oracle of louisville

A Tangle of Time, Money, and Enjoyment

Ever notice how hard it is to say, “Okay Einstein…” without sounding sarcastic? So I’m no Einstein, but I am thinking about my own theory of relativity. Spoiler: don’t let the project of accumulation blur the enjoyment out of life.


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Do Health and Wealth Start with Gratitude?

photo shows a small heart pendant with the words "i am grateful"

The Harvard Medical School published an essay some time ago on the power of gratitude, explaining:

“Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

Relish, improve, deal, build… Those are verbs we can get behind! Gratitude can be about past blessings, current conditions, or reflect a hopeful and optimistic attitude about the future. One of the best things about an attitude toward gratitude is that it can be cultivated.

In one cited study, three groups of people were directed to write a few sentences each week. One group was instructed to write about irritations or things that had displeased them. The second was directed to write about things that had affected them. The third group was directed to focus on things that had happened for which they were grateful.

After ten weeks, one group was more optimistic about life, and had a greater sense of wellbeing. (That group also happened to exercise more and make fewer visits to the doctor.) You can guess which.

We believe there are interesting implications for the work we do together with you. Short-term fluctuations in the markets may cause irritation, but gratitude for long-term returns might give us a broader perspective. The economy and markets always seem to be a mixed bag, but gratitude for opportunities may help us avoid a focus on problems that might prevent us from investing effectively.

At the heart of all this is a simple truth, that we get to choose what gets our attention. Does choosing gratitude make us healthier, wealthier, and wiser? No guarantees, but we might have more fun while we find out together.

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


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An Attitude of Gratitude: Get Yourself a Slice 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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The Right Amount Is Best

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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.


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It’s All Black-and-White (Except When It’s Gray)

It would be nice if the path were always clear or the choice always obvious. But a life aimed at the long haul is a little more complicated. No guarantees, but at least there’s plenty of good company here in the messy real world.


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Nothing Succeeds Like Success

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The world is full of advice, from self-help resources to lists, “listicles,” and everything in between. (Incidentally, check back next week for our post “48 Ways to Know that You’re Not Famous Enough Yet!”)

We’ve noticed that a lot of this content focuses on the things to avoid. Getting familiar with common mistakes sounds logical enough on the surface, but we’re also contrarians… so we’ve been thinking about this for a while.

This is the model that’s just about always been used in our schools and even our pastimes. Our work is returned to us with the errors marked so that we can correct them, review, and push on. When a team loses, even by a small margin, the plays get scrutinized so that the team can learn from the defeat. Makes a certain kind of sense.

But there are a million ways to mess something up. More finite, however, is the list of ways to really shine at something. How often do we stop to consider what went right? We suggest we should be learning from our successes, too.

“Was this success a win or a fluke?”

“What made Company X a strong one?”

“In this project, I’m glad I paid attention to…”

These are just a few ideas for prompts, because goodness knows we don’t need any more lists about “how to not get it wrong.” We’d like to know more about how to get it right.

Clients, when you’re ready to chat, please write or call.


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Financial Planning, Starring You!

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Some pros rely on the idea that financial planning is a mysterious process, requiring advanced mathematics and cold, hard reasoning that mere mortals cannot achieve.

We keep seeing language to this effect across the financial services industry. Maybe you have, too?

  • “We’re the best solution for objective planning.”
  • “This is a strategic, objective process for financial freedom.”
  • “Everyone needs an objective partner to shape their plan.”

Being “objective” gets held up as a pinnacle of professionalism, but what’s so great about it? Objectivity is the idea that we’re more interested in the reality that exists beyond an individual’s experience—that truth is out there beyond one’s feelings and deliberations.

Objectivity is overrated, in our opinion.

Clients, what’s so bad about being the main focus of your own story? The objective part—the math!—should be working backwards from the goals you bring to the table.

I will never tell you how much you “should be” spending in retirement: you are the boss of your life.

I can’t know what portion of your assets “should be” more liquid: let’s talk about your mid-range goals first.

I don’t have an opinion on what your employment plans “should be”: you’re the one who has to wake up each day and make the most of it.

You are the star of this show, and it’s an honor to be here with you. Whether we’re trying to get some better lighting on things or rehearsing for what’s ahead, the focus is… you!

Clients, is it time to revisit any goals? Write or call.


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Should You Spend Like You’re Rich?

The so-called “rich people” in my life don’t carry around big bags of money or wear monocles. One thing that sets them apart? How they spend. Our resources actually allow us to live more cheaply and avoid more pitfalls.


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