spending wisely

Time Well Spent: How to Create Time Dividends

photo shows a wooden sign on a table that says "Relax"

At 228 Main, we like to think about the many ways one might be rich. The primary task here is to work to grow your buckets, especially those long-term buckets that may serve you across many years.

Many of our clients, however, are also rich in another precious resource: time.

Just as a company may pay dividends to shareholders, the best investors seem to have a knack for finding those investments of time that pay dividends. And paying attention to our time could mean big things for our financial goals and wellbeing, after all.

Take a closer look at a day or a week in your life and how the hours go by. Is there a set place or routine for those things that may seem to eat up “too much time,” like bills or errands or banking or emails?

Activities like these can really frazzle a person, but when we zoom out, a lot them of them shouldn’t come as a surprise. These are everyday, regular activities.

Laura Vanderkam’s book Off the Clock explores our many approaches to the time we have—the skillful and less skillful ways we spend it! She’s got a system for reviewing our time:

“When you do an activity, ask yourself two questions: Will I ever do this again? If so, is there some system I could develop or something I could do now that would make future instances faster or easier?”

The good news is that there are plenty of ways that small interventions—just one little step, now!—can pay time dividends for weeks, months, or years into the future.

Some of our favorites include automatic deductions: monthly payments to take care of any outstanding debt, investment contributions, and retirement contributions. (“Set it and forget it” is a phrase you might hear for this strategy, although we prefer a more mindful approach!)

We are also big fans of quarterly reviews. It’s roughly how often we adjust portfolios, but the passing of the seasons is a wonderful excuse to think about the state of our goals and the bigger vision.

What else can you attach to the schedule? Could you leave yourself notes for things you’d like to review on your birthday, at the new year, before or after tax season, the start or end of an academic year?

A company may divvy up its profits to splash them around to shareholders on a regular basis, but as individuals we too might find those ways to get our time to pay us back later. It just takes a little forethought now.

Clients, want to talk about this or anything else? Call or write, anytime.


Investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal.

Dividend payments are not guaranteed and may be reduced or eliminated at any time by the company.


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Time Well Spent: How To Create Time Dividends 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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

To Cheap or Not To Cheap: It’s Not Really a Question!

photo shows a dictionary page with the definition of "quality"

Remember Rich Uncle Pennybags? He’s the mascot from Monopoly. Top hat, monocle, sacks of cash. As kids, he might have been the cartoonish dream for some of us, the ultimate image of what “rich” looks like.

Obviously the reality is different, and our dreams mature as we do. Clients, in our conversations with you, it doesn’t seem like his life or image is the one you’re pining for.

But there is one surprising realization about the life of the “rich”: it is usually much, much less expensive to be rich than to be poor.

Why? Having money enables us to live more efficiently and avoid many painful financial pitfalls.

To begin with, credit may sound like a bargain—after all, you’re getting more money now than you otherwise could spend! But there really isn’t any such thing as “cheap credit.” If you are able to lay down cash for major purchases, you don’t just save on fees and interest: you may even be able to negotiate a better price.

If you are funding large items on a credit card, you are likely to wind up paying many times what they are worth. If you find yourself in a spot where you need to turn to high-risk credit in the form of payday loans, things get even worse.

There are other ways that having money allows you to stretch your resources out, too. Buying quality merchandise may take more money up front, but the alternative is buying shoddy products: if you find cheap furniture that falls apart every year or two, you’re still paying to replace pieces more often. You may save money in the long run by paying more up front. (Of course, care must still be taken to select your purchases carefully: higher cost does not always correlate to higher quality!)

Also, when you have a life of plenty you have the luxury of being able to shop around and wait for a better price. The rich get to be rich in time, too. Be a little choosy, not cheap.

These habits are ones that all of us can use to help us build and maintain our own wealth.

The wonderful conundrum that some have discovered is this: the less you spend, the more wealth you accrue; the more wealth you have, the less you need to spend.

Clients, write or call when you’d like to talk about what this means for you.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


Want content like this in your inbox each week? Leave your email here.

Play the audio version of this post below:

To Cheap or Not To Cheap: It's Not Really a Question! 228Main.com Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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

Invest Wisely, Spend Well

© Can Stock Photo / bpm82

A client came in, hat in hand, apologizing profusely for requesting the withdrawal of a few thousand dollars. He seemed sure the request would upset me.

I’m opposed to clients giving their hard-earned money away to scammers or nephews buying bars, so I inquired as to the use of the funds. It turns out that his home needed a modification to accommodate his wife’s changing health.

Of course, I told him that I would be upset if he didn’t use his wealth to make the home improvement. Relieved, he told me that his previous advisor would get agitated about any withdrawals from his investment accounts. It sounded as if that advisor forgot whose money it was.

We devote most of our time and attention and thoughts and words to our version of investing wisely. But what is it all for? There is no reason to be the richest person in the cemetery.

A more balanced view is captured in the short phrase, ‘invest wisely, spend well.’ We aren’t suggesting that you chop down the orchard to sell it as firewood. But it is OK to use the fruit crop to make life better for you and people you care about.

The same lesson was driven home by other friends. In their 70’s, this couple took their extended family on a vacation to a fabulous destination. In the telling, she raved about how great it was while he silently shook his head. I asked him if he had a different opinion. He said they should have started those trips twenty years before.

Many of us need to be diligent about saving and cautious about spending in our working years. Building toward financial independence in the face of everyday expenses can be a struggle. If we do it right, the struggle fades away as the years go by. At a certain point, we may need to warm up more to the idea of spending well.

Clients, we are always thinking about your long term financial position. Your situation seven or fourteen years from now matters—we plan on being here, and we plan on you being here too. But the idea isn’t to pile up the most money you can—it is to strive to have the resources to do what you want and need to do.

Invest wisely. Spend well. If you would like to discuss how this applies to you, 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 investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Should You Spend Like You’re Rich?

© Can Stock Photo / 4774344sean

When children think about rich people the mental image might be something like Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly game: a monocled fat cat in a top hat with bulging sacks of money.

Obviously, the reality is much different. As we mature we typically develop a more realistic picture, but there is one surprising realization: it is usually much, much cheaper to be rich than to be poor. Having money enables us to live more cheaply and avoid many painful financial pitfalls.

To begin with, paying cash is often cheaper than paying with credit. If you are able to lay down cash for major purchase such as vehicles or even houses instead of having to borrow, you don’t just save on fees and interest, you may even be able to negotiate a better price. If you are funding large items on a credit card, you are likely to wind up paying many times what they are worth. If you are hard up enough that you need to turn to high risk credit in the form of payday loans, things get even worse.

There are other ways that having money allows you to stretch your money out, too. Buying quality merchandise may take more money up front, but if the alternative is buying shoddy products need to be replaced more often, you may save money in the long run by paying more up front. (Of course, care must still be taken to select your purchases carefully: higher cost does not always correlate to higher quality!)

Also, when you have a life of plenty you have the luxury of being able to shop around and wait for a better price. If you have two of everything, it is not an emergency if one breaks or gets used up. Without that surplus, you may find yourself having to go out and buy a replacement whether you like the price or not.

These habits, paying cash and shopping carefully and not being in a hurry to spend, are ones that all of us can use to help us build and maintain our own wealth.

The wonderful conundrum that some have discovered is this: the less you spend, the more wealth you accrue; the more wealth you have, the less you need to spend. Please call or write if you would like perspective or conversation about your situation.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.