Martha Myron

A guide towards handy financial information

  • Explaining concept: a screen shot from Khan Academy’s YouTube video explaining what it means to buy a company’s stock (Photograph via YouTube)

This is part two of the annual research ideas publication for Bermuda individual investors.

Before progressing readers, please keep in mind that this is general information, some sections or statements may not exactly apply to the Bermuda finance marketplace as they tend to be US focused, but for the most part, mathematics and its offspring, geometry, physics, chemistry, economics, statistics, and so on are a universal common language utilised the world over. Numbers are numbers that do not lie.

Disclosure: also, this article is not an endorsement (or omission) of any company or provider of services in Bermuda, nor does the author accept or pay referrals fees or receive services or products from any Bermuda companies.

Part one, titled Where to get your financial information, was published last week in The Royal Gazette. You can find the link

Money skills in general

Practical Money Skills, Khan Academy

360 Degree of Financial Literacy

These are two of my free favourites. Everyone needs to brush up on money concepts from time to time. Many of us who have never been great maths people, need good references for verification. Readers, I’m just like most of you, some days maths is a struggle. The old saying if you don’t use it, you lose it is so true.

Practical Money Skills, Khan Academy, sponsored by Visa and free

Khan Academy, a non-profit US organisation, originally started in 2008 when Salman Khan tutored one of his cousins in mathematics on the internet using a service called Yahoo! Doodle Images.

Mr Khan, a former hedge fund analyst, is American educator, mathematician and entrepreneur with master’s degrees from both MIT and Harvard. Positive responses from other relatives and more followed with later tutoring videos being posted on YouTube. Today, Khan Academy lists more than 20,000 videos in five languages. Funding comes from philanthropic organisations, such as Bill Gates, an early supporter, Google, AT&T, the Carlos Slim Foundation for Spanish versions and many others.

The website lists hundreds to thousands of brief to more expansive videos, breaking down maths concepts for adults and students from Grade 1-12, economics, inflation, mortgages, accounting and financial statements, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, options, and many more topics.

The section on economics and finance is terrific.

And, most if not all of these little courses are available on YouTube, so no need to even go to the Khan Academy website. A sampling and hint — use the closed caption function on the videos, it helps in following the numbers:

• Introduction to Compound Interest

• Rule of 72 states if you divide 72 by the interest rate, say 4 per cent to get 18 years, that is how long it will take you to double your money. The video explains how that number is correct. The Rule of 72 is often used to explain the difference between term deposits and security (stock) appreciation.

• Introduction to Mortgage Loans.

• What it means to buy a company’s stock.

• Even Basics, Multiplication and Division. Finding a percentages and Decimals.

We use maths every single day, yet at times, we tend to be challenged by even the basics.

360 Degrees of Literacy is a non-profit fully transitional life-planning website supported by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The site has numerous supportive articles on managing your finances, including a clever one on saving by bringing your own lunch to work, using an accelerated principal mortgage paydown schedule, getting help with the savings on paying down your credit card, starting a financial plan as well as more than a hundred other calculators for just about every circumstance:

The Home Budget Analysis is very good.

Credit Card Payoff

Lunch Savings, how much can you save by brown-bagging it.

Personal Finance for College Students on YouTube.

Readers, give me your feedback on this one. Very illuminating.

There are lots more besides, and links are all on the 360 Degree website.

Emergency Savings — figure out what you need for a rainy day

Accelerated Debt Payoff — plan to accelerate paying off your mortgage. Here is a calculator to help you with the amounts and to demonstrate what the principal balance should be after every transaction.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage versus Fixed Rate Mortgage. New to home buying? This calculator helps in deciding which contract will work for you.

Benefit of Spending Less — looking for the simple life? This is an eye-opener.

Certificate of Deposit Calculator. Know exactly what your compounded interest balance should be.

Some other financial planning focused websites.


How health insurance works. Health insurance: Wikipedia explains how healthcare works, provides comparisons of health systems in 14 countries, among them Australia, US, UK, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, etc.

A useful link is

Life insurance. How it works.


What is your Rise score? The Retirement Income Security Evaluation Score is a different take on the classic retirement calculator. Hosted by Alliance, it focuses on practicality in retirement and whether your current income and savings will cover basic living expenses and healthcare. Be sure to reduce the taxation section to zero per cent, since Bermuda does not have an income tax regime, although it can now be argued that there are now plenty of other tax substitutes.

Annuities calculator. Use this calculator to get an idea of your monthly payment when you are ready to retire with your pension under the Bermuda National Pension Scheme.

Estate planning

Michael J. Mello QC, JP, TEP, a member of Appleby’s Private Client and Trusts Practice Group and practises primarily in the areas of trusts, wills and estates. He has over 40 years’ experience and is the author of The Law of Wills & Estates in Bermuda, now in its ninth edition, and numerous articles on trusts, wills, powers and estates.

His free book (with updates) is extremely detailed and is a tremendous help to Bermuda islanders planning their estate documents. The Law of Wills and Estates download is available by clicking “Related Media”.

Estate planning in Bermuda will be covered in articles later in the year.

Readers, I’m looking for feedback on your personal health insurance plan. How much has the cost in dollars increased in the last year? What are you paying? Have you had to cut back on benefits? How much of a pinch (or more) is the cost taking out of your budget.

All replies confidential and anonymous. Contact me

Martha Harris Myron CPA CFP JSM: Masters of Law — international tax and financial services. Dual citizen: Bermudian/US. Pondstraddler Life, financial perspectives for Bermuda islanders and their globally mobile connections on the Great Atlantic Pond. Finance columnist to The Royal Gazette, Bermuda. All proceeds earned from this column go to The Reading Clinic. Contact: