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[MARK LEIBMAN] They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Really, the whole journey, every inch of it, happens one step at a time. Everything you can think of is made of tiny things, tiny actions, single steps. The secret to accomplishing anything is basically to put one foot in front of the other.

The training of an Olympic swimmer happens one stroke at a time. Our quaint quarters at 228 Main were built one brick at a time. Books get written one word at a time. The 25 year history of LFS happened one day at a time. A $1 million 401(k) account gets built one fraction of a paycheck at a time. Healthy eating habits are formed one bite at a time. Relationships blossom one conversation at a time. A portfolio gets put together one opportunity at a time.

Humble, common actions within the reach of anyone are what great stuff is made of. You do this simple thing. Then you do it again. Then you do it again.

The secret to accomplishing anything great is to put one foot in front of the other, while you are aimed in the general direction of something worthwhile.


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Portfolio Themes: Fall 2022 Edition

graphic shows a photo of a basket of apples and the words "Fall Themes"

Investment research is an ongoing process here at 228 Main. Real-world developments are always intersecting with the changing prices of shares; the mosaic looks a little different each day. In our weekly meetings, we review news about companies we own, trade our insights, and talk about emerging bargains or trends. 

We think about what we own—and why. 

We sometimes find bargains in a particular industry or sector. Other times we study trends and try to sort out who will benefit in the years and decades ahead. Looking over the whole Buy List, patterns emerge. 

The single biggest theme often surfaces as a result of our search for quality companies at fair prices. Dominant, sector-leading firms—the blue chips—run the gamut from big green farm machines and home improvement chains to the largest retail health company and the biggest player in a highly fragmented industry (a consolidation play). This is where you’ll find Warren Buffett’s company, too. 

Emerging growth companies may benefit from increasing connectivity, innovation, and automation. Paired with the large technology companies who make the devices, systems, software, and chips we depend on every day, we have solid exposure to what seem to be likely growth areas in our economy. 

Natural resources have been a focus for years, and we continue to refine our thinking as the energy revolution unfolds. Copper and other industrial metals may have favorable supply-and-demand outlooks for years and decades to come. The fossil fuel industry persists, even as alternative energy becomes an increasing fraction of our total energy needs. 

The evolution of the automobile continues to intrigue us. We have exposure to this theme via big tech companies and copper producers, but also via ownership of automakers old and new, plus a supplier of sophisticated components that support the evolution of mobility. 

International diversification in Europe and India makes sense to us, and a few plain old bargains (in our opinion) round out our list. Among the shifting landscape in Europe and one of the world’s largest populations in India, we recognize some opportunities for exposure. 

Clients, we share a long time horizon; we stay focused on major trends. This approach provides some continuity in our thinking across the years, even while we work hard to understand the day-to-day factors affecting our holdings. It’s a thrilling challenge, and we’re always happy to share our thinking with you! 

Please call or email us when you want to discuss how this relates to your plans and planning. 


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. 

Investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal. 


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We Walk the Walk: Let’s Talk the Talk!

This operation at 228Main.com has not been a one-man band in many, many years. We’re working on making this enterprise more durable, more sustainable—to better serve you for the years and decades to come.


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Collaboration: It’s a Team Effort!

black and white photo shows six hands bumping fists in a circle

Clients, looking back over these decades together, the word “collaboration” is what comes to mind for me. I have worked with some of your households for years, and I am most proud of what you and we have created together. Successful investing requires effective attitudes and intentional actions with money. You, the best clients in the world, have been stellar partners in this regard. It has truly been a team effort.

But I’m realizing that “collaboration” will have even more meaning for our work in the years and decades ahead. The success we’ve enjoyed together has resulted in an enterprise that is now beyond my ability to run by myself (and not that I would want to—to my estimation, the gang and I seem to be having a pretty good time together!).

Greg Leibman became an integral part of the effort a long time ago; Caitie Leibman and Billy Garver bring us perspectives and skills we formerly lacked and now rely on.

Two of our core activities are investment research and portfolio management. With the increasing wealth you’ve brought to us, these activities are more important than ever. Our capacity to do them depends on the team we’ve assembled. It’s a collaboration that’s become vital to our daily work.

Even as we conduct our work as a team, however, I remain the regulatory head: as an Investment Advisor Representative of LPL Financial, I am the business structure. The others, on paper, are technically assistants working under my direction.

This regulatory structure is a vestige of the days when this was a one-person operation, and it no longer aligns with what we’re trying to do here. So, for the rest of the year, we plan to work toward restructuring our firm as a Registered Investment Advisor: this arrangement should more clearly reflect how we can best serve you in the years and decades ahead.

