With the Stock Market Surging, Should You Be Investing?

By Celeste Lohrenz

Following a July 26th announcement from the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that the Fed would not be keeping interest rates unchanged through later this year at the least, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out that day at a new record high.

This caps off half a year of gains for the market, which has already seen an incredibly 25 record highs in 2017. And while investors might be doing well, many Americans are wary of putting their money into the stock market. In fact, half of Americans don’t have any of their money invested in stock or stock-based investments such as mutual funds.

While the stock market can be more risky than other investment vehicles, there is clearly opportunity given current market conditions. But it is necessary to assess your own needs, your financial limitations and your overall savings strategy before you dive in.

If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident wondering whether or not the time is right for you to invest in the stock market, here are several considerations that must factor in to your decision:

How much can you reasonably budget to invest?

The stock market is riskier than investments that guarantee a return. As such, you should not invest unless your budget allows for it. In figuring out what your budget will allow, ask yourself a simple question: how much can you stand to lose before your family’s quality of life is impacted? Answer that, and don’t exceed your limit.

Can you still find great deals in a bull market?

Those who invested prior to the market’s current hot streak will be reaping the rewards now. But eventually, there will be a correction. The market will always go up and down, so maximizing your return is simply a matter of timing. You may have missed the boat on some of the hot tech companies that have seen huge gains this year, but there are likely to be opportunities for companies and industries that have suppressed stock prices for one reason or another, and are due for a bigger close to the end of the year.

What is your overall investment strategy?

Because the stock market is a riskier investment, it is wise to mitigate your financial exposure by counterbalancing the rest of your portfolio with more conservative investments. You cannot ignore the importance of a simple savings account, but there are also plenty of other ways to put your money to work for you, from certificates of deposit to whole life insurance.

At The Milford Bank, we’ve been consulting customers on how to diversify their investments for generations. If you’re looking to learn more about how you maximize the value of your nest egg, stop by any office of The Milford Bank. You can also learn more by checking out our Online Learning Center here.

Five Ways to Save On Your Back-to-School Shopping List

By Tina Mason

Though the days are still long and warm, summer is eclipsing sooner than anyone would like to admit. And as the summer winds to a close, parents will be flocking to stores to do a record amount of back-to-school shopping, according to recent figures from the National Retail Federation.

According to the NRF, spending for school and college is expected to reach $83.6 billion in 2017, a 10 percent increase from last year’s numbers. Of course, all students will need new supplies for the coming year. But taking care of your childrens’ back-to-school needs shouldn’t have to break the bank either.

If you’re a Milford or Stratford parent with back-to-school shopping to do, check out these five tips to save money on your list this year.

Shop on tax holidays: Every year, the state of Connecticut suspends sales taxes for a week in late summer in order to stimulate the economy and help families get their children the school supplies they’ll need. This year, Connecticut’s tax holiday will take place from August 20th through August 26th. Shopping during this period will help you save at least the six percent sales tax on all purchases in the state.

Build a network with other parents: Your family isn’t the only one looking to cross everything off your shopping list without draining your bank account. Reach out to other families in the community and set up a network so that you can share items as needed—whether that be passed down clothing or school supplies themselves.

Do a scavenger hunt at home: Notebooks, pens, binders, calculators—all the things that your child needs for school, you may already have hidden away around the house. Take an afternoon to scour your closets, home office, musty boxes in the basement and all your junk drawers. You may be surprised to find many of the costly supplies you need already waiting for you!

Check out thrift stores and tag sales: The end of summer is a great time to find bargains at tag sales and thrift stores. As families stock up on new supplies, many will send old clothing and school items to thrift stores, or put on tag sales to get rid of unwanted items. Take some time to look up tag sales in your area and get up early during the weekend to drive around. Swing through your local thrift store while you’re out—you never know what you’ll find.

Set a budget: One of the best ways to save is to set a hard limit for yourself and be disciplined enough to stick to it. It can be difficult when your children are clamoring for the latest tech gadget, but that doesn’t change the limitations with which you must live.

If you’re a Milford or Stratford resident with children heading back to school, we understand that your financial planning doesn’t end once the school year begins. We have a full range of financial services designed to help you maximize your wealth and improve your quality of life regardless of what your circumstances may be. To learn more, check out our Online Learning Center or stop by any office of The Milford Bank today.