Is a Community Bank Right for Your Family?

By Jorge Santiago

While there are countless banks you can choose to protect and grow your wealth, the simple truth is that there are many differences between the global megabanks you might be more familiar with and locally-focused community banks.

The question you’ve got to ask yourself is this: which type of bank will meet the needs of you and your family?

You already know all about the megabanks. They’ve got stadiums named after them. They’ve got expensive commercials featuring famous actors and actresses. The odds are, you know all about what the megabanks can offer.

So here’s a closer look at what a community bank can provide:

  • The same services as bigger banks. A smaller bank doesn’t equate to smaller financial service offerings. Community banks can provide everything you’ve come to expect: investment vehicles, insurance, business loans, mortgages, financial consultation, retirement accounts and more.
  • You can get to know every employee.
  • Your success is their success. The deposits made at community banks are redistributed in the form of business loans and mortgages to other members of the local economy. That means community bankers have a vested interest in your financial well-being.
  • Greater investment in community events. We’re also renowned for spurring greater attention to local community events. Raising money for local causes helps bring the community together and draws on the spirit of what community banking is all about.
  • You aren’t just another number.  Community bankers can take the time to get the whole picture about who you are as an individual, and take that into account when working with you.
  • Streamlined financial processes. You won’t have to jump through hoops when you do your banking locally. You’ll be able to work with just a handful of individuals and take the time to build a relationship.




You already knew about what the megabanks were all about. Now you know what community banks can do for your family. If banking local sounds like the right choice for you and your family stop by the nearest Milford Bank branch location to you. Click here to find out more.


Stop by The Milford Bank on Your Path to Becoming a Pokemaster

By Rebecca Tudor

Since being launched in early July, the mobile application Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm. It took only one week for 10 million users to download the game (a new record) and has now been downloaded over 30 million times.

The odds are, you or someone you know is on the path to becoming a pokemaster themselves. Be sure to stop by The Milford Bank’s locations at some point along your path. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s what you can expect when you stop by:

  • At our downtown office, there are 12 pokestops within a half-mile radius where you can resupply yourself with pokeballs, eggs and other boosters to help you capture the monsters. There are also four pokegyms nearby where you can test your skills battling other players.
  • At our Post Road West office, you’ll find one stop and one gym nearby.
  • In the vicinity around our Devon location, there are two pokestops.
  • There’s a pokegym very close to our Woodmont office.
  • Near our Stratford location, you’ll find three pokestops and a gym.
  • There have even been pokemon spotted inside our Post Road East location.

We’ll even be setting up lures within our locations to draw pokemon into our offices. Be sure to look for updates by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see when a pokemon you still need to collect makes an appearance.

When you stop in to one of our branches, be sure to mention pokemon to one of our friendly representatives and you’ll even receive a free blink light so you can safely hunt after dark as well.

Speaking of safety, be sure to follow these guidelines put out by the Connecticut state police:

  • Don’t play while driving.
  • Don’t trespass on private property (scaling fences, parachuting, tunneling, etc.).
  • Don’t fight or argue with other players.
  • Don’t be lured by a beacon signal into unfamiliar surroundings.
  • Stay alert near roads.
  • Make yourself visible when playing at night.
  • Play with friends or family.

The Milford Bank even has a few employees that moonlight as pokemon trainers that have been happy to provide a few tips on how to improve as a player yourself. But don’t be surprised to receive an invitation to test your skills as a pokemon trainer if you run into one of them.

  • The pokemon eggs you collect will require you to walk a certain distance to make them hatch. Gather up as many eggs as you can before embarking on a long walk to save yourself time and energy.
  • Try to be as accurate as possible when throwing a pokeball out to capture a pokemon. Not only will this increase the likelihood of capture, saving you resources, but you’ll gain extra experience points for accurate tosses, which will help you level up more quickly.
  • When you’re in the heat of battle, wait until your screen starts to flash yellow and then swipe your screen to the right or left and you’ll have a chance to dodge your enemy’s attack.

To find out the nearest office of The Milford Bank to you, or to see how you can follow our social media accounts for the latest Pokemon Go updates, click here.

Community Roundup: What’s Going On Around Town?

By Janet Harrison

Here at The Milford Bank, we don’t think of ourselves as just your local financial institution. We don’t think of ourselves as simply bank employees either. The Milford Bank team is a family. We’re staffed by hard-working people just like you with a dedication to being active members of the community, both individually and collectively.

Every year, our employees help to organize, sponsor and participate in some of the community-wide projects that make Milford great—the Milford Moves 5K, Green Fair, or any other local event we can!

