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.

 

7 Steps to Evolve Intentionally: It’s More than Money

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Is your life as good as it could be? Quick check: your finances, relationships, health, time- all good? Or are there one or more areas that could be better? Whether you know it or not your life is evolving, unfolding, and sometimes patterns repeat keeping you stuck in the same familiar hamster wheel. There is a way to consciously, intentionally move past the things that hold you back.

No matter which area of your life you’d like to improve the foundation for evolving is the same: you’ve got to know who you are and what you want. Here’s an overview of what’s next:

1. React. Getting stuck in an unhealthy rut, no matter what type, will stagnate even the most driven people. And that causes another tier of misery! So react. Get it out. Get it out of your head and onto paper. This way you’ll free yourself from the thoughts that go around and around, filling your mind with clutter and leaving no space for creative thinking. Write it all down so it no longer owns you.

2. Feel. Emotions are natural; stifling them is unhealthy. Allow yourself to feel what you need to without giving in to depression or anxiety. Use the writing from earlier to create for yourself a picture, a map, or a story of your present reality. Extend it so you can see the situation over time. A feeling of neutrality will develop so you can see the forest for the trees. Ask yourself what you’d rather experience instead and create a new vision.

3. Work. Your vision for yourself is your direction, so what you do, say, choose now is all pointed in that direction. Practice new habits that make your life easier, balance your need to work with the needs to be loving, healthy, and present, and lighten up. Enjoy the freedom of being free from the revolving door of reactions and emotions. Instead you are laying the groundwork for life at a higher level.

4. Save. Now things are starting to shift & change- remember to choose calm over fear. Save and protect only what you need, only those who want to be saved & protected, and stay connected to the resources that give you energy and joy. Be aware that saving too much becomes hoarding which will entrap you and suck up any surplus time, energy, or money you’ve saved thus far. Keep your vision close so you don’t get stalled out when you start to experience better.

5. Invest. Now you’ve got some momentum. Notice what makes your life worth living and apply your resources & passions to what matters to you. Investing can refer to your money, but you can also invest your time, your energy, your relationships- you have the capacity to use your resources to create more of what you value! Doing so while a with your vision will give you a new source of energy that motivates and validates. It may be tempting to cruise here for a bit, but don’t get stuck. Getting stuck will result in experiencing the opposite of what is so great right now! Keep moving.

6. Leverage. Turn your attention to what makes your life easier. Do you now have more time, more energy, more financial confidence? Use the results of your invested resources to free yourself from stress & burden. Start collaborating with others so that you may experience even greater ease, create more value, and lift each other to a higher level as a result of combined strengths and resources. At this stage you’ve moved through some significant peaks & valleys, and it’s time to reflect on how fortunate you are and sharing that with others. Again, don’t get stuck here! There is one more step.

7. Give. Well, you’ve made it. This stage is reached when you’ve realized your vision, and it’s time to give back to others. It may be money, your time, your wisdom, your attention, any of your resources. Give them back because you’ve got plenty to share. You’re at the top of your mountain, and it’s good! Be grateful & humble.

And repeat. That’s right. Life continues to evolve and unfold, so when you reach the 7th stage it’s time for another adventure. Apply the same principles and you’ll empower yourself to experience a lot of satisfaction, security, joy, ease, and gratitude. You’ll grow beyond ruts and no longer be bonded to your emotions. Not a bad prospect!

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.

 

 

 

Master of Flow or Head in the Clouds: the Seventh Paradigm

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Do you have a strong intuition? Do you tend to assume a leadership role? Are you a visionary? Can you see beyond the now to what could be? Do you give your time, attention, money, and energy to others?

You were born with one of 7 ways of relating to the world and everything in it, and if this sounds like you it may be your paradigm: the Giver. Givers are just that: natural givers. You want to make the world a better place and want to dedicate your resources to others. You are able to envision a future and help make it a reality. You are a natural leader and inspire others. When you are at your best you feel much gratitude. You are much more able to reach a flow state that people within the other paradigms, that time when you are completely in synch with what you’re doing like great artists, musicians, athletes, etc. You are naturally able to get into “the zone” where everything just comes together.

Every paradigm has a dark side. You can be so focused on “the zone” that you are blind to what’s happening around you. You can give until you have nothing left- money, time, energy, and otherwise- which ultimately makes you a martyr. If you are giving to others so that you’ll get something back from them you’ve become manipulative or passive-aggressive. Some gifted Givers have tons of great ideas that never, ever go anywhere. This is often due to the fact that Givers often have a hard time accepting help from others because they see themselves as the ultimate helpers. Some Givers give to others to make their lives manageable, and that’s just enabling. Sometimes Givers in dysfunction become isolated because they can only do half of the give-and-take necessary for relationships.

