mark leibman

Flashback to the Future

Photo shows the Jetson family with their Robot Rosie in their flying car.
Universal Studios

Maybe you were there for the original episodes 60 years ago or saw them in syndication in the 80s, but The Jetsons cartoons remain iconic today. The show wasn’t the first to imagine jetpacks, flying cars, or moving sidewalks, but it gave Americans hope for the possibilities ahead.  

For those children from the 60s or the 80s, the idea of a robot maid like Rosie might have sounded too good to be true. (How great would that have been for tackling childhood chores?) But now we have our choice of Roombas to mop or vacuum the floors, self-propelled electric lawn mowers, and even self-cleaning litterboxes. 

How times have changed! Imagine what the next 60 years will bring. 

As we’re watching the developments, it’s clear that the futurists of our day are interested in making the best of the modern world less wasteful, less expensive, and more efficient. And both industry and government have established benchmarks and best practices for improving how “clean” our processes are. 

Sectors in renewable energy, efficient energy systems, and more sustainable forms of transportation continue to grow all the time. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, our country’s wind power capacity has increased 60% in the past five years, and solar capacity has grown a whopping 200% in that same span. The share of energy humans harness from these sources is likely to continue growing, especially given the U.S. goal for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050—a goal other nations also share. 

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to imagine more solar panels or wind turbines in our future. We believe there are opportunities that merit a place on our Buy List or at least deserve a closer look in the coming years. It makes sense to find positions that will help us invest in materials needed in the near future. 

For instance, we keep our eye on various raw materials: we won’t be building any Jetsons-style Skypad Apartments without them, right? We are also closely tracking the potential of electric vehicles. No personal jetpacks yet, but EVs are an innovation worth our attention. 

We don’t need our world to be hyper-futuristic to enjoy the benefits of technology, energy, or transportation. And we’d like this lovely planet to still be here for our children and grandchildren and the generations beyond. 

So where are the opportunities between where we live now and the Jetson home in Orbit City? We can strive to invest in the world we’d like to see. 

Clients, call or email if you would like to chat about this or anything else. 


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The Road Not Taken Looks Real Good Now 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

This text is available at https://www.228Main.com/. Photo credit Big Machine Records.

Changing Your Story

Even heroes get knocked down a time or two when fighting their monsters. There may be a couple of bumps in the road, but what good plot doesn’t have some conflict?

With our passions in mind, a little bit of perseverance, and a good plan, we all get to be the hero of our own story.

Want to talk through what’s important in your story? Call or email to chat.


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Oh, the Prossibilities!

The human brain is amazing… except when it isn’t. How else do you think the world ended up with a Shark Week?! Low-probability events, fear, fixation, and how to clear things up—in this video.

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That Sinking Feeling… or a Sinking Fund?

photo shows a jar full of coins, a stack of cash, and a small card that says "PLAN"

Have you ever been faced with a large expense for which you were unprepared?  

I have. It gave me a sinking feeling. 

Sinking itself isn’t always a bad thing. The term “sinking fund” originally referred to a dedicated reserve a corporation would set up to repay a debt, contributing funds on a regular basis to build up the needed amount.  

Many individuals have adapted the idea to manage their personal finances: having a sinking fund may help us avoid that sinking feeling

This idea came in handy as I recently set out to see how well the sources for my retirement income were matching up with my expenses. My home has a new roof, won’t need another for many years. My vehicles are fairly new; they won’t need to be replaced for years, either. 

But the fact is, someday I will need to pay for a new roof. I will need to replace a car. Furniture and appliances wear out. More predictable but “lumpy” expenses happen, too, like property taxes and planned travel. 

If my budget fails to account for these items, my budget is not really covering all of my living expenses, is it? The answer is a sinking fund, as in these examples. 

  • Home maintenance. If I sink $200 for repairs and such into a sinking fund every month, I would have $12,000 every five years. That should cover a new roof ten or fifteen years from now… or deductibles on storm damage… or a chance to repaint when needed. Likewise, $100 monthly should cover whatever appliances or furniture need replacing: that’s $12,000 over ten years. 
  • Transportation. Piling $350 monthly toward vehicle replacement ought to pile up to enough to buy a car when needed, years down the road. 
  • Annual needs. By adding in one-twelfth of my property taxes and one-twelfth of the annual travel budget each month, my sinking fund should be able to handle most anticipated lumpy expenses, in general. 