We believe in the value of having a strong community and know that creating such a climate is made much easier by building lasting relationships. That’s why we don’t stop building relationships outside of the bank lobby—we work hand in hand with many local charities and non-profits that share in our vision for the Milford area.

Here are a few of the organizations we’re currently working with to build a healthy and prosperous community. Read on to see what they’re all about and what you can find going on in the Milford area over the next few months.

Boys and Girls Club: The Boys and Girls Club has autonomous chapters across the country dedicated to providing boys and girls of all ages a safe facility to learn reach their full potential through programs ranging from athletics, arts, life and career skills. The Milford chapter has summer offerings as well as afterschool programs that will start up in the fall. On August 7, the group will be fundraising with the always exciting annual Walnut Beach Ice Cream Run. You can click here to learn more, register or become a sponsor.

United Way: As one of the largest charitable organizations in the world, United Way has taken up the task of strengthening communities by performing a wide variety of good deeds from building classrooms in the Philippines to providing job training right here at home. United Way of Milford gets involved hosts many local events, but perhaps their largest event of the year will take place September 16—the United Way of Milford’s 15th annual golf tournament, scheduled to take place this year at the Woodbridge Country Club. For registration or contact info, you can contact or call (203) 874-6791.

Sterling House: Built in 1886, the Sterling House has in subsequent years been transformed into a living reminder of our rich local history that now fulfills the role of a community center. Serving over 13,000 local residents each year with affordable social, educational and recreational activities, Sterling House is a vital asset in fostering a positive and healthy community. Stop by on July 23 or August 20 to enjoy open swimming, crafts, music, food and fun for the whole family, or wait for the Sterling Down and Dirty 5K taking place September 10 at Short Beach in Stratford. All proceeds will help support the Sterling House’s community projects.

Be sure to check back in for the next installment of Community Roundup to learn what our other partners around town are up to over the next few months. Also follow Milford Bank on Facebook and Twitter to see more exciting events. You can reach out by checking out our website here.

Is Someone You Love Suffering from Elder Abuse?

by Pam Reiss

According to the latest available statistics from the Administration on Aging, the number of senior citizens in America represented about 14.5 percent of the population. But that number is on the rise. The AoA expects that by 2040, seniors will make up nearly 22 percent—and by 2060 that number skyrockets to nearly 30 percent.

Unfortunately, the growing number of seniors in the community means that individuals looking for a mark for financial exploitation will have an easier time than ever. Seniors are targets for a number of reasons:

  • They’re likely sitting on more money in retirement than many younger people.
  • Some seniors have few friends or family members around and will suspend suspicion in favor of having company.
  • Some leave the responsibility of managing their finances to younger family members that feel entitled to money they expect to inherit.
  • Seniors in assisted living communities are surrounded by workers that may not have their best interests at heart.
  • Health issues associated with aging, such as dementia, make abuse easier to get away with.
  • Elders’ unfamiliarity with new technologies makes gaining access to personal financial data simpler.

All of these factors have converged on a growing elderly population to form a proverbial perfect storm for elder abuse. Just how rampant is the threat? According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, about 10 percent of seniors have fallen victim to financial exploitation.

Unfortunately, that means there is a great likelihood that someone you love may have been affected. Considering that these members of society are already on a fixed income in most cases, these abuses are considerably more heinous. The impact can range from inability to afford medications and housing to losses for family members that may have been expecting financial assistance themselves.

So what can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to one of your loved ones? Take advantage of legal tools to limit the number of individuals that have access to, or control over, the finances of your aging family or friends. Use advance directives, living wills and limited powers of attorney for health care and financial decisions.

Awareness and education are also critical. Be sure that your aging loved ones are aware of the perils that exist in the world today. Be sure they understand that they should never provide sensitive personal information over the phone or online. If there is ever any question, be sure to speak directly to a representative from the institution in question, be it a bank, credit card company, or even something as seemingly benign as a telemarketing cold-call.

To learn more about how you can help to protect your loved ones against elder abuse, stop by The Milford Bank. Our financial experts will treat you as if you were one of our own family members.


Lifestyles of the Broke and Famous

by Mark Attanasio

Many people look to celebrities as an embodiment of the American Dream. Whether it’s an athlete inking a $100 million contract, a musician reaping the rewards of a platinum album or an actor raking in gold from an appearance on the silver screen, the rest of us see these individuals as the lucky ones that hit it big.

