decision making

Longing to Be Elsewhen

black-and-white graphic shows a thought bubble with a clock and a calendar in it

Clients, you know I can be a pretty enthusiastic fellow. But I don’t deny that sometimes life can be a grind. Things break and we have to fix them, we sniffle and sneeze with allergies, and there are always bills to pay.

Sometimes we might fantasize that we’re somewhere else, to escape for even just a moment.

It can happen in financial planning, too, but in a different way. Instead of longing to be somewhere else, some people daydream about getting to somewhen else. We can mistake our goals for finish lines: “Once I’m there, things will be okay. Once I get it, I’ll be fine.”

But any worthwhile goal is not just about the finish line. It’s all of it: the preparation, the training, the progress, the setbacks, the community of support, and everything in between. It’s the journey and the destination. All of it.

As we aim our plans and planning toward our goals, it’s good visualize multiple steps along the way—not just the end. What will get me where I want to go? What milestones will mark my progress? What pain can I expect along the way?

In mindfulness meditation, practitioners make a distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is what happens here, a direct result of something painful. A strained muscle sends signals to our brain that tell us we’re experiencing discomfort.

Suffering, however, is the next layer beyond the pain. You can think of it as our feelings about our feelings, like despairing about the fact that now we’re injured and our progress is stymied. That feeling is not the same as the pain that radiates from the muscle: it’s radiating from our minds. It’s a story about the pain.

Pain may be a given for us mortals in our fragile human bodies. But what if suffering were optional? Instead of wishing away each temporary discomfort, we might hang with it—here, in the present.

We can’t selectively escape. When we wish to be elsewhen, we’re not only fleeing the bad: we forego any of the good that might also be here in the present.

Good thing we’re here to keep each other company, huh? Clients, what can we be doing for you? 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:

Warning: Enthusiasm Ahead!

photo shows silhouette of person with their arms in the air triumphantly on a mountain at sunrise

But you knew that.  

I read a thing the other day, explaining how you should take the emotion out of investing. This seemed a little off to me, so I googled “take the emotion out of investing”: 13 million links popped up. 

Evidently, it’s a popular notion. 

This school of thought holds that if you have an investment plan, it can be followed only coldly and rationally and logically, without emotion. Emotions can supposedly lead you astray, so it’s best to ignore them. Wait… 

When your accounts hit $1 million for the first time, aren’t you going to whoop and holler? 

If stock in a company we’ve long admired falls into bargain territory, shouldn’t that get our blood pumping? 

I’m here to tell you, when we find a table-pounding opportunity, we’re going to pound the table! 

The key distinction is, emotions don’t make decisions here. Our decisions are based on our tactics. Our tactics arise from strategy, which springs from our principles, which are rooted soundly in our values. 

Is it always easy? No. Is there joy without pain? No. 

But once a decision is made—and we have an understanding about how that might benefit your bucket, your outcomes—you better believe I am going to be excited. 

No guarantees, except for excitement. 

If you want an emotion-free Spock to handle your business, go for it. They’re not going to be working to age 92, though. For that, you need the joy that excitement brings!


Investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal.


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/.

I. AM. EXCITED.

Maybe you’ve noticed… but I can be an enthusiastic fellow! But some believe emotions don’t have a role in investing… I’ve got some thoughts.


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

What’s Love Got to Do With It? How to Prep Yourself for a Downturn

Find the bargains. Own the orchard for the fruit crop. Avoid the stampede.

Our three main principles form a pretty clear constellation, guiding our practices here at 228 Main. They are action-oriented, so it’s not hard to tell day to day whether we’re sticking to them.

But what makes us stick with them, especially if we’re bracing for a downturn?

In life, when the going gets tough, our defenses can erode pretty quickly. Our energy flags. Anxiety kicks in. And loss can trick us into believing that good times will never return, that the hurt wins.

Writer and businessperson Arianna Huffington suggests a simple way to get sound decision-making back on track: choose love.

