Execute a Successful Saving Strategy, Part 2

By Pam Reiss

As previously discussed in Part 1, a recent Gallup poll indicates that a majority of Americans today claim that they prefer saving over spending. However, the facts also suggest that a majority of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. Even more alarming, a majority of people never get out of debt in their lifetimes.

If you want to enjoy the many benefits of financial freedom in your lifetime, it is important to make a distinction between the desire to save, and actually executing a successful saving strategy. In this series, we will be providing helpful hints and steps that you can take to ensure that your desire to save can be turned into a solid financial plan that will maximize your wealth and your family’s quality of life for the long haul.

In Part 2, we will provide some basic first steps that you should take as you seek to employ a successful saving strategy. These important steps will help you make an accurate self-assessment about where you are along your path to financial freedom, as well as pinpoint simple ways that you can increase your savings right away.

Calculate your net worth: The balance in your savings account doesn’t tell the entire story. In order to get the most accurate idea about whether your saving strategy is working, you should be focused more on net worth. Net worth is calculated by subtracting your expenses (mortgages, loans, bills, credit card balances, etc.) from your assets (equity built in your home, your car, cash, stocks, prized possessions, or any other items of value).

Why is this important? It doesn’t matter how much stuff you’ve got if you’re paying for it all with money you don’t have. Someone with a $500,000 house and a 2017 Jeep Patriot may in fact have a lower net worth than someone with a $75,000 condo and a 1997 Honda Accord. Calculating your net worth will provide you the most honest and accurate report of your true saving prowess.

Set saving benchmarks: Of course, all savings strategies are relative and must be tailored to meet your specific needs. For instance, a single individual will have a much different need than a family with four children. Ask yourself: Where do you see yourself in a year, five years, ten years, and beyond? Determining what you want to do in life will help you figure out what you need to save to reach your goal.

Create a budget: Now that you have a better sense of your current standing, as well as where you’d like to go, you can focus in on setting aside the money you’ll need to reach your goal. That might require making adjustments in other areas of your life, so it is critical that you make a budget for yourself. The first items in your ledger should be the necessary expenses you’ve got to pay each month, like bills and groceries. From there, include the necessary funds for your savings account that you’ve determined will help you reach your long-term financial goals. Prioritize your savings, otherwise you may realize you’ve frivolously spent too much at the end of the month.

Of course, for more useful information on crafting a successful saving strategy, stop by any office of The Milford Bank near you, check out our Online Learning Center, or keep checking back on our blog for the next parts of this series.

Execute a Successful Saving Strategy, Part 1

By Pam Reiss

According to a recent Gallup poll, a majority of Americans report that they prefer saving money to spending it. The poll found that 59 percent of Americans claim to prefer saving, while only 38 percent stated that they preferred to spend.

Additionally, the Gallup findings indicate that 8 out of 10 individuals are watching their spending very closely, while those who spend more claim that it is only due to temporary conditions.

The desirability of saving appears to be directly correlated with the Great Recession, as the number of American savers has continued to trend upward since 2008. However, additional research suggests that despite the best intentions of American savers, a majority are finding it difficult to actually execute a successful saving strategy.

In fact, nearly 70 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, according to a 2016 report from the St. Louis Federal Reserve. And this isn’t just a Millennial problem. Figures from the credit bureau Experian found that 73 percent of consumers had outstanding debt when they passed away, carrying an average total balance of $61,554.

The startling difference between these figures makes one thing certain: even if you claim to be concerned with putting money into your savings account, it is likely that your follow-through leaves something to be desired.

Failing to conduct an honest self-evaluation of your saving strategy can have serious and lasting consequences. You may find yourself short on cash as you reach retirement age, or struggle to find the funds you thought you’d have when looking to buy a home, send a child to college or pay for medical care.

Of course, it can be difficult to conduct a self-evaluation and know for sure whether your financial strategy is truly working in the best interests of you and your family.

At The Milford Bank, we’ve been providing our customers in the Milford and Stratford area with sound financial advice for nearly 150 years. We’ve helped growing families and empowered local businesses to flourish. We have a broad portfolio of financial services to help you reach all your goals. Most importantly, we have dedicated and experienced personnel, ready to sit down with you to ensure that your savings strategy is fully aligned with your needs and tailored to maximize the value of your assets.

In this series, we’ll take a hard look at why Americans are struggling to put aside money, even if they think they’re doing a good job already. Be sure to check our blog again for future installments, and if you’d like to learn more about how to deploy a successful saving plan in the meantime, check out our Online Learning Center here.


The Milford Bank: 145 Years of Service to Milford, Stratford Residents

By Celeste Lohrenz

In the early 1870’s, Milford did not have a banking institution. In order for local residents to deposit their savings, they had to go to banks in surrounding cities. Then, a group of Milford citizens banded together and applied to the State for a charter. The act of incorporation was passed during the 1872 General Assembly and was approved by the Governor on June 26, 1872, bringing The Milford Bank to life.

