Author: Caitie Leibman

Let’s Talk It Out!

Converse, communicate, babble, blather, rant, rave… I love to talk! Preaching to the choir, but it’s worth reminding everyone: I’m here to do this. By choice. More in this aptly-titled video.


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If All Your Friends Did It…

It sounds great in an action movie: “This is no time to panic!” But… is it ever a good time to panic? Sounds like a lot of work, anyway. 😊


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The Weirdest Recession Ever?

photo shows a magnified image of the word "definition" in a dictionary

It’s been months, but one of the biggest words from 2022 is still in the air: recession.

Are we headed into a recession?

Are we currently in a recession?

Are we already recovering from a brief, sort-of recession?

Depending on how you want to answer, any of these might be true. The definitions vary, so the answers do too.

The most common definition is based on multiple quarters of falling gross domestic product—the sum of all national economic activity. With GDP numbers declining slightly throughout the first half of the year, we technically found ourselves in a recession.

But the next important figure economists look at to determine recessions is unemployment, which remains near 50-year average lows. So by that measure, the economy is still sizzling!

Through the lens of the stock market, we again find conflicting answers. For most of the statements investors received in 2022, many holdings were down. But at the same time, many of those companies were reporting record earnings. According to stock prices, we are in a recession; according to stock earnings, we are still in a growth cycle.

So how can investors make informed decisions, when even economists struggle to agree on the nature of a recession?

Here, we believe taking the long view is instructive: we cannot say with full certainty whether we are currently in a recession, nor whether we will be in a recession a month or two from now. But we can know with absolute certainty that there will be recessions in the future—which also means that recoveries are still on the horizon, too. Night, day. Recession, recovery.

We know that the economy is cyclical. It has its upturns and downturns. But if you are investing for the decades ahead—maybe your future retirement or for a legacy for your children and through generations—your concern should not be on what the economy is doing today, next quarter, or even next year.

Your focus should be on trying to grow the bucket the best we can for the long haul.

We don’t ignore the day-to-day action, of course. But in good times and bad, we allow ourselves to be guided by simple, timeless principles. We focus on avoiding market stampedes and looking for the best bargains we can find. And these principles, we believe, are equally important whether we are in the depths of recession or a roaring expansion.

The talking heads can keep on debating whether we are in a “real” recession or not. That is what they are paid to do, after all. Meanwhile, we are going to keep on doing what we are paid to do: trying to grow the bucket, find opportunities, tweak portfolios.

Feel free to drop in or give us a call if you’d like to talk about this, or anything else.


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This Headline Doesn’t Matter

Sometimes, instant updates matter. Can you imagine a traffic report arriving after the fact? But at 228Main.com, the news cycle isn’t our schedule: your schedule is our schedule.


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65+ and Single

 

photo shows a person in silhouette sitting on a mountain ridge

While a lot of retirement planning information seems to be aimed at couples, statistics show that large fractions of those in the 65+ demographic are single. Pew Research reports that 21% of men and 49% of women in that category are single (i.e., not married nor living with a partner). 

Some are single by choice. Others were not planning to be single in retirement but are, due to death or divorce. When decades-old assumptions about our future become obsolete, it can be disorienting. My work has given me the opportunity to learn from many of you in that position.  

Adjusting our long-held plans can be a mixed bag. More than one person has expressed to me the joy of answering to no one but themselves, having the freedom to make decisions without debate. A year into widowhood, another person sold a home of thirty years and moved, expressing the sense that the new place was truly theirs. It was the only dwelling they’d ever chosen solely for their own reasons. 

My wife and I were nearly a decade into a snowbird lifestyle when she passed. I thought I would always live in Florida at least part-time, as we had been. After being adrift by myself for more than a year, the clouds parted and I saw an answer I never anticipated: I came back to Nebraska as my full-time home. 

And then again, others remain in the homes that had served them in life as part of a couple, because the same dwellings continue to serve them well. 

Adjustments are often needed in many parts of our lives. Recreation and hobbies we enjoyed as couples may not work for us as singles. Our decisions about work may change. How we eat, exercise, and travel may shift as well. 

The pain of sudden surprises like death and divorce remind us that life is always a mix: joy and pain. On the worst days, it pays to remember the duality—there are two parts to that notion, and joy and pain aren’t whole concepts without each other. 

When these periods of transition arrive, it seems pretty universally helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of, to review plans and planning with, and to talk decisions over with. From a practical standpoint, the loss of a partner often means losing the person with whom we used to talk things over. It’s a sensation many people have told me about.  

