wellbeing

An Attitude of Gratitude: Get Yourself a Slice

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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Got To Do It? Get To Do It!

photo shows a bunch of balloons against a blue sky

Sometimes the business of life feels just like that: business. The business of staying healthy requires an occasional trip to the dentist or a plateful of greens when you’d rather eat something else.

But we’ve noticed a curious thing lately among some financial planner types. One related that a client said their meetings were like going to the dentist. Another compared the task of financial planning to eating your vegetables. Both talked about the planning process as something that is unpleasant, necessary, but good for your long-term welfare.

Our business with you does not feel like that.

Clients, we wouldn’t pretend to speak for you, but we often find both relief and joy in finding order in life’s chaos. It’s a pleasure to come to understand the meaning of your wealth. It seems we all get a little giddy when we check in and confirm you are on track for your long-term goals or can get your investments better aligned with your values.

What a treat!

As time goes by, the product of investment gains is sometimes wealth beyond expectations. (No guarantees, of course.) Reviewing a long history of beginning balances growing over time feels more puppy dogs and rainbows than dental appointments and bitter veggies.

Psychologists say attitudes are contagious. Some people have told me that I myself have a positive outlook. But that probably would not fully explain the difference in the tone and tenor of our meetings, compared to those dental appointment types. Maybe it comes down to these things:

  • We look for a good philosophical fit before we even begin a working relationship.
  • We believe that those not born with good investing instincts can learn.
  • We trust people to be the experts of their objectives and what they want to accomplish.
  • We strive to meet people where they are, to talk about our areas of expertise in only those ways that everyone participating has a grasp of what is going on—and what we are doing about it.
  • We keep our focus on the long term, to increase the chances that people get to their most cherished goals.

People working together, in mutual respect—that’s what we strive to be about. And what a joy it can be.

When you’re ready to collaborate on your plans and planning, email us or call.


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In It Together

We subscribe to the theory that the better off you are, the better off we will be. More broadly, we believe the greater the wellbeing of our community and society, the greater our own wellbeing.  

Our experience suggests we are on the right track. 

And it stands to reason. Every retiree needs healthy, productive workers to pay Social Security taxes on good earnings. Every business endeavor needs customers with money. Every level of government from the village to the nation requires taxes from productive workers and businesses to offer its basic functions.

America has perhaps been the place where the highest fraction of the people could unlock the greatest part of their own potential. We think this explains our prosperity relative to nearly all other countries. 

Here’s a thought experiment. How would things be different if left-handed people were no longer permitted to engage in any occupation which required tools, even a computer? 

If you are left-handed, this would clearly be a bad thing. A household with two different adults—a left-hander and right-hander—would have a tougher time financially than they would otherwise. (Right-handed people would have “less competition” for better jobs, but would they be any better off overall?) 

When you think about it, a system that discouraged or limited a tenth of the population would hurt us all. To carry on with our example, consider how our world has been enriched in many ways by unique talents of left-handers: Leonardo, Einstein, Helen Keller, Marie Curie, Jimi Hendrix… even Oprah and Lady Gaga!  

And all those less-famous lefties going about their lives, doing ordinary things to make their own lives more extraordinary, have been responsible for untold wealth and progress. 

Certainly, our nation and our world would be poorer, with lower total income distributed more unevenly.

This is why our surest path to the brightest future includes working to expand opportunity to the whole of our people—letting everyone on the ladder, with a fair shot at the next rung.  

Discrimination in access or pay or opportunity makes us all poorer. Inclusion makes us richer, and yes, even when left-handers have a fair shake. And women. And people of color. And anyone else you can think of. 

America’s historic source of strength and prosperity—being the place where people can unlock their own potential—can be made more true for more of us. And it will be to the benefit of all of us. 


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