perspective

The History of the Stock Market: A 5-Word Story

The entire history of the stock market fits into five simple words: it goes up and down. We can’t know the schedule ahead of time, and this can stir up some stress in the short term. But it seems reasonable to guess this whole “up and down” thing may persist.


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The Impossible Journey to Normal


The novel coronavirus is two years on, so what’s the deal with “the return to normal”? Some historical context and a few reminders.

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Getting Stuck on the Ground Floor

“Getting in on the ground floor” may sound enticing. We humans like to be first, best, and on top of things. But just remember that the view is usually better from higher up.


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Pump Up the Prices: Putting Inflation in Perspective

graphic shows a dollar bill inflated

We’ve been hearing plenty out of the Federal Reserve Board from the business news outlets in recent weeks. Every wiggle of the Consumer Price Index has been dutifully tracked and reported, for those on inflation-watch. With recent inflation measures above the FRB’s 2% target, the finger-pointing becomes bigger news than the numbers themselves.

While we have fingers that are capable of pointing, we know they have better uses. One such use is preparing your portfolio to account for inflation. And this may actually take less energy than pointing and wagging our fingers after all!

When inflation dominates headlines, straight-line thinking starts taking over: how will we afford to buy groceries when gas is $300 a gallon? (I’m going to guess that we would find cuts elsewhere, like our cable bill, well before we starved.) And investors sometimes hop out of the market because the cost of doing business gets higher.

And those high-growth, pre-profit darlings will take a hit because a rise in interest rates—nominally to combat inflation—means these companies will pay more for the money to continue their pre-profitable journey.

When we invest in individual companies, we’re able to spot those holdings that benefit from a position of strength, whose business gives them the pricing power to ride out inflationary pressures. We’re excited about these holdings, and since we’re investing for the long haul, we’re expecting to ride along through multiple periods of rising and falling rates.

When we stretch out our time horizon, these major events look more like occasional bumps on the road to wealth.

So, in a way, we’re already investing for times of higher inflation. We make no guarantees that our way is better than any other, but we recommend caution when anyone acts like they have a crystal ball for this topic.

Let’s zoom out even more. At its core, asking about “when to get out” means that an investor will also have to ask “when to get back in”: success would require the investor to be lucky twice. We don’t prefer any scenario that slashes our odds so unnecessarily.

Clients, when you have questions or concerns, please reach out.


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Pump Up the Prices: Putting Inflation in Perspective 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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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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Growing Market Geniuses

photo shows two silvery arrows pointing opposite directions on a yellow background

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” 

What if I told you—the best clients in the world—that you (yes, each and every one of you) have that first-rate intelligence? 

See, there’s something in our work together that tests this idea, just about on a daily basis. When you join us, you learn to live with the volatility in the market: it goes up and down, and we accept this as a feature of the ride. 

Very often, it goes down faster and deeper than it goes up. We may expect a 5% drop around three times a year: we might see a 10% drop around every two years. Meanwhile, gains of 10% are few(er) and far(ther) between: we’ve only seen it twice in the S&P 500 this century and only four times in the whole of the last century. And those gains have usually come shortly after one of the big drops. 

But we wouldn’t be in this business if, in the long run, the market went down more than it went up. 

So what gives? There are two seemingly opposing ideas about the market: 

  1. Drops go down faster, farther than gains go up.
  2. It goes up more than it goes down. 

Clients know the secret: the first idea is all about daily events, and the second idea is about the long haul. No guarantees, of course, but it is possible that these things can both be true. We just care less about the former. 

Therefore, if you consider yourself a member of the best client base in the world, then I consider you to be of first-rate intelligence. 

We’ve grown a community of geniuses here at 228 Main. Want to talk more about what this means for you? Write or call, anytime. 


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmapped and my not be invested into directly. 


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We Walk a Bridge to the Future

Walking one of my favorite paths recently, I came to this modest bridge over a small stream.

It occurred to me that if I went across it, I would arrive in the future—say, a minute later. But carrying it one step farther, when you think about it, the whole rest of my life was waiting for me on the other side of that bridge.

(They say exercise and nature both boost creativity. Creativity—isn’t that a polite word for the thoughts and connections spinning in my head?)

When I woke up the next morning, the idea was still with me, and still growing. The whole rest of my life was waiting for me when I threw the covers off and got out of bed. The whole rest of my life was waiting for me when I walked out the door to begin the new day.

We strive to make the most of the moments as they come. And we treasure the lessons and memories we’ve accumulated. Life is partly a question of balancing the present moment—and the past—with the possibilities of the future.

The future is where things may be different and better; it is still malleable in a way the past is not.

Likewise, our work with you reflects these elements of time. We try to understand the past: where you are coming from. And the present: your current situation. And the future: what you are aiming for.

Balance among these things is vital. Thinking about the future, we may make tomorrow’s moments better. Understanding the past, we get a sense of the narrative and continuity of our lives. But the present moment is where we live, where we have the chance to find happiness.

Clients, if you are ready to improve our understanding of your past, or present, or future, please email us or call.


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A Lesson at One Chapter’s End

photo shows a stack of books with browned and gilded spines

In one of life’s great ironies, quite a few people pass away around retirement age, a short time before, or just after. Many of us have seen this up close: for me, it started with my father, then my oldest brother, then my wife. All passed away at the age of 62. 

Each had enjoyed life and family, found satisfaction in their work, had travelled some and seen some sights. None planned to be done when they were; all had plans for more.

We’re thinking recently about what could have been… and what could be. This is all about the past and the future. When we focus too much time and attention on those, our capacity to enjoy the present is diminished, the ability to just be

There’s a beautiful chaos in today, so staying present is a beautiful way to be. One way I interpret this idea: that we better have a little fun every day. This is the formulation that’s been popular in my home. My late wife Cathy once embroidered it on a small wall decoration. 

With appreciation for the past, and having made plans for the future, we were striving to have some fun every day. 

And I still do.  

The balance between the present and the future is a grounding influence on our work. Our saying “invest wisely, spend well” is all about that idea. Investing wisely is about the future; spending well is about the present. 

If you would like to talk about that balance in your life, or anything else, please email us or call. 


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Big Chance and No Chance

photo shows dice on felt

We’ve written before about how the stock market is not a casino, and in light of recent remarkable events, other professionals are reminding the public too.

What had been a $4 stock recently ran up to over $400. Although we heard a hundred different ideas about what the episode meant, we can almost certainly understand that no, the company did not actually become a hundred times more valuable.

We do not know the future, so I can’t tell you that buying after it made headlines is going to turn out poorly, but (in my opinion) you’d have far better odds at an actual casino.

Let’s think about that for a second. Have you ever put a little money on something that had the chance to turn out really big? A long shot at the race track, a chance on a huge lottery payout, or stock in a company that might make a lot of money if it doesn’t go broke?

Our business in here is sound investing, not gambling or speculating, though I myself have considered the odds and laid my money down a time or two.

But this recent example buzzing in the news isn’t like that. It’s one of these situations where lots of people get caught up in something that has the same practical meaning as flushing money down the toilet.

It would be better to invest wisely, spend well, and plan for the long haul. For some, chasing those big chances can be fun in moderation. But we don’t advise it become a daily activity.

Jumping into something with even worse odds than those big chances? We wouldn’t count on anything longer than a long shot.

Clients, when you have questions or concerns, please reach out.


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