career goals

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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In Which the Old Hound Dog Teaches Us About Retirement

photo shows old hound dog sitting in front of a limestone wall

Decades ago, when Louisville, Nebraska, even more closely resembled Mayberry, the old-fashioned service station was run by a gentle soul. His old hound dog was a regular fixture there.

One day a customer pulled in to the station, eager to get to the gas pump. They were delayed by the dog, ambling across the drive, pausing to look at the impatient driver… before continuing slowly on his way.

When the customer finally got to the pump, they jumped out to yell at the proprietor. “That is the laziest dog in all of creation!”

The proprietor offered a different explanation: “He ain’t lazy, he’s just got nothing to do.” Neither person convinced the other, of course.

I was reminded of this story in talking to recent retirees. Most have full days and weeks. This one travels extensively and gardens in between trips; that one helps with younger generations; another is busy improving the country acreage that is home. One says going to the gym is the new job. Some work part-time at hobby jobs.

But a small fraction of people are at loose ends—out of sorts—often after retiring from long careers. Like the hound dog, they get the sense they’ve got nothing to do.

Perhaps those who retired to something more specific do better with this than those whose focus is on getting away from that job or career. Those who are getting away are focused on the past, while those who are retiring to do other things are ready for the future. (No judgment from us: sometimes we must make changes for the sake of our mental or emotional health and can sort out the future later.)

The lesson, if there is one, is to think about the best way to invest our hours and days when we anticipate gaining more control over them. When we are intentional about what we are doing, boredom has less of an opportunity to take root, and there’s more space for whatever is about to begin.

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


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In Which the Old Hound Dog Teaches Us about Retirement 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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Big Trust

photo shows a red pin in a map

Many of you know I prefer my exercise in the form of a long morning walk. These constitutionals have become routine as I’ve settled into this chapter of my life here in beautiful Louisville. I have my favorite paths, and the steps have become familiar.

Familiarity is a comfort, in many arenas. People sometimes feel uneasiness in their financial planning, bringing big fears and big feelings to money. And it’s not just those 20-somethings starting out in their careers or with young families or during big moves.

Each new chapter of life can bring unique financial challenges, so even the most familiar paths can seem to shift on us as we go.

I’ve thought about this in terms of my physical wellbeing, too. I have family members who prefer to hop on a bicycle for hours on end, some who hike in the mountains at every opportunity. Those paths seem foreign to me, an avid small-town walking enthusiast.

But then again, I haven’t tried them.

Clients, many of our conversations revolve around imagining new paths forward. It can be thrilling or frightening, joyful or bittersweet. But new paths aren’t about knowing exactly how to get where you’re going. A clear sense of where you’re headed will suffice. The rest is an adventure of details, one step at a time.

None of this is to say we must “conquer” our fear or anything like that. It’s nearly the opposite of that: it’s seeing the fear and choosing to let it ride along—because the trust is bigger than the fear.

Trust that Future You will be able to ride with the feelings as they pop up. You don’t have to know exactly what’s coming: if you believe in your goals and trust your ability to handle the journey, that’s enough to get it started.

Clients, where to next? Write or call, anytime.


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That’s a GREAT Question

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Recently, a client asked a very blunt question. Just in case anyone else is wondering the same thing, I would like to share the answer.

The client lives a couple states away. He was originally referred by a good friend of his, a person we’ve known for a very long time. We had been conversing about a notable investment success of the past year. I detailed the millions of dollars in gains across our whole client list, and then he asked the question.

“So with your ability to find opportunities like that, why are you talking to me?”

Great question. It gets right to the core of my being.

Obviously, it isn’t the money. I could run a hedge fund, or work on investments in an ivory tower somewhere on behalf of investors I never met and did not know. Instead of working with clients every day, I could have managed the people who talk to clients or managed the people who managed the people who talked to clients.

The fact is, back when I was still in my twenties I knew my ultimate aim was to find a group of clients to whom I could deliver sophisticated investment advice, for our mutual benefit. More than twenty years ago I started Leibman Financial Services to attain that goal. The lives I had touched in my previous, more wide ranging career affirmed the course I set.

The widow who was able to retire within weeks of our first meeting, and own her first home a couple years later—my work was key to giving her the confidence to act. I had a positive impact on her life. Nothing else in my career had ever gratified me as that did. Twenty years ago, a handful of experiences like that inspired me.

Now, our business is organized to maximize gratification from work like that. It might be for retired school teachers or truck drivers or business owners or big-company execs or bankers—we serve a niche market of the mind, not some narrow demographic.

This driving force, by the way, also explains why I persevere in my work despite other challenges we face—and why I want to work to age 92. My passion has provided us the material things we need in life—my bills are paid. Now it is about piling up the psychic rewards my work provides. THAT’S why I’m talking to you.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

No strategy assures success or protects against loss.