I don’t know when the dryer will need replacing—or what else might break!—but I should have the funds to meet the need. And in any of these scenarios, if the balance gets way ahead of likely expenses, I could always pare back the monthly deposit, direct that money elsewhere as I see fit. 

There are different ways to do sinking funds. I set up a monthly automatic transfer into my LPL Financial brokerage account, where the funds will go into an insured cash account until needed. If you would like to set up a sinking fund for your lumpy expenses, email us or call. 


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When a Ripple Comes Full Circle

photo shows overlapping ripples expanding in a pool with blue and yellow tones of water

A rare thing happened recently, an event more than four decades in the making.

Early in my career, making loans was part of my job at Louisville State Savings. One of those loans helped a trade-school graduate buy tools. He was 19 years old and ready to go to work and live on the fruits of his labor. We completed the paperwork at 130 Main—just down the street from where I am now.

This week a 60-year-old man came in to see me at 228 Main. He wanted to get his 401(k) plan rolled over so he could retire and live on his capital.

It was that trade school graduate, back to visit me at the other end of his career.

I was honored to be there at the start, and the finish, of this fellow’s career. It was a greater honor to hear him talk about his experience.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said, “when you might have moved to Florida. I don’t want to deal with an 800 number or a computer. I like to be able to come in and sit and talk.” It was about more than his preferred methods of doing business, though.

It was about having someone to be there with him as he navigated his goals. He continued, “I need somebody that understands what I’m trying to do. You were here when I was starting out, you’re here now, and I hope you’re here for a long time to come.”

I have long suspected that every interaction can make ripples that expand to the end of time. We leave tracks wherever we go. The seeds we plant with our words and deeds grow into things we could never imagine at the time. I had a small part in getting some tools into the right hands. That young man setting out no doubt changed many people’s lives throughout his career. And who knows what that help enabled them to do?

I guess what I am trying to say is, life compounds.

Satisfaction is not exactly the emotion I’m feeling, but it’s something like the deep contentment of knowing I’m in the place I’m supposed to be, making the difference I can. Isn’t that what people want out of life, more than anything? To know they make a difference?

Start to finish—it seems like a full circle. But really, one thing leads to another, and another, and another. I’ve been a lot of places, but now I’m in the one with the best view of life, compounding.

Clients, if you want to talk about the next thing to which your life is leading, email me or call.


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In Any Language, There’s One Simple Goal

Hope, optimism, belief, notion… In our line of work, it doesn’t matter how you say it. We’re banking on the idea that, overall, we’ll see more up than down.


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Looking Out for the Ones We Love

photo shows a variety of black and white and sepia-toned photos on a wooden table

We’ve had plenty of conversations recently with people in their working years. It’s reminded us of a basic fact: family dynamics and money can create a lot of angst for people of any age. The issues of aging may be about universal to the human experience, but the particulars have to be navigated family by family.

We’ve seen these topics from many angles. They are pertinent for aging couples, vital for singles. Couple dynamics usually involve one taking care of the other; when there is no “other” in the household, that support system must be found elsewhere. (Trust me on this: I’ve lived it!)

When the dynamics in a family start changing, it can feel concerning for those in the younger generation, too. The questions we’ve fielded are as varied as the families:

  • May an adult child or someone else do business on behalf of a parent who is not able to?
  • Are there sufficient resources to take care of the health needs of the parent?
  • Is there a plan to be sure assets are titled properly and headed where they should be in the event of death? How do we avoid spending unnecessary time, energy, taxes, or legal work when the time comes?
  • What are the roles of Medicare and Medicaid?
  • Should we be aware of any scams or elder abuse that could be a threat to a parent?
  • Who makes health decisions on behalf of a parent who is not able to?
  • Where is the information survivors would need to settle a parent’s affairs?

The ideal scenario is that a family goes into any major event with clarity, already: that the senior generation’s plans and intentions are already made known, that they’ve communicated their wishes regarding health care principles and the ultimate disposition of their estate. And sometimes we arrive at a big moment and need to work with what we have.

