06-06-2019 Columns

Do you have a business succession strategy?

If you own a business, you’ve always got plenty to think about: sales, marketing, employees, competition, industry trends, consumer preferences – the list goes on and on. It’s easy to get so caught up in your work that you might not take time to think about retirement. But if and when that day arrives, you’ll want to be prepared – which means you need a business succession plan. And you will have to put considerable thought and effort in selecting such a plan, because you’ve got several choices. You could keep the business in your family. You could offer it to an employee or an outsider. You could design a plan that will take effect while you’re alive or after you’ve passed away. Your decision should be based on several factors, including your family situation, the nature of your business, and your overall financial position (including the composition of your investment portfolio), but, at the outset of your search, you may want to know about some popular succession strategies, including: Giving the business away – You can leave your business to your children, but if you transfer it during your lifetime, you may be able to obtain some valuable benefits. For example, by relinquishing control gradually, you can be reassured that your children will be able to manage the business on their own. This strategy may also offer tax benefits. You can give your business away outright, but you may want to consider using a trust or family limited partnership, both of which may allow you to control the business for as long as you want, while still receiving a regular income stream. Selling the business outright – You can always sell your business outright whenever you like – right now, when you retire or some time in between. Of course, any sale brings tax considerations. Using a buy-sell arrangement to transfer the business – Instead of simply selling the business in a traditional transaction, you could employ a buy-sell agreement. With this arrangement, you can generally determine when, to whom, and at what price you can sell it. If you would like to keep the business in your family, you may be able to fund the buy-sell agreement with life insurance, so family members could use the death benefit to buy your ownership stake. Buying a private annuity – When you buy a private annuity, you can transfer the business to family members, or someone else, who will then make payments to you for the rest of your life, or, possibly, for your lifetime and that of a second person’s. In addition to potentially providing you with a lifetime income stream, this type of sale can remove assets from your estate without triggering gift or estate taxes. These and other techniques can be complex, so before deciding on what is best for your situation, you’ll want to consult with your tax, legal and financial advisors. By taking your time and getting the professional help you need, you can make a successful succession choice. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Enjoy Free Fishing Weekend

Living in Michigan, we are blessed with the opportunity to take part in numerous activities with our friends and families throughout the year. As we enter the summer months, and the weather starts to warm up, I wanted everyone to be aware of a great chance to enjoy one of our remarkable outdoor activities. Fishing in the Great Lakes State – for free!

Michigan has a wide variety of fishing locations with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, thousands of miles of rivers, and more than 11,000 lakes. This is also a great way to help support our state’s economy! Recreational fishing produces an economic output of more than $245 million right here in Michigan’s Great Southwest.

This year’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend presented by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is June 8 & 9. All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. A Recreation Passport will NOT be required for entry into state parks and recreation areas during Free Fishing Weekend. Residents and out-of-state visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes’ waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply. This is a great time to introduce new anglers, both young and old, to the joys of fishing.

I hope you and your friends and family are able to take advantage of this and other great Pure Michigan opportunities this summer. To find out more about Summer and Winter Free Fishing Weekends, you can visit the DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/ freefishing or contact my office at 517-373-1403 or via email to PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov.

Commencement, a new beginning for graduates

With the arrival of summer, barbecues, beachgoing and family vacations, June is an exciting time of year for Southwest Michigan residents. It is an even more exciting time for the hundreds of high school graduates from our area receiving their diplomas — this year I proudly sent 601 congratulatory letters to graduating seniors from six Southwest Michigan school districts. Commencement is a wonderful gathering of the community, family, and friends to celebrate the individual accomplishment of completing a formal K-12 education. But while graduation is a celebration of something achieved, commencement is also about the beginning of something new. For many graduates, that means attending university, and, for them, they have likely already settled on a school of their choice and are preparing for orientation and stocking up on dorm supplies as they await their first freshman semester. Many others have chosen a different path, perhaps pursuing a community college education, enlisting in the military, seeking an apprenticeship for a skilled trade, or going straight to work. Whichever pursuit high school graduates take, they are entering a world of immense opportunity and possibility, as well as one of responsibility. It can be as anxiety-inducing as it is exciting, but from family, friends, mentors and more, help is available for those in need. An unlikely but sincere resource for new graduates is the Michigan Legislature’s free publication, “Movin’ On.” The publication is designed to provide information to help young adults make wise decisions. Some of the topics include how to register to vote, higher education costs and loan programs, renting or purchasing a home, and career planning. Armed with good information, a smart plan, a caring support network, and a winning spirit, graduates should be confident in their ability to achieve their desired goals. As your state senator, I am here to serve and help you where I can. Please feel free to contact me by calling (517) 373-6960 or emailing senklasata@senate.michigan.gov if you have any questions or concerns about this publication.

Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month and a good time to remind men to take steps to be healthier, and that they don’t have to do it alone! Whether it’s your husband, partner, dad, brother, son, or friend you can help support the health and safety of the men in your life. You can support the men in your life by having healthy habits yourself and by making healthy choices. Eat healthy and include a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can help control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers, and can improve your mental health and mood. Set an example by choosing not to smoke and encourage the men in your life to quit smoking. Help the men in your life recognize and reduce stress. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol. Encourage men to see a doctor or health professional for regular checkups and to learn about their family health history. The Berrien County Health Department can provide men with the preventative screening and wellness assessments that they need to stay healthy. At the Berrien County Health Department Men’s Health Clinic, men can get an overall health assessment, blood pressure check, testicular exam, reproductive counseling, HIV/STD checks, immunizations, and referrals or linkages to further care if needed. Call the Berrien County Health Department at 269-926-7121 to schedule an appointment.

Protecting the Great Lakes from Asian carp

I was proud to join a bipartisan group of members from our Michigan Congressional delegation last week to announce our upcoming visit to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam as we continue our efforts to prevent Asian carp from spreading to the Great Lakes. We care deeply about our Great Lakes. Having grown up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I know full well the economic benefits they provide to our state as well as their incredible natural beauty. That is why I’ve long worked to protect and preserve the Great Lakes for future generations.

Asian carp, in particular, are a highly destructive invasive species that poses a severe threat to the Great Lakes watershed, which is why our visit to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam is so important. Asian carp are a non-native fish and are “voracious and often outcompete native fish for food and habitat,” according to a report from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network. Last month, the Army Corps of Engineers sent Congress a plan to install noisemakers, electric cables and other devices at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in order to prevent Asian carp from spreading into Lake Michigan. We need to secure the resources necessary to implement this plan and ensure Asian carp stay out of our Great Lakes.

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).