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.

Camp Counselor: teens & young adults working outside the home.

Allowance: Adolescents to Young Adults

Before jumping in, take a look at the broader context and relevant details, and find your child’s nature.

Walking dogs is a great job for teens.Job & Own: from 16 to 18 it’s important for kids to do something for the world at large and get paid for it. Babysitting, mowing lawns, scooping ice cream, walking dogs- owning the responsibility of reporting on time, working diligently, having a good attitude, keeping commitments, and planning ahead are all important things to learn at this stage. Their ability to earn money and have savings is a gift made possible by your generosity, and they will need help securing that first outside job or turning a hobby into an entrepreneurial venture. Your time, connections, attitude, energy, and love are more important than your money as you help them become independent, (rather than “I-dependent”). Introduce them to the costs of more independence and consider charging them for services rendered or backing off some of their allowance. Up to now their stuff has actually been yours, and they are motivated to get a job so that they can own their own things. They’ll become more selective about their friends, clothes, activities, etc., letting go of some things and cling more dearly to others. This is a time to allow them to learn about how money works and become engaged in the ownership of money gifted to them, and if you have investments earmarked for college consider transferring unofficial ownership to them.

Suggested allowance: again, customize appropriately.

Suggested expectations: engaging with money as a source of positive energy.

 

You've done a great job, and it's time to let go of adult children. Self-Development & Leverage: there are many ways to continue to invest in our kids and ourselves. In the 19-21 stage kids learn to be interdependent because nobody can accomplish much on their own; we all need good people, and people need us to be good. Help your kids maintain interconnectedness through summer jobs, inviting them to participate in the care of their homestead through chores when they are around, and schedule these in the mornings. The more people invested in their success, the less likely they are to give up, and the more likely they are to stay connected to the value of the experience not just the price. Your kids should be involved in all factors that go into paying for school, including having a say in how assets are liquidated, how much money is borrowed, and how much of a work-load to take on in order to actually learn. If they need to borrow money it’s best to go to the bank and apply in front of someone they know; kids at this age should be able to make a case that they are a good risk, and the bank or others extending credit should be clear about their expectations. At this stage you’re really there to encourage, support, and ground your kids. As long as they know you’re there for them they can feel free to reach for the sky. The challenge at this point is to let them go and allow them to make small mistakes that help them learn without snowballing into something that can take your financial house down 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.

 

Tween Mowing Lawn

Allowance: Tweens & Teens

Before diving in, read this overview of the whole strategy for important details and review finding your child’s nature

Sponges: get creative with household chores for the kids.

Chores & Earn: from 10 through 12 kids can adhere to some routines that help the household function better. The tasks they once helped you with now become chores that are their responsibility. When children have ownership and responsibility they have things to trade; the more entrepreneurial among your family may end up doing all the work, but they might end up with all the money, too. (A good book: Lunch Money by Andrew Clements about a kid who makes a fortune off his older siblings.) In this stage you are helping them with chores that are under their purview. “Let me help you (insert chore),” or “how can I help you XYZ” are a great means to give them jump-start getting something done. A slight increase in allowance will empower and enable them to start buying the things they want, like specific clothes or shoes, that you were likely to purchase anyway.

Suggested amount: $10+, customized to your family.

Suggested expectations: their ownership of their chores should come with a new level of quality and few reminders.

 

kids on swing rideWork & Save: in early adolescence children go through another great developmental leap. From ages 13 to 15 they are far more socially aware, and often they want to buy the cool stuff or go to awesome places but don’t have the money. Now is a time to impress upon them the idea of having a financial goal and working to earn money over and above what they, and you, have come to expect. Doing more voluntarily because they have needs and desires should be encouraged. You’ll need to support creativity and expose them to more and more of your finances and financial decisions. Kids in this stage can learn to do more at home and venture outside the home to earn extra money. They are primarily interested in fitting in and being a part of a peer group, so they are beginning to respond less to what you say and pay more attention to what you do. Speak less and work along with them more. Pay them with cash and open a bank account for them to put a portion of their earnings into savings. They may ask for more work only occasionally, but you can offer opportunities to earn more money.

Suggested amounts: customize fairly according to job.

Suggested expectations: (clear communication is critical), vacuum & wash the car, clean the windows, vacuum & dust the house, watch younger siblings, mow the lawn. Outside the home: babysitting, yard work & mowing, pet-sitting, etc.

 

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.

 

 

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

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:

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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.

 

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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.

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.

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

Disclosures Short

 

Photo by choko

 

 

 

 

 

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