01-19-2017 Columns


Investing in Your Future

When do you need a financial advisor?

 Are you a “do-it-yourselfer”? If you can take care of home repairs, lawn work and other types of maintenance by yourself, you’ll save money and probably gain satisfaction. But you will almost certainly need some help in other areas of your life – one of which may be investing. In fact, you could benefit from the services of a professional financial advisor at several points in your life:

When you’re starting out in your career – When you land your first “career-type” job, you will have some financial decisions to make: Should I participate in my employer’s 401(k) or other retirement plan? (Hint: Yes!) If so, how much should I contribute? How can I juggle saving for retirement with paying off student loans? These are the types of questions you can answer with the help of a financial advisor.

When you’re saving for important goals – Whether you’re saving for a down payment on your first home, or for your children’s college education, or for your own comfortable retirement, you’ll face many choices. A financial advisor – someone with experience in helping people work toward these goals – can assist you in making the choices most appropriate for your individual situation.

When you’re experiencing a personal “milestone” – Like everyone, you’ll go through many major life events. Some will be joyful, such as marriage and the arrival of children, while others may be unpleasant or sad, such as divorce or the death of a loved one. But virtually all these events carry with them some type of financial component – establishing new investment accounts, purchasing sufficient insurance, naming and changing of beneficiaries, and so on. A financial advisor who truly understands you and your needs can help you make appropriate moves for all your milestones.

When you’re close to retirement – As you near retirement, you’ll have several issues to consider: About how much income will you need each year? When should you start taking Social Security? How much can you afford to withdraw annually from your IRA and 401(k)? A financial advisor has the tools, training and experience to explore alternatives and suggest suitable moves for you.

When you’re retired – Even after you retire, you’ve got plenty to think about, in terms of financial moves. For one thing, you need to ensure that your investment portfolio provides you with both sufficient income for your desired lifestyle and adequate growth potential to help you stay ahead of inflation. What’s the correct balance of investments for your needs? Are there investments that can provide you with rising income without exposing you to undue risk? Once you’re retired, you just won’t get a lot of “do-overs,” so getting the right help is important.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you may not get it right each and every time. But you won’t pay much of a price (except, perhaps in embarrassment) if that chair you built collapses under a stack of newspapers. However, you also know when it’s time to call in a professional – and that’s whom you need when it comes to building your financial future. So, get the assistance you need, when you need it, from a financial advisor.

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

Cervical cancer awareness

 In recognition of January as Cervical Health Awareness Month, the Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) is reminding all women to stay current on their cervical cancer screening to improve their health in 2017, and to prevent cervical cancer in the future. In 2013, 313 Michigan women were diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, and in 2013, 128 Michigan women died from this disease.

About 70 percent of cervical cancer in the United States could be prevented through human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Three doses of HPV vaccine are recommended for girls and boys at 11-12 years of age, but the vaccine can be given up through age 26. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and produces better immunity when given at the recommended age of 11-12 years.

The simple, affordable, and easy-to-administer screening test to detect cervical cancer – the Pap test – has been widely available for 70 years. Still, more than half of cervical cancer deaths are seen in women who have either never had a Pap test, or have not had testing in more than five years. Along with lack of screening, the most significant risk factor for cervical cancer is HPV infection – 99 percent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

Screening for cervical cancer is recommended to begin at age 21. Through the Healthy Michigan Plan, women’s preventive health care – such as screenings for cervical cancer, mammograms, prenatal care, immunizations, and other services – is covered without co-pays. Pap tests are available at the BCHD Family Planning Clinics, and for women ages 40-64, Pap testing is accessible through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP).

Vaccines for Children (VFC), Medicaid, MI-Child, and most health insurances pay for the HPV vaccine. If your child does not have health insurance, or does not have insurance that covers these vaccines, ask the Health Department about the VFC program. VFC provides no-or-low cost vaccines to eligible children, 18 years of age and younger.

For more information regarding HPV and cervical cancer, visit www.michigan.gov/hpv or www.bchdmi.org.

Honored to serve

 For those who don’t yet know me, I am your new State Representative Kim LaSata, and life has been a whirlwind of firsts since the November 8 election.

With your help, I became the first woman to represent the 79th State House District and Northern Berrien County. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this tremendous honor and as my first commitment to you, I promise to work every day to repay this debt.

In December, I was chosen by Speaker Tom Leonard to serve as one of just two freshman Legislators on the House Committee on Committees. That marked the first time House Leadership put faith in me to make decisions on behalf of the State. This great privilege also allowed me to meet many of my colleagues for the first time as I worked to place them on committees best suited to their strengths and talents.

I opened my office in Lansing after the first of the year, where I have already taken my first meetings as State Representative and worked through the first of many constituent inquiries to come. If you have any issues with State Government, or if you have an idea to help move our state forward, I encourage you to reach out to my office.

Last week, on Wednesday the 11th, I was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman with my husband and children by my side. I cannot thank my family enough for always being there for me and for being my inspiration to make Michigan a better place for future generations. That same afternoon also marked the first official day of the 99th Legislative Session.

I may only be just getting started, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for electing me to represent you. It is an incredible honor to serve our little corner of the world.

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.

Supporting FIRST Robotics

 For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, brings together students, educators and engineering mentors to help nurture tomorrow’s innovators.

It was recently announced that the 2018 FIRST Robotics Global Championship will be in Detroit.

This is great news for our entire state, as the competition will showcase our talented students and illustrate our state’s role as an incubator for innovation, design and engineering.

Dean Kamen, known for inventing the first drug-infusion pump and the Segway, started the FIRST Robotics program in 1989 to inspire interest and participation in science and technology. It now reaches more than 460,000 students globally, including more than 10,000 Michigan students on more than 400 teams.

In the FIRST Robotics Competition, high school students work under strict rules and time limits to build and program robots to perform tasks against competitors.

I have long supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs, like FIRST Robotics, which enable students to work together to solve challenging problems, develop critical thinking and creativity; and hone the skills necessary for careers in the 21st century economy.

STEM education offers rigorous areas of study that are vital to the future of our state and nation.

As a member of the state’s MiSTEM Advisory Council, I look forward to helping create a comprehensive STEM education plan that can help prepare all Michigan children for success and also meet the skilled workforce needs of a growing economy.

For more information on FIRST Robotics visit www.firstinspires.org.

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.

Better healthcare options

 Last week, the U.S. House and Senate advanced a budget resolution that instructs House and Senate committees to begin work on legislation to repeal major portions of Obamacare. The next step will be moving forward to replace this law with a more common-sense legislative plan that offers Michiganders better, more affordable healthcare options.

As I have been meeting with local, state, and federal leaders most are in agreement that the healthcare status quo is not working for many families. And so what we’re focused on is presenting folks a better way forward. Our goal is keeping people covered and improving the quality and affordability of their healthcare options. All while protecting critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which I have always fought for.

Last week’s vote simply allows Congress to get working on the legislative groundwork for repealing and swiftly enacting a replacement plan so that no one falls through the cracks. I’m hopeful this replacement plan will be bipartisan. I’ve heard from many folks here in Southwest Michigan on both sides of this important debate and look forward to being a constructive partner in this process moving forward.”

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


P.O. BOX 7


CALL: 269-463-6397
FAX: 269-463-8329

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