06-20-19 Columns

Smart financial moves for every stage of life Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, you must make financial and investment decisions that will be with you for the remainder of your years. But the moves you make when you’re just starting out in your career may be quite different from when you’re retired. So, let’s look at some of these moves, stretched out across your lifetime. In your 20s and 30s: During this period, you should strive to place yourself on a sound financial footing by taking steps such as reducing, and hopefully eliminating, your student loans and embarking on saving for retirement through investments such as a 401(k) and IRA. You also might buy a home, which offers some financial benefits, but be careful not to become “house poor” by devoting too much of your monthly income to mortgage payments. If you have young children, you might also want to start saving for college, possibly through a 529 plan, which offers tax benefits, high contribution limits and the ability to switch beneficiaries, as needed. And if you do have a family, you’ll certainly need to maintain adequate life insurance. Also, since you’re at the early stages of your working life, you should chart a long-term financial and investment strategy with the help of a financial professional. Your strategy should encompass your important goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. And you’ll want to revisit your strategy regularly to accommodate changes in your life and financial situation. In your 40s and 50s: These are the years in which your career advances, leading to bigger salaries. The more you earn, the more you should be putting away in your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, along with your IRA. During the middle-to-end of this particular period, you might finish helping pay for your child’s higher education – which should free up even more money to put away for retirement. You also may want to consider long-term care insurance, which can help protect you against the devastating costs of an extended stay in a nursing home. In your 60s, 70s… and beyond: Once you’re in this age range, chances are pretty good that you’ll either retire soon or are already retired. (Although, of course, you may well want to work part-time or do some consulting.) However, you certainly haven’t “retired” the need to make financial and investment decisions, because you’ll have plenty, including these: When should I take Social Security? Will my investment portfolio provide me with enough income to help keep me ahead of inflation? How much can I afford to withdraw each year from my retirement accounts without outliving my resources? Again, a financial professional can help you deal with these and other issues. Also, if you haven’t done so, now is the time to draw up your estate plans, so you can leave the type of legacy you desire – one that provides for the next generation (or two) and the charitable organizations you support. You’ll need to work with a legal professional to create estate planning documents and arrangements appropriate for your needs. You will spend a lifetime making financial and investment decisions – so put in the time and effort, and get the help you need, to make the best decisions you can. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

A responsible budget This week, I joined my colleagues in supporting a responsible budget that focuses on the priorities of Southwest Michigan residents. The budget we passed includes record funding for road repairs and schools, with additional resources for critical job preparation and research programs of great importance to Southwest Michigan. The House-approved budget plan invests in these high priority programs without tax increases. My goal as a state legislator is to make Southwest Michigan a place future generations wants to stay and raise their own families. This budget plan is definitely a step in the right direction. It supports schools, employment, and our region’s proud agriculture heritage – without asking for more taxpayer money. This budget includes another record level of funding for K-12 education in our state. For years, politicians have raided the school aid fund to pay for higher education. This budget stops that practice and directs all school aid fund money to where it belongs. One of the most common topics I heard while knocking on doors was the confusion amongst residents that not all of the money they pay at the pump went toward road repairs. I agree and was proud to help direct all of the money paid at the pump into road and bridge repair. This alone will contribute an additional $800 million to road repairs without asking Michiganders for more of their hard-earned money. This change will be made without sacrificing money for schools, local government revenue sharing, or other essential public services. The governor made a great analogy – we’re in the fourth inning. As this process moves forward, I will continue to be an advocate for Southwest Michigan residents. If you have any thoughts, concerns, or suggestions about our state budget, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 517-373-1403 or email me at PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov.

Agreement with Mexico protects Southwest Michigan jobs

This past week, President Trump announced a deal with Mexico that avoids tariffs and improves border security, a win for the American people. The proposed tariffs would have placed a heavy burden on the state of Michigan, having the second most negative impact of all 50 states, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I met with a number of job creators from southwest Michigan who expressed their concern over these proposed tariffs. The consensus was that the tariffs with Mexico would have hurt our auto, manufacturing, and agriculture industries, threatening jobs and economic growth. And of course, American consumers a