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.

Wealth management tools.

Building Wealth: Best In Class Tools for your Financial Evolution

Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.

~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Our goal for you is to help you feel confident in your financial plan, to be supported through your financial evolution, and to be motivated and empowered by your money and how you use it. Our role is to understand the financial system, interpret it for you free of hype and misinformation, and to make recommendations based on your best interests. We help you become aware of your blind-spots inherent to your nature so that you are able to pursue building wealth for the long-term, and for every phase of your financial journey we have available services and products to help you evolve. These are the nuts and bolts, our top-tier tools:

Planning Services

Estate Planning: We offer all levels of Estate Planning, from the most basic plans to attaching a trust to an estate, estate tax planning, and legacy planning.

Income Tax Planning: We help help you and your tax advisor  by bringing clarity to your necessary forms and statements as well as help you minimize your taxes through leveraging other aspects of your financial strategy.

Protection Planning: This includes prioritizing your insurance needs and finding the most appropriate plans and products for you.

Financial Position Analysis: There are times when you may need to know your exact financial position, like when applying for a mortgage, but don’t have information compiled in a way that shines the light on the best aspects. We help you create a complete financial picture which allows you to evaluate yourself before anyone else.

Investment Planning: This is more than determining what to invest in; investment planning takes into consideration how you should be invested and what to do with investment income. Your investment plan is influenced by your beliefs and value system as well as your overall financial vision.

Retirement Planning: Our goal for you is financial independence, and your plan begins with understanding how you live now, how you want to live with your money later, and your definition of financial independence. The following are the tools we have available:

  • 401K
  • 403B
  • Defined Benefit Plan
  • Roth IRA
  • SEP
  • Simple IRA
  • Traditional IRA

To help you pursue your next financial state we offer an array of financial products:

  • Annuities
  • ETF
  • Stocks & Bonds
  • 529 Plan
  • Mutual Funds

We also offer fee-based asset management.

Our Investment Strategy       About       Our Value       Our Vision & Mission

LPL Representative so not offer tax or legal services or advice. In certain situations we suggest you discuss your specific situation with a 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

The 7 Human Natures: Greatness or Bondage

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it. ~Bruce Lee

From the moment you were born your nature was set. In our business we see this through the lens of finance and how people relate to money. There are only seven human natures, seven natural relationships with money. No one is better than another though each has its own positive and negative aspects. The positive side of your nature will propel you further in your evolution; it is your superpower. The negative side can keep you stuck and cause problems that repeat.

To find your nature we have created a seven question survey that you may take here. Below is a brief description of the seven natures.

Note: these concepts are still evolving, and we’ve recently changed some of the names of the natures to better describe them in financial terms.

TSicons-1 jpgThe first nature is the Taker. This isn’t bad. It just means that people with this nature can sense when what they need is around them and take it. They take that hail-mary shot, they take charge, take a chance, and they can also take money and other resources because they find value in money when they get it. These folks are characterized by a highly reactive, instinctive nature. Often they are survivors, fighters, able to weather the storm, but they aren’t getting or perceive they aren’t getting enough of what they need to thrive,  especially money. [Read more.] (Note: this nature was previously called the Reactor.)


TSicons-2 jpg 02The second nature is the Spender. Spenders find value in money when they spend it. They are characterized by emotional and financial, ups and downs. When they’re up they’re engaged, excited, and able to be their best selves, but when they’re down they can become immobilized. They may have the resources they need but not always when they need them- often because they spend on what they want first. Because Spenders are emotional beings, they tend to make buying decisions based on how their spending makes them feel. [Read more.] (Note: this nature was previously called the Feeler.)


TSicons-3 jpg 02

The Earner finds value in money when it’s earned and promptly allocated to expenses. In fact, they allocate so well there is often nothing left to save. This nature is characterized by hard work, effort, and striving. Earners don’t mind getting it done, no matter what “it” is, but they are prone to burn-out and often turn even the smallest things into large tasks. Earners often feel burdened by their responsibilities, including their finances, because they work so hard at everything.  [Read more.] (Note: this nature was previously called the Worker.)


TSicons-4 jpg The Saver, the fourth paradigm, finds money most valuable in savings, and they may even try to save things, animals, and other people. Though saving is appropriate at times, it can go to extremes leaving the Saver isolated and disconnected from their money. Saving more than is reasonable causes the Saver to become a hoarder and miss opportunities to pursue building wealth and increasing their capacity to save. [Read more.]


TSicons-5 jpg The Investor naturally seeks ways to create more value. They are typically very productive and like to enjoy their resources. Money is often a source of energy for Investors, as is exercise and interactions with others, however the Investor can become addicted to the thrill of the next big win, crossing the line and becoming a speculator. [Read more.]


TSicons-6 jpg The Lever prefers life to be easy. Those within the sixth paradigm tend to use their resources to make life easier and appreciate assembling and being part of a strong team. They seek collaboration where the strengths of the individuals are leveraged for greater results. On the negative side, Levers can become opportunistic and exploit others to raise themselves higher rather than collaborating to raise everyone higher. [Read more.]


TSicons-7 The seventh paradigm is the Giver. These folks are highly intuitive and love sharing their resources with others. They are leaders and visionaries, but when stalled in their own evolution they can become martyrs, giving away so much they have nothing for themselves. Though Givers naturally understand flow, they can become so focused on giving they can’t see when they may need to change direction. [Read more.]


Watch our video! Iconic superheroes and the seven paradigms: there really are no coincidences.


Your Financial Level     Your Financial State      Your Evolution

shepard financial time and value

Creating Value: what you can expect from shepard FINANCIAL

For you our working relationship is about creating value, producing more of what you love, enjoying your money and your life.

