Month: June 2023

What We Mean by “Plans and Planning”

Clients, when we say “plans” and “planning,” what exactly is it that we’re talking about? From Day 1, our conversations center on you: your goals, your concerns, and how your life and your money work together. So planning, we believe, includes any and all topics that affect your financial wellbeing. 

Our planning services are included as part of our process working with clients. Some investment advisory shops do bill separately for time spent selling “Financial Plans,” so it bears mentioning that we do not. 

Instead, we tend to use wide-ranging planning conversations throughout our relationship. They’re handy when we’re first meeting each other, and they give us useful talking points over time, like when we’re reconnecting at or in between our annual reviews. 

Not every client will bring up the same topics or concerns, but generally, people’s questions tend to focus on some similar desires. Maybe some of these statements resonate with you: 

  • “I want to figure out how to organize my finances.” 
  • “I want to feel like I’m financially secure, independent, or free.” 
  • “I want to be able to support the life I want to live.” 
  • “I want to be able to create the legacy I have in mind.’” 

These desires are not universal, and they’re not necessarily linear. Not everyone moves through them like one step to the next, and sometimes we loop back around to revisit them again and again. And they take some thoughtfulness to maintain. 

But you might notice these four items do capture some trends and progressions. They cover a range of chapters in our lives—from getting started, to getting a grip on things, and then to getting what we want out of the whole deal. Once we know where we are in the process, it can be easier to get down to the details. 

Consider some examples. 

“I want to figure out how to organize my finances.” Does my monthly cash flow comfortably cover my outlays? Where does my time and money go right now? How is my job or career outlook? What are some good first steps for me given where I am? 

“I want to feel like I’m financially secure, independent, or free.” Do I have what I need in terms of an emergency fund and a support network? What demands affect my cash flow now and in the near-future? What financial challenges and financial goals can I anticipate in the coming chapters of my life? 

“I want to be able to support the life I want to live.” Am I living where I’d like to live? Working how I’d like to work? Enjoying what I’d like to enjoy? How do my saving, spending, and investing align with what I want now and what I want later? 

“I want to be able to create the legacy I have in mind.” What’s on my heart? What estate or charitable considerations are on the horizon? What opportunities have presented themselves? What impact would I like to have? 

Clients, our operation is continuing to grow, and we need to be able to serve you not only in the months and years ahead—but for the decades ahead! Your beneficiaries and the generations to come will be better served if we’re thinking about how this work persists beyond any one of us. 

That’s why we’re taking the time here to try to define our terms.  

It’s important that we’re on a common mission here. Financial planning prompts like these aren’t a script, and they aren’t something that will be “one-size-fits-all.” Instead, they give us a jumping off point. They give us somewhere to start from or begin again—together. 

Are we due for a conversation? Call the shop or send us a message, anytime. 

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Putting on Our “Listening Ears”

Listening to one another is a gift that costs nothing but means everything. We know that our time and attention are precious resources, which is why our team here at 228 Main always has our “listening ears” on🙏

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Lessons from Schitt’s Creek: Building a New Future for Yourself

Image courtesy CBC

Friends, some of us became acquainted with each other when one (or both) of us was in a moment of crisis. Loss can come in many forms, at any period of life. Some are thrown for a loop after being laid off or taking retirement earlier than they’d imagined. Sometimes a death or illness shifts everything in a family. Maybe debt or other baggage from an earlier chapter catches up with us in this one.

A new low is not a fun place to find ourselves. It can feel sad, and overwhelming. There are lots of ways to think about this place, like being “up the creek without a paddle.”

This idea is also the premise for the Canadian hit comedy Schitt’s Creek. The show takes it to the extreme: the Roses, an ultrawealthy family, suddenly lose everything when the government discovers their business manager has run off with all the money. It’s all gone—their business, their home, everything. And they must make do with their one remaining asset: “The kids,” the self-involved mother Moira says, referring to their adult offspring.

“The children are dependents, Moira,” their lawyer corrects her. The government allows them to retain Schitt’s Creek: a small, rural town they once purchased as a joke.

Hilarity ensues as the pampered adult children and their out-of-touch parents must face the shock of their change in status, the loss of their network and friends, a crumbling reputation… and a pressing need to learn to do things for themselves!

No one we know in real life has faced anything quite like this, but being able to laugh at and with the Rose family can help us shore up our own inner assets. When it seems like things couldn’t possibly get any worse, we may have an opportunity: things can only get better!

So whether you’re starting your investment journey or starting over in some way, any day is a great day to begin. We can give ourselves a new Day 1 at any time.

The Roses eventually saw things this way. Each family member gradually took new risks and learned new things. Both children find themselves jobs and then start new businesses; the father finds partners to start a local franchise. After a few stutter-steps, even Moira manages to relaunch her acting career.

And, wouldn’t you know it, the children even learn to ride a bike for the first time.

In the end, each becomes more self-reliant. They find ways to take their experiences and talents and transform them into something they can offer others. Can you think back to a time when you had to learn to do something different for yourself? Or when you had to change or rebuild a habit?

Each of us has done it, over and over again, throughout our lives. It happens in our school days, at each new job, with each change in our families and households. If you’ve done it before, you can do it again.

And, honestly, if the Rose family can do it… anyone can. We’re ready to help you begin (or begin again), anytime.

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Lessons from Schitt's Creek: How to Begin Again Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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Could a Green Thumb Make You Some Green?

Friends, we often talk about “making the most of it.” To us, this sentiment is all about working with what we have and starting where we are. It’s an outlook of abundance rather than deprivation—focusing on what we do have instead of what we don’t.

But for some of us, it’s hard to avoid falling into a pattern of maximizing what we have. Maybe it’s trying to squeeze just one more task into the end of the day. Maybe it’s feeling like we should power through email while we’re trying to exercise. In some circles, it’s assumed that we’re all “hustling” and “grinding,” getting everything we can out of every minute.

After all, “You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé!”

Maximizing may sound like a type of “making the most of it,” but it has serious limits. Having 24 hours in a day does not mean having 24 to be at work, or 24 hours focus on a single project, or 24 hours to get a whole month’s worth of exercise done in one go.

Humans don’t work like that, and time doesn’t work like that. (And not all of us have the resources of a megastar who has won more Grammys than any other singer in the world.) We aren’t robots. We aren’t machines. We’re living creatures. We need food, air, and sleep.

It’s not that we shouldn’t work hard, but we wonder if we need some more sustainable ways of thinking about our work and our time. Author Laura Vanderkam talks about time management as “becoming your life’s master gardener.” This means “deciding that you are responsible for how you spend your time.”

So what do we do with what we have in this world? We can nurture it, dividing our attention between the demands of the moment and some hopes for the future. We can honor its seasons. Like a garden, life has its fallow times. Rest isn’t “unproductive”: quite the opposite, it’s time invested in rebuilding for the future.

And each project, each endeavor, takes what it takes. Sometimes the results are noticeable right away, but sometimes we ride a few seasons until our patience “pays off.”

So perhaps we could look at investing as an earthy exercise, too. We aren’t trying to squeeze every penny we can from every opportunity: we prefer to pick our spots, work a strategy, and reap what we sow. No grinding, “killing it,” or maximizing.

We’re trying to grow, grow, grow.

Want to talk about this—or anything else? Stop by, online or on Main!

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Could a Green Thumb Earn You Some Green? Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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