In the subsequent 145 years, we have helped countless families, neighborhoods and businesses in the Milford and Stratford area to maximize their wealth and improve their quality of life. And while our mission to help the local community will never change, plenty of things certainly have changed since we first opened our doors 145 years ago.

Here’s a closer look at a few notable moments that have all come to pass since Milford Bank came to town in 1872.

1872: Ulysses S. Grant, a commanding General during the Civil War, won his re-election bid for President of the United States.

1875: The Specie Payment Resumption Act was passed. This legislation called for United States Treasury notes to be backed by gold.

1875: The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed, guaranteeing African Americans equal treatment in public accommodations, transportation and to prohibit exclusion from jury service.

1879: Thomas Edison invents the incandescent light bulb.

1903: The first World Series, a battle between the Boston Americans and Pittsburg Pirates, was played this year. Boston took five out of nine to capture the title. In addition, the Wright brothers made history by flying the world’s first successful airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1913: In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, creating the income tax.

1914: World War 1 begins in 1914, following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The war will continue on for five years.

1919: The 19th amendment is ratified, granting all American women the right to vote.

1929: The stock markets nosedive in 1929, beginning what will later be known as the Great Depression.

1935: The Social Security Administration is formed following the enactment of the Social Security Act. This act has stood the test of time since, enabling for provisioning of benefits for retirement age individuals.

1939: World War 2 begins, and lasts for another 6 years.

1969: In a giant leap for Mankind, NASA lands the first men on the moon in 1969. This fulfilled the vision of President John Kennedy from back in 1961, when he announced his intention to accomplish the feat before the end of the decade.

2008: Following the collapse of the housing market and bailouts of lenders Fannie and Freddie Mac, the United States spins into what will be dubbed as the Great Recession—the worst financial crisis to hit the country since the Great Depression.

As you can see, The Milford Bank has seen a lot in the 145 years since our founding. We’ve been right alongside the rest of the Milford and Stratford community, through the good and the bad. To learn more about our history, click here.

Saving Big on Summer Travel, Part 2: Driving or Flying

By Susan Wolfe

You might think that taking a vacation is all fun and games, but the truth is that travel is big business too. In fact, travel and tourism accounts for 10 percent of the global GDP, with travelers around the globe spending $7.6 trillion on an annual basis.

In this series, we’re looking at all the ways that you can tweak your travel plans to make sure that your vacation doesn’t turn into a financial disaster. Making slight adjustments will help you stretch your dollars further, letting you get a little extra relaxation out of your vacation.

In Part 1, we discussed how to save money as you plan your trip. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll be taking a look at some great ways to save as you hit the road, whether you’re hopping a flight or getting behind the wheel yourself.

Road tripping: The road trip is an American tradition, and we’ve got thousands of beautiful miles and fifty states to explore. But if you’re getting behind the wheel to reach your destination, here are a few suggestions to help you get there with a little extra cash in your pocket.

  • Monitor your tire pressure: It will help to have a fuel-efficient car if you’re driving across the country. But if your tires are even slightly underinflated, you’re giving up a few miles per gallon before you even pull out of the garage.
  • Load up on non-perishable snacks: Food is another huge expense on vacation. If you’re driving, you have an advantage over airborne travelers—you can pack lots of food with you. This way you can avoid those costly pit stops on the side of the highway.
  • Alternatives to hotels: If you’re going to have to drive for a few days to reach your destination, your costs can easily add up if you stay in a hotel every night. Instead, plot out campsites, hostels or other low-cost alternatives to hotels. After all, you’re essentially just paying for a place to rest your head for the night before you take off again.

Flying: While it can be a vacation in itself to take a road trip, not everyone can take that much time away from their daily lives. But flying comes with its own set of expenses that you must take care to avoid. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Assess your baggage: Baggage fees have become a standard part of airfare. But depending on where you’re going, and for how long, you may be able to avoid it. In other cases, you’ll be better off paying the fees. For instance, if you’re traveling somewhere that the weather is highly variable, you might spend more for a heavy suitcase. But it will still be cheaper than packing light and having to pick up extra clothes when you get there.
  • Bundle your flights with other services: If you’re flying, you will probably need a car when you land. If you plan ahead, you can actually save considerably if you pay for your flight, your car and your hotel simultaneously.
  • Take advantage of special deals: If you’re looking for a new credit card, many come with offers that include airline miles. But you don’t have to open a credit card to benefit. There are many businesses affiliated with airlines that you may be able to leverage to get airline miles to reduce the price of your fare.

If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident gearing up for a summer vacation, be sure to check back with us for more great tips to save money on your travels. You can also learn many great ways to grow your wealth by checking out our Online Learning Center, or by stopping by any office of The Milford Bank today!