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.

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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.

Your financial nature has everything to do with greater health and wealth.

It truly is all about you.

And you are exactly right. Your nature is the key to greater wealth & better health.

Find your nature here.

We believe passionately that you have all the talents and strengths you need to create the life you want, and we’re dedicated to help you transform your money into an empowering, creative tool. There are 7 distinct human natures, each having their own set of strengths and challenges, their own interpretations of words, their own perspectives, and their own traps. Because there are 7 human natures, self-help experts, including personal finance “gurus”, often fall short: they are unconsciously speaking to those who share their natures leaving those who don’t unable to understand, apply, and integrate well-intended advice.

If you know your nature you have the context within which your thoughts, beliefs, actions, and patterns make sense. Tips, strategies, and advice of any kind are more easily and appropriately understood, applied, and integrated because you know who you are. It is possible to take what you need and leave the rest without suffering another failed diet, exercise regimen, relationship plan, or financial strategy.

In just seven questions we’ve created a way for you to name your nature, learn more about it, and begin to filter your experiences through it. Our aim is for this information to give you a healthier, clearer perspective of yourself, your many opportunities financial and otherwise, and the world around you. Just click the image.

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Financial Evolution     The 7 Natures     Your Financial Level     Your Financial State     Your Financial Evolution

 

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

Are you where you want to be financially?

It takes someone with a vision of the possibilities to attain new levels of experience. Someone with the courage to live his dreams. ~Les Brown

Your nature is not a choice, but your financial level is. No matter how you came to experience your current financial situation, it is something you can change. Like the our survey, there is a tool to find your financial level: eMoney, available to all our clients. For now simply review the seven levels below and note which is most like your life today and which is the scenario you want.

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1: Your expenses are greater than your income, and you may be getting deeper into debt.
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2: Your income may be enough to cover expenses but it’s not always there when you need it.
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3: Your income covers your expenses and nothing more, leaving you with no margin.
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4: Your income covers expenses with some surplus left over which is saved.
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5: Part of your income is invested with the goal of giving you a second income.
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6: Your second income reduces expenses and makes your life easier.
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7: Your second income covers expenses, and you no longer need to work: financial independence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a process to go from your current financial reality to financial independence and meet each smaller financial goal along the way:

Evolution     Your Paradigm     Your Level     Your State     Your Evolution     Our Services

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Photo by choko

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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Health and Wealth

This is your shepard FINANCIAL: our core values.

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. ~Gloria Steinem

In our business, we tell people to dream. ~Tom Shepard

 

Located on the gorgeous Southern Maine coast, we serve clients throughout the United States. We have over twenty years of experience in financial planning, coaching & advising and have built our company upon understanding that 1. money is a tool best used to help you live the life you want, and 2. your health & wealth are intricately linked. Ours is an active management approach, making the most of your financial opportunities so that you may be confident in a strong, supportive financial plan customized to you.

We are guided by our core beliefs. 

Read more about Your Evolution here.

 

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Financial Lies & the Damage They Cause

 When lies are repeated often enough they start to be accepted as truth. Take a line from the Kansas song Dust in the Wind:
“…all your money won’t another minute buy…”
So, why do affluent people live longer than non-affluent people? Take a look at this startling article from The Atlantic for some pretty obvious reasons. What the article misses is the impact of financial stress on overall health and life expectancy. Those who are stressed out by money often spend their time, (which, in addition to money, is another of our currencies), worrying, often losing vital sleep. Worry and stress are the number one reasons for a shortened life, see this piece from NPR. Another of our currencies, our health, is destroyed by stress about money and the time it consumes. Many people in this position turn to substance abuse to numb themselves to the realities of not having enough money, further damaging their health, costing them money, and consuming their time. Money does buy another minute, in fact according to the Atlantic article above, $10,000 may just buy you additional months of life. The reasons are as much within the body itself as within our communities.
This first lie is often followed up with another: “money is the root of all evil.” That is a misquote. “The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” is the proper quote from the Bible. Because of this misquote many people adopt a relationship with money based on hate, disgust, or indifference. This disconnection by those who lack, in this case lack money, always gives the upper hand to those who have, often those who love money. However money is not evil, it’s neutral. It’s just a thing without bias. We trade our time and energy for money and our money for sustenance, things, and experiences that bring joy. Boiled down a bit more, money is a tool best used to provide yourself with what you need and want in life, it doesn’t have the power to make anyone evil.
While you can’t go to a store and trade your cash for time, it is worth accepting that easing financial stress is a worthy aim. However, if your belief is that money is the truly the root of all evil, you are setting yourself up for not having the money you need. Since money is not the root of evil and your health and quality of life will improve if financial stress were lessened, it may be time to find a financial advisor, a financial professional who understands how to use money, and let them mentor, coach or advise you. This is one way you evolve with your money.

Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advise 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.

Photo: Krystian Olszanski