If you are concerned about a parent, an initial call can help us understand your questions, point you to resources, explain how things might work, or make plans for a meeting with the parent.

If you are a parent and would like to make sure your plans and intentions are carried out, let’s talk.

In all cases, better communication usually reduces stress. Assets are the result of years or lifetimes of work and effort. We believe that planning to make sure they do as we intend is one way to respect that work and effort.

Call or email to get a conversation started: any moment can be the right moment to start.


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The Doing Gets Things Done: We Are Planning for the Plan!

photo shows a person in silhouette jogging up a hill toward a flag

Many things are made by combining some of this, some of that. In our work with you, for example, we combine some information about your life now with a vision to get us ready for the future. Here as another new year begins, our thoughts have turned to plans and planning—and the nuances therein.

A typical New Year’s resolution is a sweeping, major goal: write a book, finish a 5k race, lose this many pounds. They tend to skip a few steps. It’s about the accomplishment, not the accomplishing.

But it could be more effective to plan a tiny step, something to execute now.

Write a page.

Walk around the block.

Eat a nutritious meal.

And if we focus on accomplishing a tiny step, then another, then another, those steps may compound into major accomplishments.

You might recognize the idea at the heart of this formula: habits are the practical foundation in shaping the person we want to become. Writing one page, then another, then another. If it becomes a daily habit, you may end up authoring a book.

Likewise, it’s easier to save something every payday than it is to worry for years about the fortune you will require for retirement. We can invest by automatic monthly deposits, for example, instead of having to think about it every time.

When we can make our habits automatic, they become a lot easier to maintain. (We don’t stop and question whether and how and when to brush our teeth each day, right?)

The planning moves you closer to the plan; the doing gets things done. Wisdom? Nonsense? You decide.

When you are ready to work on your plans and planning, we’ll be happy to talk with you about the steps that may help you get there. Email us or call.


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What Do We Mean by "Plans" and "Planning"? 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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

Let’s Talk It Out!

Converse, communicate, babble, blather, rant, rave… I love to talk! Preaching to the choir, but it’s worth reminding everyone: I’m here to do this. By choice. More in this aptly-titled video.


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65+ and Single

 

photo shows a person in silhouette sitting on a mountain ridge

While a lot of retirement planning information seems to be aimed at couples, statistics show that large fractions of those in the 65+ demographic are single. Pew Research reports that 21% of men and 49% of women in that category are single (i.e., not married nor living with a partner). 

Some are single by choice. Others were not planning to be single in retirement but are, due to death or divorce. When decades-old assumptions about our future become obsolete, it can be disorienting. My work has given me the opportunity to learn from many of you in that position.  

Adjusting our long-held plans can be a mixed bag. More than one person has expressed to me the joy of answering to no one but themselves, having the freedom to make decisions without debate. A year into widowhood, another person sold a home of thirty years and moved, expressing the sense that the new place was truly theirs. It was the only dwelling they’d ever chosen solely for their own reasons. 

My wife and I were nearly a decade into a snowbird lifestyle when she passed. I thought I would always live in Florida at least part-time, as we had been. After being adrift by myself for more than a year, the clouds parted and I saw an answer I never anticipated: I came back to Nebraska as my full-time home. 

And then again, others remain in the homes that had served them in life as part of a couple, because the same dwellings continue to serve them well. 

Adjustments are often needed in many parts of our lives. Recreation and hobbies we enjoyed as couples may not work for us as singles. Our decisions about work may change. How we eat, exercise, and travel may shift as well. 

The pain of sudden surprises like death and divorce remind us that life is always a mix: joy and pain. On the worst days, it pays to remember the duality—there are two parts to that notion, and joy and pain aren’t whole concepts without each other. 

When these periods of transition arrive, it seems pretty universally helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of, to review plans and planning with, and to talk decisions over with. From a practical standpoint, the loss of a partner often means losing the person with whom we used to talk things over. It’s a sensation many people have told me about.  

All this is to say, clients, you can talk to me. I’m here to listen when you need to kick an idea around, or rethink something that needs to change because circumstances have changed. Been there, done that – we are all on different journeys, but I’ve been on some of those same roads. Email me or call whenever you might need to talk. 


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