collaboration

Collaboration: It’s a Team Effort!

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Clients, looking back over these decades together, the word “collaboration” is what comes to mind for me. I have worked with some of your households for years, and I am most proud of what you and we have created together. Successful investing requires effective attitudes and intentional actions with money. You, the best clients in the world, have been stellar partners in this regard. It has truly been a team effort.

But I’m realizing that “collaboration” will have even more meaning for our work in the years and decades ahead. The success we’ve enjoyed together has resulted in an enterprise that is now beyond my ability to run by myself (and not that I would want to—to my estimation, the gang and I seem to be having a pretty good time together!).

Greg Leibman became an integral part of the effort a long time ago; Caitie Leibman and Billy Garver bring us perspectives and skills we formerly lacked and now rely on.

Two of our core activities are investment research and portfolio management. With the increasing wealth you’ve brought to us, these activities are more important than ever. Our capacity to do them depends on the team we’ve assembled. It’s a collaboration that’s become vital to our daily work.

Even as we conduct our work as a team, however, I remain the regulatory head: as an Investment Advisor Representative of LPL Financial, I am the business structure. The others, on paper, are technically assistants working under my direction.

This regulatory structure is a vestige of the days when this was a one-person operation, and it no longer aligns with what we’re trying to do here. So, for the rest of the year, we plan to work toward restructuring our firm as a Registered Investment Advisor: this arrangement should more clearly reflect how we can best serve you in the years and decades ahead.

Friends, you know about my intention to work to age 92, and that is still the case. But I also believe that part of my responsibility to you is to help shape an enterprise that can outlast me. The mortality rate remains 100%, so sustainability is the watchword here.

A team format—four officers, working collaboratively—gives this entity some of the durability it deserves. Fortunately, LPL Financial has developed plans and processes for this exact scenario, which is not unique to us. I’ve not lost my sense of gratitude for what LPL Financial has meant to my family and me; your funds will continue to be custodied with them. Account numbers and history and online access and statements and all that will remain essentially unchanged.

There will be just a bit of paperwork to transition each account. Details will follow as we learn more.

It will take the balance of this year for us to continue this work and implement the new structure. Clients, we will be in touch with more detail about this journey as it unfolds—and we are excited to get things more aligned with the big picture.

Please email us or call with questions or comments. Thank you all again, for everything.


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Financial Planning, Starring You!

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Some pros rely on the idea that financial planning is a mysterious process, requiring advanced mathematics and cold, hard reasoning that mere mortals cannot achieve.

We keep seeing language to this effect across the financial services industry. Maybe you have, too?

  • “We’re the best solution for objective planning.”
  • “This is a strategic, objective process for financial freedom.”
  • “Everyone needs an objective partner to shape their plan.”

Being “objective” gets held up as a pinnacle of professionalism, but what’s so great about it? Objectivity is the idea that we’re more interested in the reality that exists beyond an individual’s experience—that truth is out there beyond one’s feelings and deliberations.

Objectivity is overrated, in our opinion.

Clients, what’s so bad about being the main focus of your own story? The objective part—the math!—should be working backwards from the goals you bring to the table.

I will never tell you how much you “should be” spending in retirement: you are the boss of your life.

I can’t know what portion of your assets “should be” more liquid: let’s talk about your mid-range goals first.

I don’t have an opinion on what your employment plans “should be”: you’re the one who has to wake up each day and make the most of it.

You are the star of this show, and it’s an honor to be here with you. Whether we’re trying to get some better lighting on things or rehearsing for what’s ahead, the focus is… you!

Clients, is it time to revisit any goals? Write or call.


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Who We Strive To Be

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We have been reading the work of the late Donald Clifton of the Gallup Organization recently. The idea of working from your strengths was central to his work. As we think about building the optimal kind of organization to help you make the most of your position, what kind of strengths do we need?

In collaborative work such as ours with you, a deep relationship of mutual trust is a most useful foundation. This is the hallmark of what Clifton calls the Relator strength, or theme. Rather than meet many strangers, hoping to find some that might do business, the Relator seeks close relationships with those they know. We invest our time in communicating with you and working on your business, not hunting strangers to turn into clients.

The Strategic strength enables people to sort through the clutter to find the best path forward, to see patterns where others see complexity. Thinking about your goals in the context of the investment universe, and whole range of financial planning tactics, this skill might be mandatory.

The Focus strength gives people the ability to concentrate on goals, set a course, and stay on track. That is a good description of what we are trying to do here at 228 Main. The Achiever strength helps get things done, stay productive, and work effectively.

In the dynamic world we live in, change is constant. Technology advances, the economy and markets go through their cycles, and tax law changes. The Learner strength is how people adapt and thrive as the world evolves.

One of the blessings of the challenges we’ve faced: we had to figure out how to delegate, how to depend on a team approach, how to work together to get you what you need. We are striving to build a diverse team where each member works from their strengths, happily and effectively, to take care of business for you.

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.