05-18-2017 Columns

Is your portfolio “healthy”?

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. If you can exercise regularly, you’ll help yourself feel better, control your weight and even reduce the chances of developing certain diseases. But why not extend the concept of “fitness” to other areas of your life – such as your investment portfolio? And to help maintain a healthy portfolio, you can draw on some of the same principles that apply to keeping your body in good shape.

Consider, for example, one of the things that happen when you exercise – namely, your body uses more oxygen. As an investor, you may need your portfolio to get “oxygen” in the form of infusions of new investment dollars. If you stop putting money into your portfolio, you’ll need to rely on your existing investments to grow enough to help you meet your long-term goals, such as a comfortable retirement. Could that happen? Maybe, but you will likely be better off by investing consistently, year after year. And by spreading your contributions over a period of decades, you don’t have to come up with large sums at any one time.

Another element important to exercise is the need to avoid injury. That’s why all sorts of athletes, both competitive and casual, stretch before they swing into action. Many of them also take other injury-avoidance steps, such as strengthening their “core” through abdominal work and increasing their flexibility through yoga. When you invest, you can be “injured” if your portfolio takes a hit during a market downturn. However, this type of injury will likely be much more severe if your portfolio is over-concentrated in just one asset class and the downturn primarily affects those exact assets. But if you own many different types of assets – stocks, bonds, government securities, and so on – you may reduce the impact of a downturn on your portfolio. Keep in mind, though, that this type of diversification can’t guarantee profits or help you avoid all losses.

While exercise is essential to maintaining good health, it isn’t the only factor involved. You should also get regular checkups with a medical professional, who can run various tests to measure changes in cholesterol, blood pressure, heart function and other areas. To help ensure your portfolio is healthy, you also need to chart its progress over time. And that doesn’t just mean determining if you’re getting the growth you need, though that’s obviously of great interest to you. You also need to evaluate whether your portfolio has gotten out of balance, which can occur without your doing anything at all. To illustrate: If you start out with a certain percentage of one type of investment, such as stocks, and these stocks grow to a point where they now take up a bigger share of your portfolio, you may be taking on more risk than you had intended. Consequently, you should review your portfolio at least once a year to evaluate both its performance and its balance. Once you’ve compared where you are today with where you were a year ago, you’ll be in a better position to make appropriate changes if needed.

Do what it takes to keep you physically fit – but also take steps to ensure your investment portfolio is in good shape. It’s vitally important to your future – and you can do the work without even breaking a sweat.

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

HPV Vaccination

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. You can get HPV by having oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.

Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV, even if you have had sex with only one person. You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected making it hard to know when you first became infected.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer. HPV can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus.

You can do several things to lower your chances of getting HPV:

Get vaccinated. HPV vaccines are safe and effective. They can protect males and females against diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups. HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months; it is important to get all three doses.

Get screened for cervical cancer. Routine screening for women aged 21 to 65 years old can prevent cervical cancer.

All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated. Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

For more information on HPV and the vaccination, contact the Berrien County Health Department at (269) 926-7121 or visit them online at www.bchdmi.org.

Honoring our fallen police officers

Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe and respond in times of crisis. Sadly, last year 143 of these brave men and women never returned home.

In 1962, to salute the dedication and sacrifice of police officers and their families, Congress established May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week on which it falls as National Police Week.

This week, May 14-20, communities nationwide and across Southwest Michigan are uniting to honor and remember officers who were killed in the line of duty, as well as the family, friends and fellow officers they left behind.

The names of 394 officers were added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., including 143 officers killed in 2016 and an additional 251 officers who died in previous years. The newly engraved names were read during a poignant candlelight vigil.

In Southwest Michigan, the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Day Service honored the officers who lost their lives serving our community.

I am co-sponsoring a bill to create a “Thin Blue Line” fundraising license plate that would help raise money to support the families of injured or fallen law enforcement officers.

Remembering our fallen officers is a great reminder of how blessed we are to have such amazing, selfless officers in Michigan.

I encourage residents to thank our outstanding law enforcement officers for all they do to make our state and communities safe. God bless them and keep them safe.

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.

National Police Week honors those who protect us

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Over the years, National Police Week has become an opportunity to reflect and thank those who protect and serve us every single day.

During Police Week, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converge on Washington, D.C. to participate in events that honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. As part of the ceremony, law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty are added to the Memorial Wall that carries the names of more than 16,000 officers. The memorial service is sponsored by the Grand Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and features a solemn wreath laying ceremony.

Tragically, this year, we had to add two of our very own to the Memorial Wall. Joseph Peter Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle, both of whom sadly lost their lives during the Berrien County Courthouse shooting that occurred in July of 2016. We must continue to keep those affected in our hearts and never forget the ultimate sacrifice they made.

As Police Week comes to a close, I want to thank our men and women in uniform, and their families, for their service and dedication to our communities and country.

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).