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Severe T-Storms, Damaging Winds Moving Through Berkshires

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After two nights of frost, it was 61 degrees on Main Street in North Adams on Thursday night. 
You think, ahhh, spring has finally arrived! Warm evenings, buds popping, birds chirping. 
Well, the weather is never easy in the Berkshires. Yet another storm front will batter the region with torrential rain and damaging winds — but it will be warmer!
The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., is forecasting severe thunderstorms capable of damaging winds and hail Friday afternoon and the possibility of an isolated tornado. 
There will be scattered thunderstorms moving across the region between 1 and 5 and a much stronger line of storms that will cross the Berkshires during the evening until about 10 p.m.
"Thunderstorms will erupt Friday afternoon ahead of a cold front across parts of Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and upstate New York then charge east and southeastward into portions of New England, the lower Hudson Valley and central and eastern Pennsylvania into the early evening hours," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said.
"The warmth and humidity that will help to fuel these strong storms will come just a day and half after widespread frost and even some freezes in parts of the interior Northeast."
This severe storm blast will be followed by plenty of sunshine this weekend and temperatures in the 70s in the region and higher to the south. Get out and about — but not too close — because another storm system will hit the region on Sunday night because another low pressure system will be parking itself over the region and bringing plenty of rain, especially in central and South Berkshire. 
"A key difference to this pattern from the pattern we're just exiting is that nighttime lows will be much warmer," said Lundberg. "It's not an Arctic air mass but rather a large pocket of cool and moist air, so frosts and freezes will not be a returning concern."
Lundberg says the weather conditions will improve toward Memorial Day weekend, the "unofficial start of summer," with warmer air and sunshine.

Tags: bad weather,   rain,   

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Know Your Risk Tolerance at Different Stages of Life

Submitted by Edward Jones

As an investor, you will always need to deal with risk of some kind. But how can you manage the risk that has been made clear by the recent volatility in the financial markets? The answer to this question may depend on where you are in life. 

Let's look at some different life stages and how you might deal with risk at each of them: 

• When you are first starting out: If you are early in your career, with perhaps four or even five decades to go until you retire, you can likely afford to invest primarily for growth, which also means you will be taking on a higher level of risk, as risk and reward are positively correlated. But, given your age, you have time to overcome the market downturns that are both inevitable and a normal part of investing. Consequently, your risk tolerance may be relatively high. Still, even at this stage, being over-aggressive can be costly. 

• When you are in the middle stages: At this time of your life, you are well along in your career, and you are probably working on at least a couple of financial goals, such as saving for retirement and possibly for your children's college education. So, you still need to be investing for growth, which means you likely will need to maintain a relatively high risk tolerance. Nonetheless, it's a good idea to have some balance in your portfolio, so you will want to consider a mix of investments that align with each of your goals. 

• When you are a few years from retirement: Now, you might have already achieved some key goals – perhaps your kids have finished college and you have paid off your mortgage. This may mean you have more money available to put away for retirement, but you still will have to think carefully about how much risk you are willing to take. Since you’re going to retire soon, you might consider rebalancing your portfolio to include some more conservative investments, whose value is less susceptible to financial market fluctuations. The reason? In just a few years, when you are retired, you will need to start taking withdrawals from your investment portfolio – essentially, you will be selling investments, so, as much as possible, you will want to avoid selling them when their price is down. Nonetheless, having a balanced and diversified portfolio doesn't fully protect against a loss. However, you can further reduce the future risk of being overly dependent on selling variable investments by devoting a certain percentage of your portfolio to cash and cash equivalents and designating this portion to be used for your daily expenses during the years immediately preceding, and possibly spilling into, your retirement. 

• When you are retired: Once you are retired, you might think you should take no risks at all. But you could spend two or three decades in retirement, so you may need some growth potential in your portfolio to stay ahead of inflation. Establishing a withdrawal rate – the amount you take out each year from your investments – that's appropriate for your lifestyle and projected longevity can reduce the risk of outliving your money. Of course, if there's an extended market downturn during any time of your retirement, you may want to lower your withdrawal rate temporarily. 

As you can see, your tolerance for risk, and your methods of dealing with it, can change over time. By being aware of this progression, you can make better-informed investment decisions.

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