mark leibman

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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It’s All Beginnings, Endings, and Transitions

In Roman mythology, the god Janus had one face looking forward and another looking back. It’s natural in this season to look back, take stock of where we’ve been, and think about the best way forward. That’s what we’re doing at 228 Main.


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If All Your Friends Did It…

photo shows a pile of pigeons sitting on top of each other on a telephone wire in a partly cloudy sky

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” Does this line give you any childhood flashbacks? (Rhetorical questions abound in today’s reflection!) We’ve been noticing the number of headlines featuring the word “concern.” 

  • “Is this development a cause for concern?” 
  • “Top officials express ‘concern’” 
  • “Latest numbers raise concern” 

Whether it’s about the latest COVID-19 ripple effect, consumer prices, or bottlenecks in different industries, there seems to be plenty of concern still going around. 

We’d like to pause here, though, for an important distinction: “concern” is not the same as “panic.” Life is full of “troubling developments.” We get to choose which stimuli rev us up and which improve our view of reality. Aren’t we better for having a more accurate picture? 

On a recent morning, I noticed lots of action online and in the news that might have startled some investors. I decided to spend a few hours in the office that I hadn’t planned on, just in case there were calls to catch from you, clients. There wasn’t a single ring. 

I should’ve known better. 

“If all your friends jumped into a panic, would you?” Of course not. In fact, there’s that other classic line that makes a lot more sense: “This is no time to panic.” 

Panic rarely helps. Those bursts of energy may have served us when it was time to run from an animal of prey, but these days that’s not exactly a regular demand.

Soothe your system, then let’s get some perspective, gather the facts… and go from there. The leap to panic is a shorter—but way more costly—trip. Clients, want to talk through anything troubling? You know I’m here for that. Write or call, anytime, and we’ll sort it out together.


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This text can be found at https://www.228Main.com/.

Beginnings and Endings

As the end of the year draws near, it makes sense to look back on where we have been—and to look forward at the path ahead.  

Our lives have threads; the life of our shared enterprise here at 228 Main does, too. One thread is talking with you, meeting you where you are, striving to connect your money to your life. Other threads pertain to finding worthy opportunities in which to invest, managing your portfolios to take advantage of that research, and communicating with you about what we are doing and why. 

It’s been an interesting year! The markets have been challenging; the economy is dealing with the aftermath of the shutdown and the restart relating to the pandemic. Disruptions continue to affect many aspects of our lives. 

Turmoil brings opportunity, of course, and we are always thinking about opportunities. Our underlying theory is that we survive, the economy recovers, and we end up sooner or later with record levels of GDP, income, and wealth. No guarantees, of course. 

In other words, a lot happened in 2022, but the big story has not changed. We are looking forward with anticipation to 2023. 

Our story may not have changed, but our structure is evolving to better reflect our work together. We have talked about the collaborative enterprise we’re becoming, and our regulatory structure will soon reflect that. I can’t work to age 92 by myself—and I would not want to! So the New Year will include a transition to a more sustainable form of organization. (More details will follow, and you can refer to our previous discussion on this process.) 

My sense is that we’re more capable than ever of taking care of business for you—with more time spent by more people searching for opportunities, managing portfolios, attending to the details of service, and communicating with you in more ways than ever. The new structure will be a better way to organize this reality. 

Clients, what are your plans and planning for the New Year? Any parts you’d like to talk about with us? Email or call, any time. 


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Conspicuous Consumption or Subtle Savoring?

photo shows letter blocks spelling "ENJOY"

Some people have so much money, it doesn’t really matter what they do with it. Some people don’t have any to spare. Our work tends to be with those in between, those who need their money to work effectively to cover their needs—and maybe some wants and some legacy concerns.

Clients, that space in between is where most of us live.

As people achieve more financial freedom, some feel compelled to display more and more of their wealth. It may come from pride or social ambition or… who knows exactly? But the cost of trying to impress others is quite high when it manifests in expensive homes, vehicles, and conspicuous consumption.

Housing is a need of course, and transportation can be nonnegotiable for our livelihood, or childcare, or wellbeing. But it’s a great time of year to think about how all the choices add up when we start stretching our means just for show.

We once saw an article about $10,000 watches that had the headline, “Affordable Watches that Will Make You Feel Like a Millionaire.” When people whose invested wealth has reached the $1 million mark, we delight in asking them whether they identify as a millionaire now. Not one has answered “yes.” So if a million dollars doesn’t make a person feel like a millionaire, how would a watch get the job done? (For the record, a large fraction of the millionaires I know enjoy wearing watches in the $39 price neighborhood.)

The paradox is that those who strive to look rich may never accumulate much in the way of assets. Meanwhile, those who choose to be rich may have a better chance of learning to spend well. They can afford vehicles that provide the most comfort, homes that make daily life better, generosity to descendants or causes, and travel to dream destinations.

We do not control what others think. We only control our own choices, and we bear the brunt of the consequences. Those everyday millionaires—and those on their way—seem to have learned this early. And they savor what they have, no matter how life looks to anyone else.

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


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Play the audio version of this post below:

Conspicuous Consumption or Subtle Savoring? 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

This text can be found at https://www.228Main.com/.