03-29-2018 Columns

Newer investors: Don’t panic if bear market returns If you’re in your twenties or thirties, you might be starting to focus more on investing to reach your financial goals. Because of this, you also may be more attuned to moves in the financial markets. Depending on your age, you may have only experienced the bull market of the past nine years, so you might not know what to expect – or how to respond – whenever the next bear market strikes. Of course, just recently, you’ve witnessed a market correction – a drop of at least 10 percent in the major stock market indices, such as the S&P 500. This sudden plunge made big news and reminded many investors of how volatile the financial markets can be. But a full-fledged bear market usually isn’t identified until the markets are down 20 percent from their recent highs. Plus, bear markets, unlike corrections, tend to linger for a while. The last “bear” emerged from hibernation in October 2007 and stayed on the prowl until early March 2009. During that time, the S&P 500 declined by about 50 percent. Clearly, investors were not happy – but the market recovered and moved to new heights. This long and strong run-up may have obliterated your bear market memories, if you ever had them at all. And that’s why you might want to familiarize yourself with some of the bare facts about bear markets: Bear markets may provide good buying opportunities. When gas is expensive, you may just buy a few gallons at a time – but when the price falls, you’re probably more likely to fill up your tank. The same principle can apply to investing – when stock prices are down, your investment dollars will buy more shares. And the more shares you own, the greater your ability to build wealth once the share price rises. In short, a bear market may provide you with a chance to buy quality investments at good prices. Bear markets don’t last forever. No one can predict precisely how long bear markets will run, but they’ve typically been much shorter than bull markets. So, while you might not particularly like looking at your investment statement during a decline, you can take some comfort in knowing such downturns are a normal feature of the investment landscape. Bear markets don’t affect all investments equally. If you only own U.S. stocks, your portfolio may well take a sizable hit during a bear market. But other types of investment vehicles may not be as directly affected – and some may even show positive results. Consequently, you could reduce the bear’s “bite” if you also own a variety of other investments, such as international stocks, bonds, government securities, certificates of deposit (CDs) and so on. However, while owning this type of diversified portfolio can help reduce the impact of market volatility, it does not guarantee profits or protect against losses. A bear market can be challenging. But by making the right moves, such as staying patient, looking for buying opportunities and maintaining a diversified portfolio, you may be able to prevent a market decline from becoming unbearable. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

To be elected means to be accessible I have always believed that a good Representative is an accessible one which is why during my time in office I have made sure to host local coffee hours, attend community events, and personally help neighbors tackle any issues they may have with state government. A prime example of a typical day in my life as your State Representative was Saturday, March 10. I started my day at 7 a.m. greeting a group of young hunters and their parents at a Pheasants Forever youth hunt, sponsored by the Cass County Conservation Club. I then hurried back, to give a legislative update to the Berrien County Republican Executive Committee Meeting which ran from 9 a.m. to noon. Next I had a coffee hour at Mill Creek Charlie’s in Watervliet from noon until 1:30. I arrived a few minutes after noon and discussed food safety issues with a constituent from Watervliet Township and a few others. I left around 2 p.m. after finishing a delicious taco salad. From there I traveled to the City of Benton Harbor where I presented a special tribute to a veteran in his 90s, Eddie Rucker. I had the good fortune to visit with this lovely man and his family for over an hour. After that I returned home to get ready for mass at our church, Saint Joseph Catholic, in Watervliet. Our family attended 5 p.m. mass where we prayed for a number of things, including civility and reasonable discourse in our political system. You can count on me to continue holding coffee hours throughout the 79th District so that constituents can attend and discuss any issues of concern. You can find out when my next coffee hour is by visiting our website at RepLaSata.com and you are always free to call my office at 517-373-1403 or email me at KimLaSata@House.mi.gov. As always, it’s an honor to serve you.

Getting healthy this spring Spring and Easter are times of physical and spiritual rebirth and renewal. I encourage all of us to mark this season and holiday by striving to improve ourselves and to grow in our own unique ways. One significant way we can improve our lives is by getting active. Including regular exercise in your daily routine can give you the energy to meet any challenge and provide a positive example to your children about the importance of a lifetime of healthy habits.

More than 30 percent of Michigan children and two-thirds of Michigan adults are considered either overweight or obese. If each of us embraced the spirit of renewal and started regular physical activity, we could improve the health of our community and the entire state. Participating in a local 5K race is a great way to set goals, get fit and have a positive impact.

Local races in April and May include the Sarett Spring Stampede 5K and 1 Mile runs in Benton Harbor on April 7; the Run To Your Mother 5K and 1K kids run in St. Joseph on April 21; the Run for the Buds 10K and 5K runs in St. Joseph on May 5; and the AmazinGrace Off-Road 5K in Watervliet on May 12.

Residents can also find local races at www.RunningInTheUSA.com. Click on “Find by State” under “All Races.” After clicking on Michigan, filter the list by county for races in Berrien, Cass or St. Joseph counties. 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.

Solutions to the opioid epidemic Last week, I joined with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee to debate 25 different pieces of legislation that seek to curb the opioid epidemic. Sadly, the opioid addiction is ravaging families across the nation and in every community here in Southwest Michigan. We need solutions now. Included in the debate was a bill I introduced alongside my colleague, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, the ACE Research Act, which seeks to provide funding to medical research in search of opioid alternatives for pain management. As you know, a majority of those who become addicted do so first by forming a dependency from a legal prescription. Finding suitable alternatives to opioids will have a real impact on preventing future addiction. As we continue to address this issue, listening to patients, families, doctors, researchers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders is key to crafting real and effective legislation. I have met with countless folks on this issue. Earlier this month, I participated in a listening session hosted by the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, M.D., School of Medicine in Kalamazoo. While important work must continue, Congress has already taken some crucial steps in addressing this issue. Last Congress, we saw a package of more than a dozen laws that address treatment and prevention signed into law. Also signed in was the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation I spearheaded that resulted in Michigan receiving more than $16 million in state grants to aid in this fight. We must continue to work towards bipartisan solutions to the opioid epidemic. 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).

Hearing & Vision Recent studies have found that undiagnosed and untreated vision and hearing issues in children are associated with significantly worse early literacy scores and other learning challenges. Children with undiagnosed hearing or vision problems will often have trouble learning to read, write, or even struggle to follow instructions. To avoid any potential learning problems, parents of children ages 3-1/2 or older with children entering preschool or kindergarten this fall are encouraged to attend free hearing and vision screenings throughout this spring and summer so that there will be enough time to receive treatment, if necessary, before school starts. Not only will the screening identify issues with a child’s hearing and vision, but Michigan State Law also requires that all children entering kindergarten must have their hearing and vision tested before the first day of school. “Because children have nothing to compare their hearing and vision to, they may have problems with their eyes or ears and never even know it,” says Dawn Mitchell, a Hearing and Vision Technician for the Berrien County Health Department. “This makes early detection of these problems so important.” No appointments are necessary to attend the free hearing and vision screenings. Additional information regarding the Michigan hearing and vision screening requirements and a full schedule of preschool/ kindergarten screening dates, are available at the Berrien County Health Department website at www.bchdmi.org and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bchdmi.