The Love of Money

It takes money to make money.” is a famous cliché. In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, I’d like to explore this cliché with you by looking at it through the lens of other currency. By taking money out of the language and replacing it with other words we trade for the things we want, we might gain some insight. A new way of speaking can improve communication. And when our ears hear what they want to hear, we can be more loving with ourselves and others. The universe expands and abundance knocks on the door. Here it goes…

It takes time to make time! Have you ever paused a second before responding and found yourself doing just the opposite of what your instincts prepared you to do? That is what makes us human. The pause. Finishing a task, cleaning as we go, taking a moment to be proactive. These are all ways that spending time helps us create time. Keep spending time with people you love, find others who inspire you and there will be less room for time to slip through your fingers. Just like money.

It takes energy to make energy! Have you ever felt a bit sleepy and a walk of the dog or a ride on a bike then kickstarted your day or shifted it into high gear? Yes – me too! Have you ever lacked motivation? A word of encouragement, a friend’s extended hand, or flash of a smile can light a fuse that inspires us to act. Keep spending energy around people you love, find others who have good energy, and there will be less room for energy to pass you over. Just like money.

It takes love to make love! Have you ever felt surly and unloveable and a friend’s note or call snapped you out of it? We tend to spend more time and energy looking at our past faults and current flaws. Often we spend our money trying to pay off past debts and fix current problems over investing in what we love. Yet riches are attracted by stating goals and intentions that focus on improving the world around you and sharing your words of encouragement with others in notes and letters. Love notes and letters always follow the same formula. Look for the good in each other and feel love flowing back to you as you write it. Keep spending the words, throw them around among the people you love. Accept each other for who we are, find out what we want to become and keep the encouragement flowing through short notes. Celebrate success with letters of thanks, gratitude and pride. Share love through money when you have it.

Money is an energy that needs to move and flow in order to be of any value at all. You accept this when we speak of the other things we trade. Time, energy and love are no good if they are hoarded. We don’t all see money and its value the same way. There are seven natural ways to relate to money. In a relationship we are often confused by our partner’s approach. With money we can speak of these things in terms that make it more clear. Spending money is essential. So is earning it, saving it, investing it, leveraging it, giving it and taking it. We are each born with one of these dominant world views – Our Financial Nature. Our Nurture then interacts with us to make certain beliefs and habits stronger and wears away at our understanding of others. Dysfunction and discord arise within us and among us when we see any of these as evil. Respect and love each other in all ways. Use money when you have it.

There is a play we can call, a recipe we can write, and a history to be told of people using all their currency to create heaven here on earth. And money is one of the tools. Handle it well – like a good knife, it’s sharp and it can cut you, or it can save you and everyone around you. Use time, energy, words and money well. Use it with LOVE.

Tom Shepard, CFP

Financial Health Pulse

2021: Taking a Financial Pulse

As we step into 2021, so many were awaiting the results of the Georgia run-off to finalize what 2021 will look like on the investment front. However, designing a portfolio based on political outcomes is, on some level, a fool’s errand. The beauty of our democracy with all its checks and balances means that extreme changes are harder to enact. While politicians make bold universal promises to get elected, what can be accomplished is often earthlier. I am encouraged by this election as I was in 2016. Here’s why.

First. There is no election conspiracy. Friends of mine on the right point to every election having certain patterns, yet feel the burn of how this one violated the patterns we’ve come to rely upon as laid down by our Constitution. Therefore, something must be amiss. There must be fraud. In actuality, what’s different can be attributed to two factors:  COVID-19 and Trump’s presidency. As we know, COVID-19 led to massive mail-in balloting. It was the safest choice for citizens across the nation and expats to adopt to have their vote count. The approach resulted in the greatest number of votes ever being cast. But that alone didn’t tilt the outcome democratic. The result is the consequential sum, the defining reaction to Trump’s derisive and deflective nature that has underpinned every action he’s taken in office. By proclaiming fraud, challenging every state in which he lost, Trump created and furthered a sense of distortion. The American people were not afforded the traditional pattern of voting, a President conceding an election and transitioning his position of power with grace to the President-Elect. This week’s unfolding mayhem, incited by Trump’s own ongoing rhetoric, leaves me consoling the right in 2020 as I did the left in 2016. Then as now the advice is, “Don’t bite off your nose to spite your face.” The elections are over, Trump has been muzzled and censored.  Maybe now we can figure out how to truly listen to one another and work together. There is much work to be done.

