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