All this is to say, clients, you can talk to me. I’m here to listen when you need to kick an idea around, or rethink something that needs to change because circumstances have changed. Been there, done that – we are all on different journeys, but I’ve been on some of those same roads. Email me or call whenever you might need to talk. 


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It’s All Beginnings, Endings, and Transitions

In Roman mythology, the god Janus had one face looking forward and another looking back. It’s natural in this season to look back, take stock of where we’ve been, and think about the best way forward. That’s what we’re doing at 228 Main.


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Selling Out Is a One-Way Ticket

As we know, the markets go up and down. It’s just part of the deal! But sometimes the peaks and drops can get a little intense, so it’s worth revisiting this reality once in a while. 

The most mindful long-term investors are usually less alarmed by the bumps along the way. They know what they’ve got is basically a lifetime pass on a rollercoaster. But it’s the ride to greater potential returns, so they can keep the thrills in perspective. 

What would the alternative be, in our rollercoaster example? If you get spooked on a big drop, there’s no abandoning your seat. “Please keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the vehicle while on this ride,” the announcement cautions. 

It’s best to stay in your seat, your best chance to get to the end of the ride in one piece. 

As long-term investors, we know that we can afford to let each cycle just run its course. Jumping off the ride partway through sets us up for more trouble and more work than it would ever be worth: how would we know when it’s best to jump back on? How do we know that we’ll be able to jump safely? 

We hope this is context enough to allow us to be blunt with you: long-term investing is a ticket for the whole ride, whatever that may mean. 

Selling out? Selling out is a one-way ticket out of our shop. 

Your resources are your business. Where you park your wealth is your decision, completely, and each one of us needs to do what is best for them. 

But we choose to keep at it for those who are thinking about the long haul. We believe it’s the most effective approach to a lifetime of financial wellbeing—and whatever legacy might stretch beyond your lifetime! 

Clients, we strive to communicate our values and intentions clearly. Do you need to clarify anything with us? Call or write, anytime. 


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Humbug-Free Financial Planning

 

Say, are you catching any holiday specials this season? There are even more movies this year spinning their own version of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Hard to believe the story is more than 170 years old, but many of its lessons have stood the test of time. 

Life is often about learning and changing, isn’t it? Our work with you has some similarities to this classic tale. (But in our version, I suppose, no one is the Scrooge. We’re all already trying to grow and do our best!) 

Our first meeting, we meet your Ghost of Financial Planning Past. The past is formative—and informative. What brought you into our shop? How did you get here? What are the relevant parts of your past that have shaped you? 

We get a collaborative sense of what your story has been, up to this point. The Ghost of Financial Planning Past is someone you’ll have to introduce us to. It’s just where our story starts! 

As our work with you goes along, we stay in touch with the Ghost of Financial Planning Present. This is the spirit of action, the one who is most aware of the pertinent things going on in your life right now. They help us write the story anew, each and every day. 

The Ghost of Planning Present is the one managing those big life shifts: job change, big move, or early retirement on your mind? The spirit is there, helping draw your attention to what matters most to you. 

We are a key character in this part of the story, too. If you are living on your capital, for instance, we help arrange the ongoing details of how you finance the present. Or when your situation changes and adjustments need to be made in your plans and planning, then you can get us involved. 

Finally, we all must be ready to face the Ghost of Financial Planning Future. This specter is always a little blurry at the edges: nobody can know them that well, after all. But this is the spirit that helps us imagine what awaits us. We must live with the consequences of our choices, so how might our hopes, dreams, and goals shake out? 

The future is where your plans meet reality. When we are able to sketch out our aims, we have a better chance to befriend the Ghost of Planning Future. We can’t fully script this part of the story, but where there’s some arithmetic to do or strategy to implement, we’ll be there to help shape the story. 

It seems we are never done visiting with any of the spirits. The longer we know you and grow together, the past expands behind us. The present is always unfolding, day by day. The future is ever-changing too, as tomorrow becomes today. The future keeps skipping ahead just out of reach, the past grows, and all while we live in the present. 

The present is where we turn the future into the past. And we love striving to help you make the most of it! 

Clients, if you would like to talk about any of the parts of your life, please haunt us at your convenience. It’s our pleasure to be part of the story.


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Play the audio version of this post below:

This text is available at https://www.228Main.com/.