Second. Given Trump’s polarizing and reactionary presidency, I find it comforting to know that the electorate sought more of a middle ground. The result is not a total repudiation of the economic policy of the last 4 years. If it was, the pendulum would have swung further. This election was lost by a man who has put himself above all others. That he is adopted by people who see God as being first and service the way of the Lord has baffled me. I am impressed that moderates tried to balance his loss by placing more republicans in the house and holding the Republican majority in the senate. The Georgia run off was an opportunity for Trump to lead the Republican Party and graciously usher in a new administration with a split congress. Instead, he alone is responsible for bringing out the vote from the left and pushing enough moderates to vote democrat to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. There is much work to be done. Let US figure out how to do it together.

Third. The first women vice president has been given a very unique platform. Only three times before in this nation’s history was the Senate spilt 50/50 – 1881, 1953 and briefly in 2001. John Adams had this to say about the vice presidency: “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” I think Kamala Harris will find it far more significant. But it will be hard. Every senator will matter. The American people are tired of polarizing politics. They want common sense and centrist ideas to be led with civility. That is our take and we are investing based on it.

Here’s what that means. Certain industries will have a friendly tail wind, others will be sailing a reach, and others still may face a bit of wind in the face. We may actually get some kind of coherent plan for healthcare. Transparency may allow executives to plan rather than react. Whether anything can get through congress is beside the point. Green energy could have already put up the spinnaker and legalization of marijuana may take another step forward. More stimulus is probably on the way and the leadership around COVID will take its cues from what has worked in other places like New Zealand and Australia. That should be good for growth, But lockdown and the prospect of greater interest in curbing monopolies could temper some enthusiasm. We expect that diversification will work, corrections may happen, sectors could rotate and a wall of new worries will give wall street more footholds to climb. The pandemic is still the most powerful force in the room and is a slow-moving natural disaster being met with equally powerful monetary weapons. At some point the pandemic will end, the money printing will stop, and a successful economic recovery will be met with a Wall Street sell off.  But that too shall pass.

ProtectManage and Pursue are the three motivations that drive investing. If you had an amazing year in 2020, it might make sense to trim a little profit and reallocate. That management technique may be hard to do if your focus is on making more. If you are still on the sideline, you might do well to start nibbling at the things that are starting to show signs of life. For most of us, it’s more important to “live life with the money we have” rather than “live for the money with the life you have left.” 

Find your purpose and go fulfill it and four years from now we will all be better off. “If you can’t find someone to fly with give me a call, I’ll be your wingman.”

Tom Shepard, CEO/Founder
Shepard Financial

Holistic Financial Planning the shepard FINANCIAL Way

Many wealth management firms are embracing holistic financial planning which is a trend based on improved client relationships and a more client-centered approach to planning & wealth management. This is good news! It’s meant to better serve individual clients and their families in a long-term way, but to us “holistic financial planning” has a much deeper meaning. In the mainstream, holistic financial planning is still very much about an advisor’s performance, using existing products & services to provide a broader strategy, and using updated technologies to report across varied investment accounts. It’s still about what the advisor is doing, not who the clients are and how they naturally understand money. Without that crucial understanding, attempting “holistic financial planning” is like trying to paint a house with one arm tied behind your back.

Here’s what we know: every single person is born with a specific understanding of life. We’ve called this the 7 Financial Natures because that’s how this pertains to our business. You have a set of financial skills, an innate understanding of how money functions, how to get it, how to use it, how to value it, and how to trade it. Money and finance do not need to be upsetting, threatening, judging, confounding, or immobilizing. Money and finance can be supportive, safe, exciting, uplifting, and positive. This is the perspective from which we operate, and this is what we want all clients to understand- a perspective shift is necessary to evolve with your money. It usually means letting go of what you think you know about yourself and money so that you can learn new ways to relate to it, interact with it, build wealth, prepare for the future, exist in partnership with your finances, and grow as a person as your money supports the life you want.