A healthy Giver can balance their desire to give with the need to receive, replace, and restore. When people are stuck in this paradigm they end up with a diminished capacity to experience their passions and an ever-smaller ability to give. Evolving for you means increasing your ability to experience the things that matter most to you and fueling your ability to give. It’s good practice to ask yourself these questions:

  • How are my finances? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How are my relationships? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How am I experiencing my time? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How is my health? My nutrition? My fitness? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?

It is very likely that if any part of your life isn’t what you’d like it to be and you’ve experienced the same things over and over again, you’re stuck. The stress & frustration being stuck causes isn’t necessary, not just the way it is. You can evolve into your higher self, the version of you who uses your strengths to live the life you want rather than what’s left over.

The first step is to really know yourself. Take our paradigm survey to find your nature and reach out to us with your questions.

You can evolve.

Know yourself. Know what you want. Find the right coach. Evolve with your money.

 

Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. They do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial. No strategy assures success or protects against losses.

Raising the Game or Grasping at Straws: the Sixth Paradigm

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Does this sound like you? Do you like things to be easy? Do you get frustrated by unnecessary complication, and all complication is unnecessary? Are you at your best on a team? Do you see collaboration as a way for all team members to shine by bringing their best to the table? Do you seek enlightenment and see that as crucial to your journey?

You were born with one of 7 ways of relating to the world and everything in it. If the above sounds like you then this is likely your paradigm: the Lever. Levers are natural collaborators and love being on a great team. You like to help others reach their highest potentials and enjoy others doing the same for you. You like things to be easy and seek ways to make life easier on every level. You seek enlightenment and when you’re at your best you feel fortunate. You sense opportunities that others may miss, and you naturally use your resources, (time, money, energy, etc.), to create a multiplier effect so the positivity you help create goes on and on. You love this!

Every paradigm has a dark side, however. If you get stuck in your paradigm you risk becoming over leveraged. In a financial sense, you can become over leveraged when you take on more debt than you can handle in your pursuit of making life easier. When people in this paradigm get stuck they may become exploitive by getting others to do the work to make the most of an opportunity while keeping the rewards for themselves. Dysfunctional Levers can be manipulative, getting others to buy into unhealthy endeavors or convincing others to give up their resources in exchange for little or nothing. If you seize an opportunity for your own benefit rather than for the benefit of many then you’re opportunistic, an unhealthy Lever.

Being a healthy Lever means fully understanding the differences between leverage & debt, collaboration & exploitation, and helping & manipulation. On the positive side this is a great paradigm, a tremendous asset to any group. If you are stuck in your paradigm you are not, and you are limiting your ability to experience more ease, greater enlightenment, and you can prevent yourself from reaching a higher level. It’s good practice to ask yourself these questions:

  • How are my finances? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How are my relationships? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How am I experiencing my time? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How is my health? My nutrition? My fitness? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?

It is very likely that if any part of your life isn’t what you’d like it to be and you’ve experienced the same things over and over again, you’re stuck. The stress & frustration being stuck causes isn’t necessary, not just the way it is. You can evolve into your higher self, the version of you who uses your strengths to live the life you want rather than a life that just stays the same.

The first step is to really know yourself. Take our paradigm survey to find your nature and reach out to us with your questions. Or come to our workshop on March 28 for much more information on your paradigm and how it integrates with everything in your life.

You can evolve.

Know yourself. Know what you want. Find the right coach. Evolve with your money.

 

Disclosures: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. They do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial. No strategy assures success or protects against losses. No strategy assures success or prevents against losses.

 

Saving & the Savior: the Fourth Paradigm

supermanAre we talking about you here? Do you save stuff? Do you collect things? Save animals or other people? Do you linger in unhealthy situations because you are concerned others will fall apart without you? Are you inclined to conserve your resources like time & energy? Do you accumulate things? Are you living below your means in order to save your money? Are you saving your money in things like savings accounts or CD’s? Does your savings make you feel safe, secure, and prepared?

You were born with one of 7 ways of relating to the world, and if this describes you then this may be your paradigm: the Saver. There is a positive side and a negative side, just like all the other paradigms. On the positive side, you have the ability to build a cushion through saving your money.  You are generally prepared for any eventuality and often frugal. You are able to create safety, security, and predictability. When you successfully save others- people, animals, the environment- you do a lot of good. You waste very little.

