05-30-2019 Columns

Are women better investors than men? Most of us would probably agree that men and women frequently behave differently, and these differences often show up in professional, family and social situations. Of course, this certainly doesn’t mean either gender has an advantage in these areas. However, here’s an interesting question: Do women possess attributes that may make them better investors? Some evidence suggests this may indeed be the case. Consider the following: Long-term focus – Women seem to focus more on long-term goals, according to some studies, whereas men may concentrate more on short-term track records of potential investments. Generally speaking, taking a long-term approach to investing is a good strategy because it can help you maintain discipline and avoid subjecting yourself to the dangers of overreacting to market swings. One such danger is selling an investment whose price may have dropped but may still have strong fundamentals and good prospects. Less frequent trading – A well-known study from the University of California found that men traded investments 45% more frequently than women. Other, more recent studies have produced somewhat different results, but the overall picture does seem to show that women do significantly less buying and selling than men. This tendency is important because frequent trading can undercut a long-term, cohesive investment strategy. If you’re constantly buying and selling, you won’t give some investments a chance to achieve their full growth potential, and you might disrupt the diversification necessary for long-term success. More thoughtful decisions and more receptiveness to professional advice – Women take more time to make investment decisions than men, and more readily accept investment recommendations from financial professionals, according to a survey from InvestmentNews. And women are more likely to consult a professional financial advisor in the first place, according to a study from the Spectrem Group, a financial research firm. Given the number of factors involved in successful investing – setting long-term goals, evaluating risk tolerance, navigating volatile financial markets, diversifying investment portfolios, and so on – it’s important to get solid financial and investment advice from trained, experienced professionals. Greater risk aversion – When it comes to savings and investing, women are generally more risk averse than men, according to a large-scale survey by BlackRock, a global investment management firm, and supported by numerous other surveys and studies. Having a greater risk aversion can help women investors reduce the likelihood of incurring short-term losses from highly volatile or speculative investments. Nonetheless, it’s not really possible to avoid all investment risk – and it’s probably not even desirable. In fact, there may well be a flip side to women’s risk avoidance, in that an overly conservative portfolio won’t produce the growth potential needed to achieve long-term goals. And this indeed is a danger to which women investors should be alert. Generally speaking, neither excessive risk nor excessive caution will serve investors well. A long-term perspective, avoidance of excess trading, willingness to take advice from professionals, and careful risk management – these characteristics of women investors can be of value to everyone. Consider putting them to work for yourself. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

The importance of bipartisanship and civility

This week, a number of federal, state, and local leaders are attending the Mackinac Policy Conference to discuss ideas and solutions for some of our state’s and nation’s most pressing challenges. I am attending and participating in a panel discussion with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Detroit. The main message I plan to deliver is the importance of bipartisanship and the need to restore civility in our political system.

In Congress, my focus is on bipartisan solutions that deliver actual results for the American people. As the vice-chair of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, I am proud of the number of bipartisan policy proposals we have been able to work on together – as Republicans and Democrats. And earlier this year, I spoke at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy about the need to work together in a divided government to get things done. Whether it be the protection of the Great Lakes and clean water, economic growth, or securing our energy grid, I am willing to work with anyone committed to the betterment of our communities. I will continue to be a voice for bipartisanship and civility in Congress.

To learn more about important legislative issues, follow me on Twitter at @RepFredUpton or visit my website: upton.house.gov. You can also call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

Car Insurance Reform, passed On Friday, May 24, the Michigan House, Senate, and Governor came to a long awaited agreement on auto no-fault reform. The agreement came after two weeks of negotiations surrounding adjustments to legislation that had started moving forward in the Legislature. Notable changes to the bipartisan plan that had passed in the Michigan House include, extending the mandatory rate rollback from five years to eight years, and specifically listing the non-driving factors that insurance companies will be prohibited from using when determining rates. The Governor also requested that the lowest Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage option of $50,000 be limited to Medicaid recipients only. Other drivers could, however, still use their qualifying form of health insurance to opt out of PIP costs entirely. It’s important to note the reform plan allows those currently using unlimited lifetime coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more options. Transparency and auditing of the MCCA is still a key feature of the plan along with fee schedules for medical providers to stop the overbilling of accident victims. After negotiations with the Governor, the fee schedule will now be correlated with the Medicare schedule rather than Workers Compensation. I’m proud to have voted for this historic plan that delivers significant savings for Michigan drivers on their car insurance bills. All Michigan drivers will save money on the PIP portion of their policies, and some could save hundreds of dollars more a year, depending on which of the coverage options they choose. The House adopted the changes from the agreement into Senate Bill (SB) 1, sponsored by Senator Aric Nesbitt, and overwhelmingly approved this plan by a vote of 94-15. The Michigan Senate approved the plan later that same day by a vote of 34-4. The legislation now goes to the Governor for her expected signature.

Swimming pool safety The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) wants to remind residents of safe and healthy swimming practices, including ways to prevent illness and injury, whether swimming in a public or private pool. We each play a role in preventing injuries, such as those from mishandling pool chemicals, or illnesses caused by germs in the places we swim. Exposure to bacteria or chemicals in pools can cause harm or illness; however, both of these can be prevented through a few simple precautions. While chlorine and other pool disinfectants kill most germs within minutes, some germs can live in pool water for days. Contaminants from the human body, like urine, feces, and sweat mix with chlorine and form chemicals that can make our eyes red and itchy as well as trigger asthma attacks. Most commonly, the germs present in water we swim in can cause diarrhea, especially if the water is swallowed. It’s very important to keep these germs from contaminants, like urine and feces, out of the water we all swim in. To prevent recreational water illness, you should avoid swallowing pool water or getting water in your mouth, wash hands thoroughly after changing diapers, using the restroom, and before eating or handling food. Never swim if you have diarrhea – you can spread germs in the water and make others sick. Take children on bathroom breaks every 30-60 minutes and only change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area – not poolside where germs can rinse into the water. Everyone can help create healthy swimming experiences this summer. By following these basic steps, Berrien County residents and visitors can prevent injury and death due to many waterborne infections and outbreaks and enjoy all that the water offers. For more information, visit the Berrien County Health Department website at www.bchdmi.org or Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bchdmi.