Retirement Planning vs. Life Planning

People do not retire. They are retired by others. ~Duke Ellington

Retirement is usually held up as something we all must prepare, plan and save for because it’s the ultimate, natural end-game. However, there is nothing natural about it. In fact, the concept of leaving the workforce at a certain later age and having the money to support oneself was originally a socialist idea! It was adopted by the United States government in the early 20th century as a means to force older workers out of the workforce so there would be room for younger workers. The government then sold the idea to all Americans, branding it as the reward for decades of hard work which spawned many new industries and the rise of Florida as the go-to retirement destination. Though we may think of this as completely normal, it’s only been a popular model for a couple of generations. (The New York Times has this great overview of the history of retirement.)

We’re not fans of the idea of retirement or the notion of retirement planning. It suggests the end of life as you know it or the end of life, period. It’s off in the future, some idealized “some day.” If the picture of that “some day” isn’t your own, or if you don’t find value in delayed gratification, retirement planning may be stressful, painful, or impossible. Some people give up and give in to the pitfalls and distortions of their natures, trapped by self-imposed ceilings. Many people never become aware of living like this, but others do. Each scenario is equally tragic.

We favor the idea of life planning which includes the goal of financial independence plus room to keep living and growing beyond any one financial level, life stage, or age limit set by legislators. Life planning is in the present. It’s a process powered by your intrinsic motivation rather than discipline, which is a lot more comfortable. Our approach begins at the core of who you are rather than a foundation of external factors. Life planning is about being fully alive, growing and developing, and evolving with your money.

Our goal is to help you create and practice a financial strategy that looks out for all your needs, wants, goals, and aspirations. That starts right now and keeps a healthy eye on the future. That’s using your money to support your life as it unfolds, expands, and evolves.

Age in unimportant. Good planning is about what we’re being called to do now and getting on with it.

Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. They do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial. No strategy or process assures success or guarantees against losses.

What is Financial Planning?

Often financial planning is too closely associated with investing alone. Our approach is a seven-spoke wheel taking into account all the ways in which you interact with money and value as well as all the elements that go into a healthy financial strategy.

Financial Planning Spokes 2

By pulling these pieces together you’re able to create a financial practice and strategy that supports itself as you evolve with your money.

Here’s how we do it:

Investing: Of course this includes your investment portfolio and our investment philosophy, but it can also include investing in yourself, your family, your community, small businesses, and in other ways that create more value for  you. When helping you plan your investments we help you understand all your options, interpret information and market trends, balance near-term and long-term priorities, and stay connected to your money.

Tax Planning: Taxes are an inevitable aspect of your financial picture. We help you leverage your financial strategy to minimize your taxes.

Estate Planning: This is not only for those with millions in assets. In the event of anyone’s death or incapacitation, estate planning will help ensure loved ones are taken care of, that you are taken care of in the event of incapacitation, minimize estate taxes, and will help avoid legal battles. As your life and finances evolve, so must your estate planning.

Spending: We help you examine how and why you spend your money so that your spending can become intentional, based on creating more value for you. Much financial wisdom tells you to decrease or stop spending your money. We believe that you can spend your money in ways that support your health and wealth.

Earning: Just like your spending, your earning can drain you or empower you. We help you determine your capacity to earn, how you earn, and how to increase the amount of money you earn. Sometimes that means working more, sometimes it means working less. We look at how and in what ways to add value to your earning so you can earn more and protect your ability to earn money, manage savings, invest to diversify earnings, and truly evolve with your money.

Insurance: Part of your full financial plan is recognizing the need to protect what you’ve got so that you can manage your current situation and pursue the next level. We help you prioritize your protection needs and the insurance plans to meet them, which can change through out your financial evolution.

Leverage: We help you find ways you can make your life easier, less expensive, and move closer to financial independence. Often what you do in one area of your financial plan will benefit another, for example you can may leverage your investments to reduce your taxes or spend money in  a way that gives you the ability to earn, save, or invest more money. As your financial plan evolves new opportunities will emerge, and having a full, comprehensive, customized financial plan positions you to make the most of them.

 

Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. They do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial. No strategy or process assures success or guarantees against losses. LPL Financial and shepard FINANCIAL representatives do not offer tax or legal advice. We suggest you that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

map to better finances

Your Evolution: Better Health & Greater Wealth

We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution. ~Bill Hicks

There are no shortcuts in evolution. ~Louis D. Brandeis

Bring on what’s next. ~Tom Shepard

Your financial evolution is the process aimed at taking you from your current financial level to financial independence and beyond. Along the way your smaller financial goals become mile-markers highlighting the journey. This holistic approach to financial management is designed to integrate with your life today, your plans for the next stage of your life, and the financial independence you envision. We have developed this process so that it can be accessed by anyone who wants to experience greater health and wealth regardless of their nature or financial level. Your financial evolution is collaborative, and we help guide and support you as much as provide a gratifying financial experience.

