reflection

A Wealth of Stuff

Our stuff is not the most important part of our financial planning, but it can certainly be part of it. As you look around at the things of your life, we hope that you see them as a reflection of and tool toward your goals—as part of a happier, healthier, and more sustainable financial future.


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Defining Success: Working Hard or Hardly Working?

NBC Universal

So many financial topics intersect with work topics. There are retirement goals, pensions and employer plans, income and benefits, career outlook, possible commuting expenses—the list goes on!

In talking with many of our friends, however, the work topics that have the biggest impact on how we feel day-to-day are a little less concrete. It’s sometimes less about the numbers and maybe more about how we think about our work or how we define success.

Success can be measured in multiple ways; it doesn’t have to be based on the type of career or how lucrative it is. Maybe it’s more about who we get to be at work. Maybe some people achieve success from the relationships they build professionally or the joy they bring to others through their work. Some might enjoy a good competition to feed their ego, while others may be proud just to make it through the day.

The hit sitcom The Office depicts everyday work life for the employees of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, a seemingly mundane office setting in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The office is managed by an eccentric “man-child” who spices up day-to-day activities with crazy stunts along with his maniac second-in-command, Dwight. Michael couldn’t care less if his staff meets quotas every day: he just wants his work friends to be happy. To live life to the fullest.

Somehow, even with all the shenanigans that happen at work, the job gets done. Each character explores their passions, navigates life, and shows us that success isn’t all based on the money you have in your bank account. We can enjoy the little triumphs and give ourselves credit when it’s due.

Now for a little fun… Which character resonates with you? Here are a few fan favorites from The Office lineup: each has their own strengths, goals, dreams, and relationship to their so-called day job.

Michael: Creative, Childlike, Optimistic

  • Michael dances to the beat of his own drummer. He resists going along with the crowd (sound familiar?), and he won’t waste time doing something that doesn’t bring him joy. He finds fulfillment through companionship—and bringing out the best qualities in his colleagues. Success, to him, is living up to the text on the coffee mug he bought for himself, to be the “WORLD’S BEST BOSS.”

Dwight: Analytical, Competitive, Committed

  • Growing up on a farm with his (peculiar) family made Dwight skeptical of “city folk” and anyone who didn’t share his views. But this makes him both curious and thorough in his research as he makes decisions. His ways might be strange to others, but he knows they are right for him. His sense of success comes from earning the promotions and respect he’s always desired.

Jim: Clever, Efficient, Funny

  • Jim really exemplifies the “work smarter, not harder” philosophy. He’s one of the highest producers in the office, but he puts in the least amount of effort. The efficiency in his work allows him to spend his time doing things he enjoys—like creating elaborate pranks on Dwight or meaningful gestures for his romantic interest, Pam. Some might see him as lazy, but he gets in and out so that he can prioritize what’s important to him. His success lies in finding gratification in the small things.

Pam: Practical, Passionate, Thoughtful

  • Pam is always looking for ways to improve herself and the systems and spaces around her. She knows what she is passionate about, and with support, she will take chances toward her dreams. She learns, grows, and ends up changing her mind about things a time or two, but she has the ability to end up where she wants to be. Pam shows us that as long as we have a plan, and we keep our values in mind, it’s never too late to try. Her success comes from learning along the way and being there for those she loves.

These characters, although fictional, remind us that it’s okay to take “serious” topics like work a little less seriously. Sure, we show up to work, we do what needs to be done, but what we get out of the experience may be more up to us than a paycheck.

Everyone is unique, so we will all take different paths to get to where we want to be. We choose how we define success. Does anyone’s approach sound like you? We would love to find out! Call or email us to chat.


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Defining Success: Working Hard or Hardly Working? 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

Episode art courtesy NBC Universal. This text is available at https://www.228Main.com/.

Truck Stop Chili Dogs

What would I have to learn if I could talk to my past self? Or my future self?

There are some mental exercises that might help us reflect on our goals, but here’s what I’m wondering: What do truck stop chili dogs have to teach me?


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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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Nothing Succeeds Like Success

photo shows a person in silhouette on top of a mountain with their arms up triumphantly

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

22, 44, 66: My Life in Thirds

My birthday is approaching, and I’m ruminating about the meaning of another year in the life—but you already know how much I like to take a step back, get the big picture, and imagine the long view.


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Solid Ground and Serious Conflict

You’ve heard us talk before about not getting caught up in panic. It goes to one of our core principles, the idea of avoiding stampedes.

It gets a little complicated when we’re talking about world events that are so immediate. Conflict can be deadly and do serious damage, and the effects reach us all—whether we realize it or not.

We’re in a moment where the business headlines and market volatility are more stark than usual. It can feel disturbing, like things are less certain than ever.

But those of us just beyond the emergencies have an opportunity to reflect. What an important time it is to make sure that our goals, our values, and our resources are aligned. Are we focusing our efforts within our sphere of control? Are we investing in those causes we believe will be of service in this world?

Perhaps it’s how we keep panic from our hearts: find stability in being the most you that you can be. The dust will never settle if we insist on all the pacing, jumping up and down, or spinning in circles.

Invest wisely, spend well. It goes for our money and our attention. The leap to panic is a shorter—but way more costly—trip.

When you need to talk through anything troubling, please reach out.


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

A Gift-Giving Season, All the Year Round

photo shows a pink package with a pink bow on a pink table covered in rainbow confetti in front of a sky blue wall

Going through the winter holidays, all across the globe, many people enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts. One of the recurring features of life—in almost any culture—is a season of gift-giving.

Yet giving seems to figure prominently in the daily lives of people we know, all the year round.

And it takes many forms.

Think of those people in our lives who can do the things we need done, but cannot do ourselves. They understand their personal strengths, develop them into a capacity to help others, and spend time each day improving life for those around them.

And there are those who brighten our day with a smile or a kind word. Their positive perspectives can be contagious.

And (perhaps now more than ever) there are those crucial people in our lives who give us their time—time to connect with us and seek to understand us. When we need some perspective from another, someone who will listen, help us take stock and reflect, those moments can be a tremendous gift.

They say it is better to give than receive. Perhaps giving transforms us in powerful ways, gaining us closer connections with the people in our lives, no matter how intimate or fleeting our association may be.

Gifts born of our talents or perspective or time do not have bows on them, but they may be the most consequential to others.

Clients, in this chapter of life I have more time: if you could use some of it, I would give it to you gladly, unconditionally. Email me or call.


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A Gift-Giving Season, All the Year Round 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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

The Best Way to Be Two-Faced

In Roman mythology, Janus was the deity of beginnings, endings, and transitions. He was all about passageways and traveling. I’m thinking about him as I reflect on where 228 Main has been—and where it’s headed.


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