Survey Shows Millennials Prioritizing Coffee Over Retirement

By Matt Kelly

Hey Millennials, how do you take your coffee? Do you pick up a simple $1.00 cup from the gas station during your morning commute? Or are you all about splurging on a $5.00 specialty drink at Starbucks to give you an afternoon pick-me-up? Whether you’re adding cream, sugar or a shot of espresso, there is one trait that is shared by Millennial coffee drinkers: they’re more focused on what’s in their mugs than what’s in their retirement accounts.

According to a recent poll conducted by SurveyMonkey and investing app Acorns, 41 percent of Millennials currently spend more on their morning cup of coffee over the course of the year than they put into retirement savings.

The survey, which polled more than 1,900 18-35 year olds, also found that 41 percent of Millennials believe they will not be financially secure enough to retire until they’re older than 65. While you can’t lay the blame squarely on coffee consumption, these statistics do reveal a frightening pattern of financial neglect.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a cup of coffee to start your day. But if Millennials want to enjoy comfortable retirements, at some point they will have to look a little deeper about their spending and saving decisions.

Consider, for instance, that brewing your coffee at home can save you tons of money every day. If you buy a large container of inexpensive grounds, your home brew might run you less than 10 cents per cup. Even if you prefer K-cups, many brands offer deals that won’t add up to more than 50 cents per cup.

If Millennials were to get serious about cutting into their coffee budgets, they’d be able to start seeing a positive effect on their savings pretty quickly.

An individual switching from $5 per cup of coffee to 10 cents per cup will save $1,788.50 over the course of a year. Even after one month, you’d have an extra $150 in your pocket—enough to cover utilities and grocery bills!

But retirement accounts are long-term investments. So what would your coffee savings look like by the time you reach retirement age? Using the previous example, over the course of 30 years, would amount to $53,655—a figure that sounds like a competitive yearly salary for many. By changing how they think about their coffee drinking habits, Millennials could potentially save enough to retire a full year earlier than they believed possible!

When it comes to retirement planning, it is ideal to begin saving as early as you can. But circumstances aren’t always ideal. Fortunately, it is never too late to get on a path towards financial freedom. By making minor adjustments to your day-to-day spending, you can begin funding your retirement with the money you’ve already got in your pocket.

To maximize the value of your savings, stop by The Milford Bank and speak to one of our experienced financial advisors, or check out our Online Learning Center. We offer a variety of financial services and investment vehicles, ranging from traditional savings accounts, to certificates of deposit, IRAs, money markets and more. Start planning today so you’ll be able to enjoy your daily cup of coffee long into retirement.

What Milford, Stratford Homeowners Need To Know About Home Equity Loans

by Paul Mulligan

Even though it might not always feel like it, your home is likely one of the greatest financial assets at your disposal. Of course there is always going to be something to fix. Making your monthly mortgage payments might cause a little anxiety from time to time. But all the energy and money that you invest in your home is helping you build equity that can help you in a time of need.

Home equity loans are a type of loan which allows homeowners to leverage the equity they’ve built over the years as collateral. These loans can be used for a variety of reasons—repairs, home improvements, paying for school, buying a car, another property and even consolidating debt. In an ideal world, you’d be able to address these needs from your own savings when the time came. But this isn’t always the reality. If you’re a homeowner and you’ve got a large expense coming in the near future, a home equity loan may be a viable option.

But before you take action, it is important to learn as much as you can about home equity loans. Read on to see some of the most frequently asked questions that homeowners have regarding home equity loans.

How much can I borrow?

The amount that you can borrow for a home equity loan varies by location and bank. At The Milford Bank, we will provide loans up to $500,000. However, each loan is considered on a case by case basis. Lenders typically will consider your credit history, available equity in your home, your income, and your assets and liabilities.

What are the benefits of a home equity loan?

Home equity loans provide a number of benefits. There are no closing costs associated with procuring them. In addition, home equity loans offer competitive interest rates that can be beneficial for paying down debt you may currently owe at a higher rate. The interest that you pay may even be tax deductible, but you should consult a tax advisor to make that determination.

How long does the loan process take?

Every homeowner has a different set of circumstances. As such, there is no established timetable for how long the process may take. However, once your loan has been approved, many homeowners are able to utilize the funds within a week.

Is there a minimum equity requirement to qualify?

In order to qualify for a home equity loan, you will need to meet some basic requirements. The minimum loan at The Milford Bank is $10,000 for a five-year term. You can review the specific interest rates, terms and repayment tables by clicking here.

Whether you need to replace a furnace or send a child to school, you may be able to utilize the equity you’ve built in your home to meet the ever-changing needs of you and your family. Stop by any office of  The Milford Bank to speak with one of our representatives—and be sure to check out our Learning Center here for more information.

