bermuda. The Smiths have a tortuous road to navigate in the ownership of a small business. We will find them more than a bit overwhelmed adapting to employee / benefit laws, legal and investing doctrines relative to incorporation, profitability, divestiture and business succession planning. But, driven by MamaZina’s dreams, they are ready to fight for success.
Third Saturday of each month: retirement planning to reach the age of enlightenment.
We return to focus on the whole retirement series, including Bermuda pensions (and others). We know that retirement definitions are changing rapidly, but the core substantive message remains the same for almost everyone. Retirees have time to experience, to grow intellectual capacity (what, you thought you’ve retired to watch the sunset!), share with younger generations, innovate, lead by example, and leave a legacy of hope and inspiration to all those you have touched over the years.
Readers, I must apologise to my retirement volunteers whom I have neglected over the past year. They have written to tell me their stories — anonymous, of course. These will be incorporated within the retirement narrative, but I need more retirement (or planning for) stories, successful, or otherwise.
Please write to me! You know I never reveal sources. Readers love having situations that they can identify with. It is what makes us human, sharing the human experience.
The fourth and fifth Saturdays: we own our country. Yes, we do. We owe to ourselves, our families, and future generations to understand what we do own.
We will peruse and explain much more of our Bermuda Constitution, and various other Bermuda laws, so that any one of us understands what the provision of these laws are — how they protect us, are they fair, are they for the benefit of all of us, are they modern?
I will seriously endeavour to cover one law each month — so that the next time you need to have a serious chat with your MP, you will feel very comfortable expressing your opinion in an knowledgeable serious manner about any pending legislation. Heck, you might know more than him or her!
Knowledge is power. It never hurts to learn more, always.
Finally, thank you readers, from the bottom of my heart for your continued support and for reading the RG Personal Finance column. Keep those comments and letters coming. I welcome them all.
Martha Harris Myron CPA PFS JSM: Masters of Law — International Tax and Financial Services. Pondstraddler* Life™ Consultancy — Financial Perspectives for Bermuda Islanders with Multinational Families and International Connections across the Great Atlantic Pond. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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