While it might seem like they’ll never have to worry about money again, the truth is that many celebrities end up in the same dire financial straits as the rest of us. Financial success isn’t only about how much money you’re bringing in, but rather how well you manage your assets, control your spending and avoid risky and potentially costly life choices.

Here are several high-profile names and their stories to serve as a reminder of the fact that financial success has less to do with your paycheck than you might think.

Nicolas Cage: Between 1996 and 2011, Cage banked over $150 million from his prolific acting career. He proceeded to spend it all on a lavish lifestyle revolving around sports cars, exotic pets, a rare collection of dinosaur fossils and private islands in the Caribbean. By the time the IRS came calling for its share—$13 million—the money was gone.

Reality check: It doesn’t matter how much you earn if you don’t put any money away for a rainy day.

Fred and Jeff Wilpon: The Wilpon brothers, majority owners of the New York Mets baseball team, became protagonists in a financial cautionary tale in 2008 when news broke that their fortune was ensnared in the ponzi scheme orchestrated by investment advisor Bernie Madoff. The Madoff case was discovered to be the largest financial fraud case in U.S. history and cost the Wilpon family between $500-700 million. They nearly had to sell their beloved franchise, but were eventually able to deal with their reversal of fortune.

Reality check: Even if you have entrusted the management of your finances to a professional, stay involved and know how your funds are being handled. Nobody, not even an advisor, will be more concerned about your bottom line than you are.

Willie Nelson: This legendary country music singer is perhaps as famous for his run-ins with the law as he is for his boisterous stage presence. Despite his commercial success, Nelson ran into tough times over the course of his career thanks to unpaid tax bills and a series of drug-related offenses that have cost him mightily over the years.

Reality check: Crime doesn’t pay. If you party like a rock star, you may end up broke as your life savings end up in the pockets of lawyers.

At The Milford Bank, our goal is to help you make the smart decisions with your money. Stop by any of our offices to learn more about protecting your wealth.

Join Milford Bank in Honoring Veterans at Second Annual Milford Moves 5K

by Becky Tudor

At The Milford Bank, we feel that our success is intertwined with the success of our community, which is why we strive to provide, and participate in, events that promote healthy living. That’s why we started the Milford Moves 5K race; it’s also why, this year, we’re taking it to the next level.

Last year’s turnout was spectacular, with more than 250 local residents showing up to race.

This year, Jorge Santiago, Milford Bank’s senior vice president, is hoping for an even greater turnout. In additional to supporting fitness initiatives, Jorge would like to raise as much as $10,000 for local veterans’ groups.

All profits from entry fees and event sponsors will be shared between four Veterans Service Organizations based in Milford: American Legion Post 196, VFW Post 7788, Chapter 15 of the Disabled American Veterans and Chapter 251 of the Vietnam Veterans of America. The primary missions of these groups are dedicated to veterans administration and rehabilitation, as well as mentoring and sponsorship of local youth programs.

Anyone, regardless of fitness level, is welcome to participate. Participants will receive an event T-shirt, a finisher photo free download and a “virtual goodie bag.” There will also be awards for the overall male and female winners, as well as awards in each age category. All participants under the age of 18 will receive participatory recognition.

If you’re not a runner, show your support and sponsor someone. With the help of generous sponsors, including the Police Benevolent Association, Napoli Deli and Milford Produce Market, we can reach our fundraising goal. Business sponsorships start at $250 and include free advertising. Individual sponsors can also chip in by supporting an individual runner.

If you participated in the race last year, you’ll appreciate that the route has been revised. This year’s runners will begin at Gulf Beach, make their way to the town green and then head back to the starting point.

To sign up for this year’s Milford Moves 5K, register online at Milford Bank’s website. Or, participants also have the option to register on June 12, the day of the race, from 6:30-7:30 a.m. The race begins at 8:00 a.m. But if you’re planning on waiting until the day of the event, be sure to leave extra time to take do some stretches before the race starts!



What is the ROI of a College Degree?

by Lynn Viesti Berube

Attention high school grads: are you heading off to college in the fall but not quite sure what you want to study?

You are not alone.

According to recent statistics, as many as 80 percent of college freshman walk onto campus for the first time without having chosen a major. Moreover, upwards of 50 percent of those who do choose a major early end up switching majors at some point—often two, three, or even four times!

This article will give you several of the most rewarding majors in terms of return on investment (ROI), in order to help guide you in a smart direction financially, and can also show you what you can do with each degree. After all, college is expensive—why not make the most of it!