This is different than goal-setting and tracking.

First we help you understand your paradigm. This is imperative because it’s who you are at the core. You’ll know your strengths so that you can leverage them to reach your goals faster and easier, and you’ll know the potential pit-falls specific to your paradigm so that you can avoid or correct them. Your financial plan won’t demand you become someone else, but it will ask you to stretch beyond your comfort zone to develop second nature skills which become easier to use each time you evolve through the financial states.

Next we help you to accurately identify your financial level. Often due to habits, feelings, perceptions, or misinformation it is hard to truly know your level.

We’ll help you create a new understanding by envisioning your level on a y-axis:

Financial Levels

On the x-axis we help you see which state you’re experiencing within your current level.

States Y Axis

When put together you’ll have a map, what we call the Evolution Matrix.

Evolution Matrix

From there we’ll show you what comes next which includes small changes you can make in your daily life, changes to your financial strategy, or a simple shift in perception or intention.

For example, if you are currently investing but have not made the connection to your money as a source of positive energy, as creating more value, you are at level 5 state 4.

Sample Evol Matrix

What’s next is moving a space to the right. In this instance you’d become connected to the creative power of your money. Exactly how is determined collaboratively. Sometimes moving from one state to the next takes some time, and at other times it only takes a moment; sometimes the steps you take are fast, and a shift in perspective takes a good bit of time. We are your coach through each aspect, and we offer you the insights not always apparent to you when you’re in it yourself. Once you reach the seventh state your strategy becomes focused on moving up a level.

The Evolution Matrix is a somewhat imperfect illustration of your evolution. Our intention here is to show you that this is an ordered, logical process which will neutralize money, empower you to embrace your nature and break out of your rut so that you can live your best possible life. This process naturally eases financial stress, brings clarity to money and finance, and allows you and your spouse, partner, family members to have a common language for money as well as a common map to what’s next. Because many people are gravely disconnected from the system of money as well as their own finances, we’ve found that intentional financial evolution is the antidote to fearing the unknown and creates an opportunity to know, explore, and enjoy value, interests, and passions on an individual basis. And that isn’t in the far future, it’s right now.

Our role is to leverage our professional education, expertise, and services to help raise you to a higher financial level. In other words, you don’t do this alone. You can be confident when working with a team that values customizing and personalizing your financial strategy to your nature, your level, and your state so that you can live out your dreams. This is our passion.

Here’s to your evolution.

What’s next for you? Talk to us about how we can help you evolve with your money.

General Disclosure Long

Navigating Financial States: the path to greater wealth.

Everything has its wonders… and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.  ~Helen Keller

Within each financial level are seven possible states, and to get to your next level you must evolve through each state. It’s a very natural process, and because there are only seven specific states, the whole of financial evolution becomes easier, more organic. Each state has value as part of this natural progression, and we encourage you to find the value in each state even when your experiences feel less than natural; if your nature doesn’t match the state you’re in you will likely feel some discomfort. There is no need to worry because this means you are indeed evolving. Sometimes moving from one state to another takes some effort, other times it’s as simple as a shift in perspective. Here are the seven states in order:

unnamed-4

Insufficient: here you lack the resources you need to thrive. It is a reactive state which can seem chaotic and cause you to become reactive yourself, even if it is not your nature. When you are experiencing this state acceptance is crucial as it is the undeniable start of something new. This state is also very motivating: you see that you don’t have what you need to evolve, so your focus becomes finding your right pathway to the next state. To begin, write down everything that’s swirling around in your head and set it aside.

 

unnamed-6

In this state, Sufficient, you have what you need but not always when the need arises. It’s like being on a roller-coaster, and can be exhilarating or exhausting… or both. This state is also characterized by feeling and spending. It’s important to remember that you may experience your emotions without being controlled by them, and spending on things that bring you more value is not anything to feel badly about, in fact doing so will help you make your way to the next state.

 

unnamed-7

Being in the Efficient state means getting off the roller-coaster and smoothing out your resources and expenses so they become aligned. In this state your money is so well allocated there is no margin, and the task at hand is work. Here you must work toward a surplus and avoid getting stuck, despite our cultural idealization of this state, so you can move into the following state.

 

unnamed-8

This state, Proficient, you are inclined to save or reserve your surplus resources. You have not quite become connected to their power as sources of positive energy for your life which can and will multiply and magnify. Saving your money can seem like the most important financial task, and it may be tempting to remain in this state. Doing so will cause your evolution to stagnate leading to missed opportunities. When you have connected to your money fully and saved what is appropriate to save, you are ready to move on to the next state.

 

unnamed-9

This is the Productive state, where you begin to create more of what you want so you can enjoy it. The decrease in energy put into reacting, feeling, working, and saving give you more energy, time and money to invest in your passions. You are nicely connected to your resources now, and your resources are energizing, positively reinforcing your direction and intention. Though you experience more joy in this phase, there is always something next.

