caitie leibman

In Which Numbers and Feelings Become Better Friends

photo shows a journal page with "I want..." written on it

“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 collaborators, coconspirators… you get the idea. Reach out when you’re ready.


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

Play the audio version of this post below:

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

This text can be found at https://www.228Main.com/.

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. 😊


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

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.


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

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. 


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

Play the audio version of this post below:

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

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.


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

Play the audio version of this post below:

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

The Right Amount Is Best

photo shows a line of lights below a marquee

There are restless spirits all around us. The neighbor that seems to be racing everywhere they go, the friend that seems addicted to making big changes. There are people who make us wonder, “When will it be enough?”

Sometimes we are those people. Sometimes we look down only to realize we’re on a treadmill. But here’s the good news: there are plenty of ways to get our needs met, to not want for anything and to not be wrapped up in the wanting. We talk a lot about helping clients put words to their dreams, but dreams need not be lofty. Here are a few guidelines that have proven helpful.

“The right amount is best.” In her book Lagom, writer Niki Brantmark describes this Swedish principle of the same name. Not enough is not enough. Too much of a good thing can be a good thing, but often is not. The right amount is best.

Social comparison, or “keeping up with the Joneses” can corrode happiness or financial health, if we aren’t conscious of our emotions and purposeful about our responses and reactions. It helps to focus on our own needs, rather than what others have. (And I doubt the Joneses care what you have anyway.)

When working on goals, it sometimes helps to define three outcomes: minimum acceptable levels, reasonable targets that feel within reach, and “stretch” goals that require creative thinking and approaches to get to. This may help you be more aware of options and possibilities.

Life is not a cage, and we are not doomed to the hamster wheel. We are each the star of our own personal drama, and we get to decide what works.

Get your ticket, one life only!

Clients, if you would like to talk about your goals or anything else, please email us or call.


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

Play the audio version of this post below:

It’s All Black-and-White (Except When It’s Gray)

It would be nice if the path were always clear or the choice always obvious. But a life aimed at the long haul is a little more complicated. No guarantees, but at least there’s plenty of good company here in the messy real world.


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.