Friends, you know about my intention to work to age 92, and that is still the case. But I also believe that part of my responsibility to you is to help shape an enterprise that can outlast me. The mortality rate remains 100%, so sustainability is the watchword here.

A team format—four officers, working collaboratively—gives this entity some of the durability it deserves. Fortunately, LPL Financial has developed plans and processes for this exact scenario, which is not unique to us. I’ve not lost my sense of gratitude for what LPL Financial has meant to my family and me; your funds will continue to be custodied with them. Account numbers and history and online access and statements and all that will remain essentially unchanged.

There will be just a bit of paperwork to transition each account. Details will follow as we learn more.

It will take the balance of this year for us to continue this work and implement the new structure. Clients, we will be in touch with more detail about this journey as it unfolds—and we are excited to get things more aligned with the big picture.

Please email us or call with questions or comments. Thank you all again, for everything.


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Getting in Touch

Modes of connection may change over time, but we suspect that the desire to live our lives as social creatures will persist. What can our technology and our history teach us about what it means to be human, to work together?


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Longing to Be Elsewhen

black-and-white graphic shows a thought bubble with a clock and a calendar in it

Clients, you know I can be a pretty enthusiastic fellow. But I don’t deny that sometimes life can be a grind. Things break and we have to fix them, we sniffle and sneeze with allergies, and there are always bills to pay.

Sometimes we might fantasize that we’re somewhere else, to escape for even just a moment.

It can happen in financial planning, too, but in a different way. Instead of longing to be somewhere else, some people daydream about getting to somewhen else. We can mistake our goals for finish lines: “Once I’m there, things will be okay. Once I get it, I’ll be fine.”

But any worthwhile goal is not just about the finish line. It’s all of it: the preparation, the training, the progress, the setbacks, the community of support, and everything in between. It’s the journey and the destination. All of it.

As we aim our plans and planning toward our goals, it’s good visualize multiple steps along the way—not just the end. What will get me where I want to go? What milestones will mark my progress? What pain can I expect along the way?

In mindfulness meditation, practitioners make a distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is what happens here, a direct result of something painful. A strained muscle sends signals to our brain that tell us we’re experiencing discomfort.

Suffering, however, is the next layer beyond the pain. You can think of it as our feelings about our feelings, like despairing about the fact that now we’re injured and our progress is stymied. That feeling is not the same as the pain that radiates from the muscle: it’s radiating from our minds. It’s a story about the pain.

Pain may be a given for us mortals in our fragile human bodies. But what if suffering were optional? Instead of wishing away each temporary discomfort, we might hang with it—here, in the present.

We can’t selectively escape. When we wish to be elsewhen, we’re not only fleeing the bad: we forego any of the good that might also be here in the present.

Good thing we’re here to keep each other company, huh? Clients, what can we be doing for you? Call or write, anytime.


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Throwing Yourself for a Loop

Sometimes life’s big milestones arrive in a neat, straight line. And sometimes that’s just not what happens—or what we want to happen. How do we plan for a swoopy life?


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Connection, through the Ages

photo shows a gravel towpath along a blue river

I recently traveled through part of the history of communications. I was on a trip to the northeast. On one morning walk, I was able to reflect on how each age has had its own modes, connecting people and places with ever-newer technology. 

This topic is of natural interest to us: communication is a major element of our connection with you. 

For hundreds of years, the rich resources and strategic locales of the Potomac River watershed served as a major crossroads for coastal and inland indigenous groups. Colonizers arrived, and the river also carried settlers and European traders. 

Begun in 1811, the National Pike became the first major highway built by the federal government. Its right-of-way is still in use in many places. I walked on it to get to a canal. 

I followed the path where mules once pulled the boats; the land is a park now and may be hiked its 185-mile length. It stretches along the Potomac from D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland. 

Railroad tracks run nearby, tracks from the nation’s first common carrier—the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad—whose service began in 1834. 

Copper wires stretched over my head, another legacy of the 19th century. The B&O right-of-way was used to construct the first telegraph route in the country. 

By the 1960s, parts of this land were crisscrossed with bridges over the new Interstate Highway System. 

I saw all of this on a short morning walk. Add to the list the phone I used to take a picture of the river and the towpath! And these are only a few of the major communication developments we’re witness to every day. 

The means and modes of our connections may change over time, but we suspect the desire to live our lives as social creatures will persist. Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call. 


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