01-04-2018 Columns

Time is a key factor in investing

 With the arrival of the New Year, many of us will pause and ponder the age-old question: “Who knows where the time goes?” And, as is always the case, none of us really do know. However, wherever the time goes, it will usually be a key factor in your success as an investor.

Time can affect how you invest, and the results of investing, in different ways:

Growth potential – Contrary to myth, there’s no real way to “get rich quick” when investing. To build wealth, you need patience – and time. If you own quality investments with growth potential, and you give years – in fact, decades – to increase in value, your perseverance may be rewarded. Of course, there are no guarantees, and you’ll need the discipline to withstand the inevitable downturns along the way. But in describing how long he likes to keep his investments, renowned investor Warren Buffet says his favorite holding period is “forever.”

Targeted goals – To accumulate resources for retirement, you need to save and invest throughout your working life. But along the way, you’ll probably also have some shorter-term goals – making a down payment on a home, sending your children to college, taking a round-the-world trip, and so on. Each of these goals has a specific time limit and usually requires a specific amount of money, so you will need to choose the appropriate investments.

Risk tolerance – The element of time also will affect your tolerance for risk. When you have many decades to go until you retire, you can afford to take more risk with your investments because you have time to overcome periods of market volatility. But when you’re on the verge of retirement, you may want to lower the risk level in your portfolio. For example, you may want to begin moving away from some of your more aggressive, growth-oriented investments and move toward more income-producing vehicles that offer greater stability of principal. Keep in mind, though, that even during retirement, you’ll need your portfolio to provide enough growth opportunity at least to help keep you ahead of inflation.

Thus far, we have looked at ways in which time plays a role in how you invest. But there’s also an aspect of time that you may want to keep out of your investment strategies. Specifically, you might not want to try to “time” the market. The biggest problem with market timing is it’s just too hard. You essentially have to be right twice, selling at a market top and buying at the bottom. Also, as humans, we appear to be somewhat wired to think that an activity – especially a long-running activity – will simply continue. So, when the market goes up, we seem to expect it to keep rising, and when the market drops, we think it will continue dropping. This can lead to big mistakes, such as selling after a major market drop even though that can be the time when it may be much smarter to buy because prices are low.

As we’ve seen, the way you interact with time can affect your investment efforts. So, think carefully about how you can put all the days, months and years on your side. Time is the one asset you can’t replenish – so use it wisely.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Winter safety

With the potential for cold temperatures, heavy snows, and below-freezing wind chills, it’s important to protect yourself and your family from the hazards of winter weather.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature falls below normal due to cold exposure.  It can start with shivering and the person can become very lethargic and clumsy.  If you suspect hypothermia, call 911.  Remove wet clothing and wrap the person in warm blankets and clothes.

Frostbite

If in the cold without proper clothing protection, people can develop frostbite.  Frostbite occurs when the skin and outer tissue becomes frozen.  Fingers, toes, ears, and noses are often where frostbite occurs.  They may look pale, gray, and blistered.  Numbness or a burning sensation is a common complaint.  If you suspect frostbite you can put the body part in warm (not hot) water, but do not rub frozen areas.  If numbness continues, call a doctor.

Driving safety

Always properly defrost your car before heading on the road.  Your windows and mirrors should allow full visibility.  Keep a winter package in your car.  It may include blankets, flashlights, road flares, and non-perishable snacks.  Also have a couple of bottles of water.  Carry a snow shovel in your trunk and a bag of salt in case you get stuck. Never leave your child in the car whether it’s running or not!

For more information, call the Berrien County Health Department at (269) 926-7121 or visit us online at www.bchdmi.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bchdmi.

A quick look back on the year

2017 was a transformational year for American politics as we saw a new president sworn in. However, much stayed the same.

For me, my focus never wavered on local initiatives such as helping constituents with problems big and small, and on bipartisan policies that create jobs and improve our economy. In all of these areas, we saw legislative wins. Whether it was delivering results for Southwest Michigan, fostering an environment of job creation and economic growth, improving our national security, delivering on the promise of 21st Century Cures, standing up for the health of our Great Lakes, energy solutions and more, it was a great year. I was also proud to take part in 493 in-person meetings and events with constituents here at home so that we could discuss the issues at hand in a productive manner.

As we look ahead to 2018, we must continue our work on advancing an agenda that focuses on items folks in Michigan care about most. We have our work cut out for us. But I believe that by working together – Republicans and Democrats – we can and we will solve many of the pressing issues before us.

You can learn more about the specific legislative accomplishments we saw in 2017 by visiting my website: upton.house.gov/2017.

As always, please know that staff in my constituent offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039) and Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, (269-982-1986) as well as my office in Washington, D.C., (202-225-3761), are happy to help assist with any issues or concerns as we move forward through 2018.

Reflecting on 2017 achievements

As we look back at 2017, it is good to remember how far we’ve come.

After a decade of decline, we’ve built a positive environment for long-term growth. As a result, job creation, economic productivity and per capita income are up. Crime, state debt and unemployment are down. In seven years, Michigan has added more than 500,000 private sector jobs.

To continue improving our state, we once again passed a fiscally responsible budget that pays down debt, protects our communities and helps prepare all students for success.

Education is key to every child’s future, and we further increased support to schools by more than $415 million while also paying down more than $1 billion in retirement costs to help put additional dollars into the classroom.

Michigan is spending more in 2018 on K-12 education than ever in state history, and roughly 46 cents of every state tax dollar will go to public education.

We made long-overdue reforms to provide our teachers with a sustainable and secure retirement, better protect the retirement benefits promised to local works and retirees, and refocus our criminal justice system on using proven approaches that keep our communities safe.

We also funded 150 new state police troopers, took action to combat the rising opioid abuse epidemic and helped increase enjoyment of Michigan’s great outdoors.

We have accomplished much to re-energize Michigan, yet we have much to do. I will continue to work hard to improve government efficiency and effectiveness, ensure every student has an opportunity for success and build on our state’s positive momentum.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on the important issues facing Michigan. You can contact me at 517-373-6960.

2017 Year in Review

I am astonished at how quickly my first year in office came and went. It seems like just yesterday that I was being sworn in, yet when I reflect on how much we have worked on this legislative session, I know that couldn’t be further than the truth.

This year was jam packed with big ticket legislative accomplishments. The House passed a government transparency package that would subject the Executive and Legislative Branches to Freedom of Information Requests. We reformed Michigan’s broken public school employee retirement system and Michigan’s municipal employee retiree healthcare system while still protecting the retirement promises made to public servants like teachers, police, and fire fighters. We passed pro-business legislation that created performance-based tax incentives for good paying jobs, and created a new transformational brownfield redevelopment program that will allow developers to invest in and revitalize land that would otherwise remain blighted. We passed a comprehensive Opioid Overdose Prevention package aimed at reducing Michigan’s rapidly growing opioid addiction epidemic, and legislation that would eliminate and forgive Driver Responsibility Fees.

I myself introduced seven bills, five of which have since passed out of committee. I’ve had one bill already signed into law, and my remaining six have opportunities to move further along the process in 2018. Additionally, I chaired the appropriations subcommittee on higher education and was responsible for crafting the $1.2 billion dollar budget for Michigan’s 15 public universities.

Still, there is much more to accomplish. Reforming Michigan’s Auto No-Fault Insurance System remains one of my top priorities for next year, along with implementing strict guidelines for how our public universities handle sexual assault cases on their campuses.

It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your state representative this past year, and I cannot wait for what 2018 has in store.

As always, residents can contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-1403, emailing KimLaSata@House.mi.gov or visiting my website at www.RepLaSata.com.

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