08-30-2018 Columns

Labor Day – you can work to become a better investor Next week we observe Labor Day, a holiday to honor all the hard-working people in this country. As one of them, keep in mind that your efforts can have positive results. Famed film producer Samuel Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” And this same philosophy can apply to your investing, too – because you can indeed work to become a better investor. Consider these steps: Work to understand your goals and risk tolerance. Self-knowledge is important in all phases of life – and it’s certainly essential to you when you invest. For one thing, you need to know your goals. How long do you plan to work? What would you like to do when you retire? If you have children, do you expect to help pay for their college educations? You’ll also need to know your risk tolerance to help determine your investment choices. Investors with a high tolerance for risk typically can overlook the day-to-day fluctuations in the financial markets, and may be comfortable investing more aggressively. But those with a low risk tolerance may be more inclined to focus on investments that offer greater preservation of principal, even if this means sacrificing some growth potential. Work to learn all you can about your investments. Here’s a bit of advice that will always be valid: Don’t invest in what you don’t understand. The more you know about your investments and what you can expect from them, the less likely that you will be surprised at their performance and their impact on your financial strategy. When you invest in stocks, you hope their value will appreciate over time, but you shouldn’t be shocked over short-term price fluctuations. Conversely, when you purchase a fixed-rate vehicle, such as a Certificate of Deposit (CD), you expect regular interest payments and a return of your principal when the CD matures. But do not anticipate much, if any, growth in the value of your investment. Work to develop good investment habits. Developing good habits often pays off. For example, if you exercise regularly, don’t smoke and follow a sensible diet, you will likely help your long-term health. And you can follow good investment habits, too, such as contributing regularly to your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. You’ll also want to avoid bad habits, such as overreacting to a sharp drop in the financial markets. In an effort to cut your losses, you might respond to this downturn by immediately selling investments whose fundamentals are still strong and whose prospects still may be positive. Work to get the assistance you need. Investing can be complex, so you may want to work with a financial professional. But investing is just one part of your overall financial picture, so working with an attorney can help with your estate plans. And a tax professional can advise you on the tax-related consequences of various financial moves. There aren’t many guarantees in the investment world – but the harder you work at becoming a good investor, the better your chances of reaching your ultimate objectives. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Back to school As your State Representative, it is among my top priorities to ensure we provide our kids with the tools necessary for a successful future. I am pleased to say, students across Berrien County head back to school supported by record state funding and a renewed emphasis on preparing for the workforce. Every school district in the state will receive $7,871 per student in the state’s basic foundation allowance, the largest single-year increase in 15 years. Over the last two years, we have been able to secure an estimated $5.4 million in additional funding for the public schools just in Berrien County. Michigan’s commitment to education goes well beyond the basic foundation allowance and the funding for at-risk programs. The state increased funding for the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) and allocated $100 million for the Marshall Plan for Talent, designed to expand and improve skilled trade career opportunities for students, part of ongoing increased investments in career tech. More money will also go to early literacy and special education programs, following up last year’s significant increase in funding for students who are considered at risk either financially or academically. School safety remains a high priority, with $25 million set aside statewide for grants to improve building security, plus additional resources to expand the OK2SAY school safety tip reporting system. We must be better when it comes to preparing our students for their careers and giving them the tools they need to be successful in the workforce. Our new plan does that and I’m confident we will see dramatic results in our community. As always, you can 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. It is an honor to serve you!

Autumn in Pure Michigan As our warm summer breezes change to cool weather ahead, autumn in Michigan is spectacular, and there are a wide variety of outstanding fall experiences available right here in our own backyard. I encourage Southwest Michigan residents who are planning a before-school-starts trip this Labor Day weekend or looking at a fall weekend getaway to consider a “staycation” in Michigan and take advantage of the state’s numerous family-friendly activities. It is a great way to relax and have fun with the entire family — all while supporting the local community and small businesses. Plus, all state revenues from a Michigan staycation go toward local funding priorities like improving education and fixing the roads, rather than going out of state. Families can visit www.michigan.org for help planning a vacation in the state. The site includes a link to a stunning travel guide highlighting spectacular sights to see and exciting places to go. The 2018 Pure Michigan Fall Travel Guide features articles on fall color drives, hiking adventures, family getaways, golfing, top-rated mountain bike trails and the state’s apple season. It also features useful information on state parks, including details on amenities, campsites and available activities at each location. Travelers can download the digital guide or order a free printed copy at www.michigan.org/travel-guide. Michigan has more lighthouses, public golf courses, freshwater coastline and rail trail miles than any other state. Regardless of where you decide to go in our state or what you decide to do, one thing is clear: It’s hard to beat autumn in Pure Michigan!

Immunizations for pre-teens & teens As they get older, kids are at increased risk for some infections. The protection provided by some of the childhood vaccines begins to wear off, so kids are in need of a booster dose. The vaccines for preteens and teens can help protect your kids, as well as their friends, community and other family members. There are four recommended vaccines that preteens should get when they are 11 – 12 years old. If you have an older teenage child, they’ll need a booster dose of one of the shots. Plus it’s not too late to get any shots they may have missed. You can use any health care visit, including sports physicals or some sick visits, to get the shots your kids need. The vaccines for preteens and teens are: HPV vaccine for both boys and girls which protects against the types of HPV that most commonly causes cancer. HPV can cause cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women and cancers of the penis in men. In both women and men, HPV also causes mouth/throat cancer, anal cancer and genital warts. Tdap vaccine which is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks. It can also spread to babies, and this can be very dangerous and sometimes deadly. Meningococcal vaccine which protects against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by bacteria and is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis – a serious infection around the brain and spinal cord. Influenza (flu) vaccine because even healthy kids can get the flu and it can be serious. All kids, including your preteens and teens, should get the flu vaccine every year. Talk with your doctor or a nurse at the Berrien County Health Department about the vaccines for preteens and teens. Your teens need you to continue protecting their health by getting them these important and life-saving vaccines. Learn more about immunizations at the Berrien County Health Department website www.bchdmi.org.

SW Michigan students return to school with the goal of the best education possible It’s the end of summer and kids from across Southwest Michigan are heading back to school. No matter the grade level, I’m working hard, and in a bipartisan way, to ensure all students have the opportunity for a quality, and safe, education. I have long been committed to the improvement of our education system and believe that an educated workforce means a stronger and more stable economy. Unfortunately, today we are witnesses in a disturbing trend in K-12 education, as students from other countries are outperforming our own in math and science. At the same time, we are also facing a critical shortage of qualified teachers in the sciences.

To address this national deficiency, I have supported efforts that will aid future college graduates as they pursue a career as an educator in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), as well as retain teachers once they are in the field. I am also a long-time supporter of For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics programs which promote STEM education in a fun way. I also back efforts to update federal K-12 education laws, make higher education more affordable, improve job training opportunities, keep our classrooms safe, and the Head Start program. Only by working together can we help our youngest citizens achieve the best education possible.

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).