caitie leibman

It’s Not All Bad News? A Closer Look at Some Newsworthy Numbers

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The number of numbers in the news can be… overwhelming, at times. Records of all kinds are broken every day, but here’s the good news: it’s not all bad news.

Trends ebb and flow, and we’re noticing some promising signs. Let’s break down a few.

First, remember that life is a mixed bag. The past two years have brought considerable heartbreak and stress, but any change also tends to make way for new growth.

Anecdotally, we’ve been heartened by the number of stories we’ve heard from you about businesses using their downtime well. Closures gave many folks the opportunity to refurbish or expand their operations—your coffee shop opening a new location, your favorite storefront getting some much-needed repairs. And so many grocery stores and retailers continue to develop their services, like the infrastructure for easier pickups and deliveries.

And then some numbers take a little more consideration to appreciate. For example, the most recently released data suggest that it’s quitting time for many Americans. In the final months of 2021, more Americans than ever were leaving jobs—by the millions—DealBook reports. This can be a great sign, as quits tend to happen when workers feel the outlook is good, that something better must be next. A quit trend like this sometimes accompanies a period of fast economic growth. No guarantees, but at least the sentiment is that many are looking forward to a better future.

Another bright spot is the surge in business applications: Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest pace in years. The New York Times explains that the number of business applications rose 25% from 2020 to 2021. That’s typically a sign of new energy being generated in the economy. When the rate of business formation is slow, it’s a sign that jobs are going stale, business relationships can get strained and rigid. Upheaval, however, has many working people rethinking their opportunities.

All this is to say that things are moving, things are changing. It’s never all good news; it’s never all bad news. We’ll be here. We’ll keep at it.

And we’re glad you’re with us.

Clients, got any numbers worth discussing? Call or write, anytime.


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It’s All About the Numbers and Feelings but Also Numbers and Don’t Forget Feelings

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“We figure out what we want with our feelings. We learn everything we can learn from the numbers.” — Me 

Sometimes new clients are surprised when most of our work together is conversation. There’s very little button-clicking on a computer that will do us any good while we’re meeting. And there’s no chart or binder just sitting in my office—or anywhere!—that can tell us what we need to know: 

  • What does money mean in your life? 
  • What are your goals? 
  • What’s working? What could be better? 

There are choices to make that do involve some math, of course. That’s a big part of our role. But your job? Figuring out what you want and how you feel about how to get there. 

In their book No Hard Feelings, Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy explain, “When people talk about decision making, they tend to assume that feeling something and doing something with those feelings are the same thing.” Some folks notice a feeling swell up in the process and try to shoo it away, thinking it will only gum things up. Surely, if we “open the floodgates, we’ll be bowled over by the crush of our emotions.” 

But that’s not giving ourselves much credit, is it? Gut feelings aren’t random signals. They can be clues to our self-knowledge. Ever bought a house, juggled job offers, or gone on a first date? 

Our feelings can help us figure out what we can live with and what we cannot. And as we’re fond of saying, “your money, your life.” No matter what happens in our conversations, clients, you’re still the one that has to live with your life—not us. 

We’re here as partners, collaborators, coconspirators… you get the idea. Reach out when you’re ready.


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It's All About the Numbers and Feelings but Also Numbers and Don't Forget Feelings 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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In Business to Talk All Day

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Dire need first drove us to it. Fortunate circumstances made it possible. Now, with more dedicated resources than ever, it’s clear that 21st century communications have transformed our work with you. 

Now we are striving to be available in the forms and places that suit you best. And believe it or not, we think our communications with you are an important part of our mission to try to grow your bucket. 

Clients, maybe you’ve experienced this in your own work and communities. Keeping the channels open is not an extra step you add onto your relationships: communicating is just part of it!

Our work is really a joint venture, a collaboration with you. It does not matter if we can find favorable investment opportunities and manage portfolios in advantageous ways if clients don’t understand why we are doing what we are doing. They might feel driven to sell out at what could be the wrong time. No guarantees that our views are right, but at least you will always know what they are. 

This is why our bountiful communications with you are so key. You know what we are doing; you see our principles in action. With all that, you tend to stick with the program at crucial times when it might otherwise have been difficult to do so. 

For instance, with the best clients in the world, we can take on unpopular but potentially profitable ideas. And we don’t need to jump on every fad or chase popular but overpriced concepts. Each week you hear from us—and get our take on which stories are actually news worth knowing. 

We’ve been working on improvements in our communications program across the last year. Whether you prefer to read, or listen, or watch, you can find us! Have you caught us on our website, or visited the podcast, or watched us on YouTube? Or do you like your content best on social media? 

Here is an update of where you can find us: 

  • The blog at 228Main.com now includes an audio version of every post, playable right below each story. 
  • Want audio only? It’s available as a stand-alone podcast on SpotifyGoogle, and Anchor
  • The weekly “Clients, You Know What I’m Talking About!” videos and more are available on our YouTube Channel. Subscribe or drop in anytime. 

  • The email newsletter “The Weekly Note” rounds up the best of the blog, socials, and updates—short and sweet, in your inbox just once a week. Leave your email here to get it. 
  • You can also find news and notes and commentary from us daily on socials, at FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn

Clients, you can make it interactive any time you want, by replying to an email newsletter, calling, or stopping by 228 Main. We love to hear from you! 


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Odd Couple (of Goals)

Surveys indicate the public’s trust in the Federal Reserve has been declining over time. We totally understand this result.

The Federal Reserve, like other central banks around the world, plays a significant role in setting monetary policy. It operates under mandates written in law to promote full employment and price stability. Presumably, most people would be in favor of these worthy objects.

In practice, however, it seeks to raise the cost of living by 2% every year: that’s the actual effect of the goal we typically hear about, to hit an “inflation target of 2%.” That term is a less clear way of saying “raise the cost of living.” How many of us actually want that?

Now add in Federal Reserve policy on interest rates: keep them near zero for the next few years. So if the cost of living is rising and we earn next to nothing on our savings, then we are really going backward in purchasing power. A dollar of savings today plus zero interest for the next year and we will be short by 2 cents to buy the same amount of goods a year from now. That is a risk to our financial position.

This really is an odd couple of goals. It is rough on savers and people on fixed incomes.

The Federal Reserve has its rationale for all this, of course. It believes that a little inflation is good for the economy and that we are prone to have our spending manipulated by its policies for the short-term benefit of the economy. A better economy means more jobs, which is generally good for each of us.

We have our doubts about the logic. Fortunately, we can try to invest to take advantage of the opportunities these policies present. If we are willing to live with fluctuations in value, we may still be able to earn returns.

We believe it was simpler when savings had positive returns, but we are here to make the most of it.

Clients, if you would like to talk about the risks and rewards of investing and saving, please email us or call.


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