06-08-2017 Columns

Financial gifts – and tips – for new graduates

 It’s Graduation season again. If your child is graduating from high school or college, you have reason to celebrate. But what should you give to your newly minted diploma holder? You might want to consider offering a combination of financial gifts and tips, which, taken together, could set your graduate on a path toward a successful, independent life. What sort of gifts and tips should you consider? Here are a few ideas:

Give a few shares of stock. Everyone should understand the financial markets and how they work. One great way to encourage this interest is to give your child a few shares of stock. Young people enjoy owning a piece of a company that makes the products and services they like – and the very act of ownership can inspire them to learn more about investing and to ask questions: What causes the stock price to go up or down? How long should I hold this stock? Should I own several stocks like this one, or is it better to branch out to find new opportunities? Over time, in learning the answers to these and other questions, your child can become familiar with investing and how to make the best choices.

Encourage your graduate to open an IRA. Your child can open an IRA as long as he or she has some earned income. You might want to suggest that your child consider a Roth IRA, which, at the child’s age and income level, may be a good choice. With a Roth IRA, children can access their contributions at any time, tax- and penalty-free. They can’t touch the earnings without incurring both taxes and penalties, however, until they reach 59-1/2. But you will want to encourage them to keep the money in their IRA intact, giving it the chance to grow.

Provide some financial education. Unfortunately, most young people don’t really receive any kind of formal financial education. Of course, you can try to provide some of this knowledge to your own children, but, as you know, advice from Mom and Dad sometimes gets ignored. However, you might get better results if you arrange for your recent graduate to meet with a financial professional. As mentioned above, owning stocks, and following their progress, can teach your children a great deal about investing, but a financial professional can paint the “big picture” and explain how all aspects of money management – such as borrowing, budgeting, saving and investing – fit together to help individuals stay in control of their finances and make progress toward their important financial goals, such as buying a house and retiring in comfort. Recent graduates, whether leaving high school or college, are at “turning points” in their lives and can benefit greatly from understanding the importance of developing good, lifelong financial habits.

Most of us can think of several money-related mistakes we’ve made over the course of many years. And your children will make some errors, too. But by providing them with some appropriate financial gifts and valuable advice upon their graduation, they may well be better prepared to keep those mistakes to a minimum – while maximizing their ability to make good decisions.

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

Protecting Michigan citizens

 I am proud to have cosponsored a bipartisan legislation package that would criminalize female genital mutilation. The procedure involves the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs, often performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 14 to ensure their virginity until marriage. The legislation follows a February incident where a couple performed the procedure on two young girls who were transported from Minnesota to southeast Michigan. The package increases penalties for those who perform and transport children for the purpose of performing the procedure, requires training for law enforcement officers, and extends the statute of limitations for victims to sue for damages past age 18. The bill package was referred to the House Law and Justice Committee for consideration.

Additionally, the House Health Policy Committee recently approved a bipartisan six-bill package focused on combating opioid addiction in Michigan; educating young people and parents about the risks and potential for dependence when using opioid medications is vital to protecting children from the life-threatening ramifications of addiction. This package includes legislation requiring medical professionals to consult with parents or guardians when an opioid-based medication may be prescribed to a person under the age of 18, increases access to opioid treatment, allows pharmacists to use their judgment to refuse an opioid prescription without fear of legal ramifications and requires school curriculum regarding the risks of prescription drug abuse. The committee approved the package with unanimous, bipartisan support and I plan to vote YES when it comes before the full House.

Serving the people of Berrien County is very important to me, and I encourage residents to contact my office with any state or local issues by calling (517) 373-1403, emailing KimLaSata@House.mi.gov or visiting my website at www.RepLasata.com.

Enjoy free summer fishing in Michigan this weekend

 With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing go hand in hand.

Michigan’s annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend offers a great opportunity for Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors alike to get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters — at no charge.

This year’s weekend is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 10-11.

Since 1986, Michigan has celebrated the free weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and to give families a great chance to pass along the joy of fishing to the next generation.

Anglers do not need a license for the annual event. All fishing license fees will be waived during the weekend, yet all fishing regulations still apply.

To encourage involvement in the free fishing weekend, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state.

I encourage all area anglers, and those who have never gone fishing, to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities during the free weekend.

For more information on the Summer Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

The weekend concludes Michigan Boating Week, an annual celebration of boating activities found throughout the state. For a list of boating events, visit www.michigan.gov/boating.

Both events offer outstanding chances for families to have fun and relax in Michigan’s great outdoors.

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.

Bipartisan Soo Locks visit highlights economic importance

 Last week, I helped lead a bipartisan Michigan Congressional Delegation tour of the Soo Locks. The Soo Locks, located in Sault Ste. Marie and first opened in 1855, are a set of locks that enable ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. The tour highlighted the importance of the Locks to our state and country’s economy and national security. We also discussed the critical need to upgrade and build a replacement lock to ensure this vital gateway for commerce and jobs remains open and operational.

The Locks are absolutely critical to economic growth here in Michigan and across the country. Great Lakes freighters carry goods that fuel our manufacturing and agricultural sectors every single day. According to the Great Lakes Carriers Association, 79% of the iron ore mined in the United States is shipped through the Soo Locks, a direct value of $5.4 billion per year. A failure of the Locks would be unacceptable.

A 2015 report from the Department of Homeland Security clearly lays out what would happen if an unscheduled disruption at the Locks were to occur. The national unemployment rate would rise to more than 11 percent. States beyond Michigan that are home to steel mills and auto suppliers would be acutely hurt. In fact, the report concludes that a closure during peak shipping season would halt 75% of the nation’s steel output within two weeks.

In order to avoid this catastrophic economic hit, we are looking at ways to modernize the Locks. Specifically, we are looking to replace two outdated, smaller locks with a new, single, larger lock. This new lock would be able to handle the increasing size of vessels passing through the Locks. I look forward to working closely with my Michigan colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we work together to provide vital infrastructure updates and needed resources of a new lock.

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).

Triple P – a Positive

Parenting Program

 Every family is different, yet families all over the world face problems that are surprisingly similar, toddler tantrums, fighting at home or at school, the child who won’t go to bed or never seems to listen. The issues you deal with in your home affect families everywhere. That’s where Triple P can help!

The Berrien County Health Department’s Triple P program – a Positive Parenting Program – can help you: Raise happy, confident kids; Manage kids’ behavior so everyone enjoys life more; Set family routines and rules that everyone respects and follows; Get along with your kids and argue less; Balance work and family without constant stress and worry; Use everyday situations to help children learn.

The great thing is that Triple P is not a “one-size-fits-all.” You choose how much positive parenting help you need and how you get it. With Triple P, you can do as much, or as little, as you like.

At the Berrien County Health Department, parents can find the support they need that is right for their family:

One-on-One consultations about specific parenting concerns such as disobedience, fighting with siblings, whining, or tantrums.

Seminars or group discussions that offer solutions to common parenting issues like encouraging good behavior, developing good bedtime routines, setting realistic expectations, and managing misbehavior.

Group classes that meet multiple times to help parents tackle on-going issues, set goals for change, and improve parent-child relationships.

To find the Triple P program that’s right for you, call 269-926-7121 or email triplep@bchdmi.org.


P.O. BOX 7


CALL: 269-463-6397
FAX: 269-463-8329

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