client communications

The One and Only Us

graphic shows a framed picture on a wall with a collage of all six 228Main.com employees smiling

Clients, I’m one of a kind. I’ve worked many years and traveled many paths to be the person I am today.

Even though I’m the one and only Mark Leibman, I get to do what I do as part of an amazing team at 228 Main. I notice this truth now more than ever.

The enterprise has three core activities:

  • We talk with you about your plans and planning, to sort out how best to connect your money to your life—your goals.
  • We research and manage investments, striving to grow your long-term buckets.
  • We take care of the logistics and paperwork you need to try to get where you are going.

I sometimes say I am in business to talk all day, but as you can see from these notes, it takes the whole team to make that possible.

Four of us here in the shop contribute to our communications. Three of us collaborate on investment research and analyze portfolios. Two focus on logistics and paperwork, taking care of details.

While I spend the most time with you, Caitie Leibman directs our communications, which really is just another way to talk to you, with contributions from Greg Leibman, and Billy Garver, and me. Greg, Billy, and I work on research and portfolios. And Patsy Havenridge and Larry Wiederspan take care of service—the paperwork and logistics.

The buck stops with me, of course: I take responsibility for investment decisions and trading and recommendations and everything, but I could never accomplish by myself the things we are able to do as a team. We are working with more than $100 million for clients in twenty states.

I’ve often said that if there were three of me, we’d all be busy. But the world does not need any more copies of me. Every member of the 228 Main team knows that the better off you are, the better off we will be—and they each contribute skills and abilities I don’t have.

I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Clients, is there anything for which you could use our team’s perspective? Call or write, anytime.


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Why the Headlines Don’t Matter

photo shows an out of focus stack of folded newspapers on a wooden table

You know that we love all the benefits provided by 21st century communications. We can connect with you almost instantaneously, in a variety of ways.

But in the last few decades, these speedy possibilities have driven many outlets into what’s called the 24-hour news cycle: parties with messages to share feel the pressure to deliver their coverage the fastest.

In some arenas, the speed matters. (Can you imagine a traffic report coming out after the fact?)

We don’t feel that pressure. We don’t worry about churning out our stories at 228Main.com.

So why don’t we have posts every day? Why don’t you see my face on your screens all the time?

Because the news cycle is all about directing resources trying to capture attention… And we’re not in the business of “capturing” anything.

Instead, we like being consistently present. Our media give us an outlet to think more deeply about our principles, make sure you know what we’re working on, and communicate important strategies for the big themes in your (our clients’!) lives.

So when can you expect to hear from us?

  • A little each week, online, where you can take in as much as you want. (Not getting our stuff? Drop your email here for our 5-minute weekly digest.)
  • When there’s a new bargain we’re excited about.
  • As there are changes that could affect your portfolio.
  • If your goals and plans and planning reach new milestones.

So here’s what the 228 Main news cycle comes down to… The calendar is not the boss of us. The internet is not the boss of us.

The financial news outlets aren’t even the boss of us.

You are!

Clients, got something we need to hear? Call or write, any time.


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Making Connections

© Can Stock Photo / alphaspirit

A client recently talked about a friend, searching for an investment philosophy that works. (This sometimes happens after a person withdraws from investing for loss of faith in the markets or an advisor.)

The questions to me were, how do I help my friend understand your philosophy? What is the best way for her to learn about what you do?

I am always aware of our day job: taking care of your bucket as best as we are able, striving to help you get where you want to go. Talking to strangers, even friends of yours, always ranks lower. These days we are quite occupied with our day job.

It takes time for people to understand whether we might be a good fit for them. We know we are different. Our old-fashioned philosophy and methods are a labor of love – and require more effort than simply filling up the pie chart like the computer tells you. A contrarian approach is not for everyone.

Fortunately, there are three ways you can help a friend like that, without getting in our way at all.

  • Forward a weekly email newsletter you find interesting, with links to our current thoughts.
  • ‘Like’ or share our content on Facebook or other social media. That is a way to spread the word.
  • The most foolproof way: provide us a name and email address so we may send the weekly email newsletter, with links to new articles and videos and other short notes.

We’re too busy with our day job to make unsolicited calls. We will make time for your friends who call, when we can. It is always helpful if they have first had a chance to see what we are about.

You know this already, but our approach is not suitable for everyone. We do not cater to short-sighted thinking or overly pessimistic long term views. All of the communications we put out for you may be read by bystanders or eavesdroppers, without cost in time or money to us. That means we can start on the same page when we do talk one-on-one, a big time-saver.

