06-27-2019 Columns

Investment strategy can be your ‘GPS’ as you travel toward goals Summer is here at last. For many people, it’s time to get the car ready for a long road trip. And with GPS-enabled smartphones, it’s now a lot easier to navigate these drives without getting lost. During your life, you may take many journeys – one of which is the long road you’ll travel toward your financial goals. But even on this path you can benefit from a “GPS” in the form of your goal-oriented, personalized strategy. Your investment strategy can function this way by helping answer these questions: How far do I have to go? Your smartphone’s GPS can quickly tell you how many miles you need to travel to arrive at your destination. And a well-constructed investment strategy can inform you of when you might reach a goal, such as having a desired amount of money when you retire, given your current age, earnings, sources of retirement income, and so on. What route should I follow? Your GPS will plot out your route, showing what turns you should take along the way. Similarly, to reach your desired financial outcome, your investment strategy helps guide the investment decisions you make, such as investing adequate amounts in the appropriate vehicles, including your 401(k) and IRA. What problems await me? When your smartphone’s GPS shows red on the route you’re following, you know that heavy traffic lies ahead. And your investment strategy can also help you manage bumps in the road. Particularly if it’s a strategy you’ve designed with a financial professional, who has the knowledge and technology to create various scenarios and hypothetical illustrations to account for potential difficulties – i.e., a rate of return that’s less than expected, a lower income base than you had anticipated, greater college costs than you bargained for, and so on. When should I take an alternate route? For whatever reason, you may deviate from the course plotted by your GPS – which will then helpfully re-route you. While following your investment strategy, if you make a wrong turn, so to speak – perhaps by putting insufficient funds in a retirement account or by assembling an investment mix that has become unsuitable for your risk tolerance – you may need to get back on track. As we’ve seen, some analogies exist between your smartphone’s GPS and your investment strategy. And yet, there’s also a big difference in terms of complexity. It’s simple to program your smartphone to give you the directions you need. But crafting a personalized investment strategy takes time and effort. You need to consider all your goals – college for your children, a comfortable retirement, the ability to leave the legacy you want – along with your time horizon, risk tolerance and other factors. And your investment strategy may well need to change over the years, in response to changes in your family situation, employment and even your objectives – for example, you may decide you want to retire earlier (or later) than you had originally planned. In any case, like your GPS, your investment strategy can help guide you – so make good use of it. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Roads & schools My job representing you in the Michigan House is about listening and leading. I’ve heard countless concerns about the poor condition of our roads. I’ve also heard your concerns about the governor’s idea to pay for improving them, and the vast majority of Van Buren and Kalamazoo county residents I’ve talked with say her proposed 45-cent per gallon tax increase is simply unaffordable. That’s why I joined my Republican colleagues in the House to lead the way toward a different approach in the state budget. Once fully phased in, we would have more than $800 million in additional resources each year to fix our roads – without raising taxes. As a former teacher, it’s extremely important to me that our changes do not hurt students in any way. I’m happy to say that the budget plan recently approved by the House would increase the schools budget by $200 million, including a $180 increase in the minimum pupil foundation allowance. We must also ensure support for our local communities does not fall off. Our plan includes a 2.3 percent increase in revenue sharing to help local communities provide essential public services. A key piece of the House plan is ensuring all taxes paid at the pump go to fixing our roads. We’d accomplish this by dedicating funds from a 6 percent sales tax motorists already pay on fuel purchases to fixing our roads, instead of allowing that money to be rerouted elsewhere. The House budget provides an increase in school funding and revenue sharing by focusing available tax revenue on what matters most. The House pushed for savings and efficiencies within state government – freeing up more resources for roads, schools, and other priorities. This approach works far better for Southwest Michigan families than a 45-cent tax increase. I will continue fighting for this responsible reform as the budget process continues in conjunction with the Senate and the governor.

4th of July & fireworks safety “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, read aloud to the public on July 4, 1776. We are blessed to live in the United States — a country former President Ronald Reagan called, in referring to Scripture, a shining City on a Hill and the last, best hope for man on Earth. As your state senator, I am honored to serve you and our country, and I am eager to join in celebrating America’s birthday. And as Southwest Michigan residents join with their families, friends and communities to honor and celebrate America and her independence, I encourage everyone to take a moment during their celebrations to reflect on why we do so. For many families, fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand in hand. But this year, people sh