01-12-2017 Columns

Investing in Your Future


Investment tips for “millennials”

 If you are a “millennial” – a member of the age cohort born anywhere from the early 1980s to the late 1990s – then you’re still in the early chapters of your career, so it may be a stretch for you to envision the end of it. But since you do have so many years until you retire, you’ve got the luxury of putting time on your side as you save and plan for retirement.

Here are some suggestions for making the best use of that time:

Invest early – and often. Even if you are at the very beginning of your career, make investing a priority. At first, you might only be able to contribute a small amount each month, but something is far better than nothing – and after a year or so, you might be surprised at how much you’ve actually put away.

Take advantage of your employer’s retirement plan. If your employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, contribute as much as you can afford. At the least, put in enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered. Your contributions can lower your taxable income, and your earnings can grow on a tax-deferred basis.

Invest more as your earnings increase. As your career advances, and your earnings rise, you’ll want to increase your contributions to your 401(k) or similar plan. And if you ever “max out” on your annual 401(k) contributions (the limits change over time), you can probably still contribute to another tax-advantaged retirement plan, such as a traditional or Roth IRA.

Thus far, we’ve only discussed, in general terms, how much and how often you should invest. But it’s obviously just as important to think about the type of investments you own. And at this stage of your life, you need an investment mix that provides you with ample opportunities for growth. Historically, stocks and stock-based vehicles provide greater growth potential than other investments, such as government securities, corporate bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs). Of course, stocks will rise and fall in price, sometimes dramatically. But with decades ahead of you, you do have time to overcome short-term losses. And you may be able to reduce the effects of market volatility by spreading your dollars among many different stock-based investments, along with a reasonable percentage of bonds and other, more conservative securities.

Here’s something else to consider: Many millennials want more from their investments than just good performance – they also want their money to make a difference in the world. This interest in “impact” investing (also known as “socially responsible” investing) has led some of your peers to screen out companies or industries they believe have a negative impact on society in favor of other businesses that are viewed as contributing to a more sustainable world. If this viewpoint resonates with you, then you may want to explore these types of investment opportunities with a financial professional.

But most importantly, keep on investing throughout your life. As a millennial, you’ve got plenty of the one asset that can never be replaced: time. Use it wisely.

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


 WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children.  It is a Supplemental Nutrition Program that serves low and moderate income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five.  The program provides a combination of nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care.  WIC foods are selected to meet nutrient needs such as calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamins A and C. Food benefits are loaded on an Electronic Benefits Card that can be used at WIC approved stores.

In Berrien County, an average of 4,000 women, infants and children are enrolled in WIC each month, and provides $30-$112 or more per month for each participant. WIC participants have been shown in studies to have lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of anemia, and lower rates of pre-term and low birth weight babies as women of similar incomes not participating in WIC.

The WIC Program strongly encourages and provides support for breastfeeding.  For babies who are not fully breastfed, iron-fortified infant formula is available for the first year of life.  Infants may also receive infant cereal and fruit juices at age six months.

Pregnant and postpartum women and children under age 5 receive financial assistance to buy foods like milk, cheese, eggs, cereal, peanut butter or dried beans or peas, and fruit and vegetable juices.  Women who are exclusively breastfeeding their babies receive extra food, including carrots and canned tuna.

For more information about WIC or to see if you qualify, 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.

Appreciating our outstanding law enforcement officers

 January 9 was National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day — a time for us to salute our law enforcement officers for their hard work in keeping our communities safe.

It was great to see all the expressions of support and appreciation on social media and in our communities — from posting stories online about positive experiences with local police officers to wearing blue.

However, saying thanks to our dedicated law enforcement officers is a worthy endeavor every day.

The brave men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line every day to safeguard our families and communities. Sadly, some of them never return home.

Our Southwest Michigan community was shocked last year by the murder of two local heroes: Joseph Zangaro and Ron Kienzle.

Zangaro was a retired first lieutenant of the Michigan State Police who had served at the Berrien County Courthouse as chief bailiff for 13 years. Kienzle was a U.S. Army veteran and a retired sergeant of the Benton Township Police Department who had worked as a Berrien County bailiff for 10 years.

At the time of the incident, I was in my local office a block away. At first I was saddened for my community, but when I looked out my window, I was proud to see the professionalism and outright heroism of our law enforcement officers — who rushed toward the courthouse without regard for their personal safety.

We are blessed to have amazing and selfless officers like these who serve and protect us. I encourage everyone to thank our law enforcement officers for all they do to keep us safe.

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.

Your voice in Lansing

 As work begins in Lansing on this new legislative session, I wanted to share with all of you how truly humbled I am to have the opportunity to be your voice in Lansing. I have spoken with so many of you over the past several months and years about how we can work together to make Michigan an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. I am very excited to be able to work for you, to ensure that your voice is heard and to fight for effective and efficient government.

As I take on the task of being your State Representative, I need your help to ensure that I am able to do the best job possible for the hardworking taxpayers of Southwest Michigan. Michigan has made great strides over the past several years, but I know there is much more work still to be done.

We must continue to make important investments in our children’s education, so that they are fully prepared to be our state’s future leaders and compete in a global economy. We must also invest in our roads, bridges, and other infrastructure and ensure that hardworking taxpayers are getting the most out of every dollar state government spends. I encourage you to share your ideas and concerns about these and other issues with me, and come to me with problems that we can work together to solve. The very best ideas about government don’t come from elected officials or bureaucrats; they come from you, the people that we serve.

Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can ever be of assistance to you. You can reach me via email at BethGriffin@house.mi.gov, or by phone at 517-373-0839. You can also visit my website at www.RepGriffin.com. I am truly honored to be your State Representative and I look forward to working for you.

Honored to serve as the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy

 Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced new leadership and I was proud to be named the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy. This important panel has jurisdiction over national energy policy.

Here in Michigan, we’re a national leader in promoting 21st century energy policies having just enacted long-term, bipartisan energy legislation. We must work to do the same at the federal level. Energy solutions have always been a priority and we will continue to promote “all of the above” strategies. Whether it be assuring families have access to affordable energy, updating standards and safety for pipelines, provide appropriate security for our electric grid, developing safer technologies for emerging energy productions, and using energy as part of our diplomatic arsenal.

Working the past six years as chairman of the full committee has been an honor. Under current House Republican rules, committee chairmen are limited to six years of service. Regardless, we were able to accomplish big things for American families, workers, and businesses; bold solutions to problems big and small. We held 562 hearings, had 354 measures passed through the House, and 202 bills and provisions signed into law.

And now, with this new assignment, we expect the same bipartisan record of success to continue. America’s energy future is bright and we’re excited to get to work.

To learn more about this and other important legislative issues, please visit my website: upton.house.gov.