Without further ado, here are five of the best majors to consider in terms of ROI:

  • Economics

Pardon the bad pun, but economics majors really are getting an “economic” college education. The ROI of an economics degree from a public university is 182 percent—the highest on this list!  In terms of actual jobs and salaries, the median income for a corporate economist is over $115,000, while the average salary for an investment operations manager is nearly $143,000. Economics majors may see sustained job growth in this sector going forward.

  • Information Technology

Few industries are growing at a faster rate than IT, and that trend should continue through at least the next decade as mobile networks continue to expand, and healthcare IT becomes more prevalent. IT majors possess a skill-set that can be utilized in many facets of business.  The ROI for IT majors can range anywhere from 126 percent for web application developers (a position with incredible demand), to 169 percent for IT managers.

  • Math

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, math majors may have a tremendous number of opportunities available to them once they graduate. Math occupations are expected to grow by 28 percent over the next decade, and any position that requires complex computation likely requires a math major. From accounts payable/receivable managers to actuaries, many math majors earn well over 100 percent ROI with their degree.

  • Engineering

The last two majors on this list comprise the fastest growing set of majors across college campuses. Over the last five years, science and engineering degrees grew by over 19 percent (compared to 9 percent among other majors). The world simply needs more engineers, whether it’s electrical engineers (median salary of $92,000), civil engineers ($82,000) or chemical engineers ($76,000).

  • Biology

While behavioral science has seen a staggering 89 percent growth over the last five years to pace the sciences discipline, biology is the much better long term investment for students. The average salary for a behavioral science major is just $34,000—well below jobs that are available to those with a biology degree—such as health and safety supervisor ($72,000), clinical research associate ($72,000), and laboratory manager ($85,000). All three of those positions offer an ROI in excess of 100 percent.

For more advice on how to get the most out of your college education, stop by any office of The Milford Bank!


Make the Most (Think $$$) of Your Spring Cleaning This Year

by Sindy Berkowitz

Have the winter months left your home feeling cluttered? What’s worse, is your living space fuller than your bank account? If both conditions apply, take a hard look at what is collecting dust around the house—perhaps it could help you financially. With Spring (and being able to open the windows again) right around the corner, there has never been a better time to get your home—and finances—in proper order.

According to a year-end 2015 Money magazine article, more than half of all Americans have set a money-related New Year’s resolution. Whether your goal is to pay down debt, put more money aside for the future or eliminate wasteful spending habits, The Milford Bank is here to enable your success. Here are some helpful suggestions to turn big household items just taking up space back into assets.

Sell Your Used Items Online. To rid yourself of unwanted property online, you may want to consider eBay or CraigsList. eBay offers both buyer and seller protection while taking a cut of your profits as a seller (and charging a store fee). CraigsList has no direct fees, but sellers must assume price negotiations and the risk of being approached by unqualified buyers. While Craigslist may be wonderful for that one-of-a-kind upholstered armchair you never sit in, your Pez® or baseball card collection likely would not sell for as much as it would on eBay. While other online marketplaces exist for used goods, you won’t reach the same number of prospective buyers on niche sites unless you have a very specific item or collectible to sell.

Have a garage sale. While garage sales have long been the traditional venue for unloading unwanted household items, making them a down-home favorite, they are not usually terribly profitable. They are also work-intensive: Preparation (e.g., sorting, pricing and advertising), being present at the sale and any associated clean-up of leftover goods all represent large time commitments. Another drawback? To make any money at all, be prepared to haggle with patrons over the price of every item. Before considering for this option, be forewarned that the average haul from a garage sale is only $300.

Donate for a tax write-off. Before dropping any unwanted belongings off at your local charity, document every item with clear, well-lit photos as a testament to their quality. The higher the value you can attach to donated items, the more you will be able to write off when tax season rolls around. Make sure you identify items explicitly to guarantee that their value isn’t called into question. For example, Goodwill’s Valuation Guide for donors lists the value of a donated coffee maker at $4-$15, meaning this is the amount the government will allow you to write off as a deduction for a “coffee maker.”

All of these options can produce cash in hand. So don’t let your valuable unused household items pile up like cobwebs in the corner. Act today! Your bank account will thank you.

In Four Baby Steps, Help Your Children Establish Their Own Credit Histories

by Celeste Lohrenz

A sound credit history can help you obtain the best rates and terms when making purchases that lead to a more satisfying life (aka the American dream). Whether you’re trying to finance an automobile or a house, or even just rent an apartment, your credit score can be very important. And this situation is unlikely to change before your children reach adulthood. So, how can you help your kids establish credit histories that will support their future endeavors?