To us, holistic financial planning doesn’t begin with what we can do for you. It begins with your financial nature. There are always a number of ways to reach a goal, but your plan has to respect your nature. For example, a Taker might need convincing to accept that they are not broke. Spenders often need some help reframing their expenses and feeling good about that. Earners would likely love to know about unearned income so they can relax a bit. Telling a Saver the only way to prepare for the future is to invest every penny from their savings would likely result in a panic attack and losing a client. Investors often need some guidance in terms of investing- they’ll want to do it themselves. Levers can get into trouble by trying to make their lives less expensive. Givers are going to need some support to seize an opportunity like a financial gift.

Without knowing what a client’s nature is, there is no way to completely tailor advice and create a strategy that supports them the way they need. Our focus is first on a client’s nature, how they need to receive information, and what role time plays in rolling out a considered plan. Plans can include conventional products & services but knowing when and how to implement specific products is fully informed by each individual client. It’s not that we’re saying what other advisors do is wrong. It’s that we believe there is a way to be of greater service and we’re dedicated to taking our practice to a higher level.

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.

The Seven Year Itch: Financial Cycles & You

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(photo via marketwatch.com)

 

When you’re in it you can’t always see the forest for the trees. When you step back you can see the pattern. When you understand the pattern you can see opportunities. Cycles are good.

Our approach at shepard FINANCIAL is to seek ways to minimize short-term fluctuations, focus on long-term growth, and leverage information found within the bigger picture.  It’s all cycles! (If you haven’t read the newsletter this month, check it out for more about this incredibly pervasive 7 year cycle phenomenon.) We’re active managers, so we aren’t letting your portfolios cruise; we’re looking for the opportunities that can potentially arise at different times in the apparent phases of the 7 year economic cycle.

When you look at the S&P 500 chart above you may note that if we extrapolate the data it seems we’re due for another market correction soon. This may be, but it is nothing to fear, in fact it’s better to think of a market correction as a time of great opportunity. It’s like knowing there will be great deals on Black Friday because you may be able to buy things that will become very valuable later in the 7 year cycle. This is how you can create long-term value: positioning yourself to withstand short-term “crisis,” (so called largely by the media), in an effort for you to experience long-term value.

A balanced financial strategy is what we suggest. Not all markets behave the same way at the same time. Emerging Markets, Commodities, Gold and other markets may not share the same timing as the S&P 500, and by diversifying your portfolio you may be able to minimize the impact of market corrections. It’s also important to understand that your financial strategy goes beyond your portfolio. For example, the lowering of oil prices may seem negative when you’ve invested in oil, but you benefit as a consumer paying lower prices for fuel, a personal win.

Sometimes what causes a market correction is not anything that happens on Wall Street. The correction in 2008 was due to mortgages & real estate which boiled down to a banking issue, not a Wall Street issue, but the impact was felt throughout the economy. Some people predict that the next correction may come from the social lending/social investing world, KickStarter and GoFundMe for example. Social investing isn’t done on Wall Street, but an upset in that world could cause a broader ripple effect. In fact, we in the financial industry are not permitted to engage in social lending/investing, perhaps for this reason. When the impetus for a correction is somewhere other than Wall Street it’s difficult to know its origin in advance making a diverse portfolio and a big-picture financial perspective that much more important.

To experience financial confidence you don’t have to get trained on economic patterns, nor do you have to watch the economy like a hawk. You really don’t have to listen to sensationalism surrounding the economy. Understanding that the economy, like nature and you yourself, moves through phases & cycles will give you more confidence and more of an ability to relax than many other people. Having a financial professional who understands how to identify patterns and attempt to optimize opportunities is critical in your journey to greater health and wealth.

