02-15-2018 Columns

Is a managed account right for you?

As an investor, you’ll face many decisions over the years. How much should you invest? Where should you put your money? When is it time to sell some investments and use the proceeds to buy others? Some people enjoy making these choices themselves – but not everyone. Consequently, the type of investor you are will influence your thinking about whether to open a managed account. As its name suggests, a managed account – sometimes known as an “advisory” account – essentially is a portfolio of stocks, bonds and other investments chosen by a professional investment manager who makes the buy and sell decisions. Typically, each managed account has an investment objective based on your goals, and you may have some voice in investment choices – for example, you may be able to request that the manager avoid certain investments. Or, you might still work with a personal financial advisor who can help you identify and quantify your goals, define your risk tolerance, and track changes in your family situation – and who can then use this information to help guide the investment manager’s choices. Beyond this basic structure, managed accounts can vary greatly in terms of administration, reporting, fees and minimum balance. So, assuming you meet the requirements for a managed account, should you consider one? There’s really no one right answer for everyone. But three factors to consider are cost, control and confidence. Cost – Different managed accounts may have different payment arrangements. However, it’s common for a money manager to be paid based on a percentage of assets under management. So, if your manager’s fee is 1% and your portfolio contains $100,000, the manager earns $1,000 per year, but if the value of your portfolio rises to $200,000, the manager earns $2,000. Because the manager has a personal stake in the portfolio’s success, this arrangement could work to your advantage. Be aware, though, that other fees may be associated with your account. Control – With any managed account, you will give up some, or perhaps all, of your power to make buy-and-sell decisions. If you have built a large portfolio, and you’re busy with work and family, you may like the idea of delegating these decisions. And, as mentioned above, you can still oversee the “big picture” by either working through a financial advisor or, at the least, having your goals, risk tolerance and investment preferences dictate a money manager’s decisions. But you will have to decide for yourself how comfortable you are in ceding control of your portfolio’s day-to-day transactions. Confidence – It’s essential that you feel confident in a managed account’s ability to help you meet your goals. And the various elements of a managed account may well give you that assurance. For example, some managed accounts include automatic rebalancing of assets, which, among other things, can help you achieve tax efficiency. Other features of a managed account – such as the experience and track record of the manager – also may bolster your confidence. Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh all factors before deciding whether a managed account is right for you. In any case, it’s an option worth considering. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Career and Technical Education month

February marks Career and Technical Education month. Career and technical education programs, or CTE, help prepare high school and community college students with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary to succeed in careers in a broad range of industries. We know that in a globally competitive economy, workers must be prepared for skilled professions. Yet, according to the Manufacturing Institute, 84 percent of executives agree that there is a talent shortage in manufacturing here in the U.S. including talent for front-line work jobs. CTE ensures that competitive and skilled workers are ready, willing, and capable of holding jobs in high-wage and high-skill career fields such as science, technology, engineering, art and design, mathematics, nursing, health care, construction, information technology, and much more. As such, in 2017, I joined my U.S. House colleagues in voting to pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. This bipartisan bill will help folks develop the skills they need to compete for these in-demand jobs. More specifically, it reforms, modernizes, and reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Act. Since 1984, this legislation has provided federal support to state and local CTE programs. In order to support and grow a talented workforce, and Michigan’s middle-class, we need to continue to support and grow CTE programs that help countless students succeed now and into the future. To learn more about this and other important legislative issues, please visit my website: upton.house.gov or call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

Free winter fishing this weekend

Michigan has celebrated free winter fishing every year for more than two decades to help increase awareness of our state’s world-class fishing opportunities. This year’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 17-18. It is the first of two weekends when area families and out-of-state visitors can get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing — at no charge. The free weekend is an excellent opportunity to introduce the joy of fishing to children or to try winter fishing for the first time. During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived, and vehicles will be able to enter state parks and use boating sites without a recreation passport. Residents and visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland lakes and the Great Lakes for all species of fish, but all fishing regulations still apply. To celebrate the free fishing weekend, organized activities are scheduled in communities across the state. For more details on the Winter Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing. Type in “The Coolest Sport Around” on the website for an article packed full of helpful information about ice fishing. Ice fishing can be dangerous for those who don’t follow safety procedures or who head out unprepared. Type in “Ice Safety Tips” for details on what to know before going out on the ice. I encourage area anglers — and those who have never gone fishing — to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities. 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.

Giving Michigan families a break

In Lansing, I am always looking for ways to help Michigan residents keep more of their own hard-earned money. For that reason, I was proud to support a package of bills that would increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on state income taxes. The recently approved House plan would raise the $4,000 personal exemption on Michigan’s personal income tax to $4,800 by 2020. Votes on the legislation are expected to continue, with the goal of providing broad and significant tax relief for hard-working families. The personal exemption is not the only way we are working to provide relief either. In January, both House and Senate legislators also voted to accelerate sales tax relief for Michigan families buying motor vehicles by overriding a gubernatorial veto. The vote means additional tax relief for people buying cars, trucks and SUVs with a trade-in. Current law calls for phasing in planned sales and use tax deductions on purchases including a trade-in through 2039. With the override of the governor’s veto, however, the reductions will be fully implemented a decade earlier. The new law allows buyers to subtract the value of their trade-ins from the purchase price of a vehicle for sales tax purposes. The accelerated sales tax relief also applies to boats and recreational vehicles bought with a trade-in. We should be doing all we can to make purchasing a vehicle in Michigan less expensive. The people of Southwest Michigan can’t wait until 2039 to get tax relief on one of the biggest purchases they will ever make. Now they don’t have to. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or if I can assist you in any way, please contact me at (517) 373-1403 or KimLaSata@House.MI.gov.

Infant safe sleep

There have been dramatic improvements in reducing baby deaths during sleep since the 1990s, when recommendations were introduced to place babies on their back for sleep. However, since the late 1990s, declines have slowed. More than 3,500 babies in the U.S. still die suddenly and unexpectedly every year while sleeping. Experts recommend several steps for all parents and caregivers to take to provide a safe sleep environment for their babies: Until their first birthday, babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times—for naps and at night. We know babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides. Some parents worry that babies will choke on their backs, but the baby’s airway anatomy and the gag reflex will keep that from happening. Use a firm sleep surface, like a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It is recommended to also use a tight-fitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet designed for that particular product. Nothing else should be in the crib except for the baby. Be sure that there are no blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumper pads around your baby, so that your baby does not roll into any of those items, which could cause blockage of air flow. Room share, but never bed share – keep baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep for the first six months or, ideally, for the first year. Room sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby. To learn more about recommended actions for keeping babies safe while sleeping, visit the Berrien County Health Department at www.bchdmi.org.

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