news cycle

Bumps on the Road to Wealth: How to Invest for Times of Higher Inflation

When inflation dominates the headlines, it can feel like prices are headed up and up and up forever! But it’s never really a straight line, is it? Putting inflation in perspective.


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It’s Not All Bad News? A Closer Look at Some Newsworthy Numbers

photo shows a stack of folded newspapers on a wooden table

The number of numbers in the news can be… overwhelming, at times. Records of all kinds are broken every day, but here’s the good news: it’s not all bad news.

Trends ebb and flow, and we’re noticing some promising signs. Let’s break down a few.

First, remember that life is a mixed bag. The past two years have brought considerable heartbreak and stress, but any change also tends to make way for new growth.

Anecdotally, we’ve been heartened by the number of stories we’ve heard from you about businesses using their downtime well. Closures gave many folks the opportunity to refurbish or expand their operations—your coffee shop opening a new location, your favorite storefront getting some much-needed repairs. And so many grocery stores and retailers continue to develop their services, like the infrastructure for easier pickups and deliveries.

And then some numbers take a little more consideration to appreciate. For example, the most recently released data suggest that it’s quitting time for many Americans. In the final months of 2021, more Americans than ever were leaving jobs—by the millions—DealBook reports. This can be a great sign, as quits tend to happen when workers feel the outlook is good, that something better must be next. A quit trend like this sometimes accompanies a period of fast economic growth. No guarantees, but at least the sentiment is that many are looking forward to a better future.

Another bright spot is the surge in business applications: Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest pace in years. The New York Times explains that the number of business applications rose 25% from 2020 to 2021. That’s typically a sign of new energy being generated in the economy. When the rate of business formation is slow, it’s a sign that jobs are going stale, business relationships can get strained and rigid. Upheaval, however, has many working people rethinking their opportunities.

All this is to say that things are moving, things are changing. It’s never all good news; it’s never all bad news. We’ll be here. We’ll keep at it.

And we’re glad you’re with us.

Clients, got any numbers worth discussing? Call or write, anytime.


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It's Not All Bad News? A Closer Look at Newsworthy Numbers 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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Half-Century Headlines: The 50-Year Financial Times of You!

photo shows a newspaper under a magnifying glass that reads "GOOD NEWS!"

Clients, we’ve discussed before how the pain of a loss is felt two times more greatly than the happiness from a corresponding gain. While this may be how our human brains are designed to experience things, we do have a chance to intervene: we get to define what a loss is. We also have the ability to recognize how time affects our experiences of pain and happiness.

Often, our losses occur suddenly: a quick drop in the market, the sudden failure of an engine, the physical (or emotional) loss of a friend.

Gains are usually slow-building: years and decades spent with a loved one, miles upon miles with your favorite car, the slow climb to retirement wealth. It’s hard to appreciate the full happiness of the good times in the moment. The quick strike of the sad times, however, tends to linger.

Journalists Stacey Vanek Smith and Cardiff Garcia put it this way: “This combination of sudden, bad things and slow, good things can mess up the way we see the world. We notice the sudden but miss the gradual.”

So the daily news cycle is successful in part because of that pain. Consider for a minute a world where there isn’t daily news. In this world, you get one newspaper every December 31, recapping all of the important things that happened that year. What would make the front page?

Now extend the time horizon. What makes the front page of a once-in-a-decade newspaper?

We encourage you to take this exercise and apply it to your financial life. Call it The 50-Year Financial Times of You. What’s above the fold? Would any of the four major financial crashes of the past 50 years get the top spot? How about that $4 that you spent on a coffee last Tuesday?

Clients, we each have the byline in our own 50-Year Financial Times of You. We’re grateful to be among your readers, and humbled when we’re included in the process—even if it’s in the funny pages.


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Half-Century Headlines: The 50-Year Financial Times of You 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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

Flashing Lights, Bells, and Whistles

photo shows a BNSF train going through Louisville, Nebraska

The main line of the Burlington Northern Railroad parallels the Platte River through Nebraska, and it crosses Main Street in Louisville. Many times each day, bells sound, lights flash, and the crossarms come down to block traffic. The locomotive blows its whistle. When this collection of clues occurs, you can bet a train is near.

The warnings all make sense when you think about the damage a 200-ton locomotive would do to a car or pedestrian, should they meet at the crossing.