The path to a good credit standing starts with fiscal responsibility, and a great way to develop this in children is through exposure. That is, start building your child’s credit standing as early as possible. (Of course, all children mature at their own rate. Be sure they are able to handle responsible money management before helping them to establish credit.)

Here are some tips to establish credit histories for your children before the time comes when they step out into the world on their own:

1. Begin with a savings account: Because most banks will not allow you to open a checking account for your children until they are older, start with a savings account. You can open one for your child the day he or she is born or wait until the child matures to the point when such an event will have the most beneficial impact. Consider, for instance, whether or not he or she is earning money. Being an earner can be a good foundation for helping your child to understand the value of money. Putting aside some of their earnings could become a valued practice among children when you teach them what accumulated savings can buy.

2. Open a joint checking account: Once your child is older and a little more responsible, you can open a joint checking account. If you choose, both you and your child will be able to get a debit card for the account, and you will have the ability to monitor transactions. This gives your child a little more responsibility while still giving you oversight.

3. Obtain a credit card: The earliest age that your child can obtain a credit card is 18. If he or she has shown responsibility with their joint checking account prior to turning 18, then the child may be ready to move ahead. Many banks offer “secured” cards with a small line of credit while holding back a corresponding amount of cash in a linked savings account. This way, banks limit their liability and still enable individuals to start building credit by paying off the card according to set guidelines. You also may want to consider cards from retail stores like Target or Home Depot, as these are generally flexible and can help curb excessive spending because they are only good for purchases made in their stores.

4. Pay off a credit card: A good way to build credit is to show creditors that you don’t spend excessively, and that you consistently pay your bill on time. For this reason, impart to your child the importance of limiting spending to about 30 percent of the available credit limit and paying the balance off regularly each month. This is better than not using the card at all or maxing it out—even if it is paid in full regularly.

More doors will open later in life for your children when you help them build a sound credit history. To learn more about ways you can encourage your children to learn more about financial responsibility, click here to read our Cent$ible Kid$ newsletters.

Did You Miss Out—or, Happily, Benefit From—Milford Bank’s Top Five Moments of 2015?

by Lynn Viesti Berube

Do you realize that the bank you rely on for financial services is also tops when it comes to supporting the community? That’s right: Milford Bank is right here, offering a lending hand in a variety of ways, from fundraising for causes close to your heart to providing free financial seminars, to hosting an educational fair with a “green” theme. In case you missed any of the bank’s proudest moments of 2015, we provide the following recap.

Free Small Business Seminars: The Milford Bank partnered with Stratford’s Economic Development Office back in February to sponsor free seminars for small business owners. Over the course of two months, the bank helped lead lectures on starting a business, developing a business plan, obtaining financing and working with the state. The seminars were designed to help grow small businesses in the community.

“Milford Moves” Pirate Day 5K: This event was held on June 14th in conjunction with the town of Milford’s annual Cap’n Kidd Treasure Hunt Pirates Day. That sunny morning, some 200 participants ran The Milford Bank’s first annual 5K. The event was part of the bank’s “Milford Moves” healthy living initiative. The race was the culmination of a 12-week training course that taught participants everything from proper training and equipment to the right diet. The Milford Bank knows that prosperity starts with healthy bodies and, apparently, so did 200 running pirates!

Painting With a Purpose: Also in June, the bank hosted a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Milford’s summer program. Bank employees volunteered their time to paint their own interpretations of the bank’s sailboat logo, which were then raffled off at each of the bank’s office locations. Donations were also collected by employees at each branch. At the end of the fundraiser, more than a dozen Milford Bank employees were able to raise $1,100 for the cause, demonstrating not only their generous spirits but a commitment to their employer’s proud heritage of community service.

Green Fair: On November 14th, The Milford Bank hosted its first annual Green Fair at its main office in Milford. The event was free to the public and featured free electronics recycling and document shredding for bank customers (non-customers were asked to make a small donation). Additionally, booths were set up to provide information and entertainment on such topics as saving energy, bottle and can collection, upcycling crafts for kids, and do-it-yourself household cleaners and beauty supplies. All proceeds will benefit a green initiative for the community to be determined in early 2016.

2015 Business of the Year Award: On October 20th, The Milford Bank was honored by the West Haven Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of its 2015 Business of the Year Award. The accolade acknowledges the hard work The Milford Bank puts in each year helping families and businesses with their banking needs while maintaining a strong community presence.

Be sure to join us in the many events we have planned for next year. We can’t wait to see you!