If you would like to talk about this or anything else, or sign up a new subscriber, email us or call.

Better Safe Than Sorry

© Can Stock Photo / Subbotina

2020 will certainly go down as a memorable year, between the changes in our every day lives and the economic and market developments. My years as caregiver for a person with an extemely fragile immune system has given me a sense of caution about the coronavirus. (Cathy continues to influence me!)

In the spirit of ‘better safe than sorry’ we are seeking some modifications in our work with you. The median age of our advisory clients is in the area of elevated risk, and many of us have other risk factors as well. Here are the things we can do to limit exposure and illness among us all:

  • Many service matters can be done by phone or email; most forms can be signed electronically. This reduces traffic in 228 Main.
  • Schedule appointments in advance, to minimize the chance to be in a crowded place.
  • One on one consultations can be done by phone at your option; we will soon be able to video conference if you prefer.

Of course I will meet with you in person if you need that. We work with you on vital subjects, and we want you to have what you need. For the present we see no reason to suspend face to face visits.

We are doing what we can in the shop to keep it safe, wiping down public surfaces and shared objects, making hand sanitizer available. Handshakes and hugs need to stay virtual for now, not physical.

The best thing that can possibly happen is for everyone to be laughing at me in a few weeks for the needless over-reaction. I desperately hope for that outcome.

Having some experience with respiratory failure leading to death, I’m just wary of a virus that can produce that in a slight fraction of cases in a period of a couple weeks. Thank you for humoring me on this.

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

Our Work With You

© Can Stock Photo / gajdamak

One of the blessings of a periodic travel day is time to think. My thoughts about our work together recently crystallized at 40,000 feet in the air. The guts of our business may be captured in a single sentence:

People who know us believe we are worthy of helping them manage some part of their net worth.

This thought has three distinct facets.

1. “People who know us” highlights the key role of communicating our principles and values. Who are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing it?

2. To determine if “we are worthy” of helping you, it helps if you can get a feeling for our competence and consistency. Whether we are focused on your results or ours is a key thing, too.

3. “Net worth” figures into our work. We strive to help you two ways, by investing effectively and helping you frame major financial issues so you can make effective decisions. The better off you are, the better off we will be.

It seems to us that this concept of the financial advisory business is timeless, has always been true. Yet our experience with 21st century communications over the past few years says each facet is powerfully improved by the new methods.

People get to know us much more quickly by reading our blogs and seeing the videos. What makes us tick? What are we focused on? Are we paying attention to business? Do we care about our clients? This digital presence makes it easier for you to form an opinion about our worthiness to work with you.

Apart from all that, we know that communication can help drive understanding and attitudes about effective investing behavior. Although some do not need it, others may benefit from the perspective and context we provide. If we are successful in promoting effective investment behavior, we may be helping people build their net worth over time.

It feels invigorating to be using 21st century methods to do business according to timeless principles. Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Our Digital Communications: 4th Anniversary

© Can Stock Photo / iqoncept

As we complete four years in the world of digital communications, it makes sense to take stock. What have we gotten done, where are we headed?

We began with three thoughts. We had the intent to be able to communicate at the speed of light when events demanded – sort of a civil defense system for times of stress. And we wanted to communicate with all of you each week about our current thinking on a wide variety of topics. Finally, make available a complete archive of our philosophy and strategies, for you to find and read on your schedule, available 24/7.

We worked out a way to deliver these things with a combination of three methods. Nobody needs to access all three, but we can reach more of you by being more places.

228Main.com hosts our blogs, nearly 400 already published, one or two new ones each week. Daily posts in social media offer additional features, plus links to the blog articles, comments about developments in our thinking, and weekly short videos. And weekly email newsletters provide links to the new blog posts and videos, along with schedule notes.

We love the way you forward emails or like or share our Facebook or Twitter posts. Some of your friends and relatives have gotten to know us this way, at their leisure, with no threat of us bothering them with unwanted approaches (as if we ever would!) The 21st century is a great place to live if you like to communicate.

We are working on consolidating selected blog posts into books, thinking about a YouTube channel to make our video library more searchable, and continuing to explore new ways to communicate.

21st century communications played a key role as we met the challenges of the last few years. But instead of being a pale substitute for the way we had done business before, we learned that more communication is just plain good for you and good for us.

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