Another thing happens many times each day, with nearly as much noise. Dire warnings about the future of the stock market come from cable business news shows, internet business sites, people at the diner, and sometimes even friends and relatives.

But there are two important differences between train warnings and market warnings. No one profits by promoting phony train warnings, but there is a lot of money to be made by those promoting fear of stock market volatility. And often, the dire-sounding market warnings merit a yawn in response—not a slamming of the brakes.

For example, those who pretend to know that a 10% or 20% stock market decline is around the corner may well be right. A 10% decline is par for the course in any given year: they are routine. Of course a market decline is coming! They always are. It goes up and down, sometimes a lot, unpredictably.

I’ve followed the markets avidly for decades. One of the things that is ever-present is the prediction by someone, somewhere, that the market is about to get crushed. There are always reasons or rationales; the human mind is a marvel of creativity. History provides millions of snippets of data that can always be arranged to convince some people of anything.

We have found it worthwhile to ignore the noise and stick to our discipline. Search for bargains, avoid stampedes, and strive to own the orchard for the fruit crop. Clients, if you’d like to talk about any noise you’re hearing, or the fruits of our research, email us or call.


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Why the Headlines Don’t Matter

photo shows an out of focus stack of folded newspapers on a wooden table

You know that we love all the benefits provided by 21st century communications. We can connect with you almost instantaneously, in a variety of ways.

But in the last few decades, these speedy possibilities have driven many outlets into what’s called the 24-hour news cycle: parties with messages to share feel the pressure to deliver their coverage the fastest.

In some arenas, the speed matters. (Can you imagine a traffic report coming out after the fact?)

We don’t feel that pressure. We don’t worry about churning out our stories at 228Main.com.

So why don’t we have posts every day? Why don’t you see my face on your screens all the time?

Because the news cycle is all about directing resources trying to capture attention… And we’re not in the business of “capturing” anything.

Instead, we like being consistently present. Our media give us an outlet to think more deeply about our principles, make sure you know what we’re working on, and communicate important strategies for the big themes in your (our clients’!) lives.

So when can you expect to hear from us?

  • A little each week, online, where you can take in as much as you want. (Not getting our stuff? Drop your email here for our 5-minute weekly digest.)
  • When there’s a new bargain we’re excited about.
  • As there are changes that could affect your portfolio.
  • If your goals and plans and planning reach new milestones.

So here’s what the 228 Main news cycle comes down to… The calendar is not the boss of us. The internet is not the boss of us.

The financial news outlets aren’t even the boss of us.

You are!

Clients, got something we need to hear? Call or write, any time.


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The Information Age is Over

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An Italian philosopher has identified the great paradox of knowledge. The tidal waves of data and information coming at us every second are more likely to drown us than empower us. Gloria Origgi believes we are moving towards the Reputation Age, in which information has value only when it has been filtered by a trusted source.

To illustrate, we recently sought to find the reason behind a rise in the stock price of a company in which we are invested. Turning to Google, filtering to see only news from the last 24 hours, we found a blizzard of information – but nothing related to our quest. None of the search results was from a news source we recognized. Here are the entries we found, with our interpretations and judgement:

1. A tiny investment manager sold some of its shares, an insignificant 0.02% of an average day’s trading volume. Worthless.

2. A press release about one day’s trading action from last July. Worthless.

3. The third entry was of an increasingly common type. Apparently written by a robot, it recites the percentage change in the stock for the prior day, month, and year to date. It also included average analyst ranking and statistics about the stock price and volume of trading. Worthless.

4. All of the remaining entries on the first page of the Google news search were similar in form to the third, with variations in the statistics cited. Two had proprietary technical scales or indicators, one included Bollinger bands, none had actual news about the company. Worthless.

Fortunately, we invest in proprietary subscription-based investment services which include breaking news about the companies in which we invest. A quarterly earnings report is due out within a few days, so we concluded that changing sentiment about that report was probably behind the stock move.

This anecdote demonstrates Dr. Origgi’s concept. The quantity of raw data available is staggering. But only when we to turned to our trusted sources did we find what we wanted in an efficient fashion. How did we know to look there? Reputation.

The Reputation Age. It’s here. We strive to earn a place in it when you are looking for guidance about your plans and planning and wealth issues.

Clients, if you would like to talk about this 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. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.