For us it’s about making sure we are at the top of our game so we can help you raise yours.

When you invest yourself in working with us, you’ve got a great team behind you.

The Right Stuff.

Awareness: We keep you informed via newsletters, events, social media, our blog, and eMoney, an online tool that shows you your entire evolving financial picture in one place, for all our clients. 

Education: We’re always available to talk or meet, and we also host regular workshops & forums. We love what we do and are passionate about how we do it; we are committed to sharing the keys to a positive financial evolution.

Integration: We’re here to help you integrate your financial plans fully into your life and across multiple disciplines. We can create and help you maintain systems for staying connected to your money and to your financial strategy.

Communication: we know that in the real world financial conflict stems from two or more natures being unable to communicate. We work with couples, families, business partners, entrepreneurs, managers, and others to create a common financial language to help ease financial stress & conflict.

Strategy:  It’s up to us to understand the financial system, its patterns and relationships so we know how to help you have the most gratifying experience. We have available the best products and services in the industry paired with our exclusive investment strategy so that we may work with you in your best interests. 

Professionalism: You can expect us to be ethical and reliable, maintaining your confidentiality. Money has a deeply personal, emotional side which we understand and respect. We are responsible for our own evolution and are active in our individual journeys as well as the evolution of the company itself.


Our Team       Our Partners       Inspiration         Our Services

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.


Disclosures Short

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

Still from No Coincidences

What is your superpower?

Use it for greater health & wealth or go to the darkside…

There are seven human natures and iconic superheroes that match each one. Coincidence? Not at all.

Which is most like you and how are you best motivated to create your higher life? Take our survey to find out, then watch the video for financial insight like you’ve never heard.


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.

Investment Strategy

Our method to investing makes sense.

Happy Financial Awareness Month! In celebration we’re spilling the beans on why we invest the way we invest. If you missed our broad overview in our newsletter, you can read it here. We’ve all heard “buy low, sell high,” but that’s a tad simplistic and pretty hard to do without understanding the cogs in the machine and making educated determinations about how to make use of them. We believe in an approach that starts with allocating assets weighted toward need sectors, with income diversification layered on top. Here is a quick review of the bigger picture:

  •  Identify sectors that represent what people need in a more durable way like shelter, energy, health care, food.
  • Identify cyclical sectors for active management.
  • Follow the technological evolution of needed sectors.
  • Layer in Global investing to diversify home country bias and dollar risk.
  • Diversify the method of wealth-building: dividends, interest, royalties, premiums, rent, return of capital to go along with growth.
  • Customize according to client nature, needs, wants and goals.

Need sectors are those that represent what we need to survive: shelter, energy, healthcare, and food. These have always been and will always be human needs though what they look like evolves. For example the healthcare world was once dominated by pharmaceuticals but now it’s focused on biotechnology and moving in the direction of nutrition & wellness. The energy sector was mostly oil & natural gas but now it’s focused on wind, solar, and fuel cells. Real Estate, (shelter), used to be about buying houses or office buildings, but it evolved to be about malls & shopping centers and on to recreation areas & resorts. The food industry is less about corporate farming and more about local production. The drivers of need sector evolution are technological advances, not to be confused with the tech sector, and we follow these advances so that we can see new opportunities that arise. Though technological developments cause these core needs to shift, the needs themselves remain constant. This is why we weight asset allocation toward the need sector.

Cyclical sector investments require active management because they are based on trends, what we think we want right now. This is fashion, vehicles, trendy investments, and they change relatively quickly. We wrote about patterns & cycles in a previous blog post, and this is when the understanding of cycles plays a big part of our investment strategy: when you can spot them you can endeavor to make the best of the opportunities they provide, and it takes an active manager to do just that.

The US dollar is not the only currency out there, and we believe that though currencies fluctuate over time, they will stabilize relative to one another. In the newsletter we mentioned layering global investing into your strategy. In so doing, you diversify home country bias and dollar risk. When some currencies are up, others are down which can help inform you on what to buy, what to sell and when. Right now the US dollar is up, but it hasn’t always been up nor will it be forever. Adding global investing to your strategy helps us help you make the most of the opportunities that come from fluctuating currencies.  Take a look at this 2013 article about US dollar expectations to see what we mean here- easy with the gift of hindsight.

Our approach looks at diversifying income as well as investments. In addition to growth, income can be in the forms of dividends, interest, royalties, premiums, rent, and return of capital. It’s important to see these for what they are so that you may have a total, all-inclusive perspective of your finances. We don’t rely on the “greater fool theory” meaning buying something somewhat questionable because there is likely someone else who’ll pay you more for it. Additionally, compounding income through reinvestment of income, capital gain distributions, and savings is what Einstein was referring to when he said that compound interest was the most powerful force in the universe!

Lastly, we are able to customize your particular strategy so that you may truly evolve with your money. If, for example, when investing in energy you prefer to invest in solar or other alternative sources rather than oil, we can find the most appropriate options for you. In other words, your beliefs and values are honored; because money is a source of energy for you it must be positive energy, you should feel good about your investments and your part in shaping the world! It almost goes without saying that your nature is also taken into consideration, and your financial plan will not ask you to ignore nor forsake your nature. (If you haven’t already, find your nature here.)

It’s more than “buy low, sell high” though that does have something to do with it. The ingredients of a solid strategy include understanding needs vs. wants, value vs. growth, cost vs. value, US vs. international, and how to identify and use the products, tools, and patterns available through connected active management.

This is why we say: Know yourself, know what you want, find the right coach, and 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 assures success or protects against loss. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investments and strategies mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or out-perform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.