A stuck & dysfunctional Saver has an unhealthy attachment to money, people, and stuff. Unchecked saving can become hoarding and saving others can become about control. You can be greedy, taking the biggest serving at the table if you can’t have the whole thing. You can sometimes be cheap or withholding. The money you save is likely just sitting in an account or a hole in the backyard, doing nothing rather than generating more money. You may have found yourself staying in an unhealthy job situation out of fear of missing the opportunity to save more money only to have to save yourself when it gets too bad to continue! You get the idea.

Being a healthy Saver means knowing how to balance your need to save with your need to evolve. This is a paradigm that is held up as an example to which most people are told to aspire: saving your money will save you in your later years. And saving is good to a certain extent. If you get stuck in your paradigm you are actually  limiting your capacity to save: your money can’t create greater value for you in the future. It may be hard for a Saver to know when they are stuck because a big aspect of this paradigm is comfort. However, it is a good practice to ask yourself these questions:

  • Is saving what & as much as I do propelling me forward or keeping me in one place?
  • How are my finances? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How are my relationships? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How am I experiencing my time? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How is my health? My nutrition? My fitness? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?

It is very likely that if any part of your life isn’t what you’d like it to be and you’ve experienced the same things over and over again, you’re stuck. The stress & detachment of being stuck isn’t necessary, it’s not “the way it is.” You can evolve into your higher self, the version of you who uses your strengths to live the life you want rather than teetering on the line between saving & hoarding.

The first step is to really know yourself. Take our paradigm survey to find your nature and reach out to us with your questions. Or come to our workshop on March 28; details here.

You can evolve.

Know yourself. Know what you want. Find the right coach. Evolve with your money.

 

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

Thank you artists, writers, and creators for creating the superhero that enrich our lives. You are so right-on, more than you know, and you are our heroes.

 

 

Efficiency & Burn-out: the Third Paradigm

FullSizeRenderThis may be about you. Are you motivated by the satisfaction of a job well-done? Driven to get everything done in a day? Are you a workaholic? Do you turn everything into a chore? Do you over analyze every single detail? Do you work to earn your money then allocate it all to your expenses? Can you be rigid? Do you tend to feel burdened by your responsibilities?

You were born with one of 7 ways of relating to the world, and if this sounds like you this is likely your paradigm: the Worker. There is a positive side and a negative side to this paradigm, just like there are with the others. On the positive side you are a hard worker, and you can be disciplined. You are responsible and driven. You get things done efficiently and on-time, and you pay your bills on-time or sometimes early. You find value in money that you’ve earned. You are comfortable when you’re busy. You don’t like financial or emotional ups & downs and are able to use your natural strengths to smooth them out using discipline & effort. Our culture endorses and rewards this paradigm, but that can be unhealthy.

On the negative side you are prone to burning out, reaching the end of your energy and ability to manage it all. You can feel overly burdened by your financial and other responsibilities and believe that you have to do it all alone. To make it all work you will attempt to work harder, faster, or longer rather than ask others for what you need which can cause illness, exhaustion, and resentment. You tend to think that every aspect of life that is valuable requires great effort and that life is inherently hard, and you try too hard to figure out everything.

Being a worker isn’t bad nor wrong. It’s a matter of knowing how to balance your need to work and the value you derive from it with your other needs, particularly the need to stay healthy and happy. There are times when working hard is appropriate and the ability to do so is a great asset! It may have become normal for you to live within constant striving, but if & when that no longer works for you you’ll become stressed out and that’s when you’ll know that you are stuck. Ask yourself:

  • Is working harder/faster/longer propelling me forward or keeping me in one place?
  • How are my finances? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How are my relationships? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How am I experiencing my time? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?
  • How is my health? My nutrition? My fitness? Could that part of my life be better? What would that look like?

It is very likely that if any part of your life isn’t what you’d like it to be and you’ve experienced the same things over and over again, you’re stuck. The stress & frustration of being stuck isn’t necessary, it’s not “the way it is.” You can evolve into your higher self, the version of you who uses your strengths to live the life you want rather than teetering on the line of functionality and collapse.

The first step is to really know yourself. Take our paradigm survey to find your nature and reach out to us with your questions.

Learn more at our workshop, presented with Optimal Health, on March 28.

You can evolve.

Know yourself. Know what you want. Find the right coach. Evolve with your money.

 

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

Thank you to all the artists, writers, and creators of the Superheroes who inspire, teach, and motivate us.  You are all heroes.

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