journeys

COMPLETELY UNFINISHED

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Maybe the idea of “the finish line” is overrated. You know about my long-time goal of working until I’m age 92, so this sentiment shouldn’t be a shocker.

But we’re thinking about other ways this idea applies. A lot of investment wisdom suggests finding strategies that work with your current life stage. What milestones are coming up? What are you working toward right now? What can you prepare for? Even in this approach, though, life shouldn’t be treated like a checklist.

It’s definitely a journey—and you can’t plan for all the stops along the way. Our approach has to reflect that reality.

Psychologist Carol Dweck studies motivation and mindset. Her take? If things feel fixed or set in stone, look out: that attitude may be a signal that you’ve shut down in the face of change.

We’re not saying that flip-flopping or changing for its own sake is the way to be, but we can’t grow unless we’re willing to change.

“Opening yourself up to growth makes you more yourself, not less,” Dweck explains in her book Mindset. Dweck encourages us to continue to “learn and help learn,” and that’s an idea we can get behind.

You can be a whole person every day you live, but that doesn’t mean your living is ever finished. That’s how we feel about our work, too: a strong financial advisor isn’t a teacher or guide necessarily. An advisor can be a partner on that path. We can map an approach that is complete, robust, and comprehensive—but you better believe that the plan should be able to grow right along with you.

Clients, write or call when you’d like to talk about this, or anything else.

WORK YOUR WORTH

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Financial wellbeing is rarely just about the numbers. But there are some areas where investors regularly miss opportunities.

Best of all? Some of them are free.

We’re talking about that collection of qualities that determine our human capital: the attributes, experiences, and habits that contribute to our ability to do our work and do it well.

Each of us has room for growth, and many of these qualities can be worked like a muscle. Generosity? Practice gratitude, and it will flow. Creativity? Get your internal censor a nice comfy chair in the corner of your brain so that you have the space to make something—then go for it.

Notice how we’re not talking about fighting your brain or your sense of self. We’ve known plenty of friends who flushed their energy trying to evict their weaknesses while their strengths—their true talent and potential—withered.

Even better, we don’t have to make these investments in huge, life-altering waves. Many of these qualities compound. Enthusiasm, punctuality, diligence: practice a few small actions and watch the habits improve each other!

Where can you invest in yourself? Your “earning power” is linked to a lot of domains. It’s not just your education or certifications. What areas of knowledge give you a unique perspective? What experiences have shaped you? These are parts of your financial journey that you can actively work on.

You’ll notice this investment is more about reflection than ‘rithmetic—but it’s work that can pay off in many ways. Your investments in yourself cannot be taken away, they adjust for inflation, and they help you lead a more interesting life to boot.

Clients, we’re glad to be part of the journey with you. Write or call when you’re ready to talk about this or anything else.

For You and With You

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“People rarely need to hear our conclusion,” writes Adam Grant about advice-giving in the Smarter Living newsletter. “They benefit from hearing our thought process and our perspective.”

Grant is an organizational psychologist, but even without working at his level of research, we have felt the truth of these findings. You’ll notice that our posts don’t typically promise “the right answer” or “the most perfect approach.” And it’s not because we’re the most humble organization in the world, either.

But imagine if an advisor made all the calls for you or claimed they had discovered a one-size-fits-all solution. Sound convenient? Probably would be—for them.

We could insert a cliché at this point about how it’s about the journey and not the destination, but maybe it’s more mundane than that. It’s more like math class: if you don’t show your work, it’s hard for others to have confidence in how you got there, and nobody involved learns or gets as much perspective.

Giving “good advice,” for us, is a process that we and you must navigate together. What are the goals? That’s all you. What are the possible ways to get there? Together, we can lay out some options. How do we proceed? Well… we’ll need to figure that out.

Grant says, “The most useful advice doesn’t specify what to do.” It helps folks “clarify their priorities.”

We do this work for you—clients, you’re the heart of it!—but we actually need your help to do it with you.

If you’d like to talk more about this or anything, call or write.

A Time to Reflect

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These are exciting times. With a birthday approaching, I am halfway to 120 years old. It is a natural place to stop and reflect on the journey so far, and the path ahead.

Twenty years ago, I was planning the concept that turned into Leibman Financial Services. At its heart, the idea was to build a business whose success depends entirely on the success of clients. After two prior decades of working with money in most of its forms, the experience and preparation were in place. The interest and passion was there. All we needed was people who would entrust us with their hard-earned wealth and well-thought plans.

Then you showed up. Thank you. The work is gratifying beyond words. And that leads to the next topic, the path ahead.

I plan to work to age 92. Two of my oldest friends, now gone, worked to that age in their own businesses. They were vibrant and active and happy in their later years, a good model for me.

It is amazing how a cherished objective can shape your actions and choices. I often say it is almost embarrassing to be learning so much at such an advanced age. But this is just lame humor. The need to keep learning and adapting and to stay current with developments in the economy and the markets and the business, and to get the resources and people in place to serve your needs, and the constant search for investment opportunities…all of this is invigorating. I feel like I discovered the Fountain of Youth.

The future is not guaranteed to us, in any sense. We can plan a big retirement party for the year 2048 when I turn 92. But we can’t know that any one of us will be there. So we would also like to extend another invitation, for something a little sooner.

If you would like to have breakfast with me at B’s Diner in Louisville, or lunch at the Main Street Café, just call the shop. We are scheduling through mid-July, so there are plenty of slots. The coffee’s always on, too, so if another time would suit you better, we can do that. Thank you all, so much, for the decades–past and future.