02-21-2019 Columns

The right insurance can meet both short- and long-term needs If you’re going to achieve your important financial goals, you’ll need to build an appropriate investment portfolio. But that’s only part of the story – because you also need to protect what you have, what you earn and what you’d like to leave behind. That’s why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the various types of insurance and how they can address short- and long-term needs. For starters, consider life insurance. You may have important long-term goals, such as leaving an inheritance for your family and providing resources for your favorite charities. You may be able to fulfill some of these through the death benefit on your policy. You can also purchase life insurance to help fill the gap between the amounts you have saved and what your family would need if you died unexpectedly. Thus, insurance can pay for liabilities (such as a mortgage, car payments, student loans and other debts), education expenses (such as college for your children) and final expenses associated with your passing. Next, consider disability insurance. If you were injured or became ill and couldn’t work for a while, the loss of income could be a big problem for your family members – in fact, it could disrupt their entire lifestyle. Even a short-term disability could prove worrisome, while a long-term disability could be catastrophic. Your employer might offer short-term disability insurance, and that could be enough – but do you really want to take that chance? To protect your income if you were out of work for an extended period, you might need to supplement your employer’s coverage with your own long-term disability policy. Long-term disability insurance, which generally kicks in after you’ve used up your short-term benefits, may pay you for a designated time period (perhaps two to five years) or until you reach a certain age, such as 65. Long-term disability insurance likely won’t replace your entire income, but it can go a long way toward helping you stay “above water” until you recover. You may also want to think about long-term care insurance. Despite its name, a long-term care policy could meet either short- or long-term needs. On the short-term end, you might need the services of a home health care aide to assist you in your recovery from an injury such as a broken hip. On the other end of the long-term care scale, you might someday need an extensive stay in a nursing home, which can be extremely expensive and which isn’t typically covered by Medicare. But in either case, you might be able to benefit from a long-term care insurance policy, or possibly a long-term care rider attached to a life insurance policy. And the earlier you take action, the better, because long-term care insurance, in particular, generally becomes more expensive the older you get. This list of insurance policies, and the needs they can help meet, is certainly not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of just how important the right insurance coverage can be for you – at almost any stage of your life. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C., through Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P.

The state of our state is strong Last week I had the privilege of attending the governor’s State of the State address at the Capitol. I appreciated the opportunity to hear from the governor about her vision and priorities for our state for the year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer highlighted several issues, like fixing our roads, protecting our natural resources, supporting education, and holding our government accountable. These are things that I think we can all get behind as long-term goals, and even as priorities. In fact, these issues have been priorities of mine and, as a Legislature and as a state, over the past eight years, we have made significant investments in these areas. I look forward to continuing that progress. I also appreciate that Gov. Whitmer mentioned our need to reform the state’s auto insurance laws and her openness to getting something done on this issue. My Senate colleagues and I have made this our top priority for the year, with good reason. Unaffordable auto insurance has plagued our state for generations, as I have discussed here in a previous column. After the lost decade, Michigan has emerged a stronger and better state. Over the past eight years, more than 560,000 new private sector jobs were created in key areas, like manufacturing, health care, and construction. And the rate of unemployment reached its lowest level in years. We’ve come from a place where it was hard to find work to a point where it’s hard for job providers to find workers. We need to keep moving our state forward and continue to pursue policies that strengthen our position as a place where families want to grow, businesses want to operate, and talented workers want to find a job. While we are not without challenges, I am optimistic about the future. We have an excellent opportunity to keep going and I look forward to what we can accomplish together. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on the important issues facing Southwest Michigan, call 517-373-6960 or email SenKLaSata@senate.michigan.gov.

Priorities in common With the 2019-2020 legislative session underway and the State of the State address now in the books, we know which priorities the legislature and our new governor plan to focus on. I will continue to prioritize what matters most to our families, friends, and neighbors in our community. I will focus on solutions that make our daily lives better and our futures brighter. Some of the priorities Governor Whitmer mentioned in her speech align very closely with those I’ve heard around the district. For example, continuing to fix our roads and bridges, improving education funding and skilled trades training opportunities, ensuring access to clean water, and increasing government transparency. I look forward to working with her on these issues to find solutions and make our state an even better place to live. Top priorities of mine that the governor did not focus on include reducing car insurance rates, increasing access to broadband technology, and improving mental health care for students. In the legislature, we are continuing to move forward with our renewed efforts to find a solution to the high cost of auto insurance, which I’ve mentioned here before. As for broadband technology, we all know quality internet is important for families, schools, and job providers. It has the capability to make daily life easier, improve the quality of our education, broaden opportunities for students and job seekers, and bring new businesses to our communities. Finally, with the growing opioid crisis and mental health challenges in today’s society, mental health care is more important than ever. I am committed to improving public health systems and helping our schools to provide better and more accessible care for students who need it. We must help to give our children the opportunity to live happy, healthy, and independent lives. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns. You can reach me at 1-800-577-6212.

Emergency declaration and government shutdown avoided On Friday, the president signed H.J.Res. 31, to fund the remaining seven Fiscal Year 2019 spending bills – Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and avoided another partial government shutdown. There were many wins for Southwest Michigan, such as fully funding the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $300 million, which is important for safe drinking water, keeping Asian Carp out of our lakes, and the vitality of our Great Lakes economy and ecosystem. Michigan knows better than most the importance of much-needed upgrades and improvements to our roads and bridges. Which is why I was pleased the funding package provided $9 billion for new transportation infrastructure, including $3.3 billion for highway and bridge rehabilitation. Congress also approved $1.375 billion for critical border security, but the president declared a national emergency to secure additional funds. While I have long supported strong border security including building the wall, I am concerned by the president’s decision to declare a national emergency and the precedent it sets. The emergency declaration has already triggered lawsuits. It is also likely Congress will pass a resolution disapproving of the action. This is a legislative disagreement that requires a legislative solution, and it’s time for both parties to work together for comprehensive immigration reform and border security to help keep American families safe. 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).

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 when 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 Health Department at www.bchdmi.org.


P.O. BOX 7


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

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Instagram