11-28-2019 Columns

New at investing? Follow these suggestions

If you’re fairly new to investing, you might be wondering what sort of rules you should follow or moves you should make. And while everyone’s situation is different, there are indeed guidelines that make sense for all investors. Here are some to consider: Learn the basics. The investment world can seem confusing, but the more you know about the basic components, the more confident you’ll be when you begin to invest. For starters, you’ll want to be familiar with the essential types of investments: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, government securities and so on. And it’s also important to know that some investments are designed to provide growth – an increase in the investment’s value – while others provide income in the form of dividends or interest payments, and still others may offer growth and income. Set your goals. You need to know why you’re investing – and that means you must clearly define your goals. Do you want to retire early? When you do retire, what kind of lifestyle would you like to have? Are you planning on helping your children (or grandchildren) pay for college? Once you’ve established your goals, you can create the appropriate investment strategy for achieving them, taking into account your time horizon and risk tolerance. Invest regularly. At first, you may only be able to afford to put in small amounts to your investment accounts, but even so, try to contribute regularly. You’ll get into the habit of investing and, later on, when you earn more money, you can ramp up your contributions. If you have a 401(k) or similar plan at work, the money can come out of your paycheck before you even see it. Think long term. As you begin investing, it’s important to have the right attitude. Specifically, don’t look for the “hot” investments that will make you a “bundle” in a matter of weeks. Investing just doesn’t work that way – instead, it’s a decades-long process of carefully choosing, managing and adjusting a diversified portfolio that’s suitable for your individual needs. And by maintaining a long-term focus, you’ll be less susceptible to making ill-advised moves in response to short-term market events. Don’t get scared off by downturns. If you invest for many years, it’s inevitable that you will experience sharp drops in the financial markets. But these declines are actually a normal part of investing. If you overreact to them by selling investments just because their price has dropped, you’ll not only be breaking a cardinal rule of investing – to buy low and sell high – but you’ll also be disrupting the type of cohesive, continuous investment strategy that’s necessary to help you achieve your goals. Get some help. You may find it easier to navigate the investment landscape if you get some help from a professional advisor – someone who understands your goals and family situation and who can make appropriate investment recommendations. A financial advisor can also suggest changes to your portfolio in response to changes in your life (new job, child graduating college, etc.) and in your goals, such as a new date for retirement. When you invest, there aren’t many guarantees. But by following these suggestions, you will know, at the very least, that you’re taking the steps that can lead to success. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Nesbitt praises MCCA assessment decrease

State Sen. Aric Nesbitt announced Wednesday, Nov. 13, to residents that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) will be lowering the per vehicle assessment for the period of July 2, 2020 through June 30, 2021 to $100. “This is fantastic news for Michigan drivers and families,” said Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “The reforms approved earlier this year were specifically aimed at reducing costs and giving options to Michigan drivers. Today’s announcement will surely bring a breath of relief to many families across the state.” The decrease announced November 13 is a 55% reduction from this year’s $220 assessment. Insurance companies will charge the $100 assessment only to people who choose to maintain unlimited lifetime personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. Those who choose other levels of coverage under the new reforms will see even lower fees or possibly avoid the assessment altogether, as long as the MCCA is not in a deficit position. According to the MCCA, this reduction is a direct result of savings created by cost controls for medical treatment and other changes made to Michigan’s no-fault insurance law earlier this year. Starting July 1 of next year, drivers will be able to choose from a variety of coverage options to fit their budgets. These choices range from unlimited lifetime medical benefits to a complete opt out for people with Medicare or private health insurance. “I introduced Senate Bill 1 in January with the goal of providing Michigan drivers with some true, meaningful relief,” Nesbitt said. “These reforms were a long time coming — people across the state were being priced out of driving and having their livelihoods drastically impacted. I am happy that my colleagues and I were able to come together for the people of Michigan.”

Let’s end surprise medical bills

The health care system in our country can often be confusing. When people have a medical issue, many are left wondering what procedures their health insurance plan covers, or what hospital system or physician is approved by their insurance company to be considered “in network.” As members of these insurance networks through health insurance plans, people receive medical coverage for various procedures when they are sick or otherwise need care. Typically, patients seek treatment, pay any required amounts under their health plan, which usually come in the form of co-payments