Everything evolves.

Know yourself. Know what you want. Find the right coach. 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.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal.

All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. Statements of forecast are for informational purposes and are not guaranteed to occur. Trends discussed are not guaranteed to continue in the future.

All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is a capitalization weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is comprised of 30 stocks that are major factors in there industries and widely held by individuals and institutional investors.

Securities mentioned may not be suitable for all investors.

5 Reasons Financial Gurus Fail

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Why is the personal finance genre so lucrative? Why do finance gurus get their own TV shows? Too much of the time their advice is utter garbage. Here’s why you might want to throw out what doesn’t work:

5. Financial “experts” want you to see what’s important to them and implement solutions their way. Dave Ramsey: all debt is bad. (It’s not.)

4. Every guru has his/her own perspective, and their advice is relevant to that perspective. If you’ve been reading what we’ve been saying you’ll know that we believe we all have one of 7 natural financial paradigms, and the recipe for success for one probably won’t work for all. One size does not fit all. (Find your paradigm here.)

3. Financial authors may try to scare you into taking the action they think is right or treat you like an idiot. With titles that include words like “apocalypse” and “for dummies” it’s no wonder most people feel alienated from participating fully in their own financial lives.

2. Their “easy” tips and steps toward financial success aren’t easy at all. Have you seen the contents of Tony Robbins’ new book? No. Not easy at all.

1. Sometimes financial gurus prevent people from getting to where they want to go. Maybe they don’t mean to, but canned advice is rarely implemented well and keeps the market for financial self-help ready to spend more on more advice!

If you follow their wisdom to the letter and it doesn’t work, do you blame yourself? Or do you recognize the fact that the guru didn’t create their system for anyone but themselves or whatever group they’re endorsing? Have you noticed that following canned financial recipes often require you act contrary to your nature? Who wants to live like that? It’s like trying to stick so some insane diet!

Our solution: To redefine financial truth so you can actually understand it and use it easily and well. Our goal is for do your next thing, experience your next level, and live a wealth-based life without changing who you are. We can help you enjoy your money.

Know yourself. Know what you want. Find the right coach. 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.

Love & Money: It’s not time to kill your lover.

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Ahh, Valentine’s Day. Candy, hearts, and fighting about money.

Does your partner seem to be from another planet as far as money, work, and value are concerned? Or does it seem like you must be two different species? Have you ever wondered why you can have a conversation in your native tongue and come away with two different perspectives on the same thing? Does it just make you crazy? Stop it. You’re both right!

This is totally normal and natural, so stop thinking what you’re thinking. You each were born with a natural way of relating to value, (money and more than money), and chances are your partner has a different paradigm. When you try to communicate you may be speaking English but you may as well be speaking two very different languages because the meaning is always filtered through your paradigm.

The second highest cause of divorce is financial stress & conflict. Within that, the largest contributor is ineffective communication. And there is a solution.

First, know your paradigm. Then know your partner’s paradigm. You can quickly and easily find your paradigms here. We’ll send you follow-up information so you can identify your financial reality. Ask yourselves if you’re living the lives you want and understand that your financial state is a choice. This means you and your partner can pursue your own version of financial utopia. Or you can spin your wheels and live in conflict.

Next, accept that you likely have very different natures and perceive your financial situation differently. That is ok! No one paradigm is better than any other, and it’s the direction you move in that matters. We will coach you on the next steps toward making your vision real and help you both evolve with your money.

Please join us if you can for a workshop that goes into much more detail about how to live and thrive with someone so…unlike you! February 25th @ 7pm in the studio at Health Body Fit Mind, 184 Main St. in South Portland, Maine. If you can’t be there we’d be happy to meet with you or talk on the phone at any time. http://bit.ly/money4lovers

It’s ok to be on different planets. You just need a shuttle to go back-and-forth. We can help.

Know yourselves. Know what you want. Find your coach. 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.

Why your motivations matter: holding you back or pushing you to a higher level.