“You’ve got to make your heart bigger than the hole,” she says in her book Thrive. “You just have to make your decisions out of love. And when we make the decisions out of fear, that’s when we have problems.”

Trouble and triumph, set-ups and setbacks—those are constants, and our lives travel the roads back and forth to each. Why should we let fear take the wheel for any part of the journey?

Clients, we know that you’ve felt these truths: it’s part of what makes you the best clients in the whole world, after all. Let this be a reminder, then. We’re with you. We journey together.

When you’d like to talk about this—or anything else—please write or call.


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

Play the audio version of this post below:

For One Life Only!

photo shows rows 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.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


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

Play the audio version of this post below:

525,600 Minutes

“How do you measure a year in the life?”

Jonathan Larson wrote those lyrics for the 1996 Broadway musical Rent, but today they strike a chord in me.

One year ago, I had two homes, four vehicles, and a life split between Florida and Nebraska. I was a year into this new chapter—as a widower—with many options and a lot to figure out. Life was unsettled.

“How do you measure a year in the life?” Had two places: left them, moved to one new place. Had four vehicles: dumped three, added one to end with two. Used to swim laps in the sunshine for health: now I walk in all kinds of weather. Had a Floribraska snowbird lifestyle: came back as a full-time Cornhusker. Used to split my workdays between the Florida home and the shop in BDL (beautiful downtown Louisville!): ended up “on Main,” as we say.

“525,600 minutes…” The mid-century modern home in Louisville is what started it. Driving over to see it with my realtor the day it listed, I kept thinking, “I need another house like I need a puppy! This is stupid.” But the home charmed me very quickly, and I realized I needed just one place—that one. Fortunately, I was in a position to purchase it. Then other pieces fell into place quite quickly.

That question of location seems pressing for a lot of people in the wake of a loss or a change in the household. In the year after Cathy passed, I too was wondering where I should spend my time, but I should have been thinking with whom I will spend it. It just took me getting settled back here to realize it.

The people I care about are mostly concentrated around here. Reconnecting with the community, the place I lived most of my life, has been a joy. And rededicating myself to business has been invigorating.

A year into it, I’m happy here—I would not trade with anybody.

Resources create options, which are handy when circumstances change our plans. I’m so grateful for you, the best clients in the world, who are such a large part of my life. That I came out of the hard years still connected to you is a blessing for which I will always be grateful.

Clients, if you would like to talk about your plans and planning or anything else, please email me or call.


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

Play the audio version of this post below:

Your Safety Net Is Not a Hammock

photo shows a safety net in midair

The advancement of technology has helped humans perform more tasks more safely.

Backup cameras and drift warning systems help curb preventable accidents in our vehicles. Even in our pastimes, technology can monitor more risks and dangers than ever. Big-wave surfers take on, well, bigger waves, prepared with more data about the conditions than ever before… not to mention a jet-ski nearby, ready to help anyone who crashes.

Such monitoring technology may allow us to take on more risk, but this doesn’t mean we ought to. Specifically, this tech becomes dangerous when we let it take over and do our thinking for us too.

Some providers offer tech tools to help “measure” risk tolerance. The tools are, in theory, designed to increase transparency. If we know more about the dangers present, shouldn’t we be able to make better decisions?

For some investors and clients, it’s perfectly comfortable to use such scores to determine the “appropriate” investments. The trouble is that then the tech tool is doing the interpreting, moving from observation to decision.

That middle part—the thinking, the choosing, the deliberation—that’s where we like to focus our energy in this shop.

Many tools may seem like safety nets, keeping us from ever falling too hard, but they should not replace the process.

You may remember The Flying Wallendas, a family that for generations has performed high-wire stunts (one of them crossed the Grand Canyon on live television a few years ago). The family avoids nets when they can.

Why?

The net may make you feel better about the risks involved, but it’s counterproductive—and dangerous—if it leads you to behave with less awareness, intention, and energy.

You must behave as if the risks are always present… And carry on, making the best decisions possible.

Clients, wondering about nets, risk, and more? Let’s chat: 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 about https://www.228Main.com/.