Can Your Business Save with Solar?

by Rebecca Tudor

By now, most Americans understand that making eco-conscious decisions in their day to day lives is an important step to ensure a healthy environment for future generations. Many are making the move into eco-friendly vehicles, installing high-efficiency LED light bulbs and grocery shopping in the organic food section.

But it isn’t consumers alone that can reap the benefits of going green—businesses also have much to gain! If you’re looking for a way to increase your profitability and drum up new sales, integrating green initiatives into your business may be the solution.

Here are three ways that going green can bolster your business.

Save on your utility bills. While every location differs, Solar Nation reports that individuals who install a 5 kilowatt solar system save between $44 and $187 per month on their electric bill. Better yet, that’s before loans, leases or government rebates kick in. Given the extreme heating costs that Connecticut residents face in the winter (not to mention expensive air conditioners during the summer!), installing a solar energy system can help take the stress out of your skyrocketing utilities costs.

Create new revenue streams. Solar energy doesn’t just save money—it can help businesses create entirely new revenue streams as well. While you’ll have to check with your specific electricity supplier, there are a number of ways that Connecticut business owners can leverage solar systems to earn extra money.

Net-metering is a program ideal for businesses that generate more electricity than they use. The surplus that you create from your solar system can be sold back to the electric grid. Similarly, demand response programs are offered by electricity suppliers looking to bolster the grid when they hit peak demand. If you sign up for this program, the utility company will contact you during peak demand and ask that you reduce your own consumption, so needs can then be met in areas lacking for service. If you participate in a demand response program, you will be eligible for compensation based on your provider’s specific policy.

Broaden your brand appeal. Today’s consumers are willing to spend more money to do business with organizations that understand the importance of standing up for a cause—including 70 percent of the up-and-coming millennial generation. Demonstrating your commitment to environmental sustainability will put your brand in the good graces of consumers, helping you broaden your appeal. Better yet, shoppers that come into your store will spend more time looking at your solar panels than your price tags.

Keep your eye on emerging solar technology. Every year, researchers find ways to make deploying a solar energy system more affordable and efficient. That means integrating a solar energy system has never been more financially achievable for local business leaders. Help the environment, and your business, by checking out solar today.

To learn more ways to save your business money, or to look into business loans you might be able to use to invest in solar, stop by any office of The Milford Bank today!

Five New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Your Finances in 2017

by Lynn Viesti Berube

New Year’s Eve is about much more than watching the ball drop in Times Square or popping open a bottle of champagne. It’s about reflecting on the past and looking ahead to the future. This time of reflection leads millions of Americans every year to make resolutions about how they can improve themselves. If you’re looking for a way to improve yourself in 2017, why not take a look at your finances? Here are five resolutions you can make that will drastically improve your finances and quality of life in the year to come.

Focus on your physical health: Your physical health and your financial health are inextricably linked. The CDC reports that 86 percent of our nation’s healthcare costs are attributed to chronic diseases. Many, like diabetes, heart disease and obesity, can be prevented with a good diet and plenty of exercise.

Cut an unnecessary expense: The cup of coffee you pick up at Dunkin Donuts every morning during your ride to work might seem like an insignificant expense at the register. But spending $3 on a cup of coffee every day over the course of the year ends up costing you $1095. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, there’s probably something comparable in your own life. If so, is there a way you can do it cheaper, or cut it out of your budget entirely?

Diversify your nest egg: Diversifying your savings helps you maximize growth and protect your nest egg at the same time. While not all investment vehicles may suit your needs, sit down with a financial strategist and figure out how to expand your portfolio effectively. Certificates of deposit, IRAs and money market funds are just a few options offered by Milford Bank. You don’t need to try everything all at once, but if you add one new dimension to your portfolio every year, you’ll set yourself up for a very comfortable retirement in no time.

Tackle a home improvement project: Have you been putting off a renovation for years? Make 2017 the year that you finally make it happen. Home improvements can increase your property value, making them great investments—especially if you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future. Speak to a Milford Bank representative about affordable and flexible home equity or home improvement loans to get started.

Procure life insurance to protect your family: There are many families in this country without adequate life insurance coverage. Many more have no life insurance at all. Dwelling on our mortality may not be a popular pastime, and that may be why many individuals are misinformed about the importance of life insurance. Make 2017 the year that you finally have the uncomfortable conversation so that you and your loved ones can have peace of mind for every New Year to come.

To learn more about how you can make the most out of your New Year’s resolutions, check out our online Learning Center here or come by a Milford Bank branch location and speak with one of our representatives today!