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Everything you do, say, believe, and experience is caused by your own intrinsic motivations. Do you know what they are? Do your motivations support your vision for yourself or do they keep you stuck living a life that is less than it could be?

Habit. Fear. Guilt. Love. Ease. Loyalty. What’s “right.” Pleasure. All too often these things which motivate you when making tiny choices and huge decisions are buried in your psyche, silently running your life.

What if you took control of your motivations? How would your life be different?

When you know, understand, and accept your nature, (find your natural paradigm here), you’ll have reasonable expectations of yourself and require less discipline in order to move ahead. And when you know what you want you’ll be motivated to make decisions that will support living your best life.

From personal experience, it’s a whole lot easier to stop eating processed sugar when the motivation is to live healthier, experience food & taste more vividly, and to be free of a silly addiction because that’s who I want to be than to try to stop eating sugar because it’s bad for me and I shouldn’t have it. When my focus was on NOT eating sugar, it was all I thought about. When the focus is enjoying a better, sugarless life, choices are easier and the cravings are gone.

When you evolve with your money your financial motivations change for the better. You are not focused on the things that you don’t have or think you can’t have. Your motivation is based on a wealth & abundance perspective, you focus on what you want to experience, and it becomes possible to enjoy your money.

Evolving with your money is the process of making real the financial life you want, and it requires developing and using some second nature skills. If your motivation is based on the understanding that certain financial decisions, though uncomfortable and not what you really want to do at the time, will lead to increased opportunity to experience more of what you love, reduce stress, and make your life easier, your financial evolution is easy and joyful. And you can experience a better life now.

There is no canned recipe to financial success here, so any second nature skills will depend on your nature & vision. What we have is a process, a theory, that when followed will unfold exactly as it should- for you. It starts with your nature and choosing your motivations.

Know who you are. Know what you want. Find your coach. Evolve with your money.

Disclosures: there is no assurance that the techniques discussed will yield positive outcomes.

Leading Yourself to Financial Freedom

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You are pre-qualified to be a financial leader! Why?

1. You interact with money no matter how much you think you have.

2. You have a natural paradigm for relating to finance, and you can use your particular strengths to your advantage.

Does this sound strange? It’s contrary to one-size-fits all financial advice & wisdom because this approach is based on the individual rather than the financial system, therefore absolutely everyone who has ever interacted with a dollar can experience a healthier & wealthier life. That means you.

Money is a tool, and HOW you use it depends on WHO you are. We’re seeking to take the stress out of money and replacing it with energy and fun. It starts like this:

1. find out who you are by answering 7 simple questions here

2. come to our fun & free workshop on 1/28 or contact us for a meeting: 207.847.4032

 

Disclosures: there is no assurance that the techniques discussed will yield positive outcomes.

Your Guru: why the advice didn’t go all the way.

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At some point in your life you sought out a leader who has experienced something you want to experience for yourself. It may have been a spiritual leader, a fitness pro, a relationship expert, business advisor, or financial guru. But their advice didn’t work for you. It wasn’t enough. It didn’t apply to your life. Or you got to where they were directing you only to find that you expected better! The tendency may be to think that somehow you’re still not any better off because of you, because somehow you failed to make it there, or you just can’t get there because…you’re you.

 

It’s not you.

 

Last week’s post talked about the fact that we’re all born with a natural paradigm in place. In our business we call that your relationship with money because we’re in the financial biz. But it’s broader than that, and the gurus out there are not exempt~ they have a paradigm, too. And they probably don’t realize it.

 

Naturally their advice is specific to their paradigms. And if you don’t share that same paradigm and speak that specific language, chances are you won’t succeed according to their philosophies.

 

Or, if you do succeed you may be stuck wondering what’s next.

 

We suggest becoming your own guru. And that starts with knowing your paradigm then seeking out a coach who can help you chart your own path to a better life, however you want that to be. Begin here:

 

Find your paradigm here.

Then contact us to get your evolution into motion.

 

207.847.4032 or erin@shepardfinancialmaine.com

Disclosure: There is no assurance that the techniques discussed will yield positive outcomes.

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