 

unnamed-10

In the Deductive state your resources make your life easier. You are able to use the results of your investments to free yourself from stress and burden. This state is about letting go of what weighs you down or complicates your life so you can focus on raising yourself higher, and by collaborating with others you can raise each other even higher. In some instances this state may include using unearned income to ease your expenses, leveraging your resources to reduce your expenses, or pursuing innovations.

 

unnamed-11

The Inductive state is like being inducted into a new life: you have reached the last state of evolving to a higher level. This is where you form a new vision for yourself, of what is coming next, and you are able to lead others through the same situations and experiences you’ve had up until now. This is a time of gratitude, giving to others, and helping to make the world a better place in some way that is meaningful to you. It’s also a time of  celebration and rest because a new adventure is waiting for you just over the next hill. You will reach a new level where you’ll have to move through these seven states again.

 

Your Evolution       Your Financial Advisor

The opinions voiced in this material is for general information only.

They do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.

From Dream to Vision: Improving Health & Building Wealth

We want to help others live healthier, wealthier lives. 

Your wealth is our mission. Your health is our vision.

It makes no sense to pursue money at the expense of your health only to have to use your money to buy back your health later. An addiction to efficiency exists in our culture, and people are often swallowed by striving to get more done in less time with fewer resources at greater and greater cost to their health. To make matters worse, many people see money and value as outside of themselves, a frustrating system to which they must conform if they want any measure of “success.” The stress caused by living this way can be deadly and destructive.

We promote the view that money can and should be used as a positive source of energy nurturing your health and wellbeing, empowering you to live your life more fully. By neutralizing money you become able to interact with it more positively and accept that your financial practice is as important to your health and wellbeing as exercise, fresh air, and good nutrition. We believe there is no one way to manage money, no one recipe for financial health and you are your own financial guru.

Because health and wealth are intertwined, our mission is to help you implement small changes so you can experience less financial stress, less financial conflict, and more of what you love, more of your passions, and an increased capacity to live your best life. We help you understand how your financial life can be better integrated into the way you live. We leverage our financial expertise to help you feel more connected and in control of your financial wellbeing. We help you evolve with your money through a careful, considered investment strategy using the most appropriate financial products and services available.

To help you live well with your money, we have created a process for evolving along a predictable, repeatable, and sustainable path. We envision a healthier, wealthier life for you and can help you pursue it.

 

General Disclosure Long

Evolve with your money

Evolve with your money.

Your map to financial independence and beyond.

Traditional financial planning often starts with your goals for the future: retirement, educational costs, increasing wealth, making a big purchase such as buying a home, off-setting taxes, starting a business, and so on. These goals are often compartmentalized which, in addition to them being off in the future, can leave you disconnected from your money and unable to stay motivated to stick to the strategies you’ve developed for each distinct goal. It’s like suiting up to play all sports all at once, getting tangled in the equipment, becoming immobile and frustrated so you quit.

We’re different. We’re an active, health-oriented financial planning coaching, and wealth management company rooted in the belief that you, your well-being, and your nature matter most in your financial strategy. Through twenty years of experience we have come to believe that a balanced, ethical, and sound financial strategy is one that integrates your life now with your future goals and evolves organically with you and with systems of money, value, and trade. We have developed a process for evolving with your money which helps keep you connected, focused, and engaged in your finances as you pursue wealth-building. Evolving with your money means you are not a slave to it. Instead you are accessing your money as a source of creative energy providing you with greater confidence, a stronger connection with yourself and others, and an increased capacity to live the life you want to live.

There are seven financial levels, and you likely have already experienced several of them. They are in a particular order because evolving with your money means intentionally moving from your current level to a higher, better level as your finances and your experience with your money improve. To move raise your level you will cultivate and leverage certain appropriate skills and tools that become available as you evolve.

Equally important as the financial levels is your natural relationship with money, your very nature. The ways in which you experience each financial level and the specific skills you practice must honor your nature. Success can’t depend on you becoming someone else, and there is no one-size-fits-all financial management approach. There are seven natures, each as valuable as the rest; there is no hierarchy. Our method for a healthy financial practice begins with embracing your nature followed by dreaming of your highest life. From there we create with you a roadmap for your financial evolution.

No matter who you are or what financial level you currently live within, you can evolve with your money and experience a healthier, wealthier life. Some people choose to remain in a comfortable financial and emotional rut or give in to thinking that’s just how life is. Our diverse clients know there is always something more just beyond the next curve which keeps them motivated through their financial journeys. They trust us to be their personal finance coach and help get them there. From pre-investment positioning to wealth management, diversifying income and unearned income to retirement planning, investing, saving, and staying true to your financial strategy when making a large purchase, we offer reliable, honest, personal support as well as highly professional services to help you evolve with your money.

 

Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. They do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.

No strategy or process assures success or guarantees against losses.