05-17-2019 Columns

How can you meet your short-term goals? Why do you invest? If you’re like most people, you’d probably say that, among other things, you want to retire comfortably. Obviously, that’s a worthy long-term goal, requiring long-term investing. But as you journey through life, you’ll also have short-term goals, such as buying a second home, remodeling your kitchen or taking a much-needed vacation. Will you need to invest differently for these goals than you would for the long-term ones? To answer that question, let’s first look at how you might invest to achieve your longer-term goals. For these goals, the key investment ingredient is growth – quite simply, you want your money to grow as much as possible over time. Consequently, you will likely want a good percentage of growth-oriented vehicles, such as stocks and other stock-based investments, to fund your 401(k), IRA or other accounts. However, the flip side of growth is risk. Stocks and stock-based investments will always fluctuate in value – which means you could lose some, or even all, of your principal. Hopefully, though, by putting time on your side – that is, by holding your growth-oriented investments for decades – you can overcome the inevitable short-term price drops. In short, when investing for long-term goals, you’re seeking significant growth and, in doing so, you’ll have to accept some degree of investment risk. But when you’re after short-term goals, the formula is somewhat different: You don’t need maximum growth potential as much as you need to be reasonably confident that a certain amount of money will be there for you at a certain time. You may want to work with a financial professional to select the appropriate investments for your short-term goals. But, in general, you’ll need these investments to provide you with the following attributes: Protection of principal – As mentioned above, when you own stocks, you have no assurance that your principal will be preserved; there’s no agency, no government office, guaranteeing that you won’t lose money. And even some of the investments best suited for short-term goals won’t come with full guarantees, either, but, by and large, they do offer you a reasonable amount of confidence that your principal will remain intact. Liquidity – Some short-term investments have specific terms – i.e., two years, three years, five years, etc. – meaning you do have an incentive to hold these investments until they mature. Otherwise, if you cash out early, you might pay some price, such as loss of value or loss of the income produced by these investments. Nonetheless, these types of investments are usually not difficult to sell, either before they mature or at maturity, and this liquidity will be helpful to you when you need the money to meet your short-term goal. Stability of issuer – Although most investments suitable for short-term goals do provide a high degree of preservation of principal, some of the issuers of these investments are stronger and more stable than others – and these strong and stable issuers are the ones you should stick with. Ultimately, most of your investment efforts will probably go toward your long-term goals. But your short-term goals are still important – and the right investment strategy can help you work toward them. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Improving school safety My colleagues and I in the House continue to work on improving school safety across our state. To that end, the House recently approved a wide-ranging plan to help improve school safety with strong bipartisan support. The plan includes the creation of a statewide system to bolster building security and a provision to make the state’s OK2SAY program permanent. The OK2SAY program has a proven track record of success in our schools and has earned a permanent place in Michigan’s overall strategy to improve school security. OK2SAY allows the confidential reporting of tips on potentially harmful or criminal activity directed at students, school employees, or school buildings. The system helps distribute important information to law enforcement, mental health service programs, and others. An expiration date currently in state law would be eliminated under the House-approved plan; and separately, more funding would be allocated to the program through the House budget plan for next year. Other pieces of the House plan include: Creation of a statewide commission to help audit safety procedures in Michigan schools. Grants to improve security would be distributed with priority going to schools with the greatest need. Local schools would have liaisons to work with the commission. Requiring schools to submit incident reports to the statewide school safety commission. The reports would provide the commission with examples of how incidents and threats were handled to develop best practices for other Michigan schools to follow. Requiring new school construction or major renovation projects to include safety features such as reinforced entryways and remote door locks. Mandating consistent, standardized training related to school violence incidents as part of the requirements to be a licensed law enforcement officer in Michigan. House Bills 5828-30 and 5850-52 now advance to the State Senate for further consideration.

Bipartisan action to protect our Great Lakes Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment I introduced along with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, expressing the sense of the Congress that the governments of the United States and Canada should not allow permanent or long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel or other radioactive waste near the Great Lakes. The amendment comes as Ontario Power Generation (OPG) continues to seek approval to construct a deep geologic repository for nuclear waste less than one mile from Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario. The amendment now moves to the U.S. Senate as part of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018 which was passed by a 340 to 72 vote.

The Great Lakes are the lifeblood of our great state. Right now we have four spent nuclear fuel sites, including two in Southwest Michigan right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Keeping spent fuel there in perpetuity is not an option, especially when a permanent, responsible solution has long been available. This amendment sends a bipartisan message that we will continue working to protect our Great Lakes for future generations.

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).

Parents who host lose the most The end of the school year brings lots of cause for celebrations: prom, graduation, parties and more. This time of year is far too often marred by the frequently fatal consequences of illegal underage drinking. One bad decision can result in tragedy for not only the young person, but for his or her family, friends, and our entire community. Sixty-five percent of teens obtain the alcohol they drink from their parents, parents of friends, siblings, or older friends, with or without permission. The good news is that among 10-18 year olds, 65% cite their parents as the leading influence for them not to drink. The Berrien County Health Department is asking for your help in making graduation night safe for teens. Some teens falsely believe that the usual rules for safety and behavior don’t apply on graduation night. That’s why parents need to help teens make safe and healthy choices. Do not serve or allow alcohol at any party you are hosting. Know where your teenager is attending a party; verify there will be parental supervision, and that it will be alcohol-free. Make it clear to your children that you do NOT approve of them drinking alcohol. Educate them on the risks associated with underage drinking and its proven harmful effects on the brain. Students who wait until their early twenties to drink are 84% less likely to develop an addiction than those who start earlier. A minor who consumes alcohol is violating the law and risking his/her life, as well as the lives of others. An adult who provides alcohol to a minor is breaking the law and risking that child’s life. Make sure your teen has a plan for the night and that you know what it is. Do not rent houses or hotel rooms for graduates. Know who is driving – if it’s a limo, check their policy on allowing alcohol in the vehicle. For more information, visit the Berrien County Health Department online at www.bchdmi.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bchdmi.

Celebrating Michigan wine & craft beverage industries Winemaking is a thriving industry in Michigan — with wine production in our state more than doubling over the last decade. Michigan’s wine industry has a $5.4 billion economic impact on the state, including attracting $253 million in tourism spending and supporting over 47,000 jobs. To honor Michigan’s growing wine industry, its wide selection of quality wines and significant contribution to the economy, the governor proclaimed May as “Michigan Wine Month.” I encourage Southwest Michigan residents to support our local vineyards by visiting a winery and seeing their impact on our economy. Information about more than 20 area wineries and tasting rooms is available online at www.miwinetrail.com. The Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council has done a tremendous job with helping support our thriving wine industry, and legislation on its way to the governor would help ensure the council can bring that success to Michigan’s up-and-coming craft beverage industry. Michigan microbreweries, small distillers and brewpubs currently pay the license and renewal fees that fund the council. Senate Bill 440 and House Bill 4667 would ensure that everyone who helps fund the council has a seat at the table. The bills would rename the council the “Michigan Craft Beverage Council” and expand its membership. By providing equal representation and membership on the council, we can ensure it is best positioned to promote and support entrepreneurial Southwest Michigan craft beverage producers, who are creating jobs right here at home. As you enjoy having a Michigan-made wine or craft beverage, have fun and drink responsibly. 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.

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