client relationships

Fresh as a Rose

photo shows pink, yellow, and red roses in a garden

Maybe you remember having to write a persuasive paper or give a persuasive speech in school. The structure of such a composition could be pretty simple: describe a problem, then present a solution to that problem. Done.

I remember this kind of prompt when I see ads today for certain products, especially those related to… the nose.

“Your neighbors will notice your home smells like garbage… if you don’t buy this spray.”

“You’ll never find romance… without our mouthwash.”

Advertising in this country has relied on these types of messages for decades. In fact, the first commercial deodorant makers realized that in order to survive they would need to convince Americans that sweating was an embarrassment. (Your human body leaks? How unseemly!)

Fast-forward, and these products do sell! Scented garbage bags, room sprays, and body washes have become staples for many households. And don’t get us wrong, we’re not suggesting these products don’t have their uses and pleasures. But it’s pandering to exaggerate about “how much poorer your life will be without this one specific solution I have to offer… and it’s available! Call now!”

We’ve got nothing to sell. We’re not going to provoke a sense of shame or pretend to be high priests. Wherever you are, wherever you’ve been, (however you smell?!), we are here to try to help you strive toward your goals—however you identify them.

The problem/solution formula makes plenty of sense in its own way: of course we want companies and brands to help us improve our daily lives! On the other hand…

We don’t need the world to believe it stinks to be of service to others.

Clients, we’re here for you on your schedule. Let us know how we can help.


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Our Schedule Is Your Schedule

photo shows a pen pointing at a calendar with the word "You!" circled

The best clients in the whole world rarely disappoint. We’ve built trust together across decades of conversations, in some cases. Newer faces have gotten to know me and my work, online or through friends and relatives.

But there are certain things that just break my heart to hear from you.

“I know you’re busy…”

“Mark, I’m so sorry to bother you…”

“I don’t want to take your time…”

Ouch. I can feel the pain even as I type those words! Let me set the record straight.

Sure, I’m busy. If there were three of me, we’d all be busy. But I choose to direct my time toward your business: your plans, your goals, and our discussions about all of the above!

One of my staff members once told me it wasn’t possible for me to waste their time, because there’s no way they would allow that! If I were in danger of wasting their time, they would tell me. (We’re all adults here, right?)

Clients, you can trust me to be direct about my schedule and my priorities. And my goodness, you are the reason I’m here. I’ve got a whole team to help me with the details, so I get to spend more of my time doing more of what I love: my day job.

My time is your time is our time. When you’re ready, reach out.


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Got To Do It? Get To Do It!

photo shows a bunch of balloons against a blue sky

Sometimes the business of life feels just like that: business. The business of staying healthy requires an occasional trip to the dentist or a plateful of greens when you’d rather eat something else.

But we’ve noticed a curious thing lately among some financial planner types. One related that a client said their meetings were like going to the dentist. Another compared the task of financial planning to eating your vegetables. Both talked about the planning process as something that is unpleasant, necessary, but good for your long-term welfare.

Our business with you does not feel like that.

Clients, we wouldn’t pretend to speak for you, but we often find both relief and joy in finding order in life’s chaos. It’s a pleasure to come to understand the meaning of your wealth. It seems we all get a little giddy when we check in and confirm you are on track for your long-term goals or can get your investments better aligned with your values.

What a treat!

As time goes by, the product of investment gains is sometimes wealth beyond expectations. (No guarantees, of course.) Reviewing a long history of beginning balances growing over time feels more puppy dogs and rainbows than dental appointments and bitter veggies.

Psychologists say attitudes are contagious. Some people have told me that I myself have a positive outlook. But that probably would not fully explain the difference in the tone and tenor of our meetings, compared to those dental appointment types. Maybe it comes down to these things:

  • We look for a good philosophical fit before we even begin a working relationship.
  • We believe that those not born with good investing instincts can learn.
  • We trust people to be the experts of their objectives and what they want to accomplish.
  • We strive to meet people where they are, to talk about our areas of expertise in only those ways that everyone participating has a grasp of what is going on—and what we are doing about it.
  • We keep our focus on the long term, to increase the chances that people get to their most cherished goals.

People working together, in mutual respect—that’s what we strive to be about. And what a joy it can be.

When you’re ready to collaborate on your plans and planning, email us or call.


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

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.

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.