07-05-2018 Columns

Questions to ask your financial advisor You should always be able to ask as many questions as you’d like when working with your financial advisor. So, before you have your annual review, think carefully about what you’d like to ask. Here are a few suggestions: Are my goals still realistic? When you first began working with your financial advisor, you may well have articulated a number of financial goals. For example, you might have said that you wanted to pay for most of your children’s college educations, or that you wanted to retire at a certain age, or that you wanted to travel for two months each year during your retirement. In fact, you could have many different goals for which you’re saving and investing. When you meet with your financial advisor, you’ll certainly want to ask if you’re still on track toward meeting these goals. If you are, you can continue with the financial strategies you’ve been following; but if you aren’t, you may need to adjust them. Am I taking on too much – or too little – risk? The financial markets always fluctuate, and these movements will affect the value of your investment portfolio. If you watch the markets closely every day and track their impact on your investments, you may find yourself fretting considerably over your investments’ value and wondering if you are taking on too much investment risk for your comfort level. Conversely, if you think that during an extended period of market gains your own portfolio appears to be lagging, you might feel that you should be investing more aggressively, which entails greater risk. In any case, it’s important that you know your own risk tolerance and use it as a guideline for making investment choices – so it’s definitely an issue to discuss with your financial advisor. How will changes in my life affect my investment strategy? Your life is not static. Over time, you may experience any number of major events, such as marriage, children, new jobs and so on. When you meet with your financial advisor, you will want to discuss these types of changes, because they can affect your long-term goals and, consequently, your investment decisions. How are external forces affecting my investment portfolio? Generally speaking, you will want to create an investment strategy that’s based on your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. And, as mentioned above, you may need to adjust your strategy based on changes in your life. But should you also make changes based on outside forces, such as interest rate movements, political events, new legislation or news affecting industries in which you have invested substantially? Try not to make long-term investment decisions based on short-term news. Yet, talk with your financial advisor to make sure your investment portfolio is not out of alignment with relevant external factors. By making these and other inquiries, you can help yourself stay informed on your overall investment picture and what moves, if any, you should make to keep advancing toward your goals. A financial advisor is there to provide you with valuable expertise – so take full advantage of it. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Enjoy summer fairs and festivals Southwest Michigan offers families a wide variety of outstanding summer outdoor activities, and I encourage residents to take advantage of the warm weather at one of our numerous community fairs and festivals. We are blessed to have natural and cultural resources that make our state such a great place to live and raise a family. Local fairs and festivals celebrate our communities and offer good, old-fashioned family fun.

Local summer fairs and festivals include: Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff on July 14 to 15 in downtown St. Joseph; Mike Yore Memorial Car and Music Show on July 20 in downtown St. Joseph; Coloma Glad-Peach Festival on Aug. 3 to 5 in downtown Coloma; 22nd Annual Chalk the Block from Aug. 3 to 5 in downtown St. Joseph; and the Berrien County Youth Fair on Aug. 13 to 18 at the Berrien County Fairgrounds in Berrien Springs. Residents can discover upcoming Michigan festivals and county fairs at www.michigan.org/fairs-festivals. On the site, you can also click on useful links that can help you plan a Michigan vacation, including details on places to eat and stay.

Also available to help plan a family outing is the Pure Michigan 2018 Spring/Summer Travel Guide, which can be downloaded for free at www.michigan.org/travel-guide. It is not just about having fun. Spending time together strengthens family bonds, improves academic performance in children and helps kids develop positive parenting skills. I hope you have a great summer and have a chance to get out and enjoy all the activities available right here in our own backyard.

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.

4-H Versatility Scholarship Event at the fair grounds in Berrien Springs August 12; applications due July 6

The Berrien County 4-H program will be hosting its annual 4-H Versatility Scholarship Event on Sunday, August 12, 2018 starting at 2:00 p.m. at the Berrien County Youth Fair in Berrien Springs. The 4-H Versatility Scholarship event is designed to identify and recognize the most versatile 4-H teen member and horse duo in the Berrien County 4-H Horse and Pony project. The scholarship is awarded to the outstanding 4-H horse and rider versatility combination. Classes for the event include Hunter Hack, Open English Equitation, Western Horsemanship, Gymkhana – Clover Leaf Barrels, and Trail. An education scholarship will be awarded to the Champion and Reserve Champion in the amounts of $500 and $250. Placing ribbons will be awarded to the top ten participants as well. The 4-H Versatility Scholarship Event is open to any Berrien County 4-H member who is 14 – 19 years of age by January 1, 2018 and has completed the ninth grade. Maximum years of participating in the event are not to exceed five. Youth must be enrolled in a Berrien County 4-H horse and pony project club by June 1, 2018. The horse used for the Berrien County 4-H Versatility Event must be pre-registered and exhibited at the Berrien County Youth Fair by the 4-H member and on the grounds during fair week. Member and horse must be pre-registered or applications post marked for the Berrien County 4-H Versatility Scholarship Event by Friday, July 6, 2018. Registration forms and details on requirements can be found at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/county/berrien/berrien_county_4_h. The Berrien County 4-H Versatility Scholarship Event is sponsored by the Berrien County 4-H Horse Leaders Association. For more information about the Berrien County 4-H Versatility Scholarship Event, please contact Chrissy Bradford, Versatility Scholarship Chairman at canterloper@aol.com or via phone at 269-362-2915.

Take charge of your sexual health Taking care of your sexual health matters! It’s just as important as keeping the rest of your body and mind healthy. The Berrien County Health Department’s Sexual Health Clinic is here to help you plan for a healthy future. The clinic offers accessible, non-judgmental, and supportive services to women, men, and teens regardless of income, insurance status, background, or sexuality. Services are low/no-cost, are 100% confidential, and include birth control, STD testing, and annual wellness exams and testing for men and women. Services available include recommended annual wellness exams (pap smears, pelvic exams, breast exams, and testicular exams); STD testing and treatment and rapid HIV testing and counseling; pregnancy testing; birth control methods including the pill, the patch, Depo-provera shot, and emergency contraception; free condoms; immunizations, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for men and women; education and support to help you plan for a healthy future and take control of your sexual health. Sexual health clinical services are provided at little-to-no cost. Most major insurance plans are accepted, including most Medicaid plans. Costs are based on a sliding-fee scale determined according to your income and no one is turned away for inability to pay. Sexual Health Clinic services are available at all Berrien County Health Department locations (Benton Harbor, Niles, and Three Oaks) by appointment only. To make an appointment for any location or for more information, please call (269) 926-7121. More information about the Sexual Health Clinic can be found at www.bchdmi.org.

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