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.
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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

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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

From Dream to Vision: Improving Health & Building Wealth

We want to help others live healthier, wealthier lives. 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Health and Wealth

This is your shepard FINANCIAL: our core values.

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

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

 

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

We are guided by our core beliefs. 

Read more about Your Evolution here.

 

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Financial Lies & the Damage They Cause

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

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

No strategy or process assures success or guarantees against losses.

Photo: Krystian Olszanski

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.

 

7 Reasons We Speak Financial Truth

 

The self-help industry, which includes the personal finance sub genre, is an $11 billion machine; that’s $11 billion annually. This would suggest that despite the sea of gurus offering up their best advice there is something missing.

We believe the crucial element they miss is you, so we’re writing a book about it. Here is why we’re writing it:

1. Gurus Fail. Every single person is born with a certain nature which shapes perspective, experience, beliefs, and behavior. The experts, no matter their area of expertise, also have a nature which is the foundation for their advice. If your nature isn’t the same their advice likely won’t work for you, or their advice may get you through one issue or crisis but doesn’t help when the next crisis comes along. You’re stuck living life from one issue to the next, seeking wisdom from limited sources over and over again. (Maybe that’s why people spend so much on self-help books?)

2. Patterns Repeat. Nothing is ever really new- look at the fashion world! Or look at this previous post about the 7 year cycles in finance. Recognizing your personal patterns and the patterns present in all areas of life empowers you to nurture those that benefit you and break & release the ones that don’t. Decisions are easier to make, opportunities easier to recognize. Approaching your finances, or anything, as if the current context exists in a vacuum can be disastrous, just ask people who heavily invested in the tech bubble.

3. Efficiency Addiction. Look around and notice all the busy people, the companies whose employees are expected to do more with less time & compensation, automizing that which used to be human interaction, and the pervasive expectation that things get done faster so that more can get done. Our culture is addicted to efficiency: a society so busy it tries to meet the human need for nutrition with frozen dinners and fast food, for example, and it’s making us sick and tired on both the public and individual levels.

4. Saving Yourself. There is no cavalry; they’re off somewhere being busy! And the gurus are short-sighted though well-intentioned. In a way you need to be your own superhero, and fortunately that’s not only possible, it’s intentional. You see, you have a specific nature which has a positive side and a negative side. The self-help/personal finance gurus have no way of knowing who you are, in fact many most likely don’t know their own natures, why they keep saying the same things, and debating each other over who is right. (Hint: they’re all right- for themselves.) We’ve developed a tool to find your nature; you can access it here.

5. Creating Value. You’ve probably heard or seen inspirational quotes telling you something about being able to use your attitude to create a good life- but not telling you how. Well, you can create more of what you love, more of what you want but without knowing how you’ll likely stay in a rut. Our book is being written to show you how. (This is also the foundation for our financial advisory, management, and planning business.)

6. Not Alone. Humans are social creatures; we don’t do well when totally alone. Yet we’re socialized to believe that “if it is to be, it is up to me,” so we keep on buying the self-help books and try to transform our lives alone. Without the help & support of others you can’t reach your highest level. And if your motivation for reaching a higher level is all about you rather than about you as part of a social system, (part of a team, family, community, etc.), you will end up with a corrupted version of your higher self.

7. Fulfill Your Next Vision. Instead of living life as a series of crises, ups & downs, one after another, we suggest turning those ups & downs on the side. Now they’re lefts & rights, the flow of life as a series of intentional, informed choices. And instead of an ultimate vision that can seem unattainable, we focus on your next vision, then the next and the next. And they add up over time.

Have you been so let down by your gurus that you’ve accepted a life that is less than you want it to be? Do you have a next vision for your money? For your relationships? For your health? Time management?

This is why we’re writing this book.

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.