This is your life: Ages & $tages.

Where are you in life and what does that mean for your financial plan?

There is a time to work, a time to relax, a time for joy, a time to help others, and a time to be helped by others. We all experience predictable, natural life stages, times when we’re naturally inclined to do, think, and perceive our lives in a specific way. Knowing your nature is part of knowing how to use your money to craft your best life, but understanding your life stage is, too.

Our blog this week is actually a vlog, a short video we created to show you all the life stages, what’s important when, and the true possibility of the human lifespan if we take good care of ourselves. We hope this will help you enjoy your life, every step of the way.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.
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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

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